Sound Quality on Prime Go

It’s shocking that the cheapest of denon units doesn’t have the same quality as the more expensive ones.


And surely the cheapest denon unit should have every feature that the more expensive ones have -> if not straight away, then at the very least, by the time a few free firmware updates have come out.

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They are mainly arguing about the sound quality. The GO obviously would not have the same features as the higher tier units. But Prime which Denon labels as “Pro” should at the very least have similar if not the same sound quality.

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Please remind me, which one of Pio controllers has the same sound quality as their flagship mixer/s and what is their price compared to Prime Go? Maaaybe SZ…maybe.

Sorry dude, you paid the high Prime GO price not because of soundquality of the unit but because of the screen, battery and R&D behind it, including man hours invested into EP.


? I am all in for the SC6000’s already and have the X1850. I am playing devil’s advocate here. You do bring up a good point when referencing price point.

I’ve just compared (eyes closed) P4 and Pgo on the same speakers… effects are differents (whe still are waiting for P4 update) But sound quality (clear, dynamic…) is the same. I think EQ on P4 is better, but no big difference

Maybe the sound is better on independent devices such as x1800/1850

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Before the Prime Go has arrived, i used the mcx 8000 for mobile Jobs, the x1800 with the prime series or the rane mp2015 to make some mixtapes. I use only itunes-mp3s, or .aiff-files from beatport. I think the sound quality is “ok” for a 1.000 € Workstation, but not so detailed and clear like the best controllers and mixers in the market. But yes, the comparison with a Rane MP2015 Mixer (with spdif-cables to Denon SC5000M) is not fair. Denon should test the Prime Go again and bring out a new firmware with better sound settings in future.

Exactly what I would expect with the goofy meter implementation on the Go and the current Prime playback baseline audio processing. And prior to release, I explained what needed to be resolved on both to fix these. Clearly none of it was done.

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sorry but…we are in 2020. not the best year ever for mankind but…every piece of audio gear should sound simply perfect. its completely ok that some features, workflow and options are not available in the small prime go, but it have to sound like a real big one.

Here is a solid review of the Prime Go audio quality. Reposting from FB Prime Go group.

ORIGINAL POST! by Magnus Samuelsson

Prime Go gain structure. Since I have seen some debate over proper gain settings for the Go and also this German review which as I understand it believes the sound quality of the Go is crap I decided to do some measurements to finally settle this issue once and for all.

For those who just want to enjoy DJ:ing on their Go and spend their time and energy on mixing and projecting energy to the crowd instead of the full technical background this is the short story:

  1. Set your channel gain to 11-12 o’clock. If you only play modern, highly compressed EDM style music I would just pretty much park it at 12. If you also play 70’s-90’s music I would begin at around 11 for modern tunes which gives you more headroom to increase the gain for the older ones. Do NOT go much past 1 o’clock for normal commercially available tracks (acapellas/home recordings possibly excluded) or there WILL be audible distortion!!! (And yes, this distortion will happen long before the blue VU clipping light comes on, the German reviewers got that part right).

  2. Set your master out level to ”0”. Ensure proper input gain (typically ”0” or 12 o’clock) on your powered speakers and set the speaker levels to achieve slightly more than your target SPL (SPL will drop a couple of dB once there is a crowd). The Go VU meter is way to course to be of any real value when setting levels so just rely on the knob positions!

  3. If you want to start the night out a little quieter begin with your master level at less than zero and then turn it up to zero as the night moves on, people get drunk and a packed dance floor absorbs more sound. Be careful that you do not overdrive the ADC of your powered DSP controlled speakers by outputting a signal from the Go that is too hot. The ”0” setting and 12 o’clock channel gain setting gives you a +4dBu output as per the specs. (In a perfect world it would be even better to stay at ”0” on the Go and turn the level (not input gain) directly on the speakers up. That is not always practical though for real-world mobile DJ:s, particularly if you like me, have your tops very high up on tripods and don’t want to haul ladders…).

  4. The Go is fully up to the Denon technical specs at least when it comes to the outputs. Enjoy the quality sound of the unit and have fun mixing! :headphones::smile: But please note that no matter how well Denon designed it and the exceptional value it provides, it is not immune to misuse. Learn proper gain structure, there are tons of youtube tutorials available! :+1:

This is the technical story:

I have used synthetically generated test files with pure sinusoids between 30 and 110 Hz since the German site reported clipped bass to test the Go. I generated these files in MATLAB and they span the full digital range of a .wav file. The output from the Go (master RCA and XLR out) were measured with a PicoScope 5000-series digital oscilloscope set to 16-bit resolution. Although this is hardly a high-performance audio analyzer it is more than adequate for this job. So the story is this; if you keep your channel gain at 12 o’clock there is no harmonic (at least <75dBc) or IMD distortion to speak of even if you turn the master level up all the way. The signal clips at the stated +18dBu level (see picture with clipped signal) but if you are running your output this hot you are certain to saturate the ADC of DSP-controlled powered speakers and in any event, have a seriously messed up overall gain structure! BUT if you increase the channel gain past 1.30 o’clock (see settings in picture below and also the harmonic distortion of the 110 Hz signal in the FFT plot) there WILL be significant harmonic distortion even if the blue VU LED is not lit and there is no hard clipping and I suspect that this is what the Germans did. But WHY on earth would you do this??? And if you have spent any time with pro audio it should come as a reflex to back down on the gain knob the moment you hear audible distortion! :dizzy_face: So to be on the safe side you could use the 11 o’clock channel gain setting to have a little bit more headroom for older, less compressed music.

A very quick IMD distortion test using the SMPTE 60/7000 Hz IMD test signal looked fine but a more precise test requires better equipment than a ’scope + non-shielded-direct-probe-on-an-XLR-jack, might do that in the future if I find the time. :sunglasses: Through a very quick and dirty listening comparison using HD-25 headphones and Adam A5X monitors I did not find any significant differences in the sound quality between the Prime 4 and the Go but a direct and blinded true A/B comparison would obviously be better here. I think the Go sounds good, certainly good enough for the intended use anyway!

Have fun mixing! :smile:


Thank you for this detailed information

This is exactly what do we want! Thank you mate!

I think it’s really important that measurements make a difference between a good engineer product and a bad one!

Do you have time to test with

  1. frequency response
  2. THD + N Ratio
  3. Dynamic Range
  4. Sinad

“Set your channel gain to 11-12 o’clock.”

Telling people to leave their trim-gain knobs at one physical rotation spot (or narrow range) is bad advice. That only worked for him because he was using test signals of known level.

People need to be trying to stay out of the top two meter LEDs on all this gear. Second-to-top LED is really only for accidents, since once you’re in it you have no way of knowing how far from clip you are. I realize in this case if the current second-to-top LED on the GO encompasses a whole 18dB, that’s asking a lot. If you’re tempted to go into the meter zero on the GO, frequently back the level off and test how deep you’re into it. Obviously InMusic changing the GO meter zero to a higher value and the LED encompassing a smaller range (say, some amount 3 to 9dB… take your pick) like they do on Numark digital mixers with similar meters would be less tempting to go into the second-to-top. Then you gotta alter the scaling of the LEDs below. I don’t think anyone will complain about the lower LEDs’ markings below zero no longer being accurate.

“if you increase the channel gain past 1.30 o’clock (see settings in picture below and also the harmonic distortion of the 110 Hz signal in the FFT plot) there WILL be significant harmonic distortion even if the blue VU LED is not lit and there is no hard clipping and I suspect that this is what the Germans did. But WHY on earth would you do this???”

That’s strange, and not what the Germans did, but that the GO is doing that. Is there a defeatable compressor/limiter turned on in the GO? That should definitely be off when running tests. Did he have the tone controls’ isolator mode on? Tell him to switch it to EQ and run the tests again. Isolators are summed crossover-style filters and add a little group delay phase distortion. The X1800 has a nifty bypass for the iso (at least it did the last firmware I checked it on) when the tone controls for a channel are centered, but I don’t know that the GO has that. The X1800 has the top meter LEDs as -1dBFS. So if it’s also not the iso he’s seeing, either, the other explanations are something like inter-sample clipping during oversampling… or even the gain structure somewhere in the virtual signal path (it’s DSP stuff, after all) being even worse than anticipated… or there could be a design screw up in the GO analog output stages… or an issue even on his own ADC stage. Did he ensure he was not clipping his interface’s inputs? Some guy on YouTube did a measurements comparison of a Pioneer DJM and a Xone and was clearly clipping his interface inputs and claiming one of the pieces had a problem with its levels, and that was done for one of the major online DJ rags!

He also didn’t say anything about whether or not there’s ultrasonic garbage past the roll off on the GO. For that matter, he doesn’t appear to have measured the frequency response at all.

I’m not sure what “looks fine” means. A usual IMD test through an analog piece of gear is going to send the raw test signal to the gear and then analyze the output from said gear in comparison. Pioneer CDJs from the mk3-on seem to produce the exact same amount of IMD present in the original test signal at zero pitch when using the SPDIF. The Prime standalone players’ digital audio processing adds 100X the intermodulation distortion of the original signal in RMAA. The comparison to the original signal measurement is what matters: how much more IMD is there compared to original.

A couple single tones also don’t tell you how low the nonlinear distortion harmonics are. Hint, they’re nonlinear because their ‘multiple’ changes as the fundamental changes. They expand or squeeze as the sweep progresses. You have to do a complete sweep and look at the real time FFT. This can be recorded in a video. His single pic does demonstrate the possibility the GO’s overall harmonic distortion from audio processing is lower than the last time I tested the standalone players, though, but doesn’t fully demonstrate it.

If the GO’s IMD and nonlinear distortion harmonics are all lower than the standalone players, then it could possibly be the result of GO simply doing all the processing at 44.1, 48, or some near multiple on the unit instead of doing it at 24/96 or some huge multiple of 96hz that the standalone players seem to be and not having to bump it back down for the SPDIFs. Since the GO seems to only support up to 48, right, and has no SPDIF out, that would be one explanation if that’s the case. That would also mean that InMusic should be easily able to give us the ability to either change the rate that the standalone players’ are using or let the layer automatically change its rate to match the file, since the GO would be proof they’ve demonstrated they can run with less SRC mucking things up. So that would definitely be a very good sign for all Prime users… sort of light on the horizon.


I have buy to you a big box of commas and too a box of paragraphs image


Can we get this in a nutshell please for all us non-technical people :slight_smile:

Thanks Kaleo10.

In other words, it’s good enough for on the GO playing and never touted itself to be the “End all and Be All” as in the Flagship units by Denon.

Technicals aside, if you’re scrutinizing it that closely, it may not be the unit you want.

My experience: I just did a comparison with some songs using a Macbook pro (direct out and with AKAI AMX controller/soundcard) with Serato, same mixer and same speakers (DB Technology Opera 12 + SUB), same headphone (Sennheiser HD25): unless you are demanding audiophiles, the sound is the same, no audible difference! The only thing to avoid on Prime Go is the switch in MONO position.


thanks for your reply. sounds good.

My take. I just did 16 events in October with the prime Go. I mainly ran my gains in the 10-11o’clock positions, with the master at unity, and the channel faders all the way open. From the Prime Go it went to a Yamaha MG10XU and this is where I controlled the output volume. Next step in the chain was a Drive Rack PA2, to RCF Evox 8’s. The Prime itself never hit the first white, or barely entered the first white led. At lower overall volume during cocktails/dinner no sound quality issues. When later in the evening and the sound was pumping I would get a weird low mid distortion. The Prime Go still only tickling white. The MG10XU and Drive Rack hitting -3 dbu on their meters, and the speakers at 12 o’clock unity. I played the last 4 years on a SZ through the same sound chain running the Yamaha and the Drive Rack maxed at -3, and never had that before. Actually come to think of it, I did not notice any distortion until I upgraded to Prime 2.0 that could be my issue.