- DJ Gear
- PIANO & KEYS
Between its 7" multi-touch HD display and extensive dedicated controls, Denon's SC5000 Prime is one digital DJ deck that will never leave you wishing you had a dedicated controller instead. Just on the surface alone, you'll discover a full set of hands-on controls, including a full set of eight pads for cues, loops, slices, and rolls — something you rarely find on a media deck. The SC5000 Prime also unleashes the awesome power of Denon's Engine Prime software, which takes track organization to a whole new level. Top it off with uncompressed audio format support and a seriously cool HD display in the center of the textured jog wheel, and this is one media deck any professional DJ can get behind.
One of the hands-down coolest things about the SC5000 Prime is that Denon packed this deck so full of processing power that it features two completely independent performance layers. You can instantly jump between layers with the touch of a button, which makes it easy to prep one deck while the other is running. What's more, there are separate stereo outputs for either layer, effectively making the SC5000 Prime two decks in one. As you can probably imagine, this feature alone makes it a natural choice for anyone who wants a compact 4-deck setup, but it also makes the SC5000 perfect for compact 2-deck rigs. After all, unless you need to pull off some high-level stunts, you could comfortably connect each of the layer outputs to any standard DJ mixer and run the whole show from there.
The DJs at Sweetwater represent everything from old-school hip-hop remixing to black-tie entertainment to pro-level scratch/battle DJing and ultra-modern beat juggling. But one thing we can all agree on is that priority number one is "how good does this thing feel?" Simply put, Denon nailed it. A satisfyingly solid 8" capacitive jog wheel delivers that reassuring resistance without feeling the least bit sticky. You can even dial in the weight parameter and set the Stop Time value to fine-tune its behavior. Hit the Vinyl button when it's time to scratch, or activate Slip mode to keep crazy cue and break routines on track.
Historically, hot cueing, looping, and other popular DJ controller performance tools onboard standalone media decks have been somewhere between limited and downright awkward. Denon's SC5000 Prime blasts through this barrier by adopting a controller-style approach. A set of eight multicolor pads below the jog wheel provides easy access to all the cueing, looping, rolling, and slicing functions you need. Looping is extra cool, thanks to manual loop control and moveable loops. Dedicated Track Skip and Beat Jump buttons also keep you locked into the mix instead of menus. The 7" capacitive multi-touch screen is a whole other level of cool, so we'll get to that next.
It's funny how browsing isn't one of the first things most of us think about when we check out a new controller or deck, yet we sometimes spend a good chunk of the evening going deep to find that perfect next track to keep the crowd pumped. If you're thinking about it now, then you're going to be thrilled by the SC5000 Prime's 7" multi-touch screen. For starters, this gesture-based display gives you a direct connection to a whole lot of functions beyond browsing. You can manipulate waveforms, adjust settings, and access many other functions previously controlled only by knobs. And when it's time to hunt down that next track, you'll love how quickly you can cut through your file structure and sort, filter, and snap up the one you want, long before your loop gets stale or you run dangerously low on time.
As impressive as the main 7" display is, when we checked out Denon's SC5000 Prime, the first thing that stood out was the HD display at the center of the formidable-looking jog wheel. It may seem like a small detail at first, but the DJs here at Sweetwater quickly discovered how cool it is to be able to glance at your jog wheel and see which track you're spinning. It's far faster than looking at the display, and it's super handy if you're running an elaborate, multi-deck DJ rig. Of course, there's also a track position marker displayed there too, plus you can customize the color of the outer rim to match your style.
Let's circle back to browsing for a minute. Nothing makes finding the right track easier than putting it somewhere you can find it, and Denon's Engine Prime librarian software takes care of that particular bit of heavy lifting. With Denon's Engine Prime software, it's easy to snag music from your iTunes library or Serato collection, drop them into its advanced analysis engine and file structure, and have them almost entirely prepped and ready to go in a matter of seconds. And when you're deep into the mix and you need to find an ideal next track, being able to search by category and multiple criteria straight from your SC5000 Prime seriously cuts down on browsing time.
Of course, no matter how good it may be, any automatic analysis engine will make mistakes once in a while (especially if you spin music with a strong syncopated beat), so being able to adjust the beat grid is a must. Traditionally, that's something you could only do from desktop hardware, which is a bit of a pain if you have a massive library. The SC5000 Prime, however, lets you skip ahead and make adjustments in the box. In fact, it can analyze both the beat grid and the key of new music loaded straight into the hardware. That's a real lifesaver, especially when another host or DJ tosses you a flash drive loaded with tunes they want you to play.
Speaking of tunes, if you want to bring audiophile sound quality to the party, then feel free to load up your drives with uncompressed formats such as WAV, FLAC, and ALAC. Running through your SC5000 Prime's 24-bit/96kHz converters, you'll get the sound quality you're looking for. Live sound venues may soak up a lot of these details, but if you're creating mixes in the studio, then you're going to love the results when you connect your SC5000 Prime to your DAW via its USB output.
How much music is enough music? You never know, but with three USB inputs, it's easy to add more tracks to your set at any time. To keep your connectivity options open, Denon outfitted the SC5000 Prime with RCA analog and S/PDIF digital outputs for each layer, as well as a USB out for recording. Three USB slots let you hot swap multiple flash media drives as well as SD cards. And if you're heading to the main stage, then you'll appreciate the onboard LAN connection, which lets you pass digital audio and files between up to four users for amazing collaboration configurations.