Well now — here’s an interesting development. After announcing a more open architecture with the Rane TWELVE MKII, another key inMusic brand has taken the same approach but like with knobs on. In what is a bold and ballsy move, Denon DJ has announced that the Prime range (except the Prime Go) is now plug and play with VirtualDJ.
To be clear — I don’t mean that VirtualDJ has done its usual instant mapping thing whether you like it or not. No — this is an official partnership with deep integration.
There’s no PR as such — just a succinct motive-free explainer paragraph:
Denon DJ is proud to announce official controller integration with Virtual DJ’s desktop software. Featuring full-color moving waveforms, familiar touch screen gestures, OLED FX feedback, and a multi-view interface. The unique Virtual DJ desktop experience is now controllable with Engine OS 1.5.1 on selected Denon DJ products.
Compatible products: SC6000 | SC6000M | X1850 | X1800 | SC5000 | SC5000M | PRIME 2 | PRIME 4
I’m not in the Worxlab until tomorrow so I can’t give this a whirl. But from the video, it really does seem to work. Hats off to Denon DJ and VirtualDJ for making this happen.
As is my way, I look deeper than the surface news to read between the lines and find out what’s really going on.
Obviously Atomix don’t need anyone’s help to make VirtualDJ work with anything. It’s almost an in-joke that VirtualDJ will be mapped to whatever new toy comes within hours. They’re going to do it anyway, so why not do it officially and properly?
Despite some (well many) DJs looking down their noses at VirtualDJ, it has a HUGE and loyal userbase that’s ripe for tapping. So it makes perfect sense for Denon DJ to open up their hardware platform and fish in that deep pool for new customers. It’s also an endorsement of VirtualDJ from Denon DJ that they feel that it’s a product good enough for their premium platform.
What it also demonstrates is that other software can be plumbed into Engine OS and offer a compelling software/hardware platform without having to map a thing. Obviously you’ll still need to be running VirtualDJ on a laptop, but at least your attention will be on the DJ gear more than the laptop.
Re the Prime Go — I stated in my unfeasibly late first look piece that I would be surprised if it was ever mapped for laptop software. And given its obvious omission from this announcement, it seems that Denon DJ wishes to keep the Prime Go as standalone only. I feel that’s the best move, as it underlines it as a completely independent of anything device. If you’re going to plant a flag, plant it deep.
But beyond this, it starts to get interesting on an industry level. It’s impressive work that so much hardware gets official support on one go, rather than the drip-feed and now lagging behind approach by Serato.
That said I cannot comment on how good the implementation is. For me, a few minutes on the SC5000M will tell me how well this works. I’ll try tomorrow.
Now… another question for me is how open Denon DJ will make this. Could Traktor for example suddenly get an entire hardware platform at their disposal without having to develop it? And djay too. Could, in theory at least, Denon DJ become a fully-featured development platform of choice? Wouldn’t it be the ultimate irony to see rekordbox running natively on Prime hardware?
Anyway, Denon Prime users can now use VirtualDJ, and vice versa. Welcome to the brave new open world.