Denon DJ SC5000 prime media player NAMM 2017 (6)

#ChangeYourRider is a seriously ballsy hashtag to put out there when teasing product, especially when it’s clear from said teaser video that you’re putting out a next level desktop player aimed squarely at replacing Pioneer CDJs in the world’s booths. And due to an unsurpassed number of leaks, it’ll come as no surprise that this unit is called the SC5000 Prime, and it’s an absolute corker.

Denon DJ has prepared some words, after which I’ll write a lot more.


Unit shakes up competition with onboard beatgrid and musical key analysis, HD multi-touch display for gestures and swiping and exclusive Engine Prime music organization  software.

Cumberland RI, USA (January 9, 2017)—Denon DJ (, a leading manufacturer of premium DJ products and solutions, today announced the introduction of its new SC5000 Prime DJ media player with a high definition, multi- touch display that enables gestures and swiping for the ultimate DJ expression and immediacy of interaction. The SC5000 analyzes music files on the fly, it has dual-layer decks with dedicated outputs, a multi-touch screen with easy and fast navigation, and an 8” rugged jogwheel with central display that shows current playing track or custom artwork.

This is the first media player to fully analyze both beatgrid and musical key onboard the  unit,  delivering  an  unprecedented  level  of  immediately-actionable  information to the DJ. Plus, the SC5000 is the first media player in the world to use the all-new Engine™ Prime software. Engine Prime is an innovative music librarian and analysis system that lets the DJ organize, categorize and import music, either directly from iTunes® and Serato® DJ or via drag ‘n drop from existing music folders. Using the SC5000’s on-screen alpha-numeric search facility, DJs can quickly find, load and play what they want on the fly, without distraction or hesitation. A LAN output makes it simple to link up to four players at once, offering music file, digital networking and communication capability for the most high-end of  events.

The SC5000 Prime media player also has hard features and engineering innovations that give it unmatched capability and performance. The unit’s highly responsive, 7- inch capacitive touch and multi-gesture display enables quick access to searching, filtering and sorting music, as well providing real-time song information and ultra- smooth moving waveforms. Very significantly, it also has a secondary ‘performance layer’ with its own separate output feed to the mixer. Never seen before on such a Pro performance DJ media player, the SC5000 has eight multifunction trigger pads for cues, loops, slices and rolls. Illuminating and personalizing the DJ’s performance, the lighting around the platter is customizable to various RGB colors,   and  the  wheel is topped  in aluminum  for a  cool, stylish appearance.

The audio outputs themselves are 24-°©bit/96kHz for the very highest sound quality. The SC5000 Prime plays all uncompressed audio formats, including FLAC, ALAC and WAV plus all popular compressed music file  formats.

Key Features

  • 7-inch HD display with multi-touch  gestures
  • 24-bit/96kHz digital audio outputs
  • Dual-layer playback with individual audio outputs
  • Plays uncompressed audio formats (FLAC, ALAC, WAV)
  • 8 multifunction trigger pads for Cues, Loops, Slices and Rolls
  • 8-inch rugged metal jog wheel with HD central display
  • Customizable RGB color around the jog   wheel
  • (3) USB and (1) SD input for music playback
  • LAN output to link to up to four  players

“The SC5000 Prime media player combines brand-new software and hardware innovations and features in a way that is absolutely unmatched by any other media player on the market,” said Ross Goodwin, Product Manager for Denon DJ. He   added, “Professional DJs will find the SC5000 Prime perfectly anticipates their needs and becomes a seamless, indispensible partner, delivering the best performance imaginable.”

Retail pricing for the SC5000 Prime is £1,499.99 Availability is Q1 2017.

For more info, visit

Watch this video too

It will answer a lot of your questions:

We had them in The Worxlab

Some of you may recall my attempt to go to inMusic UK HQ that was curtailed by crippling back pain. Well those very nice people decided that it was worth the trip ooop north to visit the new Worxlab with the new Denon DJ goodies. Luckily they let me take pictures to supplement the one that got leaked:

Forgive me Denon DJ, but my recollection of every detail from a many weeks ago while doped up on pain killers isn’t as good as it should be. But I’ll do my best to relay the important details. Nutshelling, it’s a media player i.e. you can use SD or USB and play music directly, and have the SC5000 analyse the music on the fly to generate BPM, key, and waveforms. But it’s a much better experience if you push everything through Engine first.

A very important thing to make you aware of that’s not in the PR, is that the SC5000 Prime will in time be compatible with both Serato DJ and Traktor. It’s clear that lesson have been learned from Pioneer DJ’s walkabout in the exclusive rekordbox wilderness. If you want succeed in the booth in the digital age, you MUST support the major software players. I can’t see this ever supporting rekordbox, but no doubt Rekord Buddy will be your friend here. And I imagine that Virtual DJ support is just around the corner, because that’s how they roll.

A few key things to point out:

  • The centre display is for album art, but can also be customised with your own graphics. And it’s static too, but there’s an outer ring indicator.
  • It’s a dual layer deck, so instead of having to buy four, you can happily use two. And each has its own output.
  • The build quality is excellent. I performed my shake test and not a single rattle was heard.
  • The pads feel great. I hammered triplets out them without an issue, and found they they didn’t interfere with the jog wheel.
  • The static metal jog wheel feels amazing. I did my best to make it cue slip and failed. And for scratching, it’s as good in my hands as any controller jog wheel too.
  • The screen is vibrant, smooth and responsive to the touch, or multitouch as it turned out. And the way the information is displayed is beautiful.
  • The media slots are at the very front of the unit, neatly recessed to keep them safe.
  • It has a USB hub, which really should be a standard feature on everything these days. EVERYTHING.
  • There’s an LAN port for hookup with the X1800 mixer (next story), or I assume via a hub too.

If I have a first impression it’s one of taking controller goodness and putting it in a media player. I’ve always found CDJs to be lacking features in a controller world, and Denon DJ just put them right inside a media player. And this makes it useable with Serato and Traktor too.

It was interesting to read comments in the previous SC5000 stories along the lines of “no motorised platter — fail”, a sentiment that I strongly disagree with. The vast majority of users don’t want motorised platters, and are quite happy with 7-8″ static jog wheels. And sales of other motorised platter media players have proved to be less than stellar. As much as I love the NS7 controller range, I’m becoming of the opinion that if you want spinning wheels, get turntables and a DVS. That said, I would love to see what Denon DJ would do with a 9″ motorised SC5900 prime. 😉

I spent an hour with the Denon DJ guys, and bar a couple of minor suggestions for improvements, I was deeply impressed. It’s a balls out unit that should turn many heads. Granted it lacks a CD slot, but it’s designed for this decade. And if CDs are your thing, then the SC5000 Prime is complete overkill for you anyway.

I know there’s a lot of detail I’ve forgotten, but all I know is that after playing for a while, I had a cheshire cat grin from ear to ear, and wanted a pair. And I can’t say I’ve ever felt that way about CDJs.

Denon DJ SC5000 prime media player NAMM 2017 (4)

Bringing technology to a culture fight

What I’m about to write will come as no surprise to Denon DJ as I said the same thing to them when they came to The Worxlab. The problem is not price — Denon DJ has delivered cheaper and arguably better units than CDJs for years. And it’s not the technology either, as those units have outperformed CDJs in key areas too. So the issue is something else, and it’s deeper than either of those two key issues. It’s all about the culture of DJing, and the utter domination of the world’s DJ booths of the Pioneer DJ brand.

Like Technics before them, CDJs became the booth standard. It was a mixture of being such a completely revolutionary unit combined with a marketing budget that allowed Pioneer to lavish them upon DJ VIPs and booths around the world. Before anyone could delivery a viable alternative, the CDJ was cemented into the hearts and minds of DJs, and has been ever since. Denon DJ in particular has brought out a string of competitive units showcasing genuine next level thinking, but none have become fixtures in booths.

So it’s quite clear — it doesn’t matter how good the SC5000 Primes are, it’s going to take a different approach to fulfil the #ChangeYourRider hashtag. And that approach is all about marketing. And by marketing I don’t just mean a heap of glossy promotional videos and a wealth of tutorials — it’s going to be about giving away a substantial number (think hundreds) of units to key people — to the taste makers and influencers in the clubs, rental, and retail chain.

Let me underline this — being a better price with better technology isn’t enough. Denon DJ doesn’t have the time in this market to have a slow burner — they’re aiming for the top spot, and that’s going to take a shock and awe approach. The scene needs to see the SC5000 everywhere it goes and access to try them out — full casino mode where there are no other distractions and they only look at the SC5000.

Denon DJ SC5000 prime media player NAMM 2017 (8)

Can they do it?

From a technology perspective, absolutely. From my time with the SC5000s, I’d take a pair over any CDJ or XDJ. And price wise, in the UK aka the land of spiralling prices, they’re pitched at £1499 (US retail price is $1899), about 75% of the top end CDJ and about 25% more than the XDJ-1000 from a UK point of view. So in the areas of price and tech, the SC5000s are a winner for me.

It’s a matter of perspective — if you just want to play tracks back to back with little in the way of tricks, then there’s a world of devices out there that will do it. But if you want GAS satiating next generation players crammed full of stuff, that plays in standalone as well as with Serato DJ and Traktor across 2 layers per player, then the SC5000 Prime is the most capable out there right now. Time, and frankly a lot of marketing money, will decide if that’s enough.

I’ll finish with my overall feeling of my time with the SC5000 Prime — having played with every shape and size of nextleveleness that has hit the DJ scene in the last decade and a half, it’s hard to impress me anymore. But impressed I am, deeply impressed indeed.


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