REVIEW: Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media player

LINK: SC5000 Prime  |  PRICE at launch : $1899/€1799/£1499  |  MANUAL: PDF


A lot of people look back at the Denon DJ of old very fondly. The company carved out a strong portfolio of high quality and innovative club mixers and CD decks, but never quite managed to upend the near-monopoly that Pioneer achieved. When news surfaced in early 2014 that inMusic (parent company of brands such as Akai and Numark… and now Rane DJ) had bought the Denon DJ brand, along with Marantz and Denon Professional, some were up in arms. Others were saddened at the end of their favourite product. Others still were waiting patiently to see what inMusic might do.

Here we are, three years later in mid 2017, and a pair of the brand new Denon DJ SC5000 Prime CD-deck-without-a-CD-slot has dropped into my lap for review. They’ve been heavily marketed as a replacement for the CDJ-2000NXS2, with the literal #changeyourrider hashtag. This has been bolstered by the likes of Laidback Luke, Paul Oakenfold, and Tiesto, very publicly changing to the Prime series from Pioneer.


At DJWORX, we review gear and write a lot of opinion. We don’t do walkthroughs, or write detailed explanations about how things work. That’s the job of the manufacturers, to deliver manuals and tutorials. So be sure to visit the Denon DJ site for learn all about the SC5000 Prime, watch the video, and read the manual too. Once you’ve done that, you can read our opinions about how we feel about what it does.

SC5000 Prime In a nutshell

A bleeding-edge media player from reborn Denon DJ, that’s dumped the CD drive for a bright 7” multi-touch display, on-board track analysis, two layers of audio, and a set of performance pads.

Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (14)

In the box

You get pretty much everything included that you’d need to get started. As well as the player itself, there’s two sets of stereo RCA cables, an ethernet cable to link your players (and X1800 mixer, should you have one), an IEC power cable, an extender cable for the front USB port, the manual (with certificate of quality), and a little cloth to wipe the screen.

It’s a pretty comprehensive list of stuff, and the microfibre cloth is a nice touch to help you keep that huge screen in good shape. All the included cables seem to be decent quality, and maybe even heavy-duty. The big issue isn’t so much what Denon DJ have included in the package, nor the quality, but rather the fact that every cable is about half a metre too short. It means you end up having to use your own cables anyway.

Build quality

Seeing how these players are the flagship of flagships, you’d hope and expect them to be solid as a rock, and they are. There’s nothing on the unit that feels remotely flimsy, apart from one bit: the large silver endless encoders (apparently fixed in the production run— Ed). All the other buttons, knobs, fader, connectors, and plugs are rock solid.

The chassis is built from solid plastic base, with a brushed metal faceplate, and hard plastic feet. The style of the player is certainly industrial and practical, bar the jog wheel, of which I’m not a fan of the shape (more on that later). The tilt in the faceplate makes it a single panel, which keeps things super simple, rather than having extra joints in the design of the unit.

There are two large silver button pots and two smaller knobs. Of these, the smaller ones feel solid, but the silver ones definitely feel a bit more flimsy. I’m not going to claim these are a weak spot, but there’s a notable difference, which may just be down to the larger size having more give. The pitch fader is your standard 100mm variety, with a nice amount of resistance. There’s no middle click, but a zero LED indicator shows you when you’re in the right spot.

All the buttons on the unit feel satisfying, made of hard plastic and with a nice click to them. The PLAY and CUE buttons are both metal inset in a plastic frame. They’re all nicely backlit as well. The pads and pad selection buttons are soft and rubberised, as you’d expect from a performance section. While not velocity sensitive (now, wouldn’t that bring something to the art of cue juggling…), they’re responsive and accessible.

All in all, there’s some clever industrial design, and the simplicity of the unit belies its power. It actually feels a lot lighter than you’d expect, mostly due to the lack of CD drive, but you’d definitely feel confident with the unit getting abused, day in and day out in a club booth.Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (13)


Completely dominated by the huge screen, the SC5000s will be comfortable to pick up and use to anyone that’s had time on CDJs (or on controllers, to be honest). Size-wise, the players are pretty much on par with the CDJ-2000NXS2, being only slightly deeper (and thus taller to accommodate the larger screen). While a lot of the surface controls mirror what’s on other media players, the screen has allowed Denon DJ to move some of the buttons off the deck itself to the screen, giving extra space for the strip of eight cue pads.

Even with the strip below the jogs taken up by the pad section, the whole faceplate feels airy and spacious. In fact, that’s probably the most crowded part of the layout, and it still has plenty of room. I like the fact that all the knobs have space around them, so there’s no accidental pressing of buttons while looping or navigating.

There’s a shift button to allow for doubling up of some of the controls’ functions. it’s nothing too offensive, so there’s minimal chance that you’ll miss-hit or change a setting. One nice addition is that you need to hold shift when you hit the sync button to disable it once it’s active. This just adds a little bit of security if you’re using the feature.

Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (7)

Unlike the Current Leading Brand™, Denon DJ decided to add pitch bend buttons along with the pitch slider. This is a feature that seems to have died off in recent years (most probably due to the fact that HID and high definition controls are near ubiquitous), but is actually pretty great for small adjustments. The buttons also double as tempo range toggle, meaning you can increase or decrease the percentage, rather than have to cycle through to options.

The SC5000 Prime has all the trimmings you’d expect from flagship hardware. There’s a slip mode button for hassle free scratching, a Vinyl toggle button (which, let’s be honest, 99% of us will leave on) for those of us that want to switch to the old-school track scrubbing mode, and a CENSOR/REVERSE button for those naughty words in PG environments.

Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (4)

The rear of the unit houses the audio outputs. That’s two stereo pairs, both as analogue RCA and digital coax. This provides a stereo output for each layer, meaning two players can provide four channels of audio into a mixer, something that will be very attractive to clubs and bars. Along with the audio, there’s a pair of USB3.0 ports, a USB type-B input, the ethernet Engine Connect port, the IEC power cable, the remote start port, the usual Kensington lock, and the power button. The whole back panel is recessed in due to the way the screen section tilts up over the back, so there’s a handy indicator along the top edge of above the screen that shows where the power switch is, meaning you don’t have to fumble about.

On the front of the unit, you’ll find your main inputs for media, including a USB2.1 port and SD card slot. These are recessed in to protect your loaded media, and there’s an LED light strip across the top to see what you’re doing. Because the ports are so far back, it can be difficult to get your media out. This isn’t so bad for the SD card, as it uses the standard push-to-eject system, but for USB sticks (particularly smaller dongle-style ones) it can be a bit of a pain. That’s where the USB extender cable comes in…

The WHEEL ADJUST and STOP TIME knobs are super handy for quickly changing the feel of the jog wheels and break time of the music (for example, if you want to mix out of a track with a slowdown). The only thing that would improve this would be to have it as a setting you can save to your storage device, perhaps with the knobs as endless encoders instead of the current knobs, so that you’re good to mix as soon as you’re plugged in.


One of the biggest features Denon DJ are pushing with the Prime setup is the LAYER button, which provides the ability to switch between two track layers on one device. Anyone with experience on four deck all-in-one controllers will be familiar with the way this works, but (as far as I can work out) this is a first on the hardware side since Denon DJ’s previous HS5500 way back in 2008. This layer feature seems to be made possible by the extra horsepower packed into what is essentially a decently specced mobile device with a jog wheel.

Denon designed the SC5000 Prime to give every bit of help with using layers. From changing the jog wheel and LAYER button RGB colour for each, to showing the track progress on the full waveforms next to each other, there’s enough tools to help minimise the problems caused by layer. Perhaps the only thing some people might miss is some sort of parallel waveform. There’s also MIDI takeover on the pitch fader for when you’re beatmatching, meaning you can switch between decks seamlessly without fear of your tempo suddenly jumping.

But even with all these tools, it’s still not infallible. It will always be a less-than-ideal solution to the problem of more channels of audio. The fact that you can get four channels of music out of a pair of SC5000s, though, will certainly make an ever more compelling argument for people to switch from Pioneer DJ.Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (2)


It’s very hard to miss the full colour, high definition, seven inch, 10-point touch screen. It’s basically like staring at a tablet running something like Traktor DJ. It all pretty much runs silky smooth, as well. The display refreshes as 55 frames-per-second, though I did notice that drop once or twice when things got particularly busy. I do need to stress that this was very much a rarity. On the whole, the screen is lag-free, responsive to touch commands, and bright and colourful.

User interface

The SC5000 Prime touch screen interface’s main paradigm for navigating is a set of five tabs that run down the left side: Collection, Playlists, Prepare, Files, and Search.

  • The Collection tab displays the music crates you’ve exported from Engine Prime. This will probably be your main means of navigating your music.
  • Playlists is where the lists you prepared previously in Engine Prime will show. This tab is handy if you like to get your set list sorted before a performance. You can also access your play history from here. You can’t sort playlists on the player, so you’ll really need to do some prep beforehand!
  • You can Prepare a tracklist as you browse your tracks, which you can view using the third tab.
  • You can browse the folders and files on your storage device using the Files tab. This only detects and displays your compatible music files, though. Presumably for device security.
  • Search is lets you… search and filter.

It’s all well and good having a shiny new bit of kit with a nice big capacitive touch screen, but if the user interface is clunky and unintuitive, you’ll be fighting against your own equipment. We’re all so used to the way smart devices work, that we take many of the gestures for granted (remember when Android couldn’t even use pinch-to-zoom?).

Thankfully, the Denon deck uses the screen to make the most of the gestures and touch interface. You can scroll through your music with a drag of vertical drag of the finger, scrub the track waveform with a horizontal swipe, or pinch to zoom in and out of the scrolling waveform, as well as the usual buttons to press. A nice little use of the touch screen is that while browsing your playlists, search list or crates, you can swipe left to load the track in the active deck, or right to add it to your Prepare list. The prep list is a really nice feature, as it lets you pretty much sketch out what to play while you’re browsing. If you’re looking for a specific track, but come across one to use later, just swipe, then access the list at another point!

The music in your whole collection and crates can be sorted by album, artist, track, key, or BPM. While in your collection tab, you’ll see five icons at the top of the screen, keep tapping the desired one to switch between descending and ascending order. A nice touch is that the key sort will adapt to your current master track, showing the most compatible tracks at the top (or bottom, if reversed order) of the list.

Speaking of track keys, when you’re playing tracks with keylock disabled, the display changes what key you’re in as you change tempo. I think that might be a first for DJ hardware… I know that Serato DJ does it, and it’s a super cool little feature that is probably only possible because Denon DJ went balls out with some decent processing power.

Searching is also really intuitive, with a full multi-touch QWERTY keyboard as well as filters for genre, artist, album, BPM, and key. Filters can be drilled down, and then searched within to further narrow results. There are some limitations with the search, including the fact you can only search for a single string (ie, search for ‘David Guetta’ and it won’t find results for ‘David’ or ‘Guetta’ individually. There also don’t seem to be any standard search modifiers you can use.

Another missing feature that I feel is a pretty huge gap, is the ability to search the ID3 comments field (along with many other fields). The players can definitely read the comments, because you can view them in the file details when you long press a track. I know I’m not in the minority of people who rely heavily on using comments for universally keeping track of what is in my music. Stuff like the comments field are ubiquitous (hell, Traktor even has a Comments2 field!). It’d be nice to be able to dynamically choose what metadata to search in a list to choose from, similar to the Engine Prime software’s search field.

You can access and change your user preferences by holding down the VIEW button to the left of the screen. Everything from disabling the pads, to when you’ll get a warning of the end of a track, to the key notation, can be tweaked, and saved to your storage device. You can even play with the RGB colours of the LAYER button and jog wheel for that layer. It’s important to note that most of these preferences are also able to be changed and saved to your storage media within Engine Prime.

And, if you happen to want to turn your SC5000 Prime into a very expensive hifi MP3 player, you can activate the CONTINUE button so that the music will keep playing through your list.

Track analysis

A big deal has been made by Denon DJ about how the SC5000 Prime can analyse your tracks on-the-fly rather than relying on preparing your music in the desktop software. And it IS a big deal. It’s super handy, especially if you have a friend jumping on for a bit of back-to-back mixing.

When you load a track into a deck, it takes up to around 40 seconds for it to be fully analysed. During that time, all the features that rely on your beatgrid will be disabled. This does include the sync function, meaning you’ll have to re-enable it manually before you mix in the track. Hopefully a firmware update will fix this so the sync state is remembered for the deck after the track is done analysing.

You can also adjust the beatgrid after the fact, should it be incorrect, by holding down the track SELECT/LOAD knob until the light surround blinks. You can then use the SELECT/LOAD knob to jump the grid by a whole beat, or use the jog wheel to do more granular changes.Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (6)

SC5000 Prime Jog Wheels

Seeing how the jog wheel is here to stay as a DJ tool, it’s obviously important that Denon DJ gets the feel and build right on their new player. The SC5000 Prime jog wheel is 8”/203mm, made from both metal and plastic, with a large full colour screen in the centre. It’s got a hard grey plastic outer edge, used for nudging your music, and the inner platter is brushed aluminium, with capacitive touch for stopping and manipulating the music. This makes it much more sensitive and responsive to user interaction, and a nice upgrade from mechanical jogs.

The 2.2” centre colour screen not only displays your currently playing album art, it also has the playhead position. When the features are active, you’ll also see a secondary label for slip mode position, and the loop size when active. There’s a nice little easter egg where you’re able to display a custom image instead of cover art when it’s dropped on your storage device, you just need a 600×600 pixel square .PNG file, dropped into the root of the ‘Engine’ folder on your storage medium.

I almost feel like more could be done with the jog wheel screen. Not only would it be nice to add a custom logo via the Engine Prime preferences (for error checking and maybe even manage a library of them), but why not add more information, such as track progress (a bit like Serato/djay/etc. Do with their on-screen jogs), or tempo/key info. Yes it might be doubling up with what’s on the main screen, but people will always be glancing at the jog wheels.

There’s a wheel adjust knob to the top right of the platter, which makes it really easy and intuitive to quickly change the sensitivity if you want to switch between a scratch, spinback, or nudging the track. The jogs are quiet and smooth, and though they get a bit noisier on harder wheel adjustments, it’s still quieter than the competition (in my experience).

Personally, I’m not so much a fan of the edge design, but it’s really more that I prefer smaller grooves. I’ve always had a soft spot for the Stanton C.324 jog wheel edge design, ever since I owned a pair, due to its simplicity and practicality. That said, the jog wheel edge on these isn’t particularly hindered by the design, and if you really do happen to hate it, there’s always the PITCH BEND buttons!

One detail that always hangs over implementation of jog wheels: scratching… I’ll have to leave any commentary on scratching to Mark, as it’s definitely his area of expertise rather than mine.

REVIEW: Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media player

EDITOR’S NOTE: Did someone mention my name? I find the SC5000 Prime jog to be a mixed bag. For mixing, I have no problems whatsoever — it feels lovely in every way. But when my techniques become more hands-on, the disadvantages of jogs over platter come to the fore. 

The jog is heavy, and even on its loosest running still feels heavier than vinyl. So while it’s easier to scratch on its loosest setting, it makes accurate backspins harder because of the momentum of the additional weight. But being a digital jog means that you do get additional benefits in the shape of ultra sensitive finger drumming techniques — think pin sharp on/off patting.

Scratching in general is achievable to a high level, but don’t expect DMC level performance. I’m no DJ Craze, but I can do fast accurate chirps on vinyl (including the VL12 Prime literally sat next to it), DVS, and other motorised players, but I struggle on the SC5000 Prime at faster hand speeds. And this is using my hands and ears only, with my eyes closed, not making reference to the ever so slightly delayed waveforms.  

I don’t want this to be seen as a slight against the SC5000 Prime. It’s pretty much the same on all static jog wheels, because they’re not vinyl, and expecting them to perform like vinyl is folly. The only exception in recent times has been the Roland DJ-808, which is amazing. What I’m saying is this — if you want turntable level performance, use turntables. Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (10)

Cue pads and controls

With the RGB performance pads dominating the bottom edge of the player, they’re easily accessible, and coupled with the extra functionality, ridiculously useful for more than just cue juggling. Just above the eight soft rubberised pads, you’ll find the global SHIFT button, HOT CUE, LOOP, ROLL, SLICER buttons, and left/right pad function parameter buttons.

The most basic functionality for the pads is the HOT CUE mode, which just simply lets you set cue points throughout your playing track, which you can launch during your performance. Each hot cue button is colour coded to the cue point marker on the waveforms for easy identification. While the track is playing, the pads jump the track to the elected point, quantised with the tempo.

The next button along is the LOOP function. This basically adds eight loop cues as a separate tab from your hot cues, so you don’t use them up. Both the hot cue and loop points can also be set up within Engine Prime and exported, ready for your set. There’s also a secondary mode, which you can access by pressing the LOOP button a second time, which lets you set a loop with a different length depending on the pad you press.

The ROLL mode sets up the pads as a looped beat repeater for the current grid point, with timings going from 1/8 beat to two beat sizes. While a beat loop is active, slip mode is automatically turned on, and the track will jump to the point it should be at, when you stop pressing the pad.

Finally, the SLICER mode basically chops an eight-beat segment of the track into eight clips that can be played with the performance pads. One thing that would be nice is to be able to activate the slicer while a loop is already set. As it stands, even if you have a loop active when you start the slicer, it’ll continue out of the loop and keep playing. You have to press the SLICER button twice to activate the looped slicer mode.

It’s quite clear that Denon have taken a long had look at the best of what DJ software has to offer with cue points and cue pads, and created a very flexible system built into the hardware that will give the right performer the tools to shine. Separating the loop cues from the hot cues is a really good feature, and something that makes the most of the hardware without feeling like a fudge. Even at its most basic, the addition of the eight cue pads, without the need for extra hardware, provides yet another feature to make this the bleeding edge flagship of the industry. The fact they’ve chucked in the roll and slicer, and made them so accessible, just sweetens the deal.Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (11)

Audio and media

The more I use the SC5000 Prime, the more it feels like Denon DJ have used the Prime series as an opportunity to shed some of the outdated standards with DJ media players. One of the big (and logical) changes is riddance of the CD drive. I have no doubt there’ll be a hardcore group of DJs still clinging to the use of CDs, but the reality is that it’s pretty much dead weight in a modern media player deck.

The USB slots take a wide variety of drives, from thumb drives to portable hard disks. I’ve been using a 32GB Lexar JumpDrive S45, which has been fairly zippy to load and read from. The only issue I’ve found is that it can be quite difficult to plug in and remove from the front port, as it’s so recessed. This is more an issue with using a stubby USB drive, though. For a laugh, we tested out a portable CD drive to see if it would read an audio CD or data disc, but this wasn’t the case. The drive didn’t even power up.

The unit also has an SD card slot that accepts both standard SD cards, and newer SDHC cards (4GB+ SD cards). To be honest, I haven’t really noticed any performance difference between USB and SD card. I’d imagine they would be fairly even, though SD cards are probably safer as they insert into the shell of the player, rather than poke out of the port.

Audio quality nerds will be happy with the fact that there’s support for FLAC, as well as Apple’s ALAC music files. Another rarity is the fact you can play the open source Ogg Vorbis file format, along with the usual AAC/M4A, AIF/AIFF, MP3, MP4, and WAV. During the weeks I’ve used the players, I’ve had no issues with my [predominantly MP3] collection being loaded and read.

The SC5000 Prime lets you plug in multiple music sources, which can be switched to by pressing the SOURCE button to the left of the screen, and tapping the desired media source. Switching from an SD card to a USB stick and back is pretty much instant (I think the player must cache the playlists to help with this). You can also run multiple storage devices across multiple players, and access them all via LINK. In practice, this makes playing back to back with another DJ much easier, but you’ll have to be a little bit more patient with the loading times, as it’s a lot of data to sync.

And, what about if your media accidentally gets yanked out while you’re playing? Well, thanks to the extra horsepower under the hood, your whole currently active track will continue playing to the end. There’s even an Uninterruptible Power Supply style battery backup, should you happen to pull the power cable out: You’ll get an angry icon on the screen, and have a few seconds to fix the problem, then the unit will safely save your settings and power down, with no data loss.Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (3)

Engine Connect

Getting a set of SC5000s talking to each other is a breeze. The Engine Connect feature is completely plug-n-play, using an RJ45 ethernet cable in the LINK port. This lets the players sync up beats/tempo, share tracks, and apply user settings automatically.

Throughout my time using the Prime setup, I pretty much exclusively used tempo sync while mixing. As long as your tracks are properly analysed, sync is extremely tight. Even while changing tempo in drastic steps (from 126BPM to 108 BPM, for example), the music never wavered out of tempo.

One concerning thing I experienced during testing was the reliability of the Engine Connect system day-to-day… several times throughout half a dozen extended DJ mixes, the link ended up with some sort of dropout of the connection. Each time, one of the players was unable to read the media present on the other player, and would drop sync (though remain in tempo), meaning a reboot of the player was needed to clear the issue.

To make matters worse, the only warning you’d get is a misleading error complaining about a corrupt filesystem (“Database if [storage device] is corrupt and may not work properly”). Understandably, this caused a minor panic that the whole collection was busted, and added to some anxiousness about using the equipment in a live setting. I never did manage to work out exactly what was causing it, but I wonder now, if the real issue is the ethernet cable working itself loose just long enough to confuse the system. If that’s the case, having ridiculously short link cable certainly wouldn’t help things. At the very least, I’d suggest tweaking the error message to better reflect what’s happening.

UPDATE: According to the patch notes, there’s a fix for some corruption warnings in the latest firmware release, as of 28 September 2017. This may or may not have sorted the problem.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I got curious about the link abilities away from the X1800 Prime mixer’s hub. It’s easy to share a pair of SC5000 Prime via ethernet cables and use the dual layers to simulate four deck play. But if you wish to use four real units, you can apparently use an ethernet hub to share data between them, and then hook them up via RCAs to a non-Prime mixer.

USING SC5000 Prime WITH OTHER SOFTWAREREVIEW: Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media player


Via firmware update v1.0.3, Serato DJ functionality is here. You need a Serato DJ primary unit for it to work (in our case the X1800 Prime mixer). Basically you switch the SC5000 Prime to controller mode (it’s HID), and you can run four decks from one unit in internal mode, or connect as many as four.

What you get is a slice of Serato DJ on your SC5000 screen, as well as track artwork on the centre display. It’s a very tight integration, with cue button colours matching those in Serato DJ. The only deficiency is that you only get one full single coloured waveform. It does show the cue points, but not loops. And there’s no zoomed scrolling waves going on here. And the touch screen is button presses only rather than the full multitouch gestures of the SC5000 native mode. So no finger scrolling of your tracks.

If you absolutely must have Serato DJ and all it has to offer, then this is for you. But for most people, I’m not convinced that having to using a laptop offers anything over the standalone features of the SC5000 Prime.

EDITOR’S NOTE — rekordbox

the same firmware update has delivered a key feature to the SC5000 Prime — the ability to read and play from a rekordbox USB drive. Essentially, the unit reads the database and converts it to an all new Engine folder on the drive, leaving the original untouched. 

You’ve got to plug it in and let it convert the library fully. It has to make new waveforms, but depending on your media, it should be pretty quick to do the conversion. I stress that by pretty quick, I mean minutes rather than hours. It’s not a walk up, convert, and play on the fly — you should allow a reasonable amount of time for the conversion. Using the fastest media you can will help.

To be honest, I haven’t spent a huge amount of time doing this. I’ve had issues — any playlist structure is flattened, and the conversion can hang if an Engine folder already exists on the USB drive. I’d say it’s a good first attempt, but needs a little work to make it a complete solution. Future success of this workflow will depend on how happy Pioneer DJ is with allowing this to carry on. 

EDITOR’S NOTE — Traktor Pro

This was rumoured at launch, and continues to be whispered on the grapevine. But at the time of writing, we have no confirmation of compatibility. Just keep your fingers crossed.Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (12)

SC5000 Prime – The bottom line

Honestly? Having had a good play with a pair of these, I’d say “give me four of these, and iron out the bugs and search deficiencies, and I’d be genuinely excited to have a mix”. I’m seriously impressed with these media players, and that’s coming from a hardcore laptop DJ. There really isn’t anything on the market that comes remotely close to the SC5000 Prime. Denon DJ have essentially created a convincing argument that hardware can do as much as the leading DJ software.

My friend Greg is utterly besotted with the SC5000 Prime. When I took them round for a get together, he was standing there zooming the waveform in and out, like it was witchcraft… Since then, he’s regularly asked when we can sort out another sesh, which is slightly mired by the fact I now have a newborn daughter. Even with my current circumstance, I genuinely do look forward to both being able to jump back on for another mix, and seeing what Denon can do with new software/firmware features down the line.

Taking just one of the individual standout features added to an existing media player, you’d still have a great flagship deck. The touchscreen, performance pads, layers, on-board track analysis, RGB customisation: had Pioneer DJ released a new CDJ with any one of those, it’d been respected as a great update to the line. But they didn’t. Denon DJ released all of them in one package.

It’s just a bit of a shame that such powerful (and clever) media player is marred by some issues, and let down by frustrating desktop software. The good news is that every one of these issues I have mentioned in the last 4,700 words (5,600 with mine — Ed) can be fixed with either a software or firmware update.

Wouldn’t it be nice if…

Bar the niggles such as the lack of comments field search (shut up… it’s a big problem for many DJs!), a MK2 should be able to further integrate the V12 turntable by having a built-in DVS system. All you’d need is a turntable with timecode record on, plugged into an input on the SC5000 Prime, with the player handling timecode on one of the layers. I’d also love to see a deck like this without the jog wheel. Something like the Kontrol D2, but as a standalone unit.

The only other thing I’d imagine, would be taking the motorised platter system from that brand new Rane TWELVE, and shoehorning that into the next version. You’d truly have a feature-complete hardware package to make DVS software irrelevant.

Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media payer review DJWORX (9)
REVIEW: Denon DJ SC5000 Prime media player
CDJs finally get a worthy competitor. With undisputed features, and a bargain price to match, if you’re in the market for some new media players, the SC5000 Prime is a no-brainer.
Ease of use
Value for money
There's honestly nothing out there that comes remotely close to these players, right now
Amazing design
Beautiful touchscreen
Great UI
Two deck layers
On board track analysis
Performance pads and screen finally bring the best of DJ software to hardware
Some unreliability with the LINK feature
Unfortunately, you have to use Engine Prime if you want to prepare your crates beforehand
Included cables are a bit too short
A small number of missing features such as comment field searching
CDJ — your time is up