Denon DJ Prime Series review and tutorial



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Denon DJ SC5000 and X1800 Prime Series

This review is covering how to quickly use the SC5000 and X1800 from Denon DJ.  Both pieces of gear are set up for extremely quick operation.  However there are a bunch of features that will help you be a great DJ.


 SC5000 Pad Section

The SC5000 from Denon DJ offers an existing comfortable booth DJ feel and layout, but adds a level of operation that until now has only been available in a controller environment; controllers have always been able to go deeper because of computer processing power. The SC5000 creates a new expectation of what should be available in the booth or on stage, because it has an operating system designed specifically for a DJ performance.  This improvement is well demonstrated in the Pad section, where you can place cues, loop on or off grid, lay down a quick triplet – it even offers up a slicer option.

This video goes over how to engage these features and use them in a musical way. The quad core processor and the optimized operating environment provide a stable way to bring a controller environment to the stage.

Utility Menu

The SC5000 has a unique way to connect with the X1800, also from Denon DJ. On the back of the SC5000 there is an Ethernet port, and the back of the X1800 has a section of Ethernet ports, labeled 1 to 4. If you are using just one SC5000, plug the Ethernet into port one, and as you add controllers, add them into port two, etc. By doing this you are sending BPM music information from the SC5000 to the X1800 so that the effects section on the X1800 locks in. You are also sending labeling information, so the X1800 will display track colour and communicate with the SC5000 when there is no audio out for a deck. Another great option is that you can grab audio content from any device connected to the network, which is an amazing way to work if you have more than one DJ or just want great flexibility on stage.

This video goes over the options in the Utility menu on the SC5000 and what they all mean and do.

Outer Button Overview

As I mentioned at the start of this article, the SC5000, on the surface, has the setup of a typical booth DJ player, due to the arrangement of the buttons around the outside of the unit and how they work. If your normal environment is from a CD player then the SC5000’s layout is how you would expect it to be. Track skipping is available as a single button push and even moving around by a couple beats or setting a quick loop is made available as we would normally expect it to be. This means that the clubs that are trying to stay modern and up to date can still offer an environment that will support a modern DJ, and will still be able to accommodate all DJs. This is a thoughtful approach to the design of a modern piece of gear.

This video shows the layout of all of the buttons on the outside of the unit, and also gives a brief explanation of what these buttons do.

X1800 – Overview

The X1800 has a great sound, and is the first mixer to be called a prime series mixer. The Engine Prime world offers networking and control never before seen in a mixer environment. You can have up to four SC5000s plugged into the X1800 and all track and deck information will be shared throughout the network. This means that BPM information, deck colour assignments and even whether or not the audio is prepped and ready for playback are available. You also have the ability to call up content from any SC5000 connected to the network. The X1800 opens up the functionality of the SC5000, but it should be noted that if you just want audio out from an SC5000 into an analogue mixer, that’s fine – you just won’t have the same integration and power that the X1800 offers. One thing I have noticed with the X1800 is that if I am running an analogue signal from a drum machine or synth it will automatically seek out the BPM of the source, which is very helpful for quick time-based effects playback.

This video gives a full overview of how the X1800 works. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out.

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