The weeks leading up to NAMM are always filled with surprises. Sometimes a company you thought fell to the waste side seemingly comes from nowhere with a massive announcement. Last year, Denon showcased their all-in-one controller that certainly had some cool features, but nothing to put it at the top of the market. While it was a good start, the company went a bit quiet after its release. We now have what appears to be the reason for said silence.
SC5000 Prime: A new media player from Denon aimed solely at taking on the CDJ. It comes with a high-def, multi-touch display, that allows for one to use gestures and swiping for creative expression. The player also allows for on-the-fly beat grid and key analysis. SC5000 also accepts tracks from Serato and iTunes, as well as their new Prime music management software. Interestingly enough, it appears that each player has dual layer decks, with dedicated outputs. This would allow for one deck to play multiple tunes at once, which is great for people tight on space. The player has three USB ports and one SD slot, as well as eight trigger pads for cues, loops, slicing, and rolls.
X1800 Prime: Accompanying the SC5000 player is the X1800 Prime mixer. The 4-channel digital mixer, with switchable digital and phono outputs, dual USB ports for connections to 3rd party software and seamless transitions between DJs. Also standard is a MIDI port, as well as a LAN hub that one can connect four players to theoretically allowing one to potentially expand their set up to eight different decks running at once.
VL12 Prime: Covering all bases, the VL12 is Denon's new premium direct-drive turntable. Build from the ground up with an all-metal body construction, the table has a wide pitch adjust, ranging from +8 all the way up to +50. Four specially designed isolation feet prevent vibration in almost any setting. As a final touch, an adjustable RGB light ring surrounds the platter.
Engine Prime: Covering all bases, Denon introduces their latest music management software. It allows for Serato and iTunes playlist integration, and analyzes beat grid and key of imported tracks, as well setting cue points. The software supports Lossless, FLAC, and Wav.
While most of the features on these new products are things that Pioneer and Xone have covered, but it would appear that this attempt to secure a foothold in the premium DJ market is something Denon is taking very seriously. There are definitely impressive features on each of these product announcements, but it definitely remains to be seen if they make an impact. It's exciting to see new gear potentially loosen Pioneer's grip on the industry, and such advancements will surely lead to more innovation from all parties. Also, it would make sense that since Denon is introducing their premium segment, perhaps they will also introduce entry and mid-tier options, much like Pioneer has.