Denon DJ has announced a new four-channel standalone DJ unit called the Prime 4. It’s the first standalone unit with the ability to play four decks of tracks using only two platters, which is something DJs have wanted for some time. This not only makes the Prime 4 unique, but it hammers home that Denon DJ is sniping at Pioneer DJ’s stranglehold on the DJ tech market.
The new Prime 4, meant more for a home setup or mobile gigs, is a shot at Pioneer DJ’s comparable XDJ-RR and XDJ-RX2 all-in-one units. The Prime 4 builds upon the tech Denon DJ developed for the Prime SC5000 CDJ, but it does it in an all-in-one format instead of separate CDJs and a mixer. Notably, the Prime 4 includes the same dual-deck playback. The Prime 4’s jog wheels are six-inches, metal, and boast center HD displays with customizable RGB light rings. There’s also the recognizable eight performance pads below each deck with options for hot cues, loop and autoloop, roll, and slicer and slicer loop.
There are some other firsts for a standalone player. The Prime 4 has an option that combines time-stretch (changing the speed or duration of audio without affecting pitch), with real-time musical pitch shifting, so you can match song keys with just a tap.
The Prime 4 has an added independent output called Zone that lets you play music from a special playlist that is separate and different compared to what’s coming out of the master and booth outputs – a great aid for event DJs who need to provide totally different music, say, in a reception or restaurant areas in addition to the main dancefloor.
The Zone, booth and master outputs are all XLR balanced, with the master output having RCA unbalanced jacks too.
The Prime 4 has a four-channel mixer onboard, and it has four pairs of RCA line inputs in the back, with two pairs being switchable line / phono inputs. That means you can plug in up to four media players and two turntables – unheard of in a standalone system like this. It has input switches at the front of the unit letting you choose from either digital input (eg USB, SD, hard drive, laptop) or line / phono input.
Denon DJ trying to disrupt this can outwardly look like a David versus Goliath situation, but it does appear it’s in this fight for the long haul. When I did a hands-on with the Prime SC5000 CDJ last year, a Denon DJ rep directly told me that the company had “over-engineered” the tech, expecting its capabilities to stay up to date for at least five years. Denon DJ also recently slashed the SC5000’s price to $999, making it well underpriced in comparison to Pioneer DJ’s CDJ-2000NXS2, at $2,199.
Sure, the new Prime 4 isn’t aimed at festival use, but this is a way for Denon DJ to take tech it already built for the main stage and expose it DJs who are looking for a professional home setup or mobile gig. In the process, it’s managed to bring to market something many DJs have pined for and Pioneer DJ has yet to deliver: a true four-channel standalone DJ unit. Denon’s DJ Prime 4 will cost $1,699.00, and it will be available in March 2019.