NAMM 2019 HANDS-ON: Denon DJ Prime 4

NAMM 2019: To our mind, there’s a slight disconnect between the marketing campaign behind Denon’s Prime 4 and the reality of who it really suits. The official pre-show teaser video and Instagram posts challenge users to #ChangeYourRider - a statement that implies that the company is gunning for the club DJ crowd, whose tech riders are currently dominated by the likes of Pioneer DJ and Allen & Heath.

Being a substantially-sized, self-contained unit built around Denon’s Prime software, the Prime 4 seems an unlikely candidate to win over those who turn up to a club expecting a specific setups of CDJs, turntables, mixers or controllers. However, it does have a lot of features that make it potentially the best setup on the market right now for wedding, party and function DJs. While this might be a less ‘cool’ demographic, its an equally valid and certainly lucrative market.

A flexible friend

With its powerful onboard software, fully expandable memory and broad feature set, this is a great hardware device for those who need a combined mixer and player that can adapt to a variety of situations. The I/O is a real case of ‘all bells and whistles’, too, with analogue inputs for all four mixer channels, a range of master, headphone and booth outputs, four USB inputs and an SD card slot. What’s more, the new Zone output allows you to send an entirely independent playlist of music out to a second room while still using all of the Prime 4’s features for your ‘main’ mix.

By making use of a StageLinQ output and Soundswitch, Timecode and Resolume tech, the Prime 4 can drive a variety of visual and front-of-house setups, too. For those who need to turn up at an event or party with their own gear, stocked with music and ready to plug into a variety of sound and visual systems, the Prime 4 looks absolutely ideal.

The hardware is impressive, too. The jog wheels are well sized and feel responsive, and the adjustable full-colour touchscreen is spacious and appears to be of very high quality. While the unit as a whole is fairly large and a little heavy, it’s not unreasonably cumbersome and shouldn’t be too tough to transport.

While event DJs might do the best out of the Prime 4, there are plenty of club-focused features, too. There are well-sized, responsive pads for triggering cue points and samples, plus an extensive selection of effects. The software also boasts some excellent timestretching algorithms for slowing down or speeding up tracks while maintaining the original pitch.

At around $1700, the Prime 4 is priced very competitively, particularly when placed next to its less extensively featured Pioneer DJ rivals. While it might not have club DJs changing their riders just yet, the Prime 4 might be the best event/party DJ setup out there.

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