Denon DJ SC5000 Prime: Unboxing, FAQ, and Units In Store

It’s exciting when a serious new competitor comes to the market, and this week, it’s Denon DJ’s turn to enter the fray. Their new SC5000 Prime players (and potential CDJ challengers) are finally launching this week and we have them in stock in our Dj store. We’re working on a full review over the next few days, but in the meantime, we’ve got answers to a few frequently asked questions and an unboxing video to share.

SC5000 Prime Unboxing + In Store

First up is a video of the SC5000! It’s not a review or a demo, but rather a hands-on unboxing video. We don’t normally do these, but it was very well received on Facebook Live, so we’ll do more in the future when we get units. Watch it below:


Unboxing the Denon DJ SC5000 – finally here! This is a final version, not a prototype like other videos. Get yours before they run out:

Posted by DJ TechTools on Monday, May 22, 2017

Also worth noting: the SC5000s are now available and shipping immediately in our store. Supply is limited so hop on it now if you’re keen on getting an early unit:

Get A Set Of Denon SC5000s Now

FAQ About Denon DJs’s New Players

We’ve gotten a lot of questions already about the new Denon players, so in advance of the review, I thought it would be good to cover a few of the questions we’ve gotten so far. These questions were accumulated from comments, our live chat team in the store, and social media. If you have more to ask, let ME know in the comments on this article and I’ll answer them promptly.

Are they robust / how do they feel physically? Will the screen survive heavy club use? 

The units have a very high quality feel, with a soft touch plastic case. They have smooth transitions from one surface to the next (sides, top, angled screen section). In general, it feels like a unit that will hold up to the rigors of club use. The touchscreen feels stronger than the Pioneer XDJ-1000/700 lineup, more comparable to an iPhone’s screen, and isn’t recessed.

According to Denon DJ’s product manager, they’ve already taken two serious weather challenges:

How do “layers” work? Are there really two sound cards per unit?

This is one of the best parts about these players: yes, each unit can play TWO decks simultaneously. The interface feels a lot like a Kontrol S8 or D2 – one deck is in the top section with a big waveform, while the other is shrunken down to just a length waveform. There are two sound cards – one for each layer – so we expect most users will only buy two units and mix 3-4 decks with just two players in their setup.

What DJ softwares are supported? 

Serato DJ is supported at launch in MIDI mode – there’s no announced Traktor support yet, and it’s very unlikely that we’ll see Rekordbox DJ support.

Will these become the standard in DJ booths? 

Taking on Pioneer DJs dominance is no easy feat, but Denon DJ seems to be really spending a lot of energy and resources to get artists onboard. That’s how this all started – remember the stealth #ChangeYourRider campaign they teased in the lead up to 2017? Their strategy is clear: get individuals (artists, bedroom DJs, etc) onboard first, and then the clubs and booths will follow.

With the feature set on these units, Pioneer will need to answer soon or risk losing their foothold.

Can you use Rekordbox USB drives / SD cards? 

You can – but currently the only way to use them is to browse the Contents folder. This means you have to browse by Artist – not exactly ideal.

Tracks can be analyzed directly on a player (it takes about 15 seconds to analyze a 5.5 minute song), and the waveform / analysis is then saved on your drive to be recalled next time. Analysis sets a beat grid and detects key (we’ll have to do a test of the Key Analysis in a future article). It can also analyze songs at the same time as it is playing a track on a different deck, which it uses the built-in multi-core processor for.

We’re waiting on a few more details from Denon about the state of Rekordbox libraries – but apparently the Engine Prime software will be able to import Serato DJ libraries at launch…

Why is there no CD drive? 

Probably because it’s 2017 – and instead of spending money on the added weight and space of a CD drive, the Denon engineers seem to have focused on making the experience more like a miniature DJ software in a media player.We also suspect features like slicer, beat jump, etc all are a bit harder to get working if when playing back in “real-time” from a CD.

If you’re still mixing on CDs, speak up in the comments and tell us why you’re holding on.

How do they compare to the Pioneer CDJ lineup in price and size? Keep reading.

Denon DJ SC5000 VS. Pioneer CDJs

One of the big topics that we’ll cover in the review is comparing the CDJ line to the SC5000 Prime player. Here’s a very general summary of these two units (CDJ-2000NXS2 used as comparison):

  • Price: $1,899 (Denon) vs $2,197 (Pioneer)
  • Dimensions: 16.5″ x 12.6″ x 5.3″ vs 16.31″ x 12.6″ x 4.46″
  • Weight: 8.79 lbs vs. 12.57 lbs (likely because the CDJ has a CD drive)

X1800 Prime Mixer

Denon DJ also shipped us their brand new X1800 mixer as well – (which we mistook as a S5000 originally) – and you can watch the full unboxing of that unit here. The mixers are still on their way to the US – with an expected in-store date of roughly June 9th or 10th.


Denon DJsc5000sc5000 primeX1800 mixerX1800 prime
Comments (87)
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  • Adrian Gavrila

    for me …just one nice dream ?

  • Reticuli

    Very responsive meters. Can the Wet/Dry knobs and faders be swapped in function?

  • Jyve

    I feel like this would be my ideal setup for home and taking out to local gigs / places that don’t already have players in the booth. I’ll still continue to grow my library via Rekorbox tho!!!

  • FeRD

    I thought they might have run the board with a “no obvious complains” design for the thing (based purely on the photos, without any hands-on impressions), but then I saw that the reverse button is labeled “[Censor]” which is just mnyahhhhhhh.

    I mean, it’s not a dealbreaker, hell it isn’t even a real issue. It’s just lame.

    • Kevin Basher

      It basically is just slip reverse (in Pioneer phrasing).
      It sure is the more user-friendly (and useful!) feature compared to the reverse, that still can be activated by holding shift + censor.

      • Mark Smith

        At least they used their own term and not Serato’s term for their function “Flip” which refers to a feature used for more than just censoring even though that is one of its uses.

  • Vitico Bl

    I leaned how to dj on denon equipment and I still have several denon units and Im really glad to see them come out with a good stand alone player, I havent been excited about any new denon product since the s1000 and they really did good this time, so I am not some Pioneer fanboy or whatever but I do have to point out alot of people are in love with pioneer gear bc thats what top dj 1-100 uses and now I see alot of the same on the Denon side customers saying these denons must be great BECAUSE tiesto uses them and oakenfold and heldens and luke and etc… you realize they are paid to use these , they have been using them for months before they were even for sale, they ARE sponsored period I dont doubt they are good products and they genuinely like them but if someone gave you free products and paid you to talk nicely you would love them too, so before you drop thousands of dollars on equipment maybe you can make your own decision if this product is right for you and not rely on whatever mr paid spokesman told you to pick because he didnt pay for his gear his expectations are much different than yours

    • FeRD

      People also have to realize that companies have strengths and weaknesses, and excellence in certain product lines does not say anything about largely-unrelated product lines. I remember when Technics released their CD turntables, some people assumed (purely on the reputation of the SL-1200 series) that they would be the be-all and end-all of digital decks. And then the things turned out to be basically crap, at least compared to Pioneer’s and Denon’s CD decks. Because there’s hardly any expertise that transfers from building analog vinyl turntables to making digital decks.

      That being said, the fact that pros use certain equipment in their gigs does serve as an endorsement that it achieves a certain level of professional quality. Because the flip side of the sponsorship issue is, if you’re a working DJ touring the world, you’re not going to gig on sub-standard equipment — no matter how much they offer to pay you. It’s not worth sabotaging your career like that. Oh, you might be willing to work through teething troubles on something new (think Richie Hawtin and Sasha being early adopters of Final Scratch and Ableton Live, respectively), even when it occasionally leads to issues during gigs (ditto and ditto), if you believe the technology will mature into something worthwhile. But while I firmly believe that any competent DJ should be able to spin a set on a $500 American DJ setup if they have to, you’re never going to find a pro who’d choose to.

  • Vitico Bl

    Cd drives dont take alot of weight or space, lets not pretend we are like apple and taking out the headphone jack is some kind of huge progress in size and weight, and I dont think it should be compared to the cdj 2000 because the cdj can play cds and dvd rom , it would be more appropriate to compare it to the xdj line up, cds may be near obsolete or a legacy format for consumers, but djs are not consumers they are professionals and there are still djs using even vinyl so its not necessary to make anyone give up a format in 2017, it should have cd players or with all its usb ports the option to plug an external cd drive

    • Be

      Even if CD drives are lightweight and cheap, supporting them requires more complexity in the software, which would largely be a waste of the engineers’ time.

  • Manish Patwa

    Denon missed out of few things – 1 they should include forward and Rewind buttons along with needle search they hv for better cueing option. 2ndly – they missed out majorly on Memory and Recall option. Pioneer in this case wins the battle for me. As being a club DJs you don’t pre decide with your track list, as you go with the crowd and vibe. So if a Dj ain’t using softwares to save his cue-points It’s a disadvantage using Denon.

    • Vitico Bl

      It does have all those features, check the official introduction video from denon or the features walkthrough that laidback luke made

      • Chris Roman

        Touch strip on the screen so you can see where you are going, beat jump in reverse, wheel search backwards.

    • Jacob Stadtfeld

      You’d rather scroll through memory cue points than have all 8 hot cues immediately available?

    • Rick Charles

      Watch a few SC5000 videos mate.. She does have those features. the needle drop is the bottom of the screen.

  • Djcuepoint

    i’d love to see rotating platter on this i wouldn’t mind the extra weight

  • golemus2

    – Is there ExFAT or NTFS support? Which file systems does it support?

    – how does the real-time waveform analysis work? Is it like when you put CD in CDJ-1000mk3 so that you instantly start to see the song structure?

    • blackavenger

      FAT32 = Read & Write
      ExAT = Read & Write
      NTFS = Read Only
      HFS+ = Read Only

      ……more than Pioneer offers. I mean, who in the ‘eff still formats their drives to FAT16?!?

    • blackavenger

      Waveform analysis takes about 20 to 30 seconds (depending on length/size of the track) to complete. After which, you have full tempo/beatgrid/key information written to the file. Once the track is loaded (pre-analysis) it can be played. The analysis will continue to scan during playback.

      It really is a lot of fun to play on the fly.

  • Kevin Basher

    The loop move doesn’t work as expected (as seen around 28:00).

    When moving the loop backwards, the playback jumps back, as well.
    When moving it forward, the playback continues normally until it reaches the moved loop.

    That’s something that needs to be addressed quickly.

    • blackavenger

      Honestly, he was stumbling around in the dark, so to speak. It was as if he hadn’t watched a single video or read a single forum post about how to operate these things before recording this video. He should have known the answer to every question that was asked, but he didn’t. I did and I’ve not ever laid my hands on one!! So, perhaps he just didn’t understand how to get the Loop Move to operate correctly.

      • Kevin Basher

        I felt the same when I watched the video.
        Glad he eventually discovered that the unit DOES HAVE a slip mode.

        Well then let’s hope the loop move works in a proper way.

        • Kevin Basher

          So it’s been confirmed by Denon (on their forums) that the loop move DOES NOT move the playback position. Renders the loop move useless for me.

  • blackavenger

    Plastic!?!? WTF?!? I thought it was supposed to be constructed of metal?!? I could have sworn I heard from previous videos that it was all metal & glass construction. Man, sooooo ‘effin disappointing!

    • Rick Charles

      Same here mate….Is a bit disappointing, not that I think any less of the product overall but statements needed to be made to take sock it to the man so to speak and I feel opportunities have been lost. Lets hope they get Engine right.

      • blackavenger

        Sure, these units are still revolutionary in terms of functionality for the standalone media player market, but I’m still disappointed in the build materials. Look at a Uni-body Macbook Pro. All aluminum and glass with MUCH more costly hardware inside at nearly the same price point. If Apple can build a machine with such quality materials, then why can’t these DJ companies?

        • Kevin Basher

          Because a MacBook is a completely different thing in pricing.

          The price of every technical device consists not only of the materials being used for production (variable costs), but also on R&D costs (fixed costs).

          The latter must be distributed over the units sold over the product life cycle.
          The more units you sell, the lower the share of fixed costs per unit.

          Apple is likely to sell more MacBooks than Denon is gonna sell SC5000s.
          So they can build a unit at higher variable costs and still offer a more or less decent price.

          • blackavenger

            Fair enough.

        • jm2c

          …because macbooks sell millions of units instead of thousands?

          • blackavenger

            Yeah, one of my friend’s pointed that out to me. Makes sense now. I stand corrected.

    • Kevin Basher

      The surface of the player is metal.
      Who cares about a metal housing?
      Look at those Pioneers $300 above.
      They’re all plastic.
      Their surface looks beat up after a couple of weeks of use.
      Now THAT is crap.

      • blackavenger

        No, it has a metal top plate. My assumption was that it was going to have thick aluminum top and side panels and a thin metal bottom. Much like the NS6 Controller had. Dude, this thing costs nearly $2K… need to skimp and build it from plastic. Pioneer resorts to that level. These units were supposed to make a statement. I have every right to be disappointed. Especially since it was mentioned in prior videos that it has a metal construction. A thin aluminum top plate hardly qualifies.

        • Kevin Basher

          No, it has a metal top plate.

          My bad – that’s what I was trying to say.

          I still think this is way better than Pioneer’s approach.
          The top plate is what’s getting most of the abuse, anyway.

          • blackavenger

            I feel you. I still LOVE what these things are capable of and am likely going to get a pair. But what bothers me about these companies resorting to using more plastics than metals in their products is that DJ gear from the past has SUPERIOR construction when compared to today’s offerings. If they could do it back then, incidentally at a much lower price point, then why can’t they do it today?!?

          • Mark Smith

            Are the new 1210GR’s not as well engineered or built as well?

          • blackavenger

            No, I’m sure they are. But 4 times the cost of what the M5Gs were? Somehow I doubt that.

    • Steve Nash

      hahaha good try man! Pioneer fanboy here, right? Get ready to see Denon on the booth because it worths every dolar

      • blackavenger

        Actually, not a Pioneer fanboy in the slightest! I’m very active over at the Prime Series forum. I have been super excited and supportive of these units becoming the new Industry Standard since the fist day they were announced. That said, we were promised all metal and glass construction. They didn’t deliver. That’s disappointing!!

        • Mark Smith

          Glass as in “Gorilla Glass?” Is that what they used for the touch screen? That could be what they were referring to using the term “glass” when referring to its construction.

  • Tony Mitchell

    What’s a CD?

    • FeRD

      A handy tool that protects the finish on your table, when you set your drink down on it.

  • LJ

    From the looks of it Denon still uses the soft buttons for Search, Cue and Play. *Buyer beware* because they are complete shit in previous models of their decks. I’ve personally experienced button failure on two different overpriced Denon models.

    • Dan White

      Hey LJ, they’re hard buttons, not the old squishy rubber ones. They’re very easy to tap, critical for the cue button particularly

    • Ross Noir

      That is incorrect, the buttons are plastic with co-molded metal.

    • Cobra

      You are the problem with the internet today. Uninformed comments with disruptive intent.

      • LJ

        Am I? Because I don’t believe in anything Denon and I’m honest about it? Since when is honesty a bad thing? Maybe you are far too sensitive to be on social media. Sorry you don’t like my opinion and find it to be stated with “disruptive intent”, but speaking from experience, Denon is overpriced garbage. Their poor products are to be expected considering the company can’t come up with an original DJ product that anyone in the industry gives a shit about. Show me recent videos of legit festivals or nightclub outfitted with Denon equipment that the event willingly purchased? I’m betting you can’t, and you wanna know why? Because ZERO DJs put “Denon CDJ-RIPOFF-POS” in their rider. That’s because it is sub-par, Pioneer ripoff garbage.

        • sfmzg

          You are not honest, you are butthurt and uninformed.

        • Rick Charles

          Are you all salty because the beloved re-sale on your nexus is going down the toilet?

          You realise some of pioneers features have come from others right? Example you ask:

          Hot cues/or method of came from Denon, you had to ‘save’ cue points on the CDJ1k before been able to use them.

          Needle/strip search came from Numark.

          Rekordbox came after Denons ‘Music Manager’.

          I could go on but even you get the drift surely.

          Zero Dj’s you say… Tiesto has used the SC5k’s at a festival, he’s not signed to Denon. Maybe like LBL and others the SC5k is the player they have been asking Pioneer to build for years.

          Overpriced garbage you say… The SC5k is <£1500, the NXS2 is £2000. However the SC5k plays 2 tracks at the same time, the implications if the SC5k becomes standard are huge. Now young joey who wants to play in clubland would only need to purchase 1 less expensive player to gain the experience and more importantly the confidence of using exactly what he would be standing behind at a festival. The cost implications in reality are £1500 vs £4000 to perform the same job and even then the Denon out performs with it's greater performance features.

          Denon have done the industry a service here, they have lowered the bar of entry to the promised land for the aspiring. Good job and it's about time.

          Smaller Venues could get away with only purchasing/or having out one player, saving money and booth space. more drink specials for me.

          Shame you have to spend 4k to mix only 2 tracks just because your a fanboi huh?

        • Cobra

          Let’s just say your true colors are a bit obvious. For the rest of us that enjoy diversity and choices we are excited. You can come back when you have a real unit in your hands and have cold hard facts with less emotions.

    • Kevin Basher

      Have you even watched the video?
      All buttons are hard plastic with a clicky feel.

    • Rick Charles

      Flat out wrong! lol. Buttons are plastic with co-molded metal.

      Hows that shitty beatjump update on your Nexus working out for you? *Buyer beware indeed*

      Shame you have to spend 4k just to mix 2 tracks huh?

      • LJ

        Wowwwwww neat features that are not even remotely essential. Btw I’m still waiting on those videos…

        • blackavenger

          I think his point went completely over your head.

          • LJ

            That will happen when an opinion is answered with personal attacks and insults. Some classy gents over there at Denon. With attitudes like that it’s apparent that their second rate DJ equipment is the least of their problems.

          • blackavenger

            What makes you think he works for Denon? Nothing in his comments suggests that. I’m pretty active over at the Denon DJ Forum and I’ve only experienced total class from the team. They are respectful and helpful. That reminds me….

            On Denon DJ’s Forum you get to interact w’ Brand/Product Managers, the Development Team and Forum Moderators on the regular. Much like the early days of Serato Forum……a refreshing deviation from what you experience over at the Pioneer Forum. Just something to take note of to any potential Prime Series purchasers.

          • Rick Charles

            Work for them? No you silly boy.

            Although I wouldn’t a mind a T-shirt or discount code for my exertions.

  • BriChi

    Can a playlists tracks be shown in full screen? All the videos show the screen split with playlists on left and tracks in playlist on high? Also can you search for a track but using random keywords like typing “what i bruno” to bring up That’s What I Like – Bruno Mars?

    • blackavenger

      Good questions. You should ask them over at the forum.

      • BriChi

        I just did actually, so far you cannot get rid of the playlists window temporarily and the searching is tough to answer until Engine Prime is released and a db is created by the software

  • Sheik Yerbouti

    Looking forward to the release of the SC5000. Hopefully no more delays! CDs? Nope, Flac all the way!

    • Mark

      It’s out already, at certain dealers in the US

  • Sandeep Kumar

    I still see a lot of club dj’s using Serato Timecode on CDs… I agree it’s archaic, but I still see it being used a lot

    • Joe Lewis

      Its heavily implied that the Denon players will not need timecode CDs to function properly.

    • sfmzg

      I haven’t seen a non-usb player in a dj booth in my country for at least 3+ years. Those dj’s you speak of, they will have to rip their timecode cd’s to wav and play it from a usb stick.

    • ?The Other Denzel?

      Denon’s method of handling timecode (the units generate they’re own signal, the rest of the unit operates in HID to control software) has ALWAYS been superior to timecode cd’s

      • Sandeep Kumar

        I use these on my 3900s all the time & I love them…. It’s not HID, it’s MIDI, you have to map it yourself… you’d be surprised how many DJ’s cant figure this out…. we’ll see how much these Denon’s are actually used in clubs, but I highly doubt it

  • Taylor Eads

    “Psh…but it’s not Pioneer” – Bro Djs who Play Bro Electro and Bro Trap with their Bros for the Bros

    • Spacecamp / Dan

      I don’t think that’s the reaction as much as it is “can I trust this to be reliable because it’s not Pioneer?”

      • AuralCandy.Net

        Playing on beat-to-shit rental Pioneer CDJs have taught me “reliable” is a relative concept 😀

        • Spacecamp / Dan

          Same … and also taking CDJs/XDJs to Burning Man, which is very good at destroying gear.

      • Ezmyrelda Andrade

        According to laidback luke they’ve been through the desert and torrential rains.. so… maybe?

    • Mark Smith

      This is from your government?????

      • Oddie O'Phyle

        Yep, from the content regulatory board.

          • Oddie O'Phyle


  • Kutscher


    Here a hint of why CD Support might be important to the popularity of DJ Players. I think the main custumers of djdecks are clubs and rentals of the eventmarket. Big Rentalfirms buy these players like candy ans Fan equip festivalfloors with two decks with four units each.

    But those companies will use them for industrial Events as well. This means beeing able to use CDs the client brings. But also like the Playlist feature and hotcues for jingles.

    • Mark

      the “client” can just as easily bring a USB stick or SD card, can’t they? Not even current Macbook’s have a CD drive

      • Vitico Bl

        Most businesses and corporate clients still use windows xp, they arent interested in keeping up with the latest macbook, if they bought a cd dvd or laser disk they are going to use it until it bleeds dry because thats what they consider a good return on investment, thats the difference between consumers and professional use

        • Mark Smith

          Windows XP? Where are you from?

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            There are airports, like DECOR and government buildings still running 3.1. A lot of corporations run legacy hardware and OS with the thought of “if it isn’t broken…”

          • Vitico Bl

            Banks, ATMs, accounting, taxes, traffic cameras and street signs, in the US and everywhere are still using XP, thats why its still big news when microsoft releases or refuses to release a fix or update for windows xp because it affects so many important businesses

  • sfmzg

    I’ve learned that Denon licenced the use of Zplane Elasique Pitch v2 plugin on this. This means competition for Serato’s pitch’n’time 😉

    • Mark

      the quality of the pitch shifting and key lock is certainly very impressive

    • Chris Roman