Future Music

Denon set their sights on the Pioneer DJ crown


Pioneer DJ might be making inroads into the analogue synth game, but they have Denon snapping at their DJ heels with the launch of their new range of pro-targeted DJ gear.

The SC5000 players and X1800 mixer are both based around the brand’s new Engine Prime software, which is a rekordbox-like applicatio­n for track management and analysis. The SC5000 features built-in Engine Prime analysis for both beatgrid and musical key info. The unit itself features a high definition, multi-touch display and an eight-inch jog wheel with a central display that shows the current playing track or even custom artwork.

The X1800 mixer, meanwhile, features Sweep and bpm-based FX controls and 24-bit/96kHz audio output and, of course, is designed to integrate with the SC5000 via the Engine Connect protocol. This shares the beatgrid and time informatio­n with the mixer, from the player, to align the FX LFOs.

We’ve had our hands on both, and the hardware certainly seems solid and feels great to use. We’d need to spend some proper time with the Engine software to assess its merits, and it’s here that the range will live or die as Denon are counting on DJs and clubs to buy into the Engine ecosystem.

Both the SC5000 and X1800 are due to arrive in the next couple of months for £1,499 each. Denon also have the VL12 DJ turntable on its way – which again feels impressive­ly solid – priced at £649.

Now you MPC me…

As we reported last issue, Denon’s sister brand Akai have a pair of standalone MPCs on the way in the near future: the portable MPC Live and mammoth multi-I/O MPC X. We were hoping NAMM would give us a chance to see how both were going down with the general public, but unfortunat­ely both remained tucked away in an invite-only demo room. Still, we’ve had the opportunit­y to try both and we’re impressed with what we’ve seen. The hardware feels ruggedly built and nice to use. The Live is surprising­ly heavy for its size, but the controls and screens on both feel responsive and fluid to use. We look forward to spending some proper time with both very soon.

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