Product FeaturedModel: Denon SC5000M Prime
Base Price: $1,499 (contact by livechat, phone or email for preferred pricing)
Released: Late 2018, Available Now.
This Denon SC5000M review produced by DJs Are Not Jukeboxes, a Chicago-based DJ advocacy group focused on progressing music culture and education.
Two years ago, Denon DJ introduced a media player that, by most accounts, was the best we’d ever seen. The SC5000 had 8 performance pads, previously only found on controllers, a 7″ multi-touch screen with iOS-reminiscent interface and dual layering that let you simultaneously play 2 tracks off 1 player amongst a boatload of legitimately innovative and exciting features.
But of course, it existed outside of the industry-standard RekordBox ecosystem. And for nearly 2 years, outside is where it stayed.
Denon realized the uphill battle, calling upon individual DJs to “change their riders.” They understood that a new standard, even if more advanced than the incumbent one, would only be adopted if individual DJs demanded it.
Last year (2018), the price of the original SC5000 dropped to from $1899 to just $999 making it a competitor to the Pioneer XDJ-1000 MK2 instead of the flagship CDJ-2000 NXS2. With the easier choice and more attractive price point, we finally saw many DJs “change their riders” and outfit their setups with these players that had impressed us 2 years prior.
But Denon DJ has continued to build on their Engine Prime platform, giving DJs even better, more expressive, innovative options.
Notably, the SC5000M is a reboot of the original SC5000 with 7″ motorized platters.
A Legacy of Motorized Platter Excellence
Some DJs will remember Denon’s widely beloved DN-S line of motorized CD players from the early 2000s. In addition to their own experience, when Denon DJ joined InMusic in 2014, they joined the family responsible for creating the beloved Numark NS7 series, Numark V7 and Rane Twelve motorized dj controllers.
But unlike the the Rane Twelve or NS7, the SC5000M isn’t merely a controller. Though it can be used to control DJ software, it’s arguably even more powerful as a standalone media player. And unlike the Denon DN-S series, SC5000M isn’t constrained to the now-legacy CD format.
As a result, when we look at the SC5000M, we see what may be the best marriage of computer-free, tactile analog with all of convenience and innovation of digital.
If anyone, Denon is positioned to create the king of motorized media players. We dug deep to find out if they did with the SC5000M.
We sent international touring pro and Chicago Bulls’ resident DJ Metro a pair for 2 weeks to see if he’d be convinced to change his rider. Metro has toured the world playing on industry standard gear at the biggest nightclubs meanwhile remaining a turntable purist for his personal setup. A qualified, hard judge, we wanted to know if the promise of the ultimate motorized DJ media player was too good to be true. The result is the routine in the video above and proceeding deep dive interview.
DJ Metro Denon DJ SC5000M Review
DANJ: Give us your first impressions of the Denon DJ SC5000M.
Metro: Price, for one. Let’s just go on price. This player is significantly lower ($1,499 base price as of Feb. 2019) than other multimedia players that it’s competing with. It is definitely not shy of being one of the best pro players that I’ve ever laid my hands on, but that shouldn’t scare away anybody that’s trying to get into DJing.
If you’re thinking about getting into DJing long term, this player definitely has everything you’re going to need in order to advance for the future.
DANJ: Besides price, what do you like most about the SC5000M?
Metro: In general, they’re beating the competition with the motorixed platter. You look at them and they’re not just standing still.
At a pro level, when you’ve come from vinyl and you’ve moved your way to digital back when it started, that platter has never really been precise. Even right now, controllers either sound too robotic or the timing is just that much off from vinyl. You definitely feel like once you’re adjusted and comforatable at one thing, you want to go ahead and transfer that feeling to a new source and not lose any sort of rhythm or skip a beat, as we like to say.
Again, you’re someone who’s interested in the art and craft of DJing and having that feeling of vinyl, I guarantee you that if you start on this as a newbie, you’ll be able to translate very well to vinyl and other multimedia players that might compare themselves this, because this one’s – like – really good.
DANJ: What other features stood out to you?
Metro: Denon nailed it.
Everything from pitch, sound, quality. I am beating on these pads. I’m not shy with my hands. DJs tend to be a little rough around the edges with their equipment.
The display itself, I’ve been able to do things with its functionality that are so easy. They’re right in front of you. I was able to update firmware, set cue points, and link players fast. It was almost natural because it was like, “well what do I have to do? Settings. Well here’s the link, here’s the this…” Very simple, very obvious, very to the point.
Yeah, I think they did a great job.
DANJ: How was your experience with the 7-inch multi-touch screen?
Metro: The clarity is unreal. The display comes on, the Denon logo and almost a wash of colors comes through the entire place. It’s a fascinating piece, man.
I’ve been able to xoom in and out tracks, just so I can get the precise cut of where I want to be on the cue point.
The screen, in itself, like I said, bright and beautiful. You can change the settings. You can change the themes. Colors for when its moving/when it’s not moving. Again, just stuff that I was able to pick up on by just pushing a few buttons and playing.
DANJ: How does it compare to the CDJ-2000 NXS2?
Metro: At this point, with the time that I’ve had, I’ve been using the other line since they’ve been Mark 1. We’re up to NXS2, and I have to say within the small amount of time that I’ve had these (SC5000M), they compare very close, if not beating them by just that much with the motorixed table.
I’ve got to say, the display is bright and beautiful. Super easy to use. Getting instant doubles, not hard to do. These are the things are just a slight advantage on the other brands that are out there.
DANJ: But it’s not the industry standard. Did you have a hard time switching?
Metro: Everything is right in front of you. Skip, forward, back, cue, play, pause. It’s as simple as what you see is what you get. So, for someone new to the process, it’s as simple as pressing play on your first track.
Getting into the more intricate things, as far as layering, it really wasn’t as hard as you may think. It’s legit a button on top of the [media] player that says “Layer.” So, I can’t see it being too hard for someone to want to play music on players and get to where they need to be as far as BPM, pitch range, etc.
And if you’re a pro guy who really knows how to get into these things, and I mean REALLY get into them, you’re not going to have a problem. Everything from loop in, loop out, load, your sequencing on how to do things is almost robotic.
DANJ: So does the Denon DJ SC5000M live up to the hype?
Metro: Absolutely. 100%.
I mean, I’m buying one.
…I’m buying two.
These things are truly the wave of the future and that’s coming from someone who has never owned multimedia players. I’ve never purchased a controller. I’ve never purchased multimedia players in my life, ever.
Yeah. It’s pretty craxy. They’re dope, bro. They’re dope.
DANJ: Is they’re anything you’d like to see improved?
Metro: At the point, I’m just being picky. No, because these things are amaxing.
But if I had it my way, I would just say that the platter could be a little bit bigger, but it’s nothing that you can’t get used to. This is a normal sixed “disco record,” as we used to call them. 7″ record, right? So this isn’t nothing [sic].
I’ve always scratched on 12″ platters that have a little more space, but again, nothing that you can’t get used to based on the fact that if you have gone from vinyl, you’ve played with these records before.
What About You?
What do you think? Is the Denon DJ SC5000M changing your rider? Why or why not? Any doubts, questions or personal experiences? Let us know if the comments below.
Looking to pick up a SC5000M? Contact The DJ Hookup and ask for below advertised pricing by livechat, email or phone.