The Denon DJ Prime 4 is the most powerful standalone DJ system ever made – no laptop required! DJing from USB, SD or SATA hard drive, you get four full channels of digital audio, a big touchscreen that’s smooth and responsive, and pretty much all the performance features you find on the best DJ software.
Hardware, it seems, is finally catching up with the “software plus controller” method of DJing that has been the most fun way to do this for a decade now. And it’s Denon DJ, not the current stalwart of the DJ booth Pioneer DJ, currently leading the way.
So do DJs need to take their laptops into the DJ booth at all now? Have we come full circle, back to the days where DJs simply turn up with their music and a pair of headphones and play on the gear that’s there – but this time, with all the features of software finally available to them? Does the Prime 4 mark the beginning of the end for laptop DJing?
Well let’s hold that thought right there, get stuck into our full review (now we’ve had a week or so to play with a unit), and I’ll return to answer these questions at the end. Hopefully by then you’ll have a much better idea as to whether this US$1699 unit is the right next step for you in your own DJing.
This thing is absolutely gorgeous out of the box. It is not as wide as you might think, but a bit deeper than expected. It is finished in metal, and feels solid and professional. As well as the unit, there is a power cable (no separate transformer, which is nice; the transformer is built in to the unit), a special USB cable (more on this below), and a quick start guide.
The screen is the first thing we noticed. It’s glass-topped, and certainly doesn’t feel like a weak spot, even when it’s propped up to one of the available angles using the clip-out wire stand; however, it does stick out of the back of the unit when folded flat, and would be vulnerable to knocks in transit. The screen does, however, come with a neat, high-quality fitted cover/case to protect it.
Nonetheless, a decent flight case or fitted bag would be advisable, not only because of the screen, but because the unit is just a little bit too big to pop under your arm and walk with comfortably.
The top panel of the unit is metal, with various finishes differentiating the mixer, decks and the panels of controls above the decks.