Denon DJ Announces SC3900 Player & Engine DJ Software

Denon SC3900 digital turntable and media controller

The Denon SC3900 digital turntable and media controller.

Denon DJ today launched an all-out assault on the modern DJ booth by announcing the SC3900 digital turntable and media controller, and Engine, a completely new DJ software package.

The player takes off from where the company’s critically acclaimed SC3700 reached. As well as a nine-inch real vinyl, high-torque spinning platter (endorsed by DMC scratch champ DJ Switch), it offers Denon’s widest-yet range of DJing options. Meanwhile, the software adds direct PC support with potentially innovative hardware / software load-sharing, plus iPad wireless network control.

The unit can be used for DJing in the following ways:

  • DJing with files direct from an attached PC, via the new Engine media server software
  • DJing using digital vinyl systems (Scratch Live is name-dropped, although Traktor support is expected along with others) without the need for control CDs
  • DJing from USB (“pen drive” or hard drive) with files shared across up to three units and wireless iPad library control
  • Use as a Midi controller with standard DJ software
  • Oh, I nearly forgot – it’s a CD player too!

Let’s take a closer look at what appear to be the most innovative features of the new hardware/software combination:

The Engine software

Denon SC3900 Rekordbox Software

The Denon SC3900 and Engine software offer a new DJ booth solution.

Pioneer has Rekordbox, software that allows USB digital DJs to prepare cues, loops, tags and playlists and get their sets ready on USBs to just turn up and play at the club. Many DJs have taken this workflow to their hearts, especially the older generation who see the advantages and the link with DJing the way they used to do it.

However, for newer digital DJs, used to having a screen in order to access further features, Rekordbox prepping and then USB playback can seem a limiting option. And Rekordbox is not exactly known for its speed, either: It has somewhat clunky and slow search which is evident as collections get larger.

Denon claims its new Engine software is “quick” and “efficient”, even on lower-specified computers. (This appears to be the company stating that the software solves the Rekordbox speed issues.)

Yes, you can DJ with your laptop attached

Hang on you might be saying, the PC attached? Yup, this software allows you to turn up with your laptop and plug it in, just like you might plug in a laptop running other DJ software, and then use the SC3900s with the software direct. Engine utilises the SC3900s attached to perform much of the powerful work…

But Denon goes further and says that Engine actually utilises the DC3900s attached to perform much of the powerful work, leaving the laptop with less to do, hence ensuring it all works smoothly.

This is something no DJ software that I know of does with any hardware, and it will be interesting to find out how exactly the workload is shared across the computer / attached SC3900s, and to see how much of an improvement this typically offers.

SC3900? Meet the iPad!

There’s also an iPad version of the software that works in a different way again. If I’ve understood it correctly, here’s how this particular feature works:

iPad software

The iPad software is a wireless, networked library management solution for having in the DJ booth with you.

You turn up at the club with a USB containing your music. You plug this in to an SC3900. They’re networked together so the music is immediately available to other players on the network. Pretty neat, but pretty usual for decent cross-media players.

Now, you whip your iPad out and power up the Denon software. The iPad allows you to “manage, cue and play” music across the Denon players wirelessly.

As the music itself isn’t flowing across the network, only the controls, you’re covered if the networks drops for whatever reason, and the iPad is therefore best seen as either a big, interactive screen (bigger than any you’d ever be able to fit to a media player), and a remote control device. This appears, therefore, to offer USB DJing with some of the benefits of digital DJing brought back to the table.

Our initial thoughts…

Anyone who’s ever used the predecessor to this player, Denon’s SC3700, will know that the platter and vinyl emulation are spot-on – now with DJ Switch endorsing it, that’s beyond reproach.

But with the SC3900, Denon has tried to be all things to all DJs. You can use it with your DJ software, your DVS without the need for timecode, pre-prepared sets on USB sticks, USB hard disk libraries, your music on your laptop via the company’s own brand-new DJ software (Engine), and even with your iPad and USBs combined, for what potentially could be a “best of all worlds” set-up.

So who are these bad boys aimed at? For the ultimate DJ set-up anywhere, these are clearly contenders. For big touring DJs with their own gear, they’re going to be a pretty tempting prospect. For the money-no-object hobbyist, likewise (we’ve no word on pricing yet). And for power users frustrated with the limitations of USB DJing via Rekordbox, there’s now an alternative.

Denon Engine software in online mode.

Denon Engine software in online mode.

I think Denon’s aim is higher, though. While Pioneer won the CD age in DJ booths with its CDJ-1000, and plainly intended to do the same for the digital age with its CDJ-2000 cross-media players, it’s not quite cut and dried yet – and it looks like Denon has seen its opportunity to stake a claim to the post-CD DJ booth (the CD player on this unit, more than ever, really does feel like a legacy mode).

It’s not hard to see that what the company really would like is to become the standard for digital DJ booths. Whether or not they manage it, time will tell.

Meanwhile, we’re extremely anxious to get our hands on a pair and test out the features we described above, especially the laptop and iPad software. If Denon just invented a new way of digital DJing, we want to be among the first to get to grips with it. Watch this space for more…

• Read the full press release on the Digital DJ Tips Newswire
• See all the official press pictures on our Facebook Page

Are you excited by some of the features of this new hardware/software set-up? Are you a Pioneer user who’s looking to change? Are you a Rekordbox user who loves or hates that software? Please let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Comments

  1. WOW, that is amazing, can’t wait to see how it works. It seems like the most complete vinyl turntale

  2. If you have a classic jog CDJ-2000, I bought it immediately. Motorized jog want :(

  3. Looks great. But until Pioneer lose the DJ booth monopoly It is highly doubtful we’ll see them installed anywhere.

    Shame.

    • Who cares if pioneer is mainstream, true djs and producers will select this if it works as good as it says.

      • I appreciate that but in the club market (I can only speak for Europe, not sure about US and other territories) they’ll not be found in booths as standard and would most likely need to be added to a tech rider (more cost to the promoter and extra work hiring in). DJs outside of the mobile and bar (some have no setup) area “true” or otherwise are mostly not lugging two decks / players of any kind around.

  4. Looks like à Very decent piece of gear!! Should be fun to see if there really Will be à stab in pio’s range of monopoly!!

  5. I want this sooo bad! Any word on the price?

    • Re: ***SC3900 OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT***
      by DENON on Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:17 pm
      “We expect it to be
      $999 (USD)
      £949/€1099″

      • Chuck van Eekelen says:

        Isn’t it funny that at a conversion rate of 1.31 dollar to the euro, a 999 dollar piece of kit should go for 1,099 euro.

        For those of you without a calculator. That is 1,450 dollar and change or a whoppin’ 450 dollar extra to get a box from china to Europe (instead of to the US, trust me they don’t ship them to the US first and then on to Europe :-)), stick another power cord in the box and … oh yeah … give the distributor a nice margin.

        Greetinx,
        DJ Vintage

      • remember the EU has a an average VAT rate of 20%, and we pay around 10% import duties for products with a CD drive… US has very low import duty and a sales tax of around 8%

        Hence the price difference…..

      • Beats me the way these people fix their price. Even if i decide to buy from the US, ship to Europe legally and pay whatever VAT required i will still be saving loads.
        Anyways back to the subject matter, looks like a decent piece of gear, most important thing is that they should support and update firmware quickly. I know its defo gonna be buggy initially.
        In the market for some CDJs so i ll wait a minute…

  6. @BartyKutz says:

    please make a version WITHOUT the CD drive, compact discs are over

    and please make sure it has native HID Serato support

    • CDs over? Are you serious? They’re used for a variety of reasons:

      - By mobile DJs (Special request by bride/groom)
      - By club DJs (there’s a performer and their track is on CD)
      - By any main attraction DJ (their mp3s are backed up on CD)

      The list goes on.

      • if i really need a track from a CD i can just stick it in my computer and import it, rappers can carry around USB key chains instead of CD books.

        i’m a turntable/serato guy. i’m looking at getting CDJs for everything except the CD part. to be a CD drive just adds weight, and cost and offers nothing back in return.

        i love the motorized platter, am not looking for an “all in one” controller. i’m hoping denon could make something for me, and people like me.

      • DJ Squared says:

        But the whole point of these decks are that you don’t need a laptop. You can leave the laptop behind. I think that is going to be the angle that they really start to push. And in that instance then maybe you might need a CD. Now it would have been a nice feature if they would have made the CD drives modular and sold them without so that people who want them could buy the CD ad on for like $75.

      • call me silly but if u have an optional extra why would u want a player without one, makes no sense, like a handsfree for ur phone its there if u want it u dont have to if u dont want to. only ppl growing up in an mp3 world will never understand why extra is good. i still get vinyl for tunes not on mp3 until i’ve converted them, and thats still going! still have my decks waiting for these babies, let ur inspiration go wild

    • Check out the v7′s made by numark.

  7. now… we wait for the price.

  8. Jam-Master Jake says:

    Pretty sweet looking. Curious to see how it pans out!

  9. any word on its play / cue buttons yet? What are they made out of? How responsive are they. I sure hope they are not like the ns6 plastic crap or so incredibly sensitive like the metal cdj-1000.

  10. Awesome bit of kit, Denon have certainly covered all bases with this unit as it caters to almost everyone. As for “will it be the new club standard ?” , old habits die hard and only time will tell. What it will do though is force Pioneer to respond so we may well see a “CDJ 2000 Mk II” … I’m not a Pioneer hater at all but the fact that this Denon unit does a whole lot more yet still manages to be half the cost of a CDJ 2000 says something too.

  11. Looks like a good unit. If its a solid and robust as a CDJ2000 it should be a good competitor for the professional consumer market. Unfortunately for them, they’ll have a tough job convincing the commercial/venue market to dump Pioneers.

    • Pioneer = classic CD jog whell
      Denon = motorized platter
      Users who uses a classical CD player does not want a motorized platter and therefore Denon can not compete with Pioneer.

      Traktor wizard on version 2.1.2 contains new Denon player SC2900! Tractor not supported motorized platter, therefore SC2900 might have a classic jog whell, then the denon could Pionner competition.

      • The platter on the denon is both a motorized platter and a normal CD jog wheel at the touch of a button. So you really get the best of both worlds with denon units.

      • It’s not quite true.
        Plate to behave differently as classic jog whell on Pioneer

      • Denon MC3900 has a built in MIDI timecode signal so you will not need CDs. It also supports the new Mk2 timecode from NI.
        You will need to get the T2Scratch version but Denon has it covered!
        NI refuses to get native support for motorized platters wich is a big FAIL IMO!

        The motorized platter is the best thing that has happened since Technics 1210 MkII IMO.
        I do really think that Pio as well as Denon makes top quality gear but the joggs on Pio is IMO the wors thing about them.
        They feel like they are going to break and sound likewise.
        Now that is my oppinion and it will not change!

  12. I take it SC3900 stands for: system cost $3900.00 :D

  13. One thing I would really like to see is for one controller or one of these Denon units to be able two decks. That would be great. I didn’t see anything(might have missed it) on support for this so I’m assuming you need a pair to control two decks.

  14. I hop this comes out soon and I hope its not too expensive…

  15. looks like a great piece of kit, and some honest innovation for once, much prefer the idea of this to a cdj2000 by a long way… as far as the cd playing debate goes, I don’t see the issue, if you’re paying that kind of money per deck, surely you’d want it to do the lot? If they had’nt put a cd player in there it would have been a really stupid move and there would be a hell of a lot more bitching about it on here… Motorized platters are totally more fun than pioneers jog wheels and less prone to glitching than pressure sensitive platters in my experience… looking forward to becoming rich enough to afford a couple of these ;)

  16. Andy Taylor says:

    Hi, this looks a great bit of kit!

    Just thought I’d say though that Denon aren’t the first to let you network your laptop to the CDJ deck and drop files straight on to the deck from the library software on the laptop.

    Recordbox can do that too if you have it hooked up through ethernet.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3JuL11Y5ZU

    It’s a pretty neat feature anyway but it’s Denon catching up rather than taking the lead as far as I can tell. :)

    • You have your right to your oppinion but.
      Denon has added the wireless iPad ability.
      Also with the Denon SW SC3900 when attached to a computer do most of the processing wich is not the case with recordbox if I am correct?

      So I do think that Denon just has not done a catching up but that they now has the lead until Pio comes up with what they have got in their sleeves.

    • Andy, correct, but Rekordbox has many limitations, which engine addressed.

      For example:
      -Can’t handle large libraries, even 10K is very slow for loading and searching

      engine – all searches up to 100K files = 1sec return result

  17. I want a pair! hope it comes out soon!

  18. Cant wait,Denon is not in a battle with pio cdj2000 it has set the new age of digital djing,it has revolusionised deejaying into the future

  19. Thanks for the info. One thing that wasn’t clear to me was whether the Denon Engine software requires the SC3900? Will it also work with other MIDI controllers?

    • Engine is for the SC3900 and does (for now) just work with that.

      It works on a computer at its own so that you can work with playlists, cues, loops and so on.

      It is not a MIDI software if that is what you’re asking…

  20. Greaaat!!!!

    Im from Brasil. Theres a store online where I can buy this sc3900? and which prices?

  21. http://www.livestream.com/denondjlive this site will be broadcasting the new sc3900 launch from musikmesse Frankfurt

  22. In my opinion either you are a Denon person or a Pioneer person. I am a Denon person and probably always will be. I have been using a pair of DNS5000′s for about 6 years and they still work perfectly. Before that it was the DNS9000 and the 2600. They changed the way we dj forever. If you came from vinyl it was a huge deal to spin a track you downloaded earlier in the day and be able to mix it. I use my 5000′s with Serato and while it works it leaves alot to be desired. Thats why I want to upgrade to the SC3900′s or the S3700′s.

  23. Dj goodtimekid says:

    Is the software a free download or do i need to purchase denom products

  24. Ok so I got to play on a pair of these at the CDJ show in Toronto this past weekend, gotta say i’m impressed. Loved the platter, the closest to wax on a 1200 yet from Denon, and the iPad software was very cool as well, not complicated to manipulate. The setup was fairly clean too, just the 2 decks, mixer (they had the A&H DB4), wireless router, USB solid state drive and the iPad was controlled wirelessly. (sorry no pics). The one drawback at first look was that they do seem a bit on the bulky side but the footprint is pretty close to a Pioneer CDJ, just a little taller. A solid piece of kit, enough to make me give them a second look when I upgrade my CD decks.

  25. Hi.
    I have some problems with my SC3900 and engine software.
    When I editing my tracks by engine,some of them have problems in my player.
    I mean some that tracks shown incorrect BPM in my player although they shown correct BPM in software.
    And already have bad cue point.
    Please help me what should I have to do.
    My SC3900 version is 1050 and my engine software version is 1.0.3

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