We got to play with Denon DJ’s new SC6000 Prime and SC6000M Prime media players, and X1850 mixer, at an inMusic press event today. In this hands-on review, I’ll share our first impressions of the units, give you a comparison between these and the previous SC5000 Prime, SC5000M Prime and X1850 Prime models, and share some early thoughts about them, to help you decide if they’d be a good fit for your needs.
The products are officially launching around March 2020, and of course we’ll give you a full review of them later on – but for now, we’ve got a pretty good impression of all of them, which should certainly be enough info for you to know if it’s worth saving your pennies for these.
(As these units are iterations of the originals, for a fuller overview of what they’re all about, heads to our SC5000 Prime, SC5000M Prime, and X1800 Prime reviews, as linked above.)
Denon DJ SC6000 and SC6000M Media Players
There are three big things to point out here: the overall new look, the much-improved platters, and the most obvious difference, the huge touchscreens.
These units are a bit bigger, and a lot more “grown up” than the SC5000 and SC5000M, which in comparison now appear gaudy and flash. Gone are the big, bold multi-coloured buttons, to be replaced by more stylish and muted backlighting, and actually the new units bear some resemblance to Traktor gear. The big, broad LED rings on the jogs have slimmed down, too. The chrome knobs are replaced with more sober dark versions.
But while the units definitely look more mature, it is in the jogwheels/platters where the second generation improvements can be felt. The jogwheels are bigger overall than the previous models, and are both weightier and smoother.
On the static-jogwheeled SC6000, the platters have a little bit of rotation noise, like they are turning on well-oiled bearings; they have more inertia than the silent SC5000 jogs, and certainly are more pleasing to use. The tension adjuster is also smoother. Incremental changes for sure, but when it comes to jogwheels, small changes can make a big difference.
Meanwhile on the SC6000M, the larger platter is complemented by quick-release control vinyl on top of the slipmat, so no more needing your tools to loosen or remove it; it is also possible to decide how tightly the control vinyl sits on the slipmat when you attach it to the spindle, so you can adjust for how you prefer to scratch.
And of course, the screens are – for DJ gear – breaking new territory. The screens on the original players were iPad mini-sized; these are iPad-sized, namely 10.1″. As before, they are highly responsive, glass-fronted, bright and smooth, with multi-gesture control.
So what use has been made of this new screen real estate? As of now, not an awful lot: Everything is just bigger. There is an option when browsing your library to make the type smaller and so see more tracks at once, which is welcome, but that’s it. Everything else is simply scaled up. It does feel like more use could be made of this new space, and hopefully it will in future firmware upgrades.
A couple more points: the SC6000 and SC6000M both have SATA HDD drive slots underneath. This means that you can add a hard drive to keep your songs on permanently, and brings the standalone players into line with the all-in-one Prime units.
And not strictly related to the players but great nonetheless is the fact that you can now preview tracks without loading them by tapping the artwork in the players and then tapping through the title bar for the track to skip through it; it plays directly through your headphones.
Worth mentioning that they will work with Serato DJ Pro as long as you have the Club Kit Expansion Pack (this is slated for “soon” after launch), and they can also work with Rekordbox USB libraries, reading playlists, cues and loops.
Denon DJ X1850 Prime mixer
The biggest changes to the mixer are cosmetic, but it does have a few nice functionality tweaks too. Looks-wise, it pulls into line with the players by being more muted, and the EQs get a bit more differentiation by the addition of white rings around their bases.
The effects can now be quantised to the beatgrids from the Prime players, for tighter-sounding results, which is a welcome improvement. There are two new effects too: The first is called “Echohold”, and is like a cross between a loop roll and an echo. The second, “Pumper”, adds a sidechain-like sound to its input. They’re fun.
As before, there are small bits of nice integration between the mixer and the Prime players; the Cue buttons correspond in colour to the chosen colours of the deck layers, but one thing we really liked was that when you’re previewing a track on a Prime player (see above), if you accidentally open the fader, the preview stops immediately, so there’s no change of inadvertently playing it to your audience.
The most exciting thing about these new units is that they happened. It shows Denon DJ’s commitment to this new ecosystem that it started. While the more niche SC5000M is fully replaced by the SC6000M, the SC5000 will continue to sell as the smaller, cheaper alternative to the SC6000 – and all Prime players will continue to receive firmware upgrades.
While we’re looking at evolution rather than revolution here, that’s arguably as it should be for a brand trying to build a coherent alternative to the status quo; slightly better processors, small tweaks to appearance, bigger screens, better jogs, sprinklings of new functionality.
Pricing will remain competitive at US$1499 for the SC6000 Prime, US$1699 for the SC6000M Prime and US$1099 for the X1850 Prime, and your choice between the old and new models will really hinge upon whether you will pay the extra for the improved jogs and screens, or whether the previous flagships are good enough for you. Either way, you’d be getting a solid combination of units in the most powerful DJ ecosystem out there right now.
Full reviews of both units will follow in due course.