• Price: US$999
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Denon DJ Prime Go System Review

Phil Morse
Last updated 10 June, 2020

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The Lowdown

The Denon DJ Prime Go is an intriguing and fun new DJ addition to the company’s pro-focused Prime DJ gear range, which was launched today alongside the Prime 2. It’s a standalone, portable two-channel DJ system with a built-in computer, screen, battery, and WiFi music streaming.

I got some hands-on time with a unit at a Denon DJ press event, and this article and the accompanying video are my first, hands-on review. Expect a full review from us in due course.

Video Review

First Impressions / Setting up

The Denon DJ Prime Go is an intriguing and fun new DJ addition to the company’s pro-focused Prime DJ gear range, which was launched today alongside the Prime 2. It’s a standalone, portable two-channel DJ system with a built-in computer, screen, battery, and WiFi music streaming.

I got some hands-on time with a unit at a Denon DJ press event, and this article and the accompanying video are my first, hands-on review. Expect a full review from us in due course.

The hardware

The Denon DJ Prime Go is built to the usual high Denon DJ standard with lots of metal and pro-grade components. It has an extremely likeable form factor, being pretty cute looking and light in weight, but at the same time feeling substantial and solid. It is quite deep (it had to be to accompany the four-hour-life battery, apparently).

It is two channel, with three-band EQ, the EQs being arranged horizontally in order to accommodate the screen in this smaller form factor. There are two mic channels, and a single Aux input. There are balanced and unbalanced outputs including a booth.

There’s a single FX engine with on-screen popup menus for selection and control, assignable to either channel. The channel filters actually also have another effect, a trickle-down from the pro Prime mixers, which is a dub echo out – a surprising and useful addition for quick, great-sounding transitions.

The jogwheels are pretty tiny, but have scratch/nudge functions, and work well. The pitch controls are big enough, and accurate. There is full hardware control over library navigation and loading – although I suspect most people will use the touchscreen to do all of that.

There is auto looping and loop move on each channel, and while the performance pads are limited to four each side, they have a “layer” button so you can cycle between 1-4 and 5-8, so really, you do still have all eight pads. They offer hotcue, loop and loop roll (no slicer on this model).

There is a single USB slot plus a computer USB socket at the back, and an SD card slot on the front, although no HDD drive bay as per the other units.

The software

One of the points Denon DJ stresses about its Prime range of gear, from this baby of the family all the way up to the pro separates, is that they all share the same core software feature set.

So you get the full experience of the embedded software, with WiFi streaming from Tidal (with more services in the pipeline), extensive library features (including the ability to make playlists on the unit), instant analysis of new tracks including libraries from rival system Rekordbox, track preview/needle drop, and all the other features that make this the current runaway leading embedded software system.

The main software interface is, of course, the 7″ touchscreen, which is multi-gesture, glass-topped and latest generation. Curiously – and unlike the same touchscreen built in to the company’s Prime 2 device – in this unit this relatively small touchscreen feels generously sized.

Conclusion

Who’s it for?

The above all seems a more than fair compromise for such a tiny unit, and the feature set overall means the unit is perfectly capable of being used to DJ in a professional environment.

I think mobile DJs looking for a second or backup system are an obvious target audience. Pop this in a flight case and it’ll look completely fine for a main room at a pinch, but certainly it’d be more than enough for a second venue at a wedding – cocktail hour, for instance.

For DJs who already own a Prime controller and want a second one for music preparation, it’s a great device – you can charge it and sit with it on your knee, laptop-style, working on your sets and music in your headphones. Likewise it could accompany you in journeys, in hotel rooms and so on.

But in all honesty it would make a perfectly good first and only DJ system, too – after all it is highly specced, sounds great, and has built-in streaming for modern DJs who increasingly won’t want to own music (that world is coming, people…). And because it is CPU-based, Denon DJ can (and continually does) issue firmware upgrades to add new features.

At US$999, it is just outside the reach of first-time DJs in my opinion. That’s not to say it is expensive (what you’re getting for the price is actually pretty insane), just that few first-timers want to drop that kind of money straight off. If they did though, they’d be getting an awesome system to learn on. Will be interesting to see how many first-timers go for this.

This is a new category of product, and I’m not sure where it will settle at this stage. Certainly many DJs will look at it and think “I want one!” – there is nothing else like it out there at all.

Some may remember the Stanton SCS4 DJ, which was an early and brave attempt at this kind of device but that, despite showing promise, was ultimately both aheads of its time and underpowered; this certainly feels like that kind of product coming of age.

It will be interesting to see how well this does. I suspect it will carve a niche for itself, because certainly at first play, it seems it does all it sets out to do well – and ultimately, it’s an awful lot of fun.

• The Denon DJ Prime Go will be available from Q1 2020 for US$999. Check the Denon DJ site for more details.

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