The battery-powered all in one DJ console
Denon DJ has today unveiled the Prime GO, an all-in-one DJ console that’s not only powered by the Engine Prime software but also contains a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, that enables 4 hours of portable use. A brand new concept by Denon, aiming at the mobile and event DJ market, offering a system that combines portability with capability.
Will this new concept take the market by storm, or is it an idea that they need to develop further? In this review we’re going to break down everything you need to know about the first of it’s kind, the Denon DJ Prime GO!
The Denon DJ Prime GO is a full standalone DJ console with an onboard mixer, two decks and a 7-inch touch screen, powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, also housed within the unit. Fitting all this into a package that’s nearly 12 inches wide has lead to some interesting decisions regarding the layout of the components. Unlike the Prime 2 and Prime 4 controllers, the 7″ touch screen’s fixed in a flat position on the unit, but thankfully the viewing angles are still excellent thanks to the shallow depth of the product.
The touch-capacitive jog wheels are a little too small to be taken seriously for scratching but still a nice feature to have, especially when scrubbing through a track. Just above the jog wheels are four small rubber performance pads with coloured lighting, that appear very similar to those found on the flagship SC6000 players. These can control two banks of hot cues, loops and rolls.
The EQ for each channel is found above the performance pads, laid out horizontally rather than the traditional vertical layout usually found in-between the faders. It may seem like a strange decision, but after using the product, we find it hasn’t affected being able to mix. It’s just an adjustment if you’re a DJ used to having your EQs placed vertically.
We’re not a big fan of the decision to put the trim control next to the bass rather than at the top next t-o the high. With most DJ’s killing the bass of a track off when mixing, it seems an accident waiting to happen. But as with the horizontal layout of the EQs, it’s something DJs will adapt to quickly.
In the top left-hand corner of the unit, we find the effects section, with a browse knob, parameter control and wet/dry knob that can be assigned to either channels one or two. Sadly, you can’t apply effects to either the mic channels or crossfader. Unlike the bigger Prime 2 and Prime 4 units, the Prime GO doesn’t feature a dedicated screen to display the details of the effects. This information is displayed on the main screen instead.
On the opposite side, you find the level controls for both microphone channels, the booth output and the master. Above this is an eject button used for safely removing media stored on either the USB (found on the rear) or SD (located on the front) with a raised circle around the button to help stop accidental hits, a nice touch indeed!
At first glance, you’d be forgiven to think that Prime GO was just a digital answer to the portabilist DJ scene and not a serious console for DJ’ing live events. However, this small package carries impressive I/O and is more than capable of being the centrepiece of a DJ’s set up.
Featuring two microphone channels, each with combo XLR/Jack connections and individual level control, event DJ’s can connect microphones for speeches or even a live musician. The unit also features an AUX channel that has stereo line-level RCA connections on the rear, controlled by a volume knob found on the front of the product. Sadly this has no EQ.
You can play media from the USB A port on the rear of the unit, or via the SD card slot on the front. The Prime GO also features a USB B port for connecting to a computer. We expect to see software support for this some point in the future. On top of these external media sources, the Prime GO also features inbuilt Wi-Fi and a wired ethernet connection. By using the internet, you can then log into streaming services such as Tidal, Soundcloud, Beatport link and Beatsource, brilliant for event DJ’s, especially when dealing with requests.
The system uses the same engine prime software found in the flagship Prime 4 and SC6000 players meaning that the unit can read and analyse a vast majority of music formats. These include libraries from other software platforms including Serato, Traktor and Rekordbox.
On the outputs, the Prime GO features 2 XLR connections and two line-level RCA’s for the master out with a physical mono/stereo switch. You can also connect booth speakers via the 1/4 inch jack connections. On the front of the unit, you find both 1/4 and 1/8 inch headphone ports with dedicated volume and cue mix controls.
Thanks to the powerful engine prime software running the Prime GO, it’s a far more capable unit than most would assume. Capable of key shifting tracks, you can also use the performance pads for hot cues, auto loops and rolls. With13 onboard performance effects and a dedicated sweep FX knob on each channel you’re not short of ways to experiment and get creative.
The onboard touch screen can be used for library organisation, dragging and dropping tracks into playlists is easy and intuitive. You can also preview tracks and needle drop through them before loading for better preparation.
Waveforms can be displayed either vertically or horizontally depending on your preference with key track information such as the key and remaining time in clear view.
The Prime GO is a unique product. It’s rare in this modern age that we get a genuinely brand new product that opens up a new segment. All in one DJ solutions that require no laptop such as the Prime 4 have been done. Decks aimed at the mobile DJ market are already on sale too. But a battery-powered, all in one unit that’s small enough to fit inside a large backpack? It’s unexplored territory and hard to find a product to compare against it.
There are areas we would have liked to have seen changed, such as the layout of the EQ’s but it’s hardly a deal-breaker, especially when you consider the target market of this device. At $999 it’s incredible value for money, coming in cheaper than most controllers that need a laptop to power them!
The Prime GO is a real standalone device, needing little more than a set of speakers and an internet connection to rock a party. It’s an exciting product category, and we can’t wait to see how the market adopts it.
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