Experiences from Denon Engine Prime?

I’ve been looking to changing my setup from Pioneer to Denon as they seem to have way better hw, but the only thing keeping me back currently is the Engine Prime software. If I understand correctly it’s currently missing smart playlists and tags, but is it otherwise ready for prime time (pun intended)?

Does anyone have experiences from Rekordbox (or Traktor, Serato) vs Engine?

I have experience of all of those listed ones. No we don’t have smart playlist on Engine. Also analyze function throws beat grids sometimes how ever it wants. If I create a new playlist I will go throught every song one by one to confirm those are okay. With denon decks you can really easily fix those also on live situation if everything is not correct. Aaaand if I have understood correctly, you can import your playlists from RB or Traktor etc. directly to engine. Haven’t tested that function yet by myself, but sooner or later I will. I definitely give 10 points and parrot mark for Denon in HW, but SW is still what it is. Hopefully in the future they will fix the problems.

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@uninen - Late to the party on this reply for sure, so disregard if you’ve already made a switch.

I find myself in a similar situation looking to switch my home studio and broadcast point to either PioneerDJ or DenonDJ as far as overall ecosystem. While they offer similar basic requirements (master eq’s, good mic preamps, solid phono preamps, etc) one is the “club standard” (at least in North America & UK) and the other is a bit new to the scene and won’t be as deployed in the wild.

I have played on PioneerDJ equipment quite thoroughly (CDJ’s, XDJ, DDJ, etc) and recently spent a couple hours on a Prime4 - honestly it was very refreshing, particularly the FX and the logic with which you apply them. Took a few minutes to adjust, but then the creativity went into overdrive.

I spent the next few minutes on it adjusting the screen how I wanted with a few glances at vertical VS horizontal waveforms and honestly couldn’t decide. It’s nice to have both (CDJ style or Serato style) for whichever you are coming from.

Not sure about yourself, but in my case I need to consider guest DJ’s being featured on my radio show and playing their set on the equipment as well and what their comfort level will be with any given platform. Another consideration of course is the software…

Engine Prime does not have a large development team behind it, which is the biggest issue. They do have quite a backlog but are earnestly chewing away at it. I don’t really think a milestone release is far off now in mid Feb 2020. Rekordbox however does have a bit of 3rd party integration capabilities via a moderately exposed API that can be utilized for front of house and back of house operations quite extensively.
I know that Armin does this for his ASOT festival productions as well as in his broadcast studio so quite useful. I hope that something like this is presented by Denon for Engine, but with the basic features they still need to polish and QA, I don’t see an API layer being documented and released anytime soon.

Hope this is helpful for anyone else as well who may be considering the two! The pro’s and con’s of the actual devices have been mercilessly documented on YouTube already :slight_smile:


I can explain my experience here.

I moved from Traktor to Denon and I was also doubting moving to Pioneer, but all the technical reviews I got to handle, end up whith the same conclusion: Hardware is way better for Denon but main problems and I confirm as a Denon user, is software and not being the standard.

Not being the standard is not a problem to me as I’m a mobile DJ. I understand this is a limitation for clubs, festivals etc where you need to be familiar with the equipment in place. But hey, even in that case you can learn to use both systems with a little of practice and having used Denon, I don’t feel Pioneer is doing much to retain his crown. He took the position, did it well, but I can tell you Denon developments are way better.

The real problem to me is the software then. But I was aware of the limitations before jumping and I can live with them. I tell you what and why: As commented here, the bpm and grid analysis is low quality. No software does it perfect for all the tracks. Not even record box, and it’s a common agreement that Traktor has the more accurate algorithm (still not perfect). I would say that if Traktor is 99% correct, Recordbox 97% and Engine 91% (no real numbers just an estimation). Knowing that, why I moved to Denon?: 1) This can be easily fixed when you are listening and creating hotcues and ratings and tags for your tracks and you should always relay in your ears for beatmaching 2) I was aware that Denon did a mayor investment buying a software company to improve his recognised weak link. So it’s a question of time that this will be fixed.

On the other hand, Engine has this limitations but has improvements not found in Pioneer ecosystem (with all the respect for Pioneer and their users, all of this is my real experience moving from Traktor and comparing objectively I think both systems before deciding). For example, Engine really reads every type of library and imports it! I can see all the options (Recordbox, iTunes, …) but si only tested Traktor and it’s amazing. It took all my old Traktor library with hotcues and it works perfectly. In fact what I do is analyse the new tracks with Traktor adding them to Traktor accurate system, and then I open Engine and refresh the integration with Traktor adding the new ones already analysed. It’s an extra step to me but it allows me to play with Traktor if I want or I need (in case Denon equipment is broken, stolen, repairing etc). Also, it has other software advantages:

I use Soundswitch (bought by Denon) to control DMX lights. It’s really integrated, easy, powerful and cheap !

I can plug a new track in my Denon Prime 4 without needing a previous analysis with a computer. It analysis on the fly! Of course not the best in class analysis yet but ey, you have it to be able to jump, use time based effects, etc. If I’m not wrong, with Pioneer you need to do it with Recordbox first.

And with Denon my equipment is directly connected to internet to download any track from Tidal, SoundCloud and soon Beatport. Yes, you can do this using Recordbox… but this means using a Computer for that in your set. Really? XXI century equipment should be internet ready I think.

I hope this is useful for someone. I was not a Pioneer or Denon guy before, defending my position. I moved from Traktor and I had the opportunity to review check and test before deciding, and that was my conclusion: Pioneer is great quality and it took a well deserved first position in the market, but at least today, the progress of Denon is much solid although they will have it tough to take Pioneer out of his chair.

Regards everyone!!


I went from Serato to Denon SC5000’s and the X1800 over a year ago and I haven’t looked back. The build quality and sound are top notch!

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So, I’m an old time user of DenonDJ equipment.
I started my DJ life in a time where there wasn’t even decent mixers, nor Denon DJ.
Vinyl was my one and only companion for many years and my first CD experience was on a DN-2000.
In 2004 I bought my first setup of Pioneer CDJ800 and kept mixing on CD until 2014, when I tried Serato and a controller for the first time.
Since then, I moved to Serato and made my setup of 2 x CDJ900NXS + Denon DN-X800 (mixer) and Denon DS1 Serato DVS interface.
About a month ago I bought a Denon DJ Prime 4 and, again, everything changed.
I had to convert my Serato Database to Engine Prime.
No big deal. Engine Prime does it quite well.
The only issue until now… I first configured Engine Prime to analyse files when importing from Serato.
Big mistake. I lost all my cue points.
Then I learned that I should do that turning off automatic analyse in Engine Prime.
It works like a charm.
Sometimes I use Prime 4 as standalone and sometimes as Serato controller.
I haven’t yet reached the full potential of Prime 4, but for now I’m really glad I moved from Pioneer CDJ900NXS to Prime 4.


Yes, it’s tricky. The weakest point, but wuoaaa It’s amazing. Did you try DMX controlling using Soundswitch? Impressive!!

No, as I use Avolites Titan One for light control and the interface is not supported by Soundswitch.

I honestly think :thinking: that it is equal now and could be huge in the future

Early adopter here , have a ser of sc5000 and never want anytjing else , came from traktor and then pioneer , never looked back , and i can still use my analysed tracks from rek.box in the prime system , top👍

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Im origanaly a vinyl dj but i started using a denon 6000 with my 1210s and trakor, it was allot of fun but its a pain taking a set up with you to a gig, i was regularly using a full nexus set up running super clubs for 5 years but couldnt afford it myself, i ended up getting the denon 8000, i got sick of laptop mixing (with controler) i now use engine 100% of the time and just dj from Usb sticks and vinyl. Engine is no where as good as rekord box, but the unit is a dream, its smooth and is basically the same thing. A big let down would be the faders break quick, 3 times on my 6000 and a crossfader on my 8000, to make it worse the motherboard on the 8000 blew just after the warrenty and denon wont fix denon products out of warrenty, so they said tough, after a year and over 20 companies i found one that would try and fix it, they did a fantastic job! got it back friday! over the moon, Electronic Partners in the Uk are the guys to go to for the high end denon products that need repair! Although i prefer Rekord box its still ok to use, ive just done an update so we will see what bugs have been fixed. If i had the money, id go with the nexus set up each time tho simply because its survived 5 years of gigs and is at most the gigs you will play, Hope this helps