RX2 vs Prime 4 Pros & Cons

Hi Denon Prime Team and users,

I made a long meandering video of me noodling with these two systems and pitting them head to head.

I think both systems are great, I decided to stick with the RX2, because I found it too troubling to maintain both the Engine Prime and Rekordbox libraries. If I was primarily a Serato user, I’d probably have gone with the RX2, but since I’m Pioneer NXS2 user it is much easier for me to stick with the RX2, not too mention, when I went to go use my USB that I plugged into the Prime 4, it didn’t work in my NXS2 after, which actually forced me to reformat my USB to get it working right. That said, I think the Prime 4 is a great piece of hardware with a few minor nitpicks, while the software seems like it has more opportunities for improvement.

Here’s a list of Pros/Cons of both systems that are covered in the video… things I think Denon should keep and improve, and maybe some ideas they can pirate from Pioneer. These are my personal opinions, so I’m sure others may agree/disagree.

Pioneer XDJ RX2 Pros

  • Very easy to use layout and dialed in user experience for DJs
  • Solid/Mature Software for library management and track analysis
  • Durable unit with no easy to damage parts
  • Plenty of hard and soft cases available
  • Physical buttons for track tagging/preparation, sorting, navigation
  • Pretty decent jog wheel
  • Color waveforms with different colors indicating highs/mids/lows
  • Tracks still visible when navigating library
  • Similar layout to a Pioneer NXS2 system with some compromises
  • Color/Sweep FX have parameter adjustments

Pioneer XDJ RX2 Cons

  • No EQ for Effects
  • Low quality color display with low refresh rates means zoomed in tracks scroll almost like a flip book
  • No “Jog Adjust” that lets you change the resistance on the jog wheel from light to heavy
  • Beat Jump limited to 8 beats (2 bars)
  • Only supports Rekordbox software, no Serato/Traktor support
  • Quarter inch outputs for booth, not XLR

Denon Prime 4 Pros

  • Beautiful high refresh screen
  • Adjustable display angle (saves my back and neck from straining)
  • Plenty of effects (14) with many levels of customization including EQ (also you can have two different effects cue’d up and switch between them on the same channel or use the effect on multiple channels)
  • Smartphone/Tablet style of user interface and library navigation/sorting
  • Excellent loop and beat jump controls with a max beat jump of 64 beats (17 bars)
  • The pitch control feels like a Technics 1200 pitch slider, extremely smooth and easy to dial in
  • XLR outputs for Main, Booth, ans Zone outputs
  • The option to install a 2.5" solid state hard drive or read from USBs and SD cards
  • With Key Lock turned off, the Prime 4 dynamically adjusts the key when you adjust the pitch
  • Quickly analyzes plugged in media and loads it to the decks
  • Can play up to 4 tracks at once
  • Planned Serato Integration

Denon Prime 4 Cons

  • The Jog Wheels are pretty loose and require a very light touch
  • The Sweep/Color FX do not have a parameter adjustment knob
  • The layout of the screen is a bit distracting, with the library in the middle, would rather it only show tracks when mixing (personal preference) or have the library on one side and the tracks on the other (suggested layouts https://i.imgur.com/cRZIUpO.jpg)
  • Waveforms aren’t as easy to read as Serato/Rekordbox where very different colors indicate lows/mids/highs
  • The crossfader is good and quick, but the channel faders have a lot of resistance, requiring more force for quick cuts
  • The hardware is more easy to break with the protruding adjustable screen on the back and rotary knob on the front. Would only recommend a hard case with this item.
  • Lack of buttons means more eyes on focus to manage items on the screen, and prepared/tagged crate/list doesn’t have a quick access button
  • When in the library view, track outline not visible
  • Engine Prime software is a bit less refined than Rekordbox and conversion is not as simple as advertised, with built in key/bpm analysis overriding existing information, the purchase of DECU (a $35 add-on @ https://sellfy.com/p/Y06n/) is necessary to maintain nested playlists and other tag data from Rekordbox
  • Not fond of the covers over the USB ports
  • You can’t use the effects on the Master/Mic channels

Other thoughts on the Prime 4:

  • The audio appeared to cut in and out when I was spinning the jog wheels too fast. In fairness, this is not how I would be using the gear, but wondering if it means that it would cut out if I was performing. Also the pitch stuck once when I was moving the pitch sliders and it caught up after a few seconds.
  • Would have preferred the “Stop time/Braking speed,” “Quantize,” and “Continous/Single” track play were also accessible in the “Settings” area
  • Would have loved quicker access to the “Prepare” list on the the RX2 where there is a Tagged list button

The only cons I have is the with the platters, they’re extremely sensitive and no brake, no option to change the sensitivity.

I also find as I’m mxing where I place my hands on the deck I’m constantly accidentally turning the X fader contour knob.

There could be a faster way to acces other storage by changing the eject button to bring you straight to the source screen… and incorporating eject icons or swipe to eject there. Other than that it’s better than a Pioneer in every way.

Engine Prime needs a bit of work, but works pretty well.

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I think your video should have been titled “My first look at the Prime 4 next to the RX2”. You seemed to be exploring and learning about the product as you were recording this video and along with some great points and suggestions, you expressed some false information as well. The audio issue you experienced was probably related to the plastic film on the platter or whatever FX you left on (that’d be my guess).

Don’t take this the wrong way, as a person who doesn’t own a Prime 4 (yet), I do appreciate the time you put in and the info you shared but I don’t think it was accurate enough as a whole to post because I caught a lot of your misinformation but someone who may not already know this product will be mislead.


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I also felt that some of the opinions, especially the negative ones about the Prime 4 were indeed based upon months or years of usage of the other model. Which explains why the layout and flow felt different on the new model and more “familiar” on the older unit

It wasn’t completely a first look. I had it for about a week and had messed with it on and off for a few days when I had time. I did my best to correct any misinformation stated within the video with text overlay on the video. This wasn’t a professional review by any means, but more of just a DJ rambling while screwing around with gear. I didn’t have time to record a second time with my schedule (I work 6 days a week), otherwise I probably would have gone through it a second time to do a smoother review that wouldn’t require the overlays. I’m not an experienced youtube reviewer. I’m just a regular gigging DJ and that’s where my perspective comes from. I actually had the RX2 for less time than I had the Prime 4, it’s just the layout is very familiar for anyone using CDJ2000s, which is likely where my bias plays a part. However, it something to take into account if you are someone that regularly gigs with Pioneer gear. There is going to be a learning curve, and there are going to be somethings that don’t work right off the bat when switching systems. As someone that wanted to go back and forth between these two systems, it’s a bit more of a challenge.

Also, just a little more background… I never intended to pick up the XDJ RX2… I actually got it because I had initially intended to use the Prime 4 for a mobile gig, and between the time I got it and the time I had to do the the gig, I couldn’t get it running well enough for me to trust myself to give a proper performance. I had 2 gigs the same day, and I was hoping to use the Denon for the day gig, and my NXS2 system in the evening. But then the engine prime software caused an issue with my usbs making it unreadable in my pioneer system, I wasn’t able to view my playlists properly, the track analysis looked off for many tracks, and the hot cues/metadata I wanted to use wasn’t showing up. So I actually ran over to a guitar center the morning of my gig, picked up the RX2 while my computer formatted and rewrote my library to the USBs.

As for the audio issue being related to the plastic film. It definitely was not. I had the song in loop and it was showing the song spinning on the display, so audio should have never cut out. Like I did mention in my pros/cons above though, it wasn’t a realistic situation which is why I wrote up the pros/cons afterward and included them in the subnotes of the video. I should have just edited that part out though since it came off more negative than I really felt overall, which was generally pretty positive. I actually did have a real hard time making up my mind which system would have been better for me. Ultimately it came down to what do I already do for library management and issues with USBs getting messed up by the Denon system. For someone that plans to flip back and forth between systems regularly, I saw this as a potential problem, however another DJ brought up, I should just maintain two sets of usbs for each system. Frankly that’s too much work for me on top of what I already have going on in life, so I decided to pass and go the easier route. (Also, Denon really needs to and a tension adjustment for the jog wheels, they are looser than a…)

That is simply not possible. The RekordBox database is loaded one time as read-only to import into a new Engine database in a separate folder on the drive. Not even the music files are changed.

The review appears objective and balanced when I skimmed through it.

I feel HID support for all the major software should have been there from day 1 for all the prime gear…why? at least folks will have a familiar system to work with whilst getting their head around the prime ecosystem and also waiting for maturity of Engine prime.

I’ve owned the 5000s for approx 2 years and I still feel like I’m waiting for an update.

I have no loyalty to any manufacturer. I use what best suits my workflow as a gig demand.

On the hardware side the Denons are the best out there currently…but software and ease of use of current software is still a work in progress.


I don’t know what to tell you other than my USB got borked with using Engine Prime and the Prime 4. If it works the way you say, I agree it shouldn’t have happened, but something did happen, and it cost me a few hours and a bit of stress to get myself back in working order.

All makes sense @Dity and totally understand your predicament. From what I saw on your video, I agree with you on the jog wheel; too much play for sure.

As for the video, maybe I just expected a more detailed comparison of both systems but either way thanks for not taking my comments the wrong way. The Prime 4 seems like the best system out there right now when comparing price and features but as you wisely pointed out, for someone as busy as you, it might be a challenge if the transition to Engine Prime is not seamless.

I’m still contemplating getting one for home/fun use :grin:

Best, Shain