Just a little background. I took a chance on the SC5000 players this week with a really amazing deal, and I want to send a huge thanks to Denon for that. My opinions here are based off CDJ 1000Mk2’s, Rane MP2014 as my DJ setup with intermixed sequencers both hardware and Ableton 10. I also mix with Super OEM Hanpin Turntables and use Technics often. It is all mixed into mains and sound cards with a Yamaha 16 channel mixer. I use both Monitors and Active PA speakers. Although not super expansive this setup offers a lot of versatility for me. I really want to put this out there just to give Denon feedback and offer my experience in researching issues and concerns with the sc5000 in comparison to a lot of other hardware and software.
So here we go:
Sound Quality - Yes, compared to the CD running in a CDJ1000mk2 the high frequency is rolled off. But, this is not entirely a negative. You have to think that any environment you play in will most likely have a house mixer that is mixed to that space. Even the active or Passive PA setup you use will color the sound. This is Denon’s sound profile and it will evolve.They sound great; Mix the music to your space and there is no issue. Will they sound different next to another player, they sure will. Have you ever seen a mix of players in a live event on the same mixer? This is a developed system that is built to play nice together. It would be nice to have some options for adjusting this profile for different environments. Sound engineers probably do not have any issues mixing these into mains.
BPM, Platter feel and Nudge - This one threw me for a loop the first few days and created a lot of anxiety with my purchase until I put in the work to practice. There is some discussion about pitch resolution, drift, nudging and feel. So here is what my experience was. I started by setting a nudge sensitivity that felt comfortable to me in preferences, this is important to experiment with. It feels consistent in both directions, yes frequencies sound different speeding them up or slowing them down. And the anatomy of your hands also plays a part here. This is normal operation in my experience. No, the BPM number on the player does not match the exact setting of the pitch. This is true for all players and the .05 resolution does not make a difference. Denon included an extremely helpful piece of information on the display next to the BPM. It is the pitch percentage. Once you get the tracks close use the percentage to fine tune the bpm. Use your ears and practice with the ranges. I also would like to request an adjustment for the pitch bend feel, this would be extremely helpful. If Denon could make a few more preferences available to fine tune the feel and help users find these settings with documentation and tutorials, they would be doing a great service to the DJ community. Also the dead zone at 0% is 3mm longer on the negative side, this could cause some annoyance but only time will tell on that.
My final thought on the player is fantastic hardware. They feel alive, warm and unique. Today was my break through moment concerning the feel with the pitch and I no longer have worries. Traktor feels like a dead robot anymore with flat mixes and outdated sound. And in my experience pioneer gear sounds sharp, cold and flat. But for their system built around reverb and delays, this profile works. What I have seen so far is InMusic and Denon teams listening to users and professionals. Keep up the good work, open some more preferences to fine tune the feel and you have a historically great product on your hands. It will be some time before I get the 1800 mixer, but the players feel great with the Rane MP2014. They sound and feel great mixing into everything I throw at them.
I hope some other new users will post here with their experience. I do not care about the technical stuff like graphs and pitch numbers. Lets keep this about the feel of the hardware. I will adapt, practice and make music, at this time I can do that with the Denon SC5000.