Sc5000 Prime Audio quality (since 1.3.1 / In the future)

Hey everyone!

I just bought my first sc5000 a few days back… I would like to know what you guys think about the sound quality / potential for future sound quality of these units. The small room size of my studio makes it difficult for me to make proper sound test and I am holding off before buying my 2nd sc5000 to make sure that this is the choice for me. I have already read a lot in the forums but a lot of the graph / terms I dont fully comprehend. This is a large investment for me and I want to make sure im going in the right direction. Just to clarify Im a sound enthusiast so for me having proper sound is very important. Please let me know what u guys think It will be super appreciated!!

To make this clear here are my questions

  1. How would you rate the sound quality as it is right now? (1.3.1)

  2. What about in 1-2 years after more firmware updates what is the potential?

thanks!

It sounds great now that the new firmware is in. It need no further improvements as far as human ears go.

If anyone at your event EVER stops dancing and runs up to you waving an audio spectrum print out and a load of useless microscopic numbers with dozens of decimal places then… well then, the world then, is a far different place to the world today ! :wink:

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I expected more sound quality improvement than we’ve gotten thus far, but at the time I didn’t know InMusic was working on the Prime 4 or WiFi support. That’s a lot they’ve been doing behind the scenes. I found out about those like everyone else did on the forum. They’ve had a big work load, so I understand audio processing quality might not be top on the list.

I also made it clear to those on the forum that the high-frequency roll-off was causing less of the sonic attributes people were complaining about on the players than the limiting, 100X the intermodulation distortion of the industry standard, or the (apparently) nonlinear distortion harmonics at just -30dB down. I wish users had done more to emphasize the rest of the sound other than just the roll-off, but they didn’t. I anticipated the risk of getting just a little less treble roll-off and then an unjustified contentment. We have more high frequencies, but everything else remains and probably we have some aliasing echo and/or quantization distortion that’s gotten worse… that’s sort of the point of an early, aggressive roll-off to prevent that stuff. You don’t do a big roll-off in audio DSP for your health or as an accident. If you don’t totally revamp the processing and instead just increase the highs, you get more of that other stuff. But as I said, InMusic’s been focusing on other things, so the delay in more sonic improvements is completely understandable.

I believe this is all just sound processing software and not some defect of hardware. The industry standard does not resample everything in their players, rather, each file is processed at its own native sample rate. Even the SPDIF rate changes depending on the loaded track on models that support over 48khz sampling rate. In contrast, the SC5000 outputs always at 96khz and yet still rolls off 44.1khz files a little bit even in v1.3.1, which is strange. The current SC5000 processing we have is substantially lossy and degraded compared to the original file. I can imagine a variety of methods InMusic can use to improve the SC5000’s sound further and, in my opinion, it is necessary to achieve even the potential of hesitation-free widespread high-end club adoption, let alone actual.

At the present time with less-revealing mixers and with less demanding material (less-busy, less compressed, more dynamic, more minimalist music) it’s good enough to any ears on any system taken by itself without A-B comparison. However, on large, very expensive sound systems, with more demanding content, and/or compared back-to-back with the industry standard, then it becomes readily apparent, in my opinion, that it’s currently trailing behind sonically unless you’re doing something like key lock ON with -20% pitch… where such an extreme use-case puts Prime in the lead.

If you plan on always using key lock, having no regard for extreme negative pitch fader use, and changing keys any way you want, even if you’re using the SC5000’s on the best sound systems and with the most “busy” and dense of music, I don’t think it’s worth dropping Prime just because it’s not the ultimate fidelity yet. Moving key and pitch around willy nilly makes you the perfect user of Prime. If you’re not quite in that category and in more of a gray area, that’s a judgement call you’ll have to make whether to wait and see.

Though InMusic has not given any assurances this will be addressed in the future, I presume it will be, especially when they just expanded into New Zealand with the express purpose of working on the Prime coding, both on the players and Engine Prime.

I also expect many users to come on here and tell you it does not need to be improved further. So you will get a variety of perspectives with which to make your decision.

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Hahaha you just made my day! :raised_hands:t3:

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While I’d certainly not turn down improved audio if it came without compromise, the resources of both Denon and the hardware itself are very much finite. Meanwhile, the to-do list grows ever longer.

I’ve just received my SC5000Ms and have yet to put them through anything particularly high-end before they become my primary setup but I expect they should be pretty good for the task ahead.

Looking back, I’ve plugged all kinds of controllers, (Vestax, NI & Pioneer) that audiophiles would no doubt consider “toys”, into the sound systems at Ministry of Sound and other big clubs and not once did the crowd (or even techs) reach for a clipboard.

Give me an intuitive, responsive live performance interface & great library management. Give me reliability and a well-supported ecosystem that’s continuously enriching itself. Give me tools and interoperability that expand my ability to perform with sound, light and video in very real-world tangible terms. Make it elegant, smart and a joy to use. That’s the direction I want Denon to continue to push their resources in. That’s the (partially-fulfilled) promise of Prime and the way to market differenciation.

Once all the potential in all those areas is fulfilled (2135 A.D) and they’re out of ideas, then I’d start caring about throwing considerable resources at improving the real-world sound quality from 9/10 to a subjective 9.2/10!

(That’s not to poo-poo @Reticuli 's well considered discussion, It was an interesting read and he is obv. more familiar with the audio quirks of the units than I currently am. Maybe my opinion will evolve with use. I would also like Denon to focus on perfecting the core foundational stuff, as much as, if not more than adding features that sizzle. There needs to be balance)

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Thanks for the reply, your point of view is definitely interesting. I have to admit that being able to move around in my library so easily is something very refreshing for me, it give me the opportunity to play from a wider range of tracks. Thats one of many thing that the sc5000 does very well in my opinion!

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I always try to make someone’s day. This time, it was your turn :smile:

A good few years back, I used to work in a hi-if separates audiophile shop. The sort of place where an amplifier was actually a “ pick & mix “ of the customer choosing their perfect power supply for the amp, their perfect input selector control box, their perfect power amplifier and even their perfect mains power plug to IEC connector and that’s even before you get into the mains power filter blocks, oxygen free copper cables, multi strand speaker cable versus solid core speaker cable.

It all boils down to this- once you get past a certain point - a 50rand cable doesn’t sound any better to even a pair of amazing ears, than a 25rand cable.

If I ever get to the point of being nerdish about the tiny numbers, then I’ll take the stance that DJing isn’t for me. Thankfully I ain’t there yet.

I agree. The Standalone UI is already head and shoulders above the competition. (Though Engine Prime/BPM detect etc continues to have much greater scope for improvement)

My 5am comment may not have been phrased all that clearly but I was essentially saying this is where Denon is on it’s way with and has the greatest potential to stand out from the crowd. At this stage in the life cycle, I’d rather they double down and go full steam ahead in this direction, making quantifiable improvements with their finite resources rather than throw considerable time and energy into small sound quality improvements that could be far more subjective/diminishing returns.

Every user is going to have different priorities and I respect that. I’m just more interested in fun, elegant, expressive laptop free performance tools than audiophile sound quality. If we can have our cake and eat it, then great!

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Thank you for you detailed response it is very appreciated!!

I had to go back and A/B it with the older firmware and different files to hear any improvement. It’s better but sometimes it sounds like it has the Dolby NR button pushed in.

Agreed, like it’s smeared or something. Still a little roll-off, but there’s more going on detrimental to the sound quality from the processing than just that.

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Everyone is saying that denon has potential. Only I do not want to wait for these improvements in a year or two. Because in two years it will change consoles for something else if I have to listen to a hopeless sound. They deal with ■■■■. Sound file analysis should be in the first place. I think that the denon has very average sound. Unfortunately, I am already sentenced to denona for the next two years. If nothing improves here, I return to the pioneer.

InMusic would have to make those promises of both further audio processing quality improvements and not planning to scrap the current models if they want to effectively change minds on this subject for those with reservations. All I can do is ask people to heart the feature request thread on the topic…

https://denondjforum.com/t/improve-audio-processing-quality/