This is the smallest and most portable of all Denon’s Prime series of DJ equipment. Not only is it compact, but this is also a complete standalone two-channel DJ system. It’s packed with features like a built-in computer, 7-inch screen, a rechargeable battery, and WiFi music streaming.
You can take this thing anywhere and put on a set at any time, or even stream your performance online. But does being the smallest and most affordable DJ console in the Prime lineup make it less desirable?
We decided to find out in our in-depth Denon DJ Prime Go Review and see if a portable standalone DJ system can stack up against its larger, more expensive counterparts.
As we said, this is the smallest of the Prime family measuring 16 inches (40 centimeters) wide by 11 inches (28 centimeters) deep. Even though this is a microsystem, it still somehow packs in nearly all the functionality of larger systems.
Dominating the system at the top and center is the 7-inch touchscreen. There are no shortcuts here; it is the same bright and vivid screen used in other Prime gear. It even includes the same multi-gesture controls.
Clever use of space…
Instead of the usual eight pads paired to each deck, this has been reduced to just four while also being shrunk in size. Normally located under the jog wheel, on this occasion, they have been placed on top. This design makes it one of the best portable DJ consoles you can find.
Dials for the EQ and gain are found above the pads in an unconventional horizontal layout. Starting from the left is a gray knob for level control, followed by three black knobs controlling lows, mids, and high frequencies.
Pick a side…
At the top of the unit on the left, you’ll find the effects controls. They consist of two smaller dials that adjust both FX Select and FX Time. The third larger knob labeled WET/DRY allows for setting the level from min to max. This is finished off with two assignment buttons to the right and an ON/OFF toggle switch under the FX Select dial.
Moving over to the right side is where levels can be adjusted for Mics, Booth, and Master. Starting on the left are two gray dials for Mic 1 and Mic 2 adjustments. It’s then followed by two black dials for Booth and Master levels.
Served up on a platter…
As you can imagine, the platters on this unit are minuscule at just 3.1 inches (7.9 centimeters). These are some of the smallest platters you’ll find on any controller currently. They are well constructed, giving a sturdy and responsive feel, though.
Below each platter are two metal buttons recessed into a rubber housing. These are the Cue and Play/Pause buttons, which feel solid and ready for regular use. The Play/Pause button is lit up with a surrounding LED.
To the right of the jog wheels are the pitch faders, also reduced to only 100mm. We love the inclusion of the pitch bend buttons below each slider for making minor adjustments. The volume and crossfaders feel adequate, with the volume faders offering a higher resistance.
At the rear of the unit, there is a range of inputs and outputs. These include Master, Booth, Auxiliary, two mic ports, two USB ports, and a Link port. You’ll also find a port for plugging in a power adapter, along with the main power button.
The first thing that we need to talk about that sets this system apart is the built-in rechargeable battery. After a full charge, you can enjoy up to around four hours of use anywhere you please. The size and weight allow you to easily set it on your lap or knee while traveling.
The other awesome portability feature is the built-in WiFi. You can easily log into streaming services such as Tidal, Soundcloud, Beatport Link, and Beatsource. This is all, of course, on top of your own collection via either USB or SD Card. The result is one of the best wireless DJ controllers available.
Versatile and highly compatible…
You can easily import tracks into the Engine OS on the fly from almost any other system. Compatible with files used in Rekordbox, Serato, Traktor, or even just a storage device filled with MP3s. Therefore, this could be one of the best Serato DJ consoles out there.
Rear outputs include both RCA and XLRs for the master out. This means that you can connect both consumer-grade and professional-grade speakers. This system is just as much at home in the bedroom as it is on the stage.
Using the glass-covered screen is an absolute joy. No matter whether searching for tracks, browsing through settings, or dialing in your effects, it is all a breeze. The touch controls are just as responsive as any smartphone on the market today.
Each of the menus is easy to navigate and can be done either through touch or using the knobs and buttons. Images are bright, vivid, and crystal clear. The only thing missing is a tilt adjustment, so you’ll find yourself looking over the unit a lot.
Running the Engine
As with all of Denon’s Prime series of equipment, it relies on the Engine Software package. It can organize, manage, and prepare your music. There is a basic layering function allowing you to play two tracks together and crossfade between them.
Spending time getting to know this software has a massive advantage, as it is filled with useful features. Sort your playlists, crates, edit song names and artists, add album art, even set cue and drop markers. Spending time will enable the perfect mix.
Simple and intuitive…
Once inside the Engine Software, hovering your mouse over an item will enable a pop-up box explaining that particular feature. This makes learning the system an easy and intuitive experience that encourages exploration.
Overall, the software is very clean and easy to navigate with simple menu systems and accessible options. Syncing your tracks from other software can be tedious. Although a firmware update could easily fix this.
Charging the Prime Go takes some time at around three hours. When you consider enough power is required for one of the best all in one DJ controllers, that’s not so bad. You can then use the device for between 3.5 to 4 hours off a full charge.
Inserting a USB stick with some tracks on it is read by Prime Go in only a matter of seconds. Track analysis is only completed when a track is then loaded into a deck. This takes about 15 seconds for a 5-minute track.
Information at your fingertips…
Once the analysis is completed, you are met with a huge range of track information on the screen. Information includes status, waveforms, sort, search, edit track details, push, plus more. Many of the functions can be completed using the onscreen keyboard.
Beatmatching can be performed using the sync function, which, let’s face it, most of us will now use. Manual beat matching is still possible through the use of the jog wheel and pitch fader without any problems.
Denon DJ Prime Go Review – Pros and Cons
- Compact and lightweight design with premium materials.
- Cleverly laid-out controls make the most of limited space.
- Analyze tracks on the fly without needing software.
- The beautiful 7-inch touchscreen is bright and responsive.
- Engine software is easy to use with intuitive features.
- The built-in rechargeable battery makes a complete DJ setup portable.
- The jog wheels are incredibly small even though functional.
- Pitch faders are short but once again still functional.
- Fewer controls and effects than larger systems.
- Auxiliary and microphone inputs lack a route to headphones.
- Engine Prime software could use a firmware update for library management.
Looking for Something Else?
Whether you are a DJ, musician, or audiophile, we have the gear you want. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Audio Mixers, the Best DJ Mixers, the Best Digital Audio Players, the Best Turntables Under $100, and the Best Turntables Under $300 you can buy in 2021.
You may also enjoy our comprehensive Denon DJ SC5000 Prime Review, our Denon DJ Prime 4 Review, our Best Hardware Sequencers Review, our Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable Review, and our BEHRINGER Audio Interface 4-Channel UMC404HD Review for more items currently available.
Denon DJ Prime Go Review – Final Thoughts
Can this system take the place of the larger standalone systems? Almost, but not quite. For hobbyists, this would be a fine system for learning the ropes. It uses all the same systems as its larger counterparts and is a superb way to familiarize yourself with them.
As a secondary device for professionals, this would be fantastic. You could practice your sets while traveling or even perform impromptu outdoor performances. Given its size and portability, this system is certainly impressive. The sound output and range of features Denon has somehow crammed into this tiny package are incredible.
So, until next time, may the music always make you move.