The Denon Prime 4 Plus is an exceptional DJ controller with a screen. This latest edition of the popular standalone controller adds a few new bells and whistles to what was already an outstanding package, and it still remains one of the leading choices for working DJs.
Denon Prime 4 Plus
The Denon Prime 4 Plus features a gigantic screen, which is ideal for a standalone controller. It also offers DJs an impressive range of connection options and performance features. A stand-out controller that both catches the eye and delivers on features.
There is a lot to discover when it comes to the Denon Prime 4 Plus with some notable updates on the original Prime 4 so let’s not waste any more time and dive into the nitty-gritty.
The central mixer is essentially the same as the original, with a few tweaks to what was already a highly capable mixer section. While it remains a little cramped, it still manages to still pack in a lot of features and does well to work within the available space.
The Denon Prime 4 Plus offers DJs 4 channels. Each channel offers crossfader assign options. Each channel also has a full 3-band EQ along with a gain knob. The Gain knob is a different color making it easy to distinguish it from the other knobs. Each channel also has level meters for you to keep an eye on track volume.
A dedicated Sweep FX knob is also present on each channel with the ability to assign one of four modes via the convenient buttons above the crossfader. You’ll have access to a standard Low/High Pass filter, Echo, Wash, and Noise.
The central mixer has everything you would expect from a premium DJ controller.
Speaking of FX at the top of each channel is two buttons for assigning FX from the two FX banks (I’ll cover these later in the review).
The center section also includes headphone volume along with a cue/master mix knob. You can Cue any of the channels to your headphones via dedicated Cue buttons above each channel fader. There is also a Split option if you prefer preparing your mixes in this way.
Master VU meters are also located on the central mixer to keep your master output levels in check. This is the first of several small tweaks Denon has made to the Prime 4 Plus. Gone is the old blue and green scheme, and in comes the more refined white/blue/orange color scheme. Above the master level meter are navigation controls. There is a dedicated knob for library browsing along with selection buttons.
While a little cramped, the mixer section still encourages a comfortable workflow.
The crossfader is appropriately loose for quick cuts and scratch routines. The crossfader is also replaceable for those who would like to install an alternate fader. You can also adjust the crossfader curve via the dedicated knob on the front panel. Plenty of flexibility to adjust to your preferred style of DJing.
Dominating the rest of the mixer is the large 10-inch screen. Since it is a standout feature I’ll cover it in more detail in a dedicated section below.
The Denon Prime 4 Plus manages to pack a lot into the mixer section. Especially when you consider how much space the screen takes up.
The Main Screen
Now, onto one of the biggest features of the Prime 4+ and likely what catches most people’s eyes when looking at DJ controllers. The screen on the Denon Prime 4 Plus is sublime. It’s a monstrous 10-inch screen that is hi-res and ultra-vivid. You can also adjust the viewing angle to your preference as well.
The screen doubles as both performance information and library management. In performance mode, you’ll see the waveforms of all 4 decks vertically, but you can opt for horizontal stacking if you prefer. In performance mode, you’ll also see your current playlist and have access to a range of performance-focused features.
The screen on the Prime 4+ is excellent. Large, bright, and touch-capable.
Library mode allows you to control your playlist and crates. You can search using a QWERTY keyboard and also sort it based on common parameters like BPM. Swiping tracks can add or remove them from a playlist. Similar functions to what I’ve seen on other controllers. But, on such a big screen, it feels more comfortable and not as cramped.
There is no denying the screen is a big draw for many DJs. With standalone capability, you can finally leave the laptop behind for your gigs. Even better due to the large screen you won’t find yourself squinting or hunching over to see what is going on.
Looking back on my original impressions of the Prime 4 it is obvious that this area has seen the most improvements in the updated Prime 4 Plus with one highly notable change that sets the Prime 4+ from the competition.
The fundamental Engine Prime OS is still the primary platform and opens up the full standalone capability. While initially, I wasn’t a huge fan of Engine DJ it has seen multiple improvements and updates and is now rapidly catching up to the established juggernauts that are Rekordbox and Serato DJ Pro.
A solid selection of compatible DJ platforms.
Speaking of Serato, the unit does unlock Serato DJ Pro in laptop mode. You can also use the Prime Four Plus with Virtual DJ, but you’ll need to pay for a license.
If you already use Rekordbox, Traktor, or Serato, you’re in luck. Engine DJ can import your existing libraries. While it can be a bit fiddly and works best with 3rd party plug-ins, it still is a good option. This makes the transition to Engine DJ much smoother.
The other standout feature is the extensive range of streaming platforms that the Denon Prime Four Plus is compatible with. The major one is Amazon Music Unlimited, which is the primary reason for the refresh. But it doesn’t end there. The Prime Four+ is also compatible with TIDAL, Beatport, Beatsource, SoundCloud GO+, and Dropbox.
Between all these options, you can access a staggering amount of music. A fantastic feature for open format DJs that have to often deal with requests. But it is also great for new DJs that do not have an established music collection.
The latest edition of this control also features Stem features. You’ll be able to split a song based on lyrics and instrumentals via simple buttons on the large screen. The quality of the stems isn’t amazing, but it is a starting point, and I’m sure future updates will continue to improve the quality of the separation. But as it stands, it does lag behind Virtual DJ and Serato DJ in terms of quality.
The Denon Prime 4 Plus also features a modest update to the jogwheels. They are still solid and capable 6-inch metal jogwheels, but there is a small increase in surface area. In practice, it doesn’t make a huge difference, but it is still a notable upgrade from the original model.
Included on the jogwheels is a small display screen. This can display music artwork or a logo of your choice. While this looks great and adds a layer of personalization, I’d have preferred to see some track info here, like what is available on some Pioneer DJ controllers. You can also alter the color of the ring on the touch capacitive jogwheels to suit your preference.
Solid jogwheels with customization options.
The jogwheels can also be set to both Slip or Vinyl mode, giving you access to both styles. Censor and Reverse mode is also available via a dedicated button. The left deck can handle either channel 1 or 3, while the right deck handles 2 or 4.
The pitch faders on the Denon Prime 4 Plus are long and accurate, with an excellent level of resistance that makes adjusting the tempo smooth and fluid. If you prefer, you can use the Sync button to automatically match your BPMs. The unit also has onboard beat grid controls, though Engine DJ is a lot better at getting beat grids right than it used to be.
Long and accurate pitch faders.
Key Lock and Key Sync are also available. This gives you the flexibility to either lock the key as you adjust tempo or match it to the other track that is playing. Locking the key is a critical part of harmonic mixing. Pitch bend buttons allow you to further manipulate the track on the fly for fine adjustments or pitching routines.
The Denon Prime 4 Plus has also seen an update to the performance pads. Gone are the RGB pads, and in their place is a set of black pads with a slimline color indicator. This gives the unit a more refined and professional appearance and is a welcome change.
Each deck offers 8 pads per deck. These pads activate and control a variety of performance features. There is nothing new or innovative with the pad modes on offer, but what is there will be ample for most DJs. But there are other DJ controllers out there with a broader range of available pad modes.
The Denon Prime 4+ offers a decent range of performance pad features.
You can set and recall Hot Cues with the first Pad mode. The second Pad mode opens up Loop controls with Auto Loop also available via the Shift key. If you are already familiar with using pads for loops, you’ll feel right at home.
A Roll, Sampler, Slicer, and Slicer Loop round out the performance pad options. These allow you to remix on the fly with quantized-locked track manipulation features.
This is one area that Denon has well and truly delivered. There is an extensive range of connection options available.
Master output options include both a balanced XLR and an unbalanced RCA option. This will allow you to connect to a wide range of systems. Taking it further is a balanced XLR booth output. But it doesn’t end there. A third XLR connection is available as a Zone Output.
The Denon Prime 4+ offers controls over the master output above the right-hand FX section. Here you can alter the master volume. You can also alter the Booth volume with the added benefit of a 2-band EQ for fine-tuning the sound in the booth.
A large selection of connections gives you full freedom and flexibility.
Zone control is another quality feature. It allows you to assign one of the 4 channels to play out of the zone output. This is perfect for a set playlist for a separate room. For example, if you are playing at a wedding venue you can have a certain playlist for outside or the bar. This is all separate from your main performance.
Both ¼ inch and ⅛ inch headphones are compatible with a port for both types on the front panel. You won’t need any adapters for your headphones.
Two microphone options are also available on the Prime 4 Plus. Both of these are TRS/XLR combo jacks, giving you plenty of choices. Control over the microphones sits above the left-hand side FX section. It features on/off buttons, 3 3-band EQ for Mic 1, a 2-band EQ for Mic 2, and, of course, level controls.
Extra features are also included with the ability to assign an echo FX. You can apply this to one or both microphones. A dedicated knob controls the intensity of the effect. Finally, a talkover button will lower the master output whenever the microphone is in use.
The Prime 4 Plus also has an extensive range of Input options.
There are also multiple USB ports available. Two on the back and two on the top panel for connecting media. The top panel also includes an SD slot if you prefer. There is also another USB port for connection to your computer or laptop. Plus, you can also install a SATA drive with a dedicated slot. A testament to the all-in-one nature of the Prime 4+.
Four Line In RCA options rounds out the connection options with two Line/Phone and two Line. This supports connecting of external gear like turntables or CDJs. The front panel allows you to switch between these sources or the digital source.
The Prime 4 Plus has all types of DJs and setup combinations covered.
Located above each deck is a dedicated FX section. The FX selection has recently received a boost thanks to the latest Engine DJ update. There is an extensive range of options available, and it is quick and easy to select them with the FX select knob with a small display showcasing the currently selected option.
The Denon Prime 4 Plus has 2 banks of FX controls with excellent control features.
The other knobs control the parameters of the FX, frequency, and wet/dry mix. This gives you excellent granular control over your FX. All this information is available on the mini monochromatic screens via easy-to-read bars. It’s an excellent way to condense the info in a logical and useful fashion.
The new Touch FX feature is a heap of fun to use.
The new update also brought with it Touch FX. You can now manipulate FX via an XY pad on the massive 10-inch screen. Slide from right to left to increase or decrease beat divisions or up and down for parameter control. It’s fun to use and gives a very tactile experience to FX manipulation.
If you like to add FX to your sets, the Denon Prime 4 Plus gives you a plethora of options.
The Denon Prime 4 Plus gives you a good selection of looping controls. Besides the pad loop modes, there is a dedicated loop section to the side of each jogwheel. Here, you can set manual loops via the In/Out buttons. A very familiar way of setting a loop that is practically universal across controllers.
Using the rotary dial for loops is fantastic.
There is also an option for Auto Loop. This works like how Traktor controllers operate. You use the scroll to select your loop length and then press it to activate the loop. This loop length displays on both the main screen and the jogwheel screen.
If you want to move the loop, you’ll need to hold down the Shift key and then turn the knob. It would have been great to see another knob for this function. Either way, it’s a natural way of activating and managing your loops, and I’m glad it’s here. It’s also a feature I’d like to see on my controllers moving forward.
The Denon Prime 4 Plus is not a small unit. 4 channels and a monstrous screen do result in a large footprint. But it still isn’t overly cumbersome to the point where it would be a hassle to take to a gig.
It’s worth noting that the screen protrudes beyond the top when folded down.
Despite weighing in at 21.34 lbs. (9.68 kg), it’s not the most uncomfortable controller to transport but certainly not a travel-friendly choice. I do recommend you invest in a case to protect the screen when you are taking it to and from your gigs.
Build Quality & Design
The build quality of the Denon Prime 4 Plus is fantastic. Metal components add heft to the device and it doesn’t feel cheap like most entry-level controllers feel.
The jogwheels are also great though if you are a scratch DJ there are some other controllers on the market that can offer better jogs. The faders and knobs are all top-notch. All the pads and buttons are also superb and I especially like the move to rubberized Play and Cue buttons.
The Prime 4 Plus features a superb glow-up over the previous model.
The original Prime 4 was an attractive DJ controller but it was also divisive. Some found the heavy use of blue and green excessive and to a certain degree I’m inclined to agree.
This refreshed model now offers a much more sophisticated look and brings it in line with Denon’s more recent offerings. I also love the move away from glossy finishes, as they are fingerprint magnets.
The original Denon Prime 4 was extremely popular, and considering the new Prime 4+ retains everything that was great about the original and adds extra features, I have no doubt it will be just as popular. Early reviews are already praising this superb piece of DJ gear.
The Benefits Of Screens
For the longest time DJ controllers needed a connected laptop or PC to function. This disconnect between your gear is something that often puts traditional DJs off.
With the addition of screens and standalone systems, there is finally an alternative. This is especially important for the average working DJ who plays events like weddings. You can prepare your tracks and rock up at the gig without your laptop.
With standalone systems, you can leave the laptop at home or off to the side as a backup.
You establish a deeper connection with your gear when mixing without a laptop. While some DJs have become familiar with working with both there is a liberating feeling when you can focus on your gear.
One of the main drawbacks of screens on controllers is eye strain. Decoding information on small screens can be challenging. Having a good-sized screen that is hi-res alleviates these issues, and that is exactly what the Denon Prime 4 Plus offers.
If you want to experience a more connected DJ experience I highly recommend you try a DJ controller with screens. You may find it’s just too hard to go back to your previous controller and laptop combination.
If you are looking at standalone controllers with screens there are some solid alternatives available. Here are some other picks for you to consider.
Pioneer XDJ RX3 Review
The Pioneer XDJ RX3 comes with a large screen that is comparable to the Prime 4 Plus. With a solid selection of performance features and crisp integration with Rekordbox.
- Excellent 10.1-inch screen with horizontal waveforms.
- Industry-standard layout making it easy to adapt or move onto club gear.
- Capable of both standalone mode and playing with a laptop.
Pioneer XDJ RX3
Rane One Review
If you don’t really need a controller with screens the Rane One is an excellent alternative. It is targeted towards DJs that want to focus on scratching and stay focused on their gear.
- Motorized platters that simulate the feel of turntables.
- Excellent built quality with metal components.
- A more portable unit than the Prime 4 Plus.
Pioneer OPUS-QUAD Review
If you want to step into the Pioneer ecosystem the OPUS-QUAD offers a feature-rich 4-channel experience. With a unique design aesthetic it’s also a very different-looking controller.
- Full standalone 4-channel controller from the leading DJ gear manufacturer.
- A total of three screens grants you total access to all critical information.
- The price tag is exceptionally high compared to the Prime 4+.
Pioneer DJ OPUS-QUAD
Should You Buy?
There is a lot to love about the updated Denon Prime 4 Plus. The large screen is still an eye-catcher and very easy to use. A solid selection of integrated features adds to the appeal.
Denon continues to push the boundaries, and the regular updates to the Engine DJ platform have helped it overcome what I saw as the major hurdle for the original Prime 4. I’m also excited to see how the Stem functionality evolves over time.
The Denon Prime 4 Plus retains everything that was superb about the original and now offers a more mature aesthetic and the most comprehensive streaming compatibility of any DJ controller. In my eyes, it retains its crown as the ultimate DJ controller for mobile DJs.
Denon Prime 4 Plus