In the stand alone market today if you want the best of the best there really is only two contenders for that crown – the Pioneer DJ XDJ-XZ or the Denon DJ Prime 4. To put them to the test we asked our in house DJ to put them through their paces and score them on the following rounds;
- Software Integration
Each of these getting a mark out of ten to decide what he feels in his opinion is the better unit (again purely on opinion)
Round 1 – Looks
When comparing the XDJ-XZ to the Prime 4 there is one big standout on the looks side for the Prime 4 – the screen that towers out of the unit beckoning you into it. On the XDJ-XZ you are greeted with what is essentially a pair of CDJ-2000NXS2 & DJM-900NXS2 bolted together with sleek lines and a familiar look that DJ’s will know and love. The Prime 4 features more RGB style colouring which brings you a somewhat “flashier” look but without compromising on the quality.
Prime 4: 9/10
On this round purely from the familiar look the XZ just edges it over the Prime 4.
Round 2 – Design
Design is key to making any DJ standalone unit a success, as it would be your only port of call either at home, in a studio or even out on the road at a gig. To that end the Pioneer’s CDJ style look and design cues give it a big helping hand to those coming cold to it. On the other side of the fence the Denon Prime 4 is coming up fast with a similar CDJ-esque stylisation which makes it more than familiar to the most ardent Pioneer DJ user.
Prime 4: 9/10
A complete dead heat in this one as the design couldn’t be split as both were equally as good to work with.
Round 3 – Usability
For this round both units were equipped with identical USB sticks and used for an equal amount of time which was a 2-hour set on each unit in our showroom.
The XDJ-XZ as expected didn’t let you down with rock solid behaviour as expected from the USB side with the unit not even dropping a beat when really pushed in the 2-deck mode with no dropouts or music failures what so ever with the workflow exactly the same as a CDJ-2000NXS2 which our tester was accustomed to.
The Prime 4 which like the XZ did not miss a beat with perfection in terms of performance again thanks to the fantastic processor but with added options from Engine OS such as the Wi-Fi integration to allow Dropbox usage. For our tester he remarked that these features weren’t useful to him at the time but can see how they will slowly take over the DJ landscape.
Prime 4: 8.5/10
The only reasoning that the XZ won that round was due to the streaming side not being needed personally – otherwise it's a dead heat.
Round 4 – Software Integration
This round is where these two differ wildly due to the approaches taken by Pioneer DJ & Denon DJ.
The XZ fully unlocks Rekordbox 6 (for PC/Mac) so can be used with USB sticks (in standalone) or as a controller (with USB cable) which allows a seamless transition. It also fully unlocks Serato DJ Pro which can be used in conjunction with a USB stick on the unit at the same time – allowing for a failsafe option in a live environment.
The Prime 4 runs Engine OS – which has been created by Denon DJ to compliment Engine Prime for PC/Mac which allows for seamless integration of tracks between laptop and device. The unit can also read Rekordbox USB’s right away without any issues whatsoever alongside the SSD tray in the base of the unit. The Prime 4 also is compatible with Serato DJ Pro and Virtual DJ – with brilliant integration with one caveat is that the unit has to be power cycled to jump between modes.
Prime 4: 9.1/10
The only reason the Prime 4 slightly edges this is due to the SSD options but with the draw back of having to power cycle the unit for mode switching but apart from that it is super tight between the two.
Round 5 – Price
In this arena of DJ equipment these units are very much north of £1500 with the Prime 4 running you in at £1729.99 and the XZ coming in at £2049. Overall though, you do get a bit more bang for the buck with the Prime 4 than the XZ due to the 4 channels of playback being readily available.
Prime 4: 9.5/10
To bring matters to a head. These both represent the next generation of standalone DJ equipment which as of yet has not been surpassed. The choice of the two units is completely a subjective one as traditionalists would choose the XZ whilst the technological type would choose a Prime 4.
The only caveat to this is the availability of these units – as at the time of writing both are in short supply due to the electronics shortage that has been compounded by the pandemic.
As a result for our tester – he would personally pick the XZ by the narrowest of margins as splitting hairs the Serato integration was the deal breaker for him but does love the technological work on the Prime 4.
Prime 4: 45.1/50