New ZOG DJ platform – the Linux based DENON PRIME GO all in one DJ player.
After some recent unreliability while playing some otherwise amazing sets that I could not nail down to the laptop, cables, power, software or other variables (it’s real difficult to troubleshoot intermittent issues that mainly appear “on stage” but not in the studio), I decided to switch it up a bit by moving to a compact all in one DJ device.
The compact battery powered form factor also suits the recent off-grid, portable / battery operated underground party direction the scene has been moving in these “socially distanced” times, with no compromise on sound or build quality.
This little box is all new to me, but so far it has been great:
- great sound quality, XLR balanced outputs
- battery powered with long battery life.
- compact size, but still very usable.
- The ENGINE DJ software seems very stable and quite usable with the 7″ touch screen, nice and minimal “get the job done, nothing extraneous” interface.
- the smaller EQ/gain knobs in “non standard” locations are a bit easy to accidentally bump, though I’m getting used to them.
- no per channel metering, only the master out has metering.
- per channel fx, including the sweep FX filter, do not show up in the headphone cue.
- the ENGINE DJ software for extended crate management needs an Apple Mac or Microsoft Windows to work. This is not absolutely needed but it makes managing lots of music a lot easier.
- I had to use Rekordbox as an intermediate to get my crate and playlist info imported from Linux/MIXXX, as ENGINE DJ will import Rekordbox XML files. It does not import m3u “standard” playlist files..
- Although under the hood the ENGINE DJ OS itself is Linux, and using a large open source base of libraries and applications to build on, the ENGINE DJ software itself is closed source and only has Apple Mac and MS-windows desktop releases besides the “firmware” of Linux based releases for Denon/Numark devices. There are a number of open source tools that work on the ENGINE DJ data files, as these are sqlite database files that are easy to read with common open source tools.. but the platform and software would flourish more if the community could extend it, which is the whole point of the open source ecosystem that the DENON ENGINE software builds upon.
I initially had a firmware issue with this on my first attempt to upgrade, but the most recent release of the software fixed this.
There is some minor stuff with the change to keeping my music on EXFAT formatted SDXC cards that I’m still getting the hang of in terms of file names and stuff, but I’m crunching through all these minor issues.
Amusingly there is some tweaked firmware available (albeit an older release) with ssh enabled for these devices, for those who want to peek under the hood.