Denon DP-300F Review

by Bruno Brozovic

Denon DP-300F features auto start/stop functions and a built-in phono preamplifier, simplifying setup and operation. The Denon DP-300F is designed for practical use, making playing records as convenient as playing CDs. However, it has some flaws, including a base that lacks internal damping, making it sensitive to knocks, and an average cartridge that may require upgrading for better sound quality. .

About Denon Company

Denon was a real tycoon in this field in the 1980s. As a result of the struggle for the position of a gramophone leader among Japanese companies, for example, the DP-59L was created. It is a construction weighing nearly 20 kg, and to this day belongs to the group of the best turntables that have ever been made.

Most companies, however, are based on business assumptions, and in the current situation, Denon sees no interest in competing in analog high-end. On the other hand, it introduced three low-budget constructions, which are also not the newest ones anymore.

We have the middle model DP-200 with the unusual USB output application. I will probably not deal with the cheapest DP-29F, but the Denon DP-300F flagship is a great candidate for a current test.

Intro

It is a real veteran, produced without major changes (revealed in the form of subsequent versions or models) for approx. 10 years. It is the only fully automatic turntable in this group – but also one of the few in general. I can already hear this whisper of dissatisfaction … After all, the automatic turntable isn’t an audiophile solution.

Denon DP-300F Review

If you’re looking for a turntable that’s less purist and more practical, you’ll appreciate the features offered by Denon. They simplify operations so much that listening to a record becomes almost as convenient as playing a CD. This makes it easy for everyone in the household, and even guests, to enjoy using the turntable.

Operation

The Denon operation comes down to actually throwing the record on the platter and pressing the start button. There is also a stop function that allows us to stop playback at any time.

Denon DP300F Start and Stop Button

Denon DP300F Start and Stop Button

The Denon DP-300F turntable has auto start and moves the needle over the initial zone of the record (there is a record diameter switch), after reaching the end position, the tonearm lifts up, moves to the starting position, and the motor stops.

If I want to feel a little more pure “mechanics”, I can opt out of automatic mode and switch to the manual mode – then I decide at what point to start playing and when to lower the stylus, but the turntable always turns on (as soon as I move the tonearm above the surface of the record).

Denon DP-300F Fully Automatic Analog Turntable with Built-in Phono Equalizer | Unique Tonearm Design | Hologram Vibration Analysis | Slim Design
  • REDISCOVER YOUR PASSION FOR VINYL -Listen to your analog music in a brand new way with this rigid diecast aluminum...
  • LOWER VIBRATIONS DRIVE BETTER PERFORMANCE - This slim and sleek turntable is designed with a heavier base construction...
  • SMOOTH & GENTLE AUTOMATIC MOTIONS - The automatic startup feature allows the turntable to begin play. With the touch of...
  • BUILT-IN PHONO EQUALIZER creates an open, enveloping sound stage that enlivens your vinyl collection while staying true...
  • EASY INSTALLATION & SETUP - Assemble the turntable, set it up in your living room or home theater with simple...

The Denon DP-300F is not heavy, but very large, larger than many other turntables. This is due to the size of the base chassis, which leaves a lot of free space on all sides of the platter.

The turntable comes in black and silver with a sleek, moderate gloss finish that includes a bit of glitter. The base is made of a mix of plastic and metal but has poor internal damping, so any accidental knocks can affect the sound output.

Construction & Design

This is a construction that pleases the eye. The lacquered housing looks elegant, and the entire device is tastefully designed, without adding unnecessary elements or finishing details. The housing is made of plastic, but thanks to the varnishing and good quality of the material itself, the impression of cheapness has been avoided. The whole thing weighs a lot (5.5 kg).

Denon DP-300F Tracking Force and Antiskating Adjustment Knobs

Denon DP-300F Tracking Force and Antiskating Adjustment Knobs

The device is equipped with four solid, large rubber feet, providing decent insulation from the ground. This, combined with its weight, translates into better sound quality. The included rubber mat also adds weight and thickness, showing that Denon put a lot of thought into the design. The high-quality workmanship is evident in the tonearm, which allows for headshell replacement and comes with tracking force and anti-skating adjustments. This means I can easily replace the factory cartridge with a higher-class model if needed.

To set it up, I use a bit of effort, and for precise configuration, I use a miniature scale to determine the tracking force accurately. The DP-300F aluminum platter is driven by a rubber belt. There’s a switch for the built-in MM preamplifier under the platter. Luckily, the adjustment doesn’t require removing the platter itself because the manufacturer thoughtfully included appropriate holes.

Denon DP-300F Drive Mechanism

To adjust the preamplifier, I simply turn the platter so the hole aligns with the regulator. The built-in phono preamplifier saves me from needing an extra device if my receiver or amplifier lacks one.

Purists might not like the fully automatic mechanism of the Denon DP-300F, but I find it convenient and practical. The automatic functions work flawlessly. I just press the start button, and the record spins while the tonearm automatically moves and lowers. If I prefer manual placement, I can do that too. The tonearm will automatically start the unit when moved over the platter. There’s also a tonearm lift for moving between tracks. When the record finishes, the tonearm returns to its place, and the platter stops. The same happens when I press the stop button. The Denon DP-300F is a well-built turntable that is pleasant to use.

Denon DP-300F Sound Test

I previously mentioned that you can replace the cartridge on the Denon DP-300F, allowing for potentially better sound with a higher-end device. However, most users may not need this upgrade because the Denon already delivers satisfactory sound quality on a good hi-fi system. The DP-300F sounds engaging, warm, and natural, with a well-defined midrange, treble, and a strong presence in the lower end. It provides a solid bass foundation, but it lacks depth and clarity. Albums like Sade’s “Promise” sounded full, engaging, and warm, which is characteristic of vinyl records.

The coherence and naturalness of the DP-300F’s sound are impressive, with good stereo imaging and instrument separation. This makes the Denon turntable a solid foundation that can deliver even better performance if paired with a higher-quality cartridge. In short, the DP-300F has great potential for those looking to enhance their vinyl listening experience.

Denon DP-300F Cartridge Upgrades

As we see in the specifications Denon DP-300F uses an MM cartridge so we have the following cartridge upgrade options:

Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge

Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet Cartridge
  • Universal fit for most turntables
  • Upgrade from stock cartridges
  • The Ortofon 2M Red is an all-purpose cartridge that delivers open, dynamic sound with a slight touch of warmth
  • The Ortofon 2M Red features an Elliptical diamond
  • Can be upgraded with an Ortofon Stylus 2M Blue

Sumiko Pearl Cartridge

Sumiko Pearl MM Cartridge
  • 0.5" Moving Magnet Cartridge.
  • Frequency Response of 12Hz – 30KHz.
  • Bonded elliptical stylus has 4.0mV output.
  • High performance without the high price.

Audio Technica AT-VM95E Cartridge

Sale
Audio-Technica AT-VM95E Dual Moving Magnet Turntable Cartridge Green
  • VM95 Series dual Magnet cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil Elliptical stylus
  • Aluminum cantilever
  • Specially wound coils increase output voltage
  • Durable low-resonance polymer Housing
  • Threaded inserts in cartridge body enable cartridge to be mounted to headshell with just two screws - no nuts required

Nagaoka MP-110 Cartridge

NAGAOKA Cartridge MP Series - MP-110 Record Stylus
735 Reviews
NAGAOKA Cartridge MP Series - MP-110 Record Stylus
  • Produces crystal clear clarity over every sound frequency
  • Fluidity across the frequency spectrum
  • Up-to-date modern construction materials
  • Full dynamic range

Denon DP-300F Video Review


Denon DP-300F Specifications

Features

  • Motor: DC
  • Drive System: Belt Drive
  • S-Type tonearm: No
  • Operation: Automatic
  • Auto tonearm lift at the end: Yes
  • Speed: 33-1/3 & 45 RPM
  • Wow & flutter: 0.10% (WRMS)
  • USB Direct Recording: No
  • Phono EQ built-in (switchable): Yes
  • Stylus: MM
  • Stylus version: CN-6518
  • Universal Headshell: No
  • Dust Cover: Yes

Technical Specifications

  • Rated Output: 2.5 mV/1 kHz
  • Frequency Range: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • S/N ratio: 60 dB
  • Rated Output Phono EQ: 150 mV / 1 kHz
  • Frequency Range Phono: EQ 20 Hz – 20 kHz

General

  • Available colors: Premium Silver/Black
  • Dimensions(inches): 17.1 x 4.7 x 13.8
  • Weight: 12 lbs

You can download & view the manual here->Denon DP-300F Manual

Final Verdict

The Denon DP-300F is a serious competitor to turntables from other manufacturers in this price range. The Japanese turntable proves that the priority should not necessarily be given to producers from small audiophile manufactories. Its sound is reminiscent of the good old days of vinyl records – it is full, natural, and engaging, and it does not lack bass, as well as accuracy. Changing the cartridge for a better one will certainly improve a lot. If you are looking for a turntable at this price, the Denon DP-300F should be on your list of candidates.

How good is Denon DP-300F?

The Denon DP-300F comes with Denon's own DSN-85 cartridge and stylus, both of which are on the low end of the sound spectrum. As a result, the turntable produces average sound quality. Highs lack extension and bass doesn't have the visceral impact of more expensive cartridges.

Does Denon DP-300F have a preamp?

The Denon DP-300F does have a built-in phono preamp that can be turned on or off allowing you to connect to a system with analog inputs or phono input.

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3.8/5 - (18 votes) - Click on stars to leave a review

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