After some time I decided to do the next turntable review in a new Denon DP-300F Review.
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.
- 1 Denon DP-300F Review – Intro
- 2 Denon DP-300F Specifications
- 3 Denon DP-300F Review – Operation
- 4 Denon DP-300F Review – Construction
- 5 Denon DP-300F Review – Sound Test
- 6 Denon DP-300F Cartridge Upgrades
- 7 Denon DP-300F Video Review
- 8 Final Verdict
- 9 How good is Denon DP-300F?
- 10 Does Denon DP-300F have a preamp?
Denon DP-300F Review – 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.
The fact is, however, that when someone treats the analog less puristically and more usefully, he will only be pleased with the facilities offered by Denon that simplify the operation to such an extent that listening to a record will become not much less convenient than CDs. All household members, and even our guests, can benefit from such a turntable.
Denon DP-300F Specifications
- 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
- 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
- Available colors: Premium Silver/Black
- Dimensions(inches): 17.1 x 4.7 x 13.8
- Weight: 12 lbs
You can download the manual here->Denon DP-300F Manual
Denon DP-300F Review – 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.
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 we want to feel a little more pure “mechanics”, we can opt out of automatic mode and switch to the manual mode – then we decide ourselves at what point to start playing and when to lower the stylus, but the turntable always turns on (as soon as we move the tonearm above the surface of the record).
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 device is available in black and silver (varnished with an elegant, moderate gloss, with a bit of glitter). The base is a composition of plastic and metal, unfortunately, with poor internal attenuation – accidental knocks are transferred to the output signal.
Denon DP-300F Review – Construction
This is definitely 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) and it should be so because the manufacturer informs us about the weight of the base.
The device is equipped with four solid, large rubber feet. Decent insulation from the ground, combined with a lot of weight, should translate into better sound. The rubber mat included in the set also has its own weight and thickness. You can see that Denon has thought through the design of the device well. The high quality of workmanship is also presented by the tonearm, which allows the headshell to be replaced and is equipped with tracking force and anti-skating adjustments. So we can replace the factory-included cartridge with a higher-class model if there is a need to change the sound.
Correct setting requires a bit of effort, and in order to precisely configure the device, it is worth equipping yourself with a miniature scale, which we will accurately determine the pressure of the tonearm on the record. The DP-300F aluminum platter is driven by a rubber belt that is pulled onto the drive. A switch for the built-in MM preamplifier is hidden under the platter – fortunately, the adjustment does not require removing the platter itself, because the manufacturer has made the appropriate holes in it.
So you just need to turn the platter so that the hole is above the regulator. The preamplifier itself will save us the purchase of an additional device if we do not already have a built-in preamplifier in our receiver or amplifier.
Purists will probably turn up their noses at the Denon auto-play mechanism. In my opinion, this is a convenient and practical solution, and the mechanism itself works flawlessly. It is enough to press the start button on the front of the turntable to make the record spin, and the tonearm will automatically move over it and lower it. However, if you prefer to place the needle on the record manually – you can also do it this way. After moving the tonearm over the platter, the unit will automatically start. There is also a tonearm lift that allows you to move the tonearm between the tracks on the record. When the record is finished, the tonearm will automatically return to its place and the platter will stop spinning. The same will happen when we press the stop button. The Denon DP-300F is a nice, well-built turntable that is simply pleasant to use.
Denon DP-300F Review – Sound Test
I wrote earlier about the possibility of replacing the cartridge, which allows you to mount a higher-end device, providing potentially better sound. Most people, however, will not have such a need, because even on a good-quality hi-fi system, the Denon sound is at least satisfactory. The DP-300F sounds engaging, warm, and natural. It provides the right space and fully shows how good and natural the colors of music recorded on a vinyl record sound. The device plays with the midrange, its upper parts and treble are also clearly marked, which does not mean that there is no bass. On the contrary, especially the lower end is strongly present – for some people the bass may be too full and slow, but I did not mind during the listening sessions. The Sade album “Promise” sounded full, engaging, and with a bit of warmth, which is associated with records.
The coherence and naturalness of the sound presented by the DP-300F stand at a high level. The stereophony is at least correct – the instruments are quite clearly marked in space. All this allows us to believe that the Denon turntable is a good base that allows us to get much more from this device if we invest in a better cartridge. In a word, there is great potential here.
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
Sumiko Pearl Cartridge
Audio Technica AT-VM95E Cartridge
Nagaoka MP-100 Cartridge
Denon DP-300F Video Review
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, Denon DP-300F should definitely be on your list of candidates.
Denon DP-300F Pro & Cons
- Easy setup, making it perfect for beginners
- Fully automated playback
- Nice retro styling
- Quality built-in phono preamp
- Easy to upgrade cartridge and achieve much better sound
- The cartridge is not the best
- No USB recording
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.