Vinyl records, unlike CDs, have a timely quality that makes them popular even today. The sound quality is unique. They’re not going anywhere any time soon, so there are multiple companies producing turntables again. With so many new options to choose from, it’s tricky to find the best option for you. In this review, we’ll show you what you need to know about the Denon DP-300F. It's an excellent turntable for beginners just getting into vinyl, and it’s available at a reasonable price.
What is the Denon DP-300F?
The Denon DP-300F is an entirely automatic analog turntable that will play your records. It’s excellent for beginners due to the fully automatic nature, which means you can press a button to start and stop the record instead of physically moving the arm. This feature is what brings this turntable into the 21st century, and it means the tonearm will also automatically flip the record over and start playing the other side when its time.
You never need to touch the arm at all, and this helps beginners decrease the likelihood of premature needle wears o you can use your machine for a long time. The sound quality is among average for its price point, and beginners typically find the quality useful enough for their needs. However, professionals and audiophiles won't find this turntable impressive. There are no high-quality speakers built-in or headphones along with your purchase. It’s a bare-bones way to play records.
Although Denon turntables aren’t the most well-known, they have been in the industry since 1910. The electronics company, based in Japan, has cornered the home theater industry. They offer Blu-ray players, receivers, and anything else you need to create the coolest possible home system. The turntables they make today typically sound excellent and are well made. The top models are tough to find, but Denon does offer cheaper options worth considering like the DP-300F.
The DP-300F has a simple, all black plastic design. It appears generic, but the black is still slightly metallic to dazzle beginners. A belt drives the turntable itself, and the plastic tonearm has a replaceable headshell that allows you to replace the needles and experiment with sound as you learn more about vinyl. You’ll even find an extra set of leads included in the box.
It’s simple to use, as the speed button allows you to control the belt. You don’t have to manually do this, which is again an awesome beginner-friendly feature. Next, to the speed controls, there is a size option button to switch from 7-inch to 12-inch records. If you have a record of a different size, however, don’t worry. You can manually queue your needles as well using the tonearm lever to make your record fit.
The base is heavy and sturdy, and the platter offers stable rotation and solid playback. You can adjust the tonearm or anti-skating control to track properly or alter the size of the records you play. For all the automation, you have a machine that’s easy to use without compromising sound quality.
With the touch of a button, you can entirely operate the turntable. It has a built-in phono preamp to equalize and connect the turntable to an amp, and the machine runs on a DC servo motor with a two-speed belt drive. There’s a MM cartridge so you can connect your records to a home hi-fi system as well.
The DP-300F is widely available from a wide range of sellers, including Denon themselves. You can find this model for sale near you from big names like Best Buy or online sellers like Amazon and Crutchfield. Most places set their price at around $330.
However, you can find deals and awesome perks on Amazon to go along with your purchase. Amazon offers free shipping whether you’re a Prime member or not, small monthly payments with an Amazon Store Card, or two or three-year protection plans. The additional protection is available for between $25 and $34. You can also find used options for sale for closer to $200 if you want to save even more.
How It Compares
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To use the DP-300F, all you must do is assemble the turntable and plug it into a home theater or living room system. The connections are simple, and you can start listening to all your favorite records in no time. You don’t need to know how to set up old school record players to work this model. Compared to old school record players, this ability is stunning.
The Marantz TT42 is probably the closest competitor to the DP-300F, and they come at a similar price. Both are fully automatic turntables, and the two models are surprisingly similar. The Marantz, however, doesn’t offer a preamp. However, it does have better construction than Denon and comes with a dust cover to keep the machine safe for years to come.
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Although it’s not automatic, the Pro-Ject Debut Esprit SB comes at a similar price point and appears similar. However, they offer much better cartridges and speed options than Denon. They also come in varying colors and offer a satisfaction guarantee. It’s made using magnets, but it’s not as ideal for beginners who are new to vinyl.
Denon also offers a two-year limited warranty, which you can obtain even if you purchase your model on Amazon. This warranty option is much better than the competitors, which tend only to offer a year or so and you must request the warranty through Amazon customer service to talk directly to the manufacturer to obtain the warranty. Denon stands behind their products.
Pros and Cons
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Simple is better when it comes to turntables, and the Denon is easy enough for beginners who have never touched a record player before. Many people worry that, while automatic mechanisms make it easier for beginners, they also intensify the likelihood of tracking errors. However, the DP-300F performs well. High-end turntables are never fully automatic, and this option performs surprisingly well at what it does.
For the money, Denon matches up well with entry-level competitors. It performs well and offers only basic sound quality, but it has better components than other beginner turntables, like the tonearm and option to switch out cartridges. If you live in a small apartment or an old house with creaky floors, however, you can expect the needle to skip when the floors wobble.
The needle, unlike more expensive options, can’t separate itself from the vibrations from your environment. But you shouldn’t expect to find features like this in a cheap beginner model anyway. Damping, as the process is called, is average with Denon.
The biggest downside to the Denon model is in the design. The switch that toggles the phono preamp is built into the bottom, so you have to lift the mat and move the platter before you can even access the on/off switch. Although this is a small con, as most beginners won’t mess with this function often, it’s an odd placement.
Denon also doesn’t offer a USB output so you can bring your records into the digital age. Many records sole today, however, are sold with a code you can use to download the MP3 version as well. If you have old records, you may not enjoy the lack of this feature though.
Our Final Verdict
We give the Denon DP-300F a 3.75 out of 5-star rating because, while it’s excellent for beginners, the plastic feels cheap. You also can’t connect devices to record or plugin headphones. Although the sound quality is only average, however, beginners don’t need fancy features they don’t know how to use yet. Therefore, this model is an excellent choice to grow with you as you get used to listening to vinyl. It’s easy to use, sets up in moments, and comes with a decent warranty.
If you want to listen to your records without having to queue or manually work the machine, this is the turntable for you. It’s simple, but it works well and holds up over time even though the plastic seems like a cheap material. However, don’t expect it to sound like an entry-level manual turntable. They will sound better with vinyl every time.