What We Like
- Great fully automatic functionality.
- Lots of upgrade paths that can significantly improve performance.
- Tone that exceeds expectations right out of the box.
What We Don’t Like
- The base is decent but made of plastics.
Denon’s DP300F represents a rather affordable and reliable way to enjoy analogue sound at home. It’s by far one of the most attractive turntables you can get under $300. Let’s take a closer look and find out why.
The recurring theme with Denon and their lower mid-range turntables is a very clean and simple design. While this is a purely personal thing, we find this choice to be quite refreshing. Denon DP300F comes with a heavy base that features a simple black finish. Considering the fact that it is an automatic unit, you won’t generally see much obstructing the surface of this turntable.
Despite it being a bit on the heavy side, the base is fairly slim. All of the markings are done in dark bronze color, making it reminiscent of those vintage turntables we all love so much. The platter is an aluminum piece that looks great and well machined. Denon went with a great set of solid feet, which do a lot towards reducing vibrations and isolating the important hardware from the surface the turntable is on. Lastly, we have the tinted dustcover that comes as standard.
The core of the Denon DP300F is a DC servo motor that is paired with a pretty smooth belt drive system. This combo allows you to play 33 1/3 as well as 45 RPM records. The tonearm is modular, allowing you to remover the cartridge and swap it with whichever one you like. That is one of the things we definitely want to see in cheaper turntables.
Denon DP300F is fully automatic, meaning that you don’t really have to do anything but load the record onto the mat. Some turntables in this price range are marketed as fully automatic, yet you still have to put the tonearm onto the record as well as remove it afterward. That’s not the case with Denon DP300F. They have actually designed the tonearm system so that it gently engages and disengages, thus having no negative effects on your records. Last but not least, we have a pretty decent built in phono amplifier.
The overall performance of Denon DP300F can only be described as great. With fully automatic models like this one, you don’t often have too much control over what’s going on. In other words, if the turntable is not designed just right, you will run into trouble.
Fortunately for us, Denon DP300F comes out of the box ready to be loaded and used. Tracking is smooth while the tone is great considering the price. Things get even better if you have a standalone phono amp. The one that comes with the turntable is great if there’s no alternative, but they have made it so it is switchable.
Having so many upgrade paths in a budget turntable is actually one of the best things about this model. It allows you to enjoy your records right out of the box, but allows you to improve the performance how you see fit.
At the end of the day, Denon DP300F is a very solid performer in a price range where there are numerous limitations. On top of that, it is super convenient for casual users and beginners alike.