Denon DP-300F vs. DP-400  / DP-450 Turntable Review + Comparison (DP300 vs. DP400 / DP450)

Denon DP-300F vs. DP-400 / DP-450 Turntable Review + Comparison (DP300 vs. DP400 / DP450)

➳ The Denon DP-400 / DP-450 is the first major new model in their line since the introduction of the highly popular DP-300F turntable (which is still production). We've broken down the key differences between the 2 models.

Denon DP-400 Turntable in black

1) The Body + Aesthetic

The DP-300F has a larger footprint than the DP-400 by almost an inch on both sides. The base of each turntables appears to be very similar, but the top plate on each model features a different aesthetic and shape.

The DP-300F has a classic stereo component aesthetic, with rectangular, angular body and a rich gloss black finish. The DP-400 features a more modern shape with rounded corners and a higher gloss finish.

Denon DP-300F Fully Automatic Turntable

2) Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic

The DP-300F is a fully automatic turntable. It features START + STOP buttons which control the spinning of the platter and automatically move the tonearm on and off the record. For example, if you push the "START" button, the motor will start and the tonearm will be automatically placed at the start of the record. When the side of the record ends, the tonearm will lift automatically and return to the tonearm rest, and the motor will stop.

The DP-400 is not an automatic turntable. It is labeled as "semi-automatic" because of the Auto-Stop function: at the end of record, tonearm lifts-up and motor turns off (Note: this function can be turned off with a switch on the back of the turntable).

🔎 Along with price and aesthetics, this is probably the biggest difference between the 2 models.

➳ DP-300F: 17.1 (w) x 15 (d) x 4.8 (h) 
➳ DP-400: 16.3 (w) x 13.5 (d) x 5.2 (h)

3) The Motor

The DP-300F utilizes an AC power motor.

The DP-400 utilizes a new DC power motor. Because the motor no longer incorporates the automatic function, it also features a simpler design.

🔎 DC turntable motors are more energy efficient and tend to be more stable. Additionally, the DC motor will work with a variety of countries' power standards.

LEFT: DP-300F Straight Tonearm / Right: DP-400 S-Shaped Tonearm

4) The Tonearm

The DP-300F features a straight tonearm with an angled headshell. 

The DP-400 features an "S-shaped" tonearm with a standard headshell.

🔎 While we could debate which tonearm shape is better for audio quality, the DP-400's standard headshell lets you swap out the stock headshell with many headshells on the market.

LEFT: Denon DP-300F hinged dustcover / RIGHT DP-400 removable dustcover

5) Dustcover

The DP-300F features a standard hinged dustcover that lifts up and down on an angle.

The DP-400 dustcover is non-hinged and must be removed completely to play a record. The DP-400 includes a stand for when the dustcover is not in use.

🔎 Denon argues that the hinged cover on the DP-300F might affect sound quality because it can add vibration to your turntable. However, we also like the convenience of the traditional hinged cover. 

LEFT: Denon DP-300F soldered cables / RIGHT DP-400 removable cables

6) Cables

The DP-300F features soldered, non-removable power and RCA plugs.

The DP-400 features removable power and RCA plugs.

🔎 We always prefer removable cables because of easy replacement and the ability to upgrade those cables later. 

DP-450USB USB output and recording

8) What are the similarities between the DP-300F + DP-400?

➝ Both feature a built-in phono preamp that can be turned on and off. 

➝ Both feature a cast metal turntable platter (the DP-400 platter is painted, but they are structurally identical).

➝ Both models feature the standard Denon cartridge.

➝ Both feature plastic bodies with metal weighting to give the turntable more stability. 

➝ Both feature solid Wow + Flutter stats (DP-300F .10% vs DP-400 .08%). 

➝ Both feature anti-skating tonearm adjustment. 

➝ Both feature tonearm lift for lifting the needle on and off the record. 

7) How the DP-450 differs from the DP-400: USB Recording

The DP-450 model features an easy-to-access front USB output that allows you to record directly onto a USB flash drive (does not work with computers or external hard drives).

The DP-450 allows you to choose either MP3 or WAV recording with dedicated buttons for each.

DP-300F DP-400 / DP-450
 price  $329 $399 / $499
 dimensions  17.1" (w) x 15" (d) x 4.8" (h) 16.3" (w) x 13.5" (d) x 5.2" (h)
 cartridge standard Denon  standard Denon
 headshell custom angled standard
 automation fully automatic Auto Stop only
 cables soldered, non-removable removable
 platter cast steel cast steel + painted
 body  coated plastic, metal weighted  coated plastic, metal weighted
 weight 12.1 lbs 12.8 lbs
 wow + flutter 0.10% 0.08%
 color gloss rich black  high-gloss black
 phono pre-amp built-in switchable built-in switchable
 dustcover standard hinged hinge-less, remove to play 
 anti-skating controls yes yes
tonearm lift lever yes  yes

Denon DP400 Overview + Setup Guide

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