What makes an expensive turntable worth it? Pro-Ject's X Series shows us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
|automation||fully automatic||Auto Stop only|
|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|
|tonearm lift lever||yes||yes|
Denon DP400 Overview + Setup Guide
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