This post will help you identify the pros and the cons of getting either the Denon DP 300F or the Audio Technica LP120. To say that the DP 300F is better than the Audio Technica LP120, or vice versa isn’t a very fair statement.
This is simply because they are designed to suit certain target audience and their needs. However, indeed we can feel the struggle when you are deciding to get one and you get caught in this dilemma. We will try our best to list down what we think will be most useful to helping you make an informed decision.
Denon vs Audio Technica: Which brand is better?
First of all, lets compare these two brands the Denon and Audio Technica. Denon had its humble beginnings and gradually made a name for itself by winning audiophiles’ heart through supporting them with excellent AV speakers and receivers. Spotting the trend of vinyl returning, they made a good call to reinvest their proceeds by serving the underserved market – producing quality yet inexpensive turntables for those who fall into this category.
For the Audio Technica, we know it comes from Panasonic, another powerhouse in the AV industry. All these years, the AT has built itself an outstanding reputation that is popular providing the entry level audio equipment. It not only has options that are relatively inexpensive, they also have turntables that cater to those more serious audiophiles, who care less about the price but more for the quality of sound.
DP 300F vs AT LP120: targeting same audience?
So is it really true that both the DP 300F and the LP 120 are targeting the same audience? From the pricing perspective, it may be true, as the price difference between the both turntables aren’t very much different from one another. This could be a coincidence, why do we feel so?
Because fundamentally, if you look at the operations of both the Denon DP 300F and Audio Technica LP120, you will realise that the former is fully automatic in operation while the LP 120 is manual in action. When you are a beginner, you may not want to be very bothered with the mechnics of set up before you get to hear your vinyl spinning.
As this may be a new hobby which you are not even sure if you will continue over the long run! However, the AT LP 120 provides you the manual experience and that in itself, seems to appeal to folks that want more than the automatic function. Don’t you agree?
Playback speed difference
Furthermore, if you compare the playback speed offered by both the Denon DP 300F and the AT LP120, you will know that the DP 300F only allows you to spin your 33 rpm and 45 rpm records while the AT LP 120 gives you an additional option of spinning your 78 rpm vinyl. With such a function in place, at the design stage, it is highly likely that the original intentions of both makers and models are appealing to different segment of the market, if you get where we are coming from.
So which segment do you belong to? Are you the new comer that prefers something simpler to operate? Or do you belong to the segment that wants more than simplicity and want something that you get your hands on with?
Belt Driven Denon DP 300F vs Direct Drive Audio Technica LP120
The Denon DP 300F is a belt driven turntable and is great for spinning your 33 rpm and 45 rpm records, but definitely it is not recommended for you to perform DJ duties. What about the AT LP120? It has a direct drive motor and allows you to play even 78 rpm vinyl plus you can even perform simple DJing duties that need simple requirements, but its not good for juggling for sure.
The AT LP120 model has a high torque motor and that simply means the motor is capable to achieve the desired speed you want in a very fast fashion. Also the high torque motor is commonly used by DJs’.
Something in common of both the DP 300F and LP 120 is that they produce little noise compared to other turntables in the market. For the Denon DP 300F, it is actually built (using solid diecase aluminum, bringing uniform rotation when spinning) for those audiophiles who are frustrated with hearing hums and noise as its heavy weight is purposely designed to help reduce vibrations. Usually turntables that use direct drive motors create more unnecessary noises than belt driven machines, but the LP 120 achieves creates little noise.
Does both Denon DP 300F and AT LP 120 allow future cartridge upgrades?
The answer is yes, both turntables offer the option for future upgrades. For those of us who are in this hobby for the long run, this factor of future cartridge upgrade becomes an essential one during our purchase consideration. For many reasons, from having emotional connection with your turntable that has companied you through the years and also for gradual upgrading you do not need to outlay huge amount of cash to do so, as you can do it bit by bit. Both original cartridges that come with the turntables are moving magnet cartridges, pretty decent ones.
Now, are you looking to digitize your vinyl music?
If you are, then the Denon DP 300F cannot serve your need, because there is no USB port provided. So over here you can see that through the design of the turntable, the target audience is already different, right? But if you want to digitize your vinyl music, then you should get the AT LP120. All you need to do is simply connect your AT LP 120 to your PC through the USB port and you do not lose quality too.
Your preference: Denon DP 300F (Automatic) vs Audio Technica LP120 (Manual)
How do you decide if you should get an automatic or manual turntable? Are you looking at going back in time and you are someone who likes to do the work yourself? If you are looking for such an experience, then decide no more, the AT LP 120 is suitable for you. You will have to deal with the set up yourself, adjusting the tonearm and that is also joy to some of us.
However, if you are just starting out or you dislike getting too hands on, then perhaps the Denon DP 300F is something you should get. Something that you may have overlooked is that the DP 300F also has a manual lifting mechanism that allows you to change songs whenever you want by placing the stylus on your vinyl. So over here, you get a small taste of what it is like to have a manual turntable.
Sound quality of Denon DP 300F vs AT LP120
When it comes to the sound quality, having spent time with both, it is not quite easy to say which is better than the other. This is because the signal to noise ratio for DP 300F to LP120 is 60:50 and the wow and flutter respectively is 0.1 and 0.2. Perhaps I am not so sensitive, the difference if any is not very noticeable as both produce warm sound and you cannot just say for sure which is better, in my opinion.
To sum up
We don’t have the answer as to which turntable is better than the other in generic terms. However if we know which angle you are coming from, it will be easier to propose what is more suitable. As you can see both has its pros and cons as mentioned above. May this be a helpful guide in aiding you to make an informed choice.
If you want to zoom into the Audio Technica LP120 model, you can click on this link to read more about this model in one of our previous posts or go to http://allforturntables.com/2017/02/13/audio-technica-lp120-usb-quality-for-budget/.