First turntable - Denon DP-300F - should I upgrade the stylus?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Jerod, Feb 27, 2014.

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  1. Jerod

    Jerod Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Hello everyone,

    I recently began collecting vinyl after purchasing a new Denon DP-300F turntable. Other components: Denon receiver, Polk Audio towers and powered sub, Sennheiser HD650 cans. Not audiophile level, admittedly, but sounds very good to me. My collection currently consists mostly of Zeppelin, Floyd, Steely Dan, and Fleetwood Mac.

    Question: Will there be a noticeable improvement in sound quality if I upgrade the factory stylus? If so, can you recommend one in the <$200 price range?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Could be. If it sounds good, use that cart up and try something else when it is time to trade it out.
     
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  3. Jerod

    Jerod Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Thanks. That's what I'm thinking, but didn't know if there was something I was missing. I'm looking for various, low-cost ways to improve my setup without investing in new components.
     
  4. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    There is always something better. Research your tonearm. Find out its mass and other stats, and then shop around for a cartridge that people like that is also a good match.

    Try an inexpensive phono amp, like the Bugle 2, and see it that is substantially better than the built-in in your receiver. There is plenty of time, but if you are happy, no rush.

    It is how the whole system works as a unit, including the room, that dictates what hits your ears. Slow improvement is the source will allow you to form opinion about what your tastes are.
     
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  5. Jerod

    Jerod Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville, TN

    I read that folks use pre-amps for powering headphones from a computer or smart phone. Hadn't heard of using one for a turntable. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll read up on it.
     
  6. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    If the phono pre is a weak link, you can’t tell if the cartridge is better or not.
     
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  7. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    300F is a competent table. Enjoy it!
     
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  8. Jerod

    Jerod Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    I've enjoyed it a lot. Not back for under $400.
     
  9. vanhooserd

    vanhooserd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    I've had my 300F for over two years & have really enjoyed it. I bought mine from Needle Doctor with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge installed by them in place of the Denon cart that comes with the turntable. The 2M Red sells for $99. Since there's no phono section in the
    preamps I have, I'm using the one built-in the 300F. Probably I'll try an external phono preamp eventually, but I'm good for now.
     
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  10. vinylbuff

    vinylbuff Forum Resident

    Location:
    North Port Florida
    I had a 300F as a second table for a while. The cartridge that comes with it is a decent entry level stylus, but I switched it out for a Sonus Silver I had sitting in a box for a long time (it was higher output). I would use the original cartridge and when it's time for replacing, a $100 Ortofon 2M Red would probably work real well.
    (SEE POST ABOVE)
     
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  11. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    Also, I would recommend purchasing 2 spare headshells while they are available from Denon. This turntable takes a unique headshell. Denon is not the best at supporting their old products. Yes, it's a competent turntable. It's reasonably good.
     
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  12. Jerod

    Jerod Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Two votes for Ortofon 2M red from 300F owners. Thanks! I've been looking at the Ortofon red; great price. I'm hoping it's relatively easy to install with the Denon headshell. Great suggestion for purchasing a couple of backups McLover.

    Great to see other folks from TN here!
     
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  13. vanhooserd

    vanhooserd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    I didn't even notice! My cart was installed by the folks at Needle Doctor & I'm a bit apprehensive about installing a new cart when I decide that mine has had enough wear. Of course, I could just buy a new stylus if I decide not to upgrade the cart. I think a stylus is about $75.
     
  14. alsqpk

    alsqpk Well-Known Member

    Location:
    USA
    Has anyone here with a 300F/Ortofon 2M Red setup been able to successfully adjust the tonearm lifting mechanism so it raises the arm high enough to clear a 180g LP?

    I recently installed the 2M and the stylus is scraping across my 180g records on the automatic return. Even with the adjustment screw on the lifting mechanism fully tightened (which supposedly raises it up). Help please!
     
  15. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA

    Anyone else have this issue. Probably pulling the string on this same setup very shortly
     
  16. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Wow, that is strange (and may be a 'deal breaker'). Seems like there should be a solution (maybe some tweaking and/or warranty-busting work involved tho). Hopefully a good 'mechanical engineer' can figure out the lift mechanism and possibly suggest something. May take replacing a screw with a longer one or something? or gluing in a shim somewhere to give it a few more mm of lift ... of course you don't want to torque or stress something else in the process.

    Ah ... is the tonearm height adjustable at the mounting area? High end tonearms usually are, but a mass market/"inexpensive" one may require some extra work. Seems like the 2M is taller by several mm over the original (owners, does this seem to be true?), so increasing the overall tonearm 'height' would likely restore the geometry to the proper setting.

    Ah, looking at the drawing available here http://usa.denon.com/us/product/hificomponents/turntablecartridges/dp300f seems like one would need to 'raise the whole platform' to get the desired effect ...? the lift mechanism seems to be the curved thing under the tonearm? possibly disassembly and shimming of this part would work, but of course YMMV, no warranties expressed nor implied (and probably made null and void!) etc. ...
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  17. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    Hey, maybe your TT is 'defective' or there's a trick that Needle Doctor uses to get this cart to work. The User Review on the page linked above http://usa.denon.com/us/product/hificomponents/turntablecartridges/dp300f says:
    "Right turntable with right cartridge
    Needle Doctor sells this turntable with an Ortofon (2M) Bronze for $738 so the question about quality is summed up there. Never use any automatic turntable to set on the record because every record lead in is different, but the auto return is wonderful. With an upgrade of $99 for Ortofon Red or $90 for Grado Prestige Green, you now have an entry audiophile turntable."

    Seems like there MUST be a way to get this to work. Maybe contact Needle Doctor and ask ... I bet if you want to purchase a 2M from them they'll tell you how to get it to work.

    BTW, I disagree with the reviewer - why get an auto TT and not use it? The stylus will hit in the 'no man's land' at the edge (or between grooves) of the record and 'fall' into the groove, which it very likely does even when setting the stylus down manually. Does he use a USB microscope to make sure the stylus is set down in the middle of a groove? :D

    OP: I'd also suggest considering a 2M Blue, I've read elsewhere that it's a good improvement over the Red (but of course at $236 or something instead of $100). Whoops, the original post is from a while back, he's maybe not following it any more ... still, something to consider if there's extra funds sometime, and you like the 'Red' - the 'Blue' sounds like it's "mo' better" than the Red but has the same overall tonality etc..
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  18. I have one in the office set up at my Ohio house, and it is a very nice table. I've had no problems or concerns with the Stylus. As the poster above said, wear it down, and try something different if you so desire.
     
  19. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
  20. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA
  21. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    I think they know about 180g records ... and if it scrapes, THEY will have to fix it. Give them a call or email, sheesh, no need to get snippy.
     
  22. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA
    Wasnt trying to sound snippy. Think I just worded it wrong.
     
  23. Rick58

    Rick58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, CA, USA
    sorry, i just read it as a bit ... whatever. I do think Needle Doctor would be good to contact about this. If I were to buy a new TT, I think I'd get this one too, possibly with the Blue or Bronze if I could ...
     
  24. BCJaysfan

    BCJaysfan Forum Resident

    The 2M Red should work fine. Did you set everything up properly (ie balance the tonearm, set & measure proper tracking force etc?)

    Had 2M Red on mine before replacing with At150MLX. The 2M is a big step up from the stock cart, but I could never solve the IGD.
     
  25. Vinyl Addict

    Vinyl Addict Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA
    Yeah I live the auto convenience. Looks a lot nicer than a Q up stuck to the plinth also.
    Wish I could justify the price of the blue over the red though
     
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