HouseTechGuys Turntables Reviews Denon DP-400 Review

If you dream of a budget turntable with good potential, then the semi-automatic Denon DP-400 review will be useful. I’d like to point out right off the bat that this record player looks unusual because of the design of the dust cover, and it does not look cheap. But it is this detail that makes many people itch.

DP-400 represents the price category up to $500, which can be upgraded to a very high level. After all, Denon has been in the music equipment business for a very long time and knows what is essential for great sound. But all of this requires explanation, folks, so it’s time to get down to the details.


Denon DP-400 features

In my opinion, the Denon turntable looks simply gorgeous. The model is available in two colors, and the black version comes with a blacked-out dust cover. This design detail shouldn’t have been the most important, although the purity of the records and the turntable itself are, of course, important. But it has become so in discussions among customers. The whole point is that its unusual design catches the eye but completely crosses out the direct purpose. When the dust cover is closed, it doesn’t cover the entire perimeter of the deck, and the glossy surface (already subject to quick contamination from fingerprints) gets dusty. Plus, you must remove it completely during operation and put it in a safe place if possible. I pushed it a couple of times and nearly broke it during testing. All in all, it is a questionable design decision from Denon.

Otherwise, the Denon DP-400 has good potential. The chassis is thin, but it weighs 12.4 pounds. That’s not a lot, but the turntable resists vibrations well, mostly due to the rubberized insulation of the feet. The only things on the top panel are the shifter (3 of them here) and the S-shaped tonearm. The shifter is large, and I could avoid touching the deck surface when switching, which I really liked, considering the glossy finish. This fact is also nice because the belt is hidden under the platter, and you don’t have to take it off every time to change speeds. The tonearm is well-balanced, and its shape is the most optimal for sound reproduction. The vibration resistance and tonearm are exactly what I call a good potential for any turntable.


Functionality-wise, I see good potential too. The DP-400 has a built-in DSN-85 stylus cartridge. But to be honest, it’s not very good. However, you can replace it with another one. I installed Ortofon MM cartridges on it, but there is an option to install audiophile-grade MCs. Isn’t that wonderful?

Since this model is a semi-auto control, you should have expected the auto-lift function here. It works very well, and the record stops when the playback is complete (which is not a common occurrence).

A direct current motor is built in, but there’s an AC adapter for hobbyists. It controls the record accurately and supports playback at 33 1/3, 45, and 78 rpm thanks to the built-in autoencoder.

The phono stage is also built-in, so you just take the turntable out of the box for a couple of minutes and are ready to listen to records. I will tell you how DP-400 sounds. However, it is better to hear it once than to read about it 100 times.


Denon DP-400 sound

When I took it out of the box and turned it on, I thought I would be disappointed. My favorite ’70s records (Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie) sounded dull but not lifeless. Still, the warmth and authenticity inherent in Denon in all their products is very fitting for vinyl. Dynamics is also observed following the idea of the authors of the works, but I lacked volume and brightness of details. And the tops sounded too harsh.

When connecting an external amplifier and replacing the cartridge, the Denon DP-400 played with all the colors, expanding the soundstage and giving dense bass and rich, thin tops. Dispersion occurred better, more accurately layering the tracks properly.

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: semi-automatic.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45, 78.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
  • Speakers: no.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • USB: no.
  • Aux input: no.

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