I had been looking for a turntable to replace my still operating but aging 31 year old Technics direct drive SL-2000 turntable. After reading numerous owner reviews and pricing different units, I decided to take a shot at the Denon DP-300F. The turntable arrived today, and I set it up in my 12x14 listening room. The Denon DP-300F has a built-in preamp that is switchable so that you can use it with amplifiers and receivers that either have a phono section or not. It also allows you to hook it into your computer's sound card, with the proper adaptor cable, and transfer vinyl to CD if that is your wish. The unit was well packed and all the components were separately grouped including the audiophile styled rubber record mat. If you are interested in knowing more about it, you can go to the Denon website www.denon.com and download a copy of the owner's manual. I did this before ordering mine and it did help me to understand what the turntable had. I did have a momentary heart stoppage when unpacking the unit, because I thought at first that they had forgotten to pack the headshell, cartridge and counterweight! Not to worry, they are in one of the two styrofoam liners, they are just packed on the outside of the liner and are not visible until the liner is pulled from the box. You can do the following setup either where you will have the turntable or in a convenient place, then move the turntable to where it is going to play from. I chose to do the setup on my stereo cabinet and also made the audio leads hookup to my receiver, but I made sure that all power was off. The turntable should not be plugged in until the setup is completed. The very first thing you do is set the preamp equalizer switch to ON or OFF. It comes preset to ON with the assumption that many of today's amplifiers and receivers do not have a phono input. My Sherwood RX-4109 receiver has a phono input, so I set the switch to OFF. Since the switch is under where the platter will go, be sure to set it ahead of placing the platter on the turntable. Next, you mount the cast aluminum platter on the center spindle. The turntable has two square hole access openings and one opening has two red ribbon tapes that are taped to the turntable. Place that opening over the belt roller. The tapes go around the rubber belt. Loosen them from the turntable and then use them to gently pull the belt out over the roller and center it on the roller. Once it is centered, remove the tapes. Next give the turntable about five to six turns to set up the mechanism and set the belt. Place the rubber mat on the platter, then mount the headshell which has the Denon cartridge premounted and the counterweight. The cartridge has a stylus guard and you should keep the guard down while setting up the arm. Swing the arm over the platter to release it (POWER IS OFF!) screw the counter weight in and balance the arm. Once the arm is floating level it is balanced. Turn the counterweight dial(just the dial) until it reads zero. Then rotate the dial and counterweight together until the scale reads "2". The supplied cartridge tracks best at a 2 gram setting. The small dial on the base is the anti-skating adjustment and set this to "2" also. Set the arm on the rest, flick the stylus guard up to expose the stylus, plug in the turntable, and turn on your receiver or amplifier and you are almost ready to go. There are two buttons on the turntable deck and two buttons in the front. The two deck buttons are for speed (33/45) and size (30cm or 17cm). Since I use 33's I set the speed for 33 and the size to 30cm. Lay your album on the turntable. There are two ways you can operate, fully automatic and semi automatic. For full automatic just push the START button in the front of the unit. The turntable will start spinning, the arm will swing over the record, drop down and play. At the end of the record the arm will lift and return to the stop and the turntable will switch off. For semi-automatic operation, you use the cuing lever to lift the arm from the rest, swing the arm over the record to either the start of the record or the selection you want. The turntable will start spinning, then you lower the cuing lever and the arm will drop to the record. The cuing lever is not well damped, so lower it in a smooth movement. Once the record is finished it will revert to the automatic operation for arm lift and shutdown. You can also stop the playing of an album at any time by pushing the STOP button to initiate the shutdown. I guess the big question is how does it run and sound? I found the turntable to be very smooth in operation and the turntable could operate with the dust cover up or down. When the arm lifts it clears the cover just fine. I normally like to run with the cover up, so that's how I operated, other than to check the clearances. I listened to a number of albums this afternoon, from Frank Sinatra to Mozart. Tonight, when things had quieted down, I played one of my Musical Heritage Society Inc. albums. I played the Edvard Grieg Sonata in A Minor, Op. 36 for Cello and Piano. My speakers are Polk Monitor 30's and a Polk PSW10 subwoofer and if there is ANYTHING wrong with the reproduction, these speakers will tell me. During the performance the Cello was rich with a good bass line and beautiful top end. The Piano had excellent presence and sense of the keyboard keys. In the spaces between the movements, there was total dead silence. No rumble, no speed shifts or flutter could be noticed by me. I was quite satisfied with the performance of this turntable. Does that mean it is the best around? No it does not, as I'm sure there are more expensive turntables with higher priced cartridges that can get you more out of an album. I may try my Grado Black on this turntable later on to see how it does, but it sounds quite good with the supplied cartridge. I have owned a number of Dual turntables, an AR XB, an early Technics SL-1200 and the Technics SL-2000. I feel that the Denon DP-300F is right up there with the best of them. I purchased mine through Amazon.com for a price of $244 including sales tax, but with free shipping. Since this price includes a cartridge, that is a decent deal. The turntable looks "Right" and makes a nice appearance, in addition to operating quietly and smoothly. It's one to consider.