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Denon VL12 Prime Unboxing, Set-Up & Initial Impressions

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Denon VL12 Prime Unboxing, Set-Up & Initial Impressions

Postby Arvin C » 04 Jul 2017 05:34

Hello all!

I'm a new poster here, but have been "lurking" for a while as I was researching my latest turn table purchase. I realize that I'm in the "audiophile" minority regarding my preference for direct-drive, however, I have long been a fan of direct-drive turntables, preferring them because of their accuracy, durability, simplicity and "punchy" dynamics. I have been "tableless" for over 2 decades now, my last table being the venerable Technics 1200 MK2 that I parted with as I became increasingly committed to CD's and digital files. As the saying goes, "If only I knew then what I know now..."

So, about two months ago, after deciding my vinyl collection needed a new table to play on, I began my search. I was thinking about taking the plunge on Technics' latest 1200G-series tables, but I couldn't get comfortable playing in the $3K-$5K range dealers were asking for. So, I decided on Pioneer's PLX-1000 as it had recently received a "Recommended" rating from Stereophile, which is quite an achievement for any piece of audio gear. The reviews on the PLX-1000 were mostly favorable and it was set-up at my local Guitar Center, ready for an audition. I was all set...until I found the following video on YouTube during my research:

Thanks, Lymbo90, for all the great VL12 videos!

The Denon VL12 sounded fuller without being muddy, had more speed, more punch. It was like it turned everything up a notch or three above the Pioneer. It had more features as well, though, to be fair, many of these are really meant for the Club/Broadcasting DJ professionals. But, what really sealed the deal, was the fact that here was a new, from the ground-up design by Denon themselves...not another Hanpin clone like so many other direct-drives out there.

So I ordered a VL12 from Amazon last Thursday and it arrived today. The turntable was delivered TRIPLE BOXED...a shipping box from Amazon containing the double-boxed VL-12. Here's the Denon outer box:


...and here's the inner box:



Inside, you're greeted with this pretty cool message sheet:


Lift the sheet up, and you see the goods, all securely packaged:




Don't throw away the packing foam; the accessories are packed there!


Attention to detail is everywhere. Nice message from Denon to the DJ's of the world:


You get a pretty beefy power cable, a gold-plated RCA and grounding cable, 45 RPM adaptor, Denon DJ-branded headshell, tonearm counterweight and scale, additional counterweight, LED-target lamps in chrome and black and a Denon DJ-branded felt record mat. All that's missing is a cartridge...


Platter details, including full rubber coating on the back-side & finger-friendly notches instead of the industry standard dots...




On the left side, you get Low/High Torque selector, RGB-lighting color knob and RGB-lighting intensity selector:


On the right side, gold-plated RCA jacks, ground and power:


Tonearm mounted with Shure M97xE cartridge:


Much better tonearm assembly than Hanpin clones...


All set-up and ready to play...










What it looks like when the room lights are off:


Other things I used for this installation: cork & rubber isolator pads to isolate the butcher block platform from the rack surface, Vibrapod isolators to isolate the turntable from the platform...


Top Chop 1.5" maple butcher-block as my turntable platform:


Initial impressions: the sound is really, really good...something I truly wasn't expecting! I thought it would take a while to get it sounding "good", but right off the bat, I'm a toe-tapping, finger-snapping, happy listening somebody right now! And isn't that what it's all about?

As I've been listening for the past 5 hours, I can't Help but think that Denon has a real winner here in the VL12 Prime, no matter who the target user may be. Could the VL12 be viewed as Denon's successor to their legendary DP-6xL series turntables? Definitely maybe. At the very least, the VL12 strikes me as a great option for that vinyl-listener looking for a new, modern direct-drive table that is above the usual suspects in the crowded $800-$1200 range. Bravo, Denon!!

Thanks for reading...

Arvin C
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Re: Denon VL12 Prime Unboxing, Set-Up & Initial Impressions

Postby Lymbo90 » 12 Jul 2017 21:29

Great pics Arvin!

I've had many turntables and this is not hyperbole but the VL12 Prime is the best sounding turntable I've ever had in my system. And, I've had turntables that cost MUCH more than my VL12. Like Arvin, I was totally taken by surprise. Denon should really consider making a few changes and introduce this turntable to the audiophile market. Basically all they would need to do is take the Denon DJ block lettering off and move the RCA's and AC to the rear of deck.

I nearly didn't give this turntable a chance. Thank goodness I found a retailer that had a 45-day customer satisfaction warranty that made it a no brainer.

This is the best audio purchase I've made since getting my Parasound Halo Integrated Amp!
Yamaha S-801 Integrated Amp, iFi Micro iPhono 2 PreAmp, Martin Logan Motion 40, Rega P3, Pioneer PLX-1000, AT33PTGII, Ortofon MC-3 Turbo, Ortofon 2M Mono
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Re: Denon VL12 Prime Unboxing, Set-Up & Initial Impressions

Postby Vinylfreak86 » 27 Jul 2017 22:26

I am also a fan of direct-drive turntables. I was thinking when someone would post something about this new Denon. I think it is great turntable, but I prefer the design of PLX-1000, because it looks more classic. I myself use Reloop RP-2000 at the moment, because there is no money for better direct-drive model. :)
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Re: Denon VL12 Prime Unboxing, Set-Up & Initial Impressions

Postby lorr0210 » 08 Aug 2017 15:30

I've had the VL 12 for a month now. It replaced a DP-47 and I'm very happy with the sound at this point - running a Ortofon 2m Bronze PNP, so had to add the addition screw-in counter weight. I also have the 2m Red, which for the price is pretty close to the Bronze - but my ears only.
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Re: Denon VL12 Prime Unboxing, Set-Up & Initial Impressions

Postby fscl » 17 Aug 2017 19:18


Nice pictures and write-up. Just wondering, what is Country Of Origin....... :-k :-k :-k

Once again, not politics but in the interest of globalization and supply chains. These are posts from another Denon VL12 Prime topic.

TIA and CONGRATS ! =D> =D> =D>

Fred and love my Denon DP-33F w/ Signet

fscl wrote:Lyb90, have you spied a COO...... :-k :-k :-k

"Designed in Japan Assembled in China"...... :?:


fscl wrote:I'm apolitical, no talking politics here....... [-X otherwise it's curtains...... #-o [-o<

Will you save me SF ? :wink: :lol: :lol:

Nickelback Savin' Me utoob here.

Sorry, but someone had to play some NB....... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Looking at it from a global supply chain / logistics standpoint........ :wink: Last time I checked, that's bidness....... :wink: and Quality........ :-k :-k :-k

R.I.P. Robert Pirsig........ :(

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