Fluance RT81

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Blueboy, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. Blueboy

    Blueboy Member Thread Starter

    I got the Fluance RT81 a few days ago and before I send it back I want to make sure I’m doing the right thing. I spent $250 on it, it looks nice but there seems to be a lot of low base harmonics ( I’m not exactly sure what to call it, it’s like feedback or something). If I turn the volume up... forget about it! Also during playing the record if I barely tap the surface it vibrates like crazy. I called a local repair shop and he told me these turntables are known for that kind of problem. He said they are just not that good and advised to me to send it back. He also recommended a U-turn turntable for about the same money, but I'm not liking the reviews on it either.
    I'm sure it's been discussed a thousand times but I need help finding a decent turntable for under $500.
    Thanks! Blue
     
  2. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Your local repair guy is right.
    .
     
    Fishoutofwater and patient_ot like this.
  3. slovell

    slovell Retired Mudshark

    Location:
    Chesnee, SC, USA
    Save up some more money and get yourself something decent. Maybe a used VPI Scout or many others. Don't skimp on a turntable, you'll regret it without fail. I had a really nice JVC QLY-66F direct drive for many years, it was a technological wonder in the eighties. It howled like a banshee from resonance when the volume approached anything considered medium or modestly loud levels, at lower levels it sounded great. If you can't crank it up occasionally what's the point in having it? I sold it, bought a used Scout and haven't looked back. The Scout is better in all respects. Be patient and get yourself a good one. You might be able to find a used Technics 1200 for around $500 but be careful it hasn't spent its days as a DJ table.
     
    Jim in Houston likes this.
  4. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Is it resonance? A compliance issue maybe. The specs on tonearm is 28.2 grams. This is a heavy tonearm requiring a low compliance cartridge. Dynamic compliance of the AT95E is stated at 6.5 Cu @ 100 Hz. Recommended conversion to @ 10 Hz is to multiply by 1.5-2.0. So 9.75-13 Cu @ 10 Hz. Mass of the AT95E is 6.5g.

    Just messing around with the numbers on this calculator for desired cartridge compliance:
    Resonance Frequency
    Entering the following 28.2 g + 6.5 g = 34.7 g, 9.0 Hz yields 9.012 Cu.
    Entering the following 28.2 g + 6.5 g = 34.7 g, 14.0 Hz yields 3.724 Cu.
    9.0 would be the absolute minimum recommended. And 14.0 is max recommended.
    So the cartridge is out of compliance. It's going to rumble with right records.

    The one recommendation, if you are willing to give the deck a chance is to increase the VTF. The highest setting within the recommended specs on the AT95E is 2.5g. I would try it at that setting, it might dampen the suspension. I'm guessing, though. I might have the math wrong. While I tend to think I'm pretty good with numbers, give me an HP calculator and I'm completely puzzled by reverse polish notation. So that's a thing. It might be more correct to lighten the VTF to the minimum 1.5g. I have no idea. Really. I spec my gear within the recommended matching specs to avoid these problems. Could someone else chime in on this? As I really out of my element with Low Compliance. I would actually do my own testing on this deck before sending it back. The experience could come in handy later on if I was considering a VPI deck with one of their heavier arms.

    I find it really strange that Fluance specified such a heavy arm for a budget deck. All their decks have the same mass. I guess it more reasonable on the RT85. But that's still only a $499 deck. I think you would have to spend much more on a cartridge to get one to match compliance.
     
    PhilBiker likes this.
  5. Blueboy

    Blueboy Member Thread Starter

    The cartridge is what came with it and is set to their specs. Your saying adjust the counter weight, make it a little heavier or lighter? Could be worth a shot... I suspect it's going to do the same thing.

    I found a Yamaha TT-S303 on line, it looks like it has a good review. Amazon has it for $404.06.
    Any thoughts on this one?

    I'm going down to the record store this weekend and talk to the repair guy and look at some used TT's
    Thanks for the help guys, keep'm coming.
     
    Clonesteak likes this.
  6. Clonesteak

    Clonesteak Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kalamazoo, MI
    I agree about saving up for a turntable. I have an AT-LP5 and I am happy with it. I have an Ortofon 2M blue and sounds excellent. Great for a $450 turntable. Next one I buy in about 10 years will be over $1,000 for sure. Buy the most with available funds and never look back.
     
  7. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Virtually all turntables have this problem to some degree. How close are your speakers? - Move them away if you can. Are you running a sub or have the bass turned way up? That will exacerbate the problem. A great way to minimize this is to mount your turntable on a shelf. Another great thing to do is have a really massive heavy table/stand for the turntable (this is what radio stations did back in the day - massive heavy desk with big heavy turntables). IMHO a U-Turn is going to have exactly the same problem as the Fluance. There are some turntables that have varying kinds of isolation built-in to try to minimize this effect. Success varies. I don't think you'll substantially better your Fluance for $500.

    I agree with @vinylontubes about the possibility that a different cartridge may yield very good results.
     
  8. telemike

    telemike Forum Resident

    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    Sounds more like feedback from being on an unstable surface than the table itself.
     
  9. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Concur.
     
  10. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    My RT80 (which is functionally the same turntable with different cart and mat, both of which I have upgraded anyway) doesn't have this issue, so from my anecdotal experience, I would also be curious to know the installation surface/placement conditions.

    Are there many turntables you can tap during playback without the cartridge picking up vibration?

    I can't argue against spending more to get a better turntable, but it seems like you might just have the same issue, anyway, if this is a product of where and on what you have it sitting.
     
    PhilBiker likes this.
  11. Blueboy

    Blueboy Member Thread Starter

    Subwoofers are woofing but the volume is not that high. The turntable is about 15 feet from them sitting on a sort of heavy table behind the couch. I tried it on my metal desk with the exact same result.
    I was going to try a concrete shelf on tennis balls cut in half (saw online) but after the guy at the repair shop told me the Fluance turntables have this problem I figured a better TT would be the way to go. Which is unfortunate, the RT81 is a really nice looking turntable.
    If I need to buy a better cartridge, might as well put it on a better turntable...
    Hopefully I will not have the same problem, if so I owe Fluance an apology.
     
  12. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Well, even if it is an isolation issue, you may find another turntable that handles your environment better. I find the Fluance isolation to be effective enough (I have mine sitting on top of a heavy oak entertainment console, within about six inches of the side of my right channel speaker, and I get neither airborne feedback nor significant vibration from below, playing at pretty high volume on a regular basis).

    If it's the compliance issue somebody calculated above, I can't exactly disconfirm that from my experience, since the RT80 came with a different cartridge. However, my upgraded cart is another AT with similar compliance (AT-VM95 spec'd as 7 Cu @100 Hz dynamic compliance), and I haven't noticed anything like what you describe or anything I would call rumble. Perhaps I have been lucky.

    So, your problem is puzzling to me, as is the shop guy's claim that this is a common issue with the brand (I am not sure what the basis for his knowledge of that would be). I hope the next model you try works out better. I do think, just from my own experience with the Fluance (which has not been perfect) and shopping around for my next one, that it's hard to find anything in the sub-$500 price range that gives you the features Fluance does or that is sure to give better performance. I do wonder if you would want to give Fluance a chance to correct it either through technical support or replacing it with a different unit, since you seem to like the turntable other than this one issue.
     
    PhilBiker likes this.
  13. Blueboy

    Blueboy Member Thread Starter

    Thanks big blue I am a little confused as well although my turntable experience is very minimal. I’m only going by what the guy at the repair shop told me whether or not he knows what he is talking about I have no idea. I did call Fluance tech-support and the girl I talk to had no clue even when I was explaining to her in more detail over the phone, it felt like she was from a different company altogether. I would consider buying an upgraded turntable but the shipping back-and-forth seems a little expensive only on their end since they’re paying for the return shipping. It’s like trying to buy the perfect pair of shoes by mail. As far as the dynamic compliance goes as vinylontubes mentioned is probably the right track to pursue but I have no idea what to make of it. As I said before the turntable I purchased from Fluance came equipped with that cartridge I would assume they put together the best components they could with keeping the cost down.
    Thanks!
     
    Big Blue likes this.
  14. Blueboy

    Blueboy Member Thread Starter

    Yamaha makes good stuff, right? What about this turntable?
     
  15. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I don't know this for sure, but I am inclined to think this is the same base unit as the Fluance turntables. I am not inclined to think Yamaha actually makes this themselves, as there are several other brands that appear to offer essentially a re-badge of this basic turntable design. I could be wrong, but the specs and the appearance of the parts seem to add up to that. Fluance turntables are made in Taiwan, and if the Yamaha is also made in Taiwan (information I have not found anywhere), I would take that as probable confirmation that they are made in the same factory with many of the same parts.

    Given the similar specs, it seems like you pay more for the Yamaha name and appearance, and lose the auto-stop feature (which some people don't find necessary, but I like it). Yamaha doesn't seem to give any information about tonearm mass, so I can't confirm if this is going to be any better or worse in terms of cartridge compliance issues. The included cartridge also looks like a step or two down from the AT95E.
     
    PhilBiker likes this.
  16. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    If it were me, I'd choose one of the following

    1) Get the U-Turn, if looking for cheap/new/competent.

    2) Look around for a used Technics SL1200Mk2 (or later) for around $500 that I could check out in-person before buying to make sure it's in good condition. BIG sonic upgrade from what you have now.

    3) Wait and save up until I could afford a new TT in the $700 and up class, which is where new TTs actually start to get pretty good.
    .
     
    Big Blue likes this.
  17. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I agree. My Fluance experience has been good sound-wise (I have had durability issues that are a whole other conversation...), but clearly it doesn't work ideally in your environment. I would lean toward U-Turn as the other low-budget option to try (plus you can customize several aspects of them) or go above the $500 budget to get something in a higher range. The used SL1200 route isn't bad, if you like those, but I get nervous about the idea of a used DJ turntable (or any used turntable, but that's just me not trusting how other people have cared for their gear...many people have success).
     
  18. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    There's a JVC QL-7 on audiogon with $250 asking price. It's from a dealer in BC, Canada, but ships to US too, it uses the TT-71 motor unit ...

    [​IMG]

    JVC QL-7 on thevintageknob.org

    But mainly was just gonna mention that JVC made some very nice low cost tables in that era, and they were popular so still many around at reasonable prices. For instance, there's a nice JVC QL-A7 on ebay for around $400 right now, it uses that same TT-71 motor unit but in a little more upscale package, and there are many other models available above that.

    Speaking of nice decks, there's a pretty nice looking example of my cherished Micro Seiki DD-40 up for bid right now sitting at about $500 too. Mine has a few minor changes, but the stock model is a big favorite of many people.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
    SandAndGlass and PhilBiker like this.
  19. vwestlife

    vwestlife Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    That's another variant of the same Ya Horng OEM chassis that Fluance uses. Other brands like Denon, TEAC, Monoprice, and ELAC also sell turntables based on this chassis.
     
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  20. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    Any of the Direct Drive's here would be a good choice: Turntables
    I have a couple of good vintage TT's, one of which I purchased new in 1977 (Kenwood KD500 with ADC tonearm) back when I sold that stuff for a living, and I also have the LP120 USB from the above link. Even with it's factory cartridge it sounds awesome - even with the factory cartridge. And I listen to it exclusively through headphones.

    If I lost all my turntables in a fire, I wouldn't go near one of those under $500 hipster belt drives. For me, DD and a removable headshell are a must.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  21. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Yamaha used to make good turntables, back when they were the ones making them and not outsourcing to a cut-rate manufacturer.

    There isn't anything "good" that's new under that budget.
     
  22. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Pretty sure those arm specs must be wrong, especially if they are putting 2M Reds/Blues on some of their TTs that have the same arm, or nearly identical arm to the RT81.
     
  23. Not Insane

    Not Insane You talkin' to me?!

    Location:
    Kentucky
    Define "good". ;)

    BTW, one of those $30 wonders I picked up a decade ago is a Yamaha PF-50. I still have it with it's sigma cartridge and it plays and sounds like new. Looks very cool as well. The whole drive/tonearm mechanism floats.

    I'm not a fan of automatics, but still...
     
  24. Blueboy

    Blueboy Member Thread Starter

    Got my eye on a couple of TT's. Should know by this time tomorrow...
    Big thanks for the help!!
     
  25. Blueboy

    Blueboy Member Thread Starter

    Well the two I was looking at got away. The Technics SL1200Mk2 listing ended, I already had a bid on the Micro Seiki DD-40 and got outbid. My first bid was $510 and my last one was $580. It sold for $760.
    The JVC and Kenwood mentioned above are still there but I'm thinking I might be better off buying an AT-LP1240-USBXP for $500. There are a couple used ones for $400.
    Any thoughts on the Audio-Technica turn table?
     

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