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Why you SHOULDN'T get the Fluance RT80 - My review

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by For the Record, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. For the Record

    For the Record Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ontario Canada


    Fluance sent me the RT80, and I like it a lot, but I don't recommend you buy one.

    Thanks for watching!
     
  2. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Don't worry, I will not. LOL.
     
    Bob_in_OKC and Strat-Mangler like this.
  3. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Location:
    Raleigh, N.C.
    OK I've got to admit that I stopped watching when you nitpicked "33" vs. "33 1/3".
     
  4. For the Record

    For the Record Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    I even said it was a minor nitpick and really NOTHING in the video. But thanks for trying to watch it anyway.
     
    Leonthepro likes this.
  5. Leigh

    Leigh http://orf.media

    I read that as Flatulence
     
    Fruff76, macster and uzn007 like this.
  6. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I own one. Where I agree:

    Aesthetics are great.
    Mat upgrade (I’m using leather, much better than the felt)
    Removable headshell is nice.
    Ease of counterweight and anti-skate setup
    Leveling feet would be better (which they offer in their newer models)
    AT-91 does sound decent, and is forgiving in terms of setup, but an elliptical stylus cart is an improvement (I haven’t used the AT-95E, but I am using its successor, AT-VM95 with both the bonded and nude elliptical styli, and it does sound more detailed and tracks better).

    One thing I have found not to be as big a deal in my experience is placement relative to speakers. Mine sits pretty close to one of my tower speakers, and it’s been fine. I will caveat that my stand is heavy oak and my floor is ceramic tile, so someone with wood floors and less substantial furniture may find vibration to be a problem.

    What I don’t necessarily agree with is that the reason for not getting RT-80 is that one should get the RT-81. The Fluance to get is the RT-85, absolutley the best value of their line. If a buyer really can’t extend the budget for that (it’s $500 US, which is a cheap turntable, but I recognize it’s still a significant jump from the $200 RT-80), RT-82 for $50 more improves upon RT-81 in ways that cannot be upgraded (leveling feet, servo controlled motor). It is true that anything from RT-82 up lacks a built-in pre-amp, but I think the one built in is just “fine” and not great, anyway. Sure, you’re adding even more to the cost, but I think it’s worth it.

    I am mostly happy with my RT-80 as a starter deck, but now that the RT-85 exists, it’s hard for me to recommend it or RT-81 to anyone unless $200 or $250 is a hard limit.
     
  7. DonnyMe

    DonnyMe Forum Resident

    Location:
    NW Indiana
    Thanks for the review F.T.R. After watching I concluded that your review might have been a bit too "picky" and critical about some of the asthetics and performance for an entry level turntable. Clearly not for most of the vinyl enthusiasts and audiophiles here, who are being just as "picky" and critical about your review. I think your review would be of interest to that toe tester (turntable newbie) who is dipping a toe into the water. Maybe a poor metaphor, but this table is geared towards that consumer who is unsure if they want to invest a lot into vinyl, or maybe has a small collection of LPs or a casual listener who doesn't have a concerning ear or a lot to invest. This might be the perfect table to introduce a child to vinyl or perhaps for a dorm room.

    I agree with your assessment of bypassing the RT-80 if one is willing to make a serious commitment into vinyl or has invested a lot of $$$$$ into high quality equipment where they may not be satisfied with it's performance. Certainly the features and performance increase with cost moving up the line. Then other options are available too.

    Your observations and information of this table are useful and helpful. The video helps to reinforce your observations and highlight it's features, while giving others who have no way of seeing this equipment up close or while in use. Nice. I myself have not seen a Fluance table in person, and now have a better concept of one.

    This table will get snubbed by most discerning "vinylphiles" here, but for a first turntable, it just might be the gateway drug which could result in future bouts of upgradeitus and a chronic case of analog audiophillia.
     
    Big Blue and Kardiaclp like this.
  8. Kardiaclp

    Kardiaclp Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    LOL, I love this..what a great comment.

    Thanks for the review, FTR. Will watch out of curiosity.

    EDIT: Watched your video and think it's a good / fair review. Very thoughtful and informative, especially for someone who might be shopping for that first turntable and doesn't know what to look for. It's so easy to buy something, thinking you're saving money, and then next thing you know you've upgraded every component and have a $1k version of your $150 TT.

    I just recently helped a friend get his first TT, and it's amazing how much has to be taught...
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
    BruceS, DonnyMe and Big Blue like this.
  9. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Gateway drug has been my experience. I had been out of the vinyl game for about 12 years, and my wife gave me one of these for Christmas a couple of years ago. Her $200 gift has led to me spending thousands on records and gear, and the experience has made me very happy. I’ll be stepping up from the RT-80 at some point, but I don’t think she could have made a better choice at that budget. Had it been my money, I agree with the OP’s assessment that it’s worth paying more to move up Fluance’s line, but I am not convinced there are better options at any of Fluance’s price points when features and aesthetics are compared. I think this review is pretty spot on for somebody who has no turntable or some cheaper piece of garbage.

    I do find it strange that, when asked if there was any product they wanted to send for review, Fluance chose to send an RT-80. I would have thought their newer “reference” series would have been their choice, but I am aware they have had stock issues, so maybe they literally sent what they could spare? It just seemed like their intention when introducing the RT-82 through 85 was to kind of move on from their original models. Maybe they are trying to push out their stock of this model?
     
    Sterling1 and DonnyMe like this.
  10. Purplerocks

    Purplerocks Forum Resident

    Location:
    IN
    I bought an rt 81 a few months ago to get back into vinyl after a 30 yr absence. I really like the wood base, just a personal thing that I prefer wood over plastic. There’s obviously much higher quality tables available but this was a good choice for me to get back in again.
     
  11. chargrove

    chargrove Single again.

    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    Hello, picking up on this thread several months later.

    Scored the RT-80 when the price dropped to $150 US for the holiday sales. It has a return policy so if I wind up hating it I can send it back (just PDQ).

    I didn't mess around with waiting to tweak some things. I immediately did not care for the felt mats' sound, so I changed to a proper felt mat in a new Pro-Ject felt mat, which is my favorite. The RCA cables didn't sound very good, either. I actually peeled off the ground cable and tossed the L and R audios, opting instead for a Mogami 2528 factory RCA terminated pair. These are often the cable of choice to hardwire as leads, and they do have a very low 19pF/FT capacitance. Next I swapped out the AT91 stylus for an LP Gear Carbon Fidelity stylus, even though I have nothing against the AT91 per se...to me the LP Gear is a nice cheap upgrade that's worth 3x the price, IMHO. Finally, I added a Clever Clamp to the mix whenever I put a record on to play.

    That comes out to about a hundred bucks in changes/additions to the stock version that I made. I can tell you they all make an audible difference in their own way and the sum of their efforts is a tighter and more dynamic experience and is a small investment able to be upgraded for very little, which to me is a neat find.

    Thanks! :wave:
     
    ddarch and PhxJohn like this.
  12. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I liked everything about your video, the script, camera work, editing, and style. I would only add the RT80 is not easily upgraded by adding a rubber mat and/or changing out the cartridge because the stock headshell height is relative to the supplied cart, leveling it for correct stylus rake angle upon a standard LP. This precludes the leveling of carts taller than the standard cartridge, since the TT has no VTA adjustment feature. This means a stylus rake angle less than ideal and thus less than the desired result from the upgrade cartridge.
     
    oddmentandtweak likes this.
  13. Sterling1

    Sterling1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I recall some posts I think from you which alluded to your pleasure with a Technics SL-1210GR?
     
  14. Old Zorki II

    Old Zorki II Storm Watcher

    Location:
    near Tampa, FL
    I just checked RT-85 and it is indeed an unbelievable value. Acrylic platter and Orto Blue alone can cost more then $300... What a perfect table for beginner, and priced so well to boot... Looks like a found what I will buy my dau on her next birthday, as her AT LP60 is crap!
     
    ddarch, Strat-Mangler and nosliw like this.
  15. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    I think the other "best deal" is the RT-82, which sometimes has been selling for $250. That would be the one for someone who would rather get a different cartridge than the Blue or just wants to play records without getting really anal about it (or who just doesn't have $500).
     
  16. chargrove

    chargrove Single again.

    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    If I were serious about using a Fluance as my only way to listen to vinyl, I wouldn't get anything below the RT-83. It's at that price point that the performance specs really jump.
     
  17. chargrove

    chargrove Single again.

    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    I'd be curious to know if she has the slightest possible care in the world for the acrylic platter and cartridge. I know mine wouldn't unless you could use them as a phone, too.
     
    SpeedMorris likes this.
  18. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    The 82 is the same exact thing, except for the cart. You pay $50 for a cart upgrade where the price difference is not nearly that much. One would have to really dislike the OM10 and really like the 2M Red, I would think.
     
  19. chargrove

    chargrove Single again.

    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    The RT-82 is actually not exactly the same due to the speed control upgrade. Check the specs for wow and flutter. And I would pay an extra $50 for the Ortofon Red over the OM10 anyway.
     
  20. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    Are you possibly confusing the 82 with the 81? Same .07 W&F on 82-85. Only differences are carts and platter (85).
     
  21. chargrove

    chargrove Single again.

    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    indeed I am
     
    SpeedMorris likes this.
  22. Total agree with this review. I just bought an RT-80 from Amazon last week. Now I'm feeling RT-80 bring the sound of life :D
     
  23. oddmentandtweak

    oddmentandtweak Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Hi everyone, I know this thread is a bit old but wondering if anyone has thoughts on buying a new rt80 vs a secondhand rt81 (used for 8 months, about 80 hrs)? Any thoughts on how much of a discount a secondhand turntable with this kind of use should be listed at?
    Thanks!
     
  24. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    IME, secondhand market for these should be heavily discounted, because the lack of warranty coverage will put you out of a properly working turntable in due time with no real recourse to get it fixed. I wouldn’t pay more than $50 for one.
     
    oddmentandtweak and patient_ot like this.
  25. A few years ago, I was seriously considering the Fluance models. Then I realized that my Teac TN300 ($250) with AT95E, was good enough until I could justify a TT15S1. I'm sure there are features on the ~$500 Fluance models that are better, or not on the TN-300, but I doubt they would affect sound quality. Anyways, getting a Fluance over a starter Rega would be a good thing, as so many go down the Rega upgrade rabbit hole, and few can ever get completely out of it.

     

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