My Turntable of Choice: The Fluance RT82

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My Turntable of Choice: The Fluance RT82

Sun, 05/17/2020 - 11:42
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Out of six turntables I considered purchasing to play my vinyl records, the Fluance RT82 was my final choice.

A few months ago, I reviewed six different vinyl record turntables due my renewed interest in listening to music pressed on vinyl records. Despite all six vinyl turntables being good choices to consider, I still needed to select the turntable I would bring into my home. In the end, it was the Fluance RT82 Reference High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable that I chose as my latest stereo component. 

In my original review of turntables, my main criteria was I wanted a good-quality turntable that would last me for a long time but also didn't cause my wife to panic when she saw the bill of sale. For me and my family's budget, I found my comfort zone in purchasing a new turntable was in the price range of $150 to $350.  Many audiophiles wouldn't hesitate to buy a more expensive turntable but guess what, I'm no audiophile and prefer to spend my money elsewhere (I really could use a better amplifier and a new set of speakers for my stereo system).

The RT82 turntable matched not only my price point but offered everything I had hoped to have in a turntable. This turntable comes with the Ortofon OM 10 cartridge, speed control motor, motor isolation, aluminum platter, and rubber mat. The turntable comes in two colors, natural walnut and piano black, and in the end I picked the former. After three months since buying the RT82, I'm impressed the the sound that comes from this turntable and the following are some of my impressions and details I think you should know. 

 

Fluance RT82 Reference High Fidelity Turntable (Walnut)
Fluance RT82 Reference High Fidelity Turntable (Walnut)

 

Features and Specifications

The Fluance RT82 is actually one of many "Reference Tables" in a product line of turntables intended for high fidelity enthusiasts offered by Fluance. In addition to the RT82, model numbers also include the RT83, RT84, and RT85.  All these models share common traits, but as you would expect better features and higher prices are seen as you go higher up in the model number. For example, the most expensive in the line is the RT85 which offers a 2M Blue cartridge and acrylic platter while the RT82 offers a lower priced but still good Ortofon OM10 elliptical cartridge and an aluminum platter.

Why did I pick the RT82 over an RT85? The answer simply comes down to economics where the RT82 is $200 less expensive than the RT85. The RT82 may be cheaper than the RT85 but is still considered by many critics to be a very good turntable for your money. Although it will cost you extra, at a later date you can still upgrade the RT82 to an RT85 by upgrading the cartridge to the 2M Blue (retails around $230) and changing out the metal platter for acrylic.

In retrospect, despite the RT82 being a good turntable if given a second chance I would have purchased the RT85. This isn't a knock off of the RT82 as much as it is affirmation that I underestimated how much I would come to enjoy listening to vinyl records. I went with the cheaper option for fear that my enthusiasm for vinyl was short-lived but I see now this is going to be a very long love affair for how I listen to my music.

Probably the most impressive feature of the RT82 over other brands was that reviewers almost always noted the turntable's consistent speed control for precision playback. Fluance notes that this is due to the isolated motor preventing unwanted vibrations and noise while the speed control mechanism ensures consistent platter velocity (0.07% Wow/Flutter). I also liked the turntable's wood cabinet with three adjustable resonance damping feet to help reduce unwanted micro-vibrations. The balanced S-shaped tonearm is also a nice feature as well.

While I could provide a complete list of specifications in this article, I'll refer you to visit Fluance's own specifications page for the RT82.

How does it sound?

I am not a music expert and thus I really don't have an objective way to tell you why you should buy the Fluance RT82 over another turntable. I will say though, I am enjoying this turntable immensely.

My stereo system is for the "average joe" made of a hodgepodge of speakers and stereo components in the 1990's and early 2000's. Most of the vinyl records in my collection are even older than my equipment as I purchased them in the 1970s and 1980s although I've now bought a few new vinyl albums too. From where I'm sitting, these vinyl records have never sounded better than they do on the Fluance turntable. Not being an expert, I can't tell you why this is so but I suspect this is the first time I've played these records on a quality turntable like the Fluance and not some cheap turntable that came as an add-on with previous stereo systems.

In the past, when I've played my albums on a turntable I remember the vinyl sounding "scratchy" with a lot of skips. Given that this turntable not only comes with a better needle than perhaps other turntables I've used it doesn't surprise me that the Fluance would sound better. But I also think that in the past I underestimated the importance of having a turntable with a quality tonearm for tracking of the record grooves, the effort of minimizing vibrations, and the accuracy counterweights and anti-skate adjustments all provide to the listening experience. All the features found in the Fluance RT82 are features that will improve your opinion how good vinyl records can sound on a good turntable.

Like many consumers do, I went to YouTube to see what the experts are saying before buying a product. Some of the reviews on the Fluance RT8x that influenced my decision to purchase the Fluance RT82 include videos by Joe N Tell, Craig at Vinyl TV, Andrew Robinson, and Modern Classic. I rarely found a trusted reviewer that didn't like the the Fluance RT82 and above turntables which says something in my book.

Should you buy this turntable?

At this point of the article, it should be pretty clear that I recommend anyone looking for a turntable to at least consider Fluance's Reference Turntables. My entry point into a turntable for my audio system wasn't too expensive as I already had the stereo receiver and speakers. My only challenge was that my current stereo setup didn't have phono inputs so I needed buy an external preamp.

For my setup, I purchased the DJ PRE II from ART from Amazon as my preamp. I'm quite pleased with the sound from the DJ PREII when connected to the RT82 and my old Sony surround sound receiver. There are many good external preamps out there so don't let my choice keep you from considering other preamps for your setup.

If  you don't want to mess with a reference table without an integrated preamp, I'd recommend you take a look at the Fluance RT81 as well as some competing products that I included in a previous article.

Most of my family and friends aren't surprised that I purchased the Fluance RT82 as much as they are simply surprised I'm listening to vinyl records once again. Perhaps my interest in a new turntable was influenced by nostalgia but I'm finding that vinyl records have reintroduced me to appreciating all my music regardless of analog or digital format. For anybody's first steps into vinyl records, I have no difficulty recommending to them the Fluance RT82.

The Fluance RT82 retails for $299.00 and can be purchased on Amazon as well as Fluance's own website. If you can afford spending a little more cash, I highly recommend you consider purchasing the Fluance RT85 instead of the RT82 which retails for around $500 and comes with a better cartridge and the acrylic platter.

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