Fluance RT80 Review
In an ever-increasing digital age, record players continue to offer an incredibly popular music experience.
While it’s convenient to be able to access your entire music library at any given time through your phone, vinyl remains the superior format for most music lovers as it tends to produce exactly what the artists themselves want you to hear.
To put it simply, record players provide the most organic music experience possible.
Fluance is widely recognized as one of the best audio-brands on the market and have received a number of awards and positive reviews from leaders in the industry to reflect this.
Based in Canada, Fluance as a brand have dedicated themselves to producing home audio, music systems and hi-fi turntables for the past 20 years.
Moreover, their products are typically renowned for using both high-quality drive units and advanced enclosure technologies in order to deliver the best sound.
If you are considering buying the Fluance RT80 as your new record player but remain uncertain as to whether it is the correct piece of equipment for you, we have put together a detailed review below.
This review takes an in-depth look at the product’s features that we like and those that we feel could benefit from improvement. Continue reading below if you would like to find out more.
- Dimensions: 16.5” x 5.5” x 13.75”
- Connectivity Technology: Wired
- Color: Piano Black
- Material: Wood
- Item Weight: 9.9 Pounds
- Signal Format: Analog
- Dust Cover: Yes - Tinted
- Drive System: Belt Drive
- Audio Technica AT91 cartridge with diamond-tipped stylus
- Balanced aluminium S-Type tonearm
- Plays 33 ⅓ and 45 Rpm
- High quality Texas Instruments preamp
- Sound isolation feet and aluminium platter
- Gold-plated RCA line outputs
- Auto-Stop: Yes
- Turntable Mat: Felt
- Anti-Skating Adjustment: Yes
- Pivot Bearing: Yes
- Ground Terminal: Yes
It may sound painstakingly obvious but one of the most important considerations to take into account when looking for a worthy record player is the sound quality of the product.
There’s nothing worse than investing in a brand new record player only to find that it provides low-quality and inconsistent sound.
Impressively, the Fluance RT80 excels in this department, producing an exceptional quality that achieves the purest sound. The player is a high-fidelity version which is specifically designed to improve sound quality and the character of vinyl records.
In addition, it is also a belt-driven turntable, meaning it can consistently deliver a pure analogue sound.
The RT80 is equipped with an Audio Technica AT91 stylus ensuring a rich sound as the diamond-tipped stylus rests in the grooves of your records.
This particular stylus is renowned for its freedom from noise and distortion, clarity on musical peaks and channel balance.
With this product you can expect a comprehensive, all-round sound that uncovers a fair amount of detail.
While some may compare it to other similarly priced models and overlook the RT80 due to a lack of features, it is important to understand that Fluance have spent all their money and effort on ensuring the best possible performance with this record player.
The crafted wood cabinet reduces vibrations as the stylus provides all the signal. Sound isolation feet and an aluminium platter further help to keep vibrations and reverberations to a minimum, leaving you with pure and true sound.
Another notable strength of the RT80 player is the smooth playback which is ideal for those who enjoy long listening sessions.
The balanced S-Type tonearm enables you to experience each detail of every single note - as close to the original recording as possible.
The combination of the fluid movement of the bearings within the tonearm and the advanced anti-skating system prevent the risk of scratching, while simultaneously producing the perfectly smooth tones of your favorite tracks.
For high-performance record players like the RT80, tiny built-in speakers are never much use for effectively producing sound output.
For this reason, the RT80 does not have internal speakers, but instead gold-plated RCA outputs that ensure sound quality is maintained when the player is attached to a receiver.
Your records can also be connected directly to a pair of powered speakers due to the high-quality Texas Instruments preamp.
However, it is worth noting that if you want to use headphones with this product, you’ll need to plug them into a receiver or amplifier as there is no headphone jack on the player.
The sleek and stylish construction of the RT80 could provide a suitable centrepiece for any living room.
Aesthetically pleasing on the eye, the product has a smooth piano black finish which customers all wax lyrical about in its simplistic beauty. The platter which is aluminium also has a black finish, matching the metal arm.
It should be a relatively straightforward process setting up this product after purchase.
However, it may be worth giving you a heads-up that many have experienced problems with understanding some of the terms used in the setup instructions.
Thankfully, to help with this common issue, Fluance have released videos of the setup process. So for those who need an extra explanation or work more efficiently as a visual learner, you’ve got extra help at your disposal.
Moving beyond the initial setup process, the player has an easy-to-use control dial which can be used to select play speed for 33 ⅓ Rpm or 45 Rpm records.
The RT80 also comes equipped with a plastic spindle adapter that allows 45s to be used on the 33 ⅓ spindle.
Finally, there is a useful auto-stop setting on the player that will stop the platter after the final song has been played on the record.
The RT80 excels against other models in a similar price range, even competing with some more expensive record players on the market.
It’s evident that this product was designed and constructed to provide those who can’t afford a high-range player with the opportunity to still experience high-quality sound.
As far as sound quality is concerned, this product by Fluance really is the very best available for such a moderate price.
Therefore, if you are working to a budget but still want your record collection to sound rich in quality then the RT80 is the player for you.
Despite having a preamp built into it, many customers have suggested upgrading to one of enhanced quality to further improve the overall sonic performance of the player.
In addition to this, if you’re feeling extra innovative you could also choose a different cartridge to further customize your sound.
However, for beginners with a low budget interested in the RT80 it is unlikely that you’ll need to customize the product.
The already-paired preamp is of sufficient quality to still provide a smooth and pleasurable listening experience without unnecessarily customizing the product just for the sake of it.
- Superior stylus - with the Audio Technica AT91 stylus resting in the grooves of your vinyl records at a mere 2.0 grams of tracking force, your music will sound rich in quality. The diamond-tipped stylus is specifically designed to track record grooves with precision and accuracy.
- Signal clarity - the RT80 produces captivating sound clarity with a high-quality Texas Instruments preamp and gold-plated RCA line outputs that ensure high-fidelity sound in its truest form.
- Sound isolation - the turntable is crafted with thick, engineered wood which significantly reduces unwanted vibrations and reverberations. Sound isolation feet and an aluminium platter leave you with pure stereophonic sound.
- Anti-skating system - this feature maintains a good channel balance as well as minimizing distortion and stylus wear.
- Ground terminal - with this useful feature, you’ll never have to worry about any unwanted interference (usually a humming sound) you get from a ground loop. It’ll also save you from learning how to ground your record player.
- Smooth playback - the balanced and adjustable S-Type tonearm ensures the stylus is perfectly rested deep in your record’s groove, producing every single detail of your favorite tracks.
- Affordable - according to existing customer reviews, the RT80 performs well above its relatively moderate price tag.
- Limited - unlike other record players on the market, the RT80 is limited to just playing records. So for those looking for an all-in-one player or a model with built-in speakers, it may not be the best choice.
- Incompatibility - while the RT80 works for 33 and 45 rpm vinyls, it doesn’t play 78 rpm records.
- Complex instructions - for those who are unfamiliar with record player jargon, the instructions for the setup of the RT80 could be slightly confusing.
- Loud pop - a handful of customers have reported that they have experienced a loud electrical pop through their respective record players. This problem can however be easily solved by making sure the preamp is turned on before the turntable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Fluance RT80 a good choice for beginners?
The simple answer to this question is a resounding yes. For newbies looking to purchase their first record player the RT80 is a device that is both simple and high-quality.
The modest price further highlights its appeal for beginners and once set up, you are guaranteed to be impressed by the excellent product.
Does the RT80 come with a cueing lever?
Yes, it does. The cueing lever is an important part of the product and helps to lower the tonearm and stylus to your records both accurately and safely.
Are Fluance turntables any good?
Fluance are a Canadian-based audio brand that have produced popular music systems and high-fidelity turntables like the RT80 for the past 20 years.
They have a solid reputation for using high-performance drive units and advanced enclosure technologies in order to get the best sound possible.
The company’s owner has been a self-professed audiophile since an early age and grew up with the aim to recreate the concert experience as closely as possible from the comfort of his own home.
As such, their turntables are consistent in quality and value, with the brand winning several awards and receiving positive recognition from a number of leaders in the music industry.
How do you use the Fluance record player?
The Fluance record player is a relatively straightforward device to use. The first steps of the setup process should be simple but the crucial stage of using your record player effectively is properly balancing the tonearm.
Tonearm balance ensures you get the maximum sound clarity while also minimizing wear to your records and stylus.
Firstly you need to remove the stylus protector, unlock the tonearm and then lift the cueing lever to position the tonearm over the platter.
Then slowly lower the cueing lever without letting the needle touch the platter and turn the counterweight until the tonearm comes parallel to the mat.
Note here, you want it to be as level as possible. Once this has been positioned, return the tonearm to its rest and lock in place.
Perhaps the most important step is to next turn the counterweight indicator ring to ‘0’, do not turn the whole ring, only the front ring. Once this has been set, turn the entire counterweight counter-clockwise until the number ‘2’ is on the centre line.
This will set the turntable to 2 grams tracking force - the optimal tracking force for using the device. Finally, next to the tonearm base is a small brown dial which is the anti-skating dial. Set this dial to ‘2’.
What is the best turntable for the money?
As mentioned above, the RT80 is a great option for anyone working to a budget. Other high-quality turntables in a similar price range and under $500 are the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo and the Audio Technica AT-LP120XUSB.
Both of these turntables, like the Fluance RT80, receive a large number of positive reviews from customers.
Can I use the acrylic platter on the RT80 player?
This is an important point to address because the density and weight of the acrylic platter makes it a useful addition to many devices in helping to reduce vibration, resonance and speed variations.
Unfortunately, the RT80 is not compatible with the acrylic platter due to the position of the motor.
Is this product fully manual or automatic?
The RT80 is a manual record player.
However, it’s worth highlighting the auto-stop feature at the end of the record which takes effect after roughly 30 seconds.
The Fluance RT80 is a record player well-equipped to play your favorite records with stunning quality achieving the purest sound production.
The RT80 delivers far above its price range making it an attractive and affordable option for all buyers.
While it may not offer the all-round package that other record players can, Fluance have built a product in the RT80 that continues the company’s tradition of producing high-quality record players.
This product doesn’t play CDs and it doesn’t have any extraneous components such as speakers. However, most importantly it plays records, and it plays them very well.
Overall, it is a worthy and popular option that is bound to meet your expectations.