Fluance RT81 Review

by crackler01

Today I will talk about a very popular turntable in the Fluance RT81 Review text.

Fluance RT81 Review – Intro

Fluance has earned a reputable name in the audio equipment industry for many years. Although this Canadian company specializes in surrounding sound equipment, their 6 proprietary turntables are in a league of their own.

Fluance RT81 Review

But for this in-depth review, we have specifically picked the RT81. Is it worth the price? Does it perform exceptionally well as it claims? Read on until the end to find out all about the Fluance RT81, its performance, specs, pros, and cons.

Fluance RT81 Specifications

  • Product Dimensions: 13.75 x 16.5 x 5.5 inches
  • Unit Weight: 14.1 pounds
  • Cabinet Material: MDF
  • Platter: Aluminum
  • Platter Diameter: 12 inch
  • Turntable Mat: Rubber
  • Drive System: Belt Drive
  • Rubber Belt Design: Continuous Loop (Joint-Less)
  • Tonearm Type: Static Balanced, S-Type
  • Tonearm Material: Aluminum
  • Cartridge Model: Audio Technica: AT95E
  • Cartridge Type: Dual Moving Magnet (MM)
  • Stylus: 0.4 × 0.7mil Bonded Elliptical (Diamond)
  • Motor: DC Motor
  • Speed: 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
  • Signal To Noise Ratio (Weighted): 67dB or higher
  • Signal To Noise Ratio (Unweighted): 60dB or higher
  • Channel Separation: 20dB at 1kHz
  • Recommended Tracking Force: 2.0g +/–0.5g

You can download the manual here->Fluance RT81 Manual

What Is Included In the RT81’s Box?

When you purchase the Fluance RT81, the shipped box will include the following components:

  • An RT81 turntable
  • A tinted dust cover
  • 2 dust cover hinges
  • An aluminum platter
  • A rubber slip mat
  • A rubber belt
  • A Removable headshell along with Audio Technica AT95E cartridge
  • An adjustable counterweight
  • 7-inch or 45 adapter
  • A 5 ft 100V – 240V (50/60Hz) AC power adapter
  • A 3 ft RCA cable with incorporated ground wire (PFHTCA)
  • A user manual

Fluance offers lifetime customer support for this turntable and its other audio equipment. Moreover, the company provides a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty on the RT81 turntable, making it a reasonable investment that would function for an extended time.

Fluance RT81 Review – Construction

Right off the box, the Fluance RT81 Elite High Fidelity Vinyl turntable gives the impression of promising audio equipment. Each section of this review is going to focus on a different aspect of the turntable to provide you with every detail.

Design

The overall design of the Fluance RT81 for its price point is phenomenal. Each of its integrated components is made with premium quality material that ensures durability and long-term usage.

Plinth

The RT81 features a solid Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) wood plinth. In contrast to standard plywood, the MDF wood has a high-quality composite construction that delivers long-lasting results.

Fluance RT81 Elite High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player with Audio Technica AT95E Cartridge, Belt Drive, Built-in Preamp, Adjustable Counterweight, Solid Wood Plinth - Walnut
Fluance RT81 Elite High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player with Audio Technica AT95E Cartridge, Belt Drive, Built-in Preamp, Adjustable Counterweight, Solid Wood Plinth - Walnut*
by Fluance
  • PURE ANALOG LISTENING EXPERIENCE - Premium components allow this high fidelity belt driven turntable to recreate the performance the way the artist intended
  • HIGH PERFORMANCE CARTRIDGE - The Audio Technica AT95E featuring a diamond elliptical tipped stylus is designed to track your record grooves with greater precision & accuracy for high definition audio
  • SUPERIOR RECORD TRACKING - Enjoy perfect playback using the balanced aluminum S-Type tonearm ensuring the stylus is rested deep in your record's groove, producing every audio detail indistinguishable from the original recording
  • SOLID WOOD PLINTH - The beautiful walnut finished cabinet is crafted from solid engineered (MDF) wood, incorporates isolation feet, an aluminum platter and a rubber slip mat which results in superior isolation from unwanted vibrations
  • CAPTIVATING SIGNAL CLARITY - Incorporating a high quality built-in Texas Instruments preamp, ground terminal and gold plated RCA line outputs that ensures warm, true sound
 Price: € 249.99 Buy now at Amazon*
Price incl. VAT., Excl. Shipping
Last updated on 02/07/2022 at 09:59 - Image source: Amazon Affiliate Program. All statements without guarantee.

To make the RT81 look like a presentable piece of equipment you can place anywhere, Fluance has used a high gloss finish on the cabinet. The high-gloss finish cabinet is available in three varieties: piano white, piano black, and our favorite, the natural walnut. With premium-quality construction and aesthetic, high-end exterior finish, the RT81 imparts a retro look, adding charm to the place it is kept.

Built-in Components

Coming to the components, we could observe how much Fluance has focused on the details to ensure the sound quality is not compromised. The RT81 includes an aluminum platter paired with a rubber slip mat. An S-shaped tonearm features a detachable headshell and a prime-quality Audio Technica AT95E cartridge. This cartridge contains a Japanese-manufactured cantilever made with premium aluminum and equips an elliptical tip stylus on its end.

Audio-Technica AT95E Phonograph Cartridge for 1/2" Mount Turntables
Audio-Technica AT95E Phonograph Cartridge for 1/2" Mount Turntables*
by audio-technica
  • Offers outstanding clarity and detail
  • Each cartridge is meticulously assembled with remarkably tight tolerances
  • The elliptical diamond stylus is designed to track record grooves with high accuracy for outstanding audio reproduction
  • Includes mounting hardware and stylus guard
  • Also includes zippered pouch, airline adapter and AAA battery; audio continues to work even after battery depletes.Stylus Construction:Bonded Round Shank
 Price: € 69.95 Buy now at Amazon*
Price incl. VAT., Excl. Shipping
Last updated on 02/07/2022 at 09:58 - Image source: Amazon Affiliate Program. All statements without guarantee.

A chunky dial is also featured on the above surface of the wooden plinth to switch between the rotational speeds. The RT81 contains built-in internal and external preamps with a ground terminal. On the back side of the cabinet, two switches are also present. One switch toggles between the line-level and phono-level outputs, while the other switch functions to control the auto-stop feature.

Fluance RT81 Back Side View

Fluance RT81 Back Side View

The entire plinth with its attached components stands on four pre-attached isolation feet, which provide stability to the entire structure and aid in enhancing performance. Last but not least, a fine-quality dust cover encloses the top of the RT81. This dust cover fits into the hinges on the back side and can be detached if needed.

Even though the design is excellent and well put together, does the RT81 deliver top performance as well?

Fluance RT81 Review – Appearance and Functionality

Plinth, Feet, And Platter

Although the solid wood plinth makes the Fluance RT81 highly aesthetic, its construction also helps improve the performance. In combination with the isolation feet, the plinth aids in reducing unwanted vibrations and resonance that could ruin the sound quality.

The aluminum platter is evenly weighted for the vinyl record disc to rotate uniformly. Placing the rubber slip mat on the underside of this platter reduces reverberation for producing pure and crisp multi-directional sound.

Motor

The Fluance RT81 is a belt-driven turntable that offers stability to the vinyl record being played and enables balanced rotation/. It is paired with an integrated high-precision DC motor to deliver smooth operation and rotation of the platter. The spinning speed can be changed between 33.3 rpm and 45 rpm with the help of the chunky dial on the top surface. Hence, the RT81 serves as an excellent turntable for playing various LP and EP vinyl records.

Tonearm, Cartridge, And Stylus

As mentioned earlier, every detail of the included components helps deliver top performance, and the design of the tonearm proves it. Its S shape and steel bearing ensures stability and keeps the cartridge and stylus balanced on the playing record. For optimal tonearm balance, the attached counterweight allows fine adjustments. The stability and even balance of the tonearm altogether aid in keeping the stylus rested in the record’s groove. It also maintains an optimal centrifugal force on the stylus during playback to prevent skating and scratching.

Audio-Technica AT95E Phonograph Cartridge for 1/2" Mount Turntables
Audio-Technica AT95E Phonograph Cartridge for 1/2" Mount Turntables*
by audio-technica
  • Offers outstanding clarity and detail
  • Each cartridge is meticulously assembled with remarkably tight tolerances
  • The elliptical diamond stylus is designed to track record grooves with high accuracy for outstanding audio reproduction
  • Includes mounting hardware and stylus guard
  • Also includes zippered pouch, airline adapter and AAA battery; audio continues to work even after battery depletes.Stylus Construction:Bonded Round Shank
 Price: € 69.95 Buy now at Amazon*
Price incl. VAT., Excl. Shipping
Last updated on 02/07/2022 at 09:58 - Image source: Amazon Affiliate Program. All statements without guarantee.

One of the components we were delighted to see while reviewing the Fluance RT81 turntable was the cartridge and its equipped stylus. The AT95E cartridge by Audio Technica is a high-fidelity turntable cartridge that offers excellent clarity. Its featured diamond elliptical stylus works in collaboration to provide superior tracking of the record’s grooves.

The cartridge maintains channel separation with an adequate tracking force of 2.0 grams while the stylus rests perfectly on the underlying grooves. It ensures precise and high-definition sound details and gives audio similar to the original recording. Another great system attribute of the RT81 is its auto-stop feature. Once the stylus reaches the end of the playing vinyl record, it automatically stops tracking. This feature helps preserve the condition of the stylus and the underlying vinyl record.

Internal Circuitry

This review will be lacking if the internal circuitry of the Fluance RT81 turntable is not discussed. The integrated preamps by Texas Instruments function effectively to boost and clarify signals while reducing noise. Besides that, the grounding terminal prevents interference in the signals, which further clarifies the generated audio. The internal preamps refine sound quality by directly connecting the phono signals to the gold-plated RCA output by utilizing a dedicated signal path. With the external line output, external speakers can be connected to the turntable to amplify and widen the reach of the emitting audio.

Pricing

The Fluance RT81 turntable is priced at about $250 but can also be found at a bit lower prices by some sellers. Compared to other available turntables, the RT81 is a relatively affordable audio equipment that serves aesthetics, quality, high performance, and incredible audio production.

Audio-Technica AT95E Phonograph Cartridge for 1/2" Mount Turntables
Audio-Technica AT95E Phonograph Cartridge for 1/2" Mount Turntables*
by audio-technica
  • Offers outstanding clarity and detail
  • Each cartridge is meticulously assembled with remarkably tight tolerances
  • The elliptical diamond stylus is designed to track record grooves with high accuracy for outstanding audio reproduction
  • Includes mounting hardware and stylus guard
  • Also includes zippered pouch, airline adapter and AAA battery; audio continues to work even after battery depletes.Stylus Construction:Bonded Round Shank
 Price: € 69.95 Buy now at Amazon*
Price incl. VAT., Excl. Shipping
Last updated on 02/07/2022 at 09:58 - Image source: Amazon Affiliate Program. All statements without guarantee.

Fluance RT81 Sound Test

In terms of sound quality, the Fluance RT81 is quite good with a nice amount of detail. The included Audio Technica AT95E won’t blow away audiophiles, but it’s a great cartridge for beginners with a replaceable needle, which is very affordable. Because the RT81 has a standard headshell, you can easily replace the cartridges to experiment, which is a nice touch.

I try to connect the RT81 to my Musical Fidelity V-LPS and the sound quality was close to the V-LPS with a slight edge due to a better sound environment, dynamic range, and slightly lower noise.

We were impressed by the good insulation of Fluance RT81 from stairs and other vibrations. Although the platter is relatively light, the RT81 absorbs external speaker vibrations well, which is nice if you have a turntable and speakers on the same platform.

Final Verdict

Is the Fluance RT81 turntable worth your money? Overall, the RT81 turntable by Fluance is a pretty great audio device for beginners getting into the hobby of trying out different turntables. It offers consistent quality and sound generation, making sure the listening experience is the exact replication of what the artist intended. At a relatively affordable price, the RT81 is a solid product that can be the perfect addition to your audio-loving lifestyle.

Fluance RT81 Pro & Cons

Pros

  • It offers a classic look and has a heavy, durable plinth
  • The belt does not require changing for switching speeds
  • Built-in preamp refines audio
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Incorporates a high-performance AT95E cartridge and elliptical stylus balanced on an s-shaped tonearm
  • The auto-stop feature reduces the wear of the stylus
  • Reduces noise, clarifies audio signals, and delivers crisp sound similar to the original

Cons

  • The rotational speed is not entirely accurate and might require fine-tuning adjustment
  • No designated place to keep the 7-inch/45 adapter.
A solid turntable for this amount of money. It can be easily upgraded, either with an improved phono stage or cartridge, and its aesthetic coherence is among the more convincing at this price. If you covet a warm, solid-sounding turntable with plenty of musical talent, it’s time you introduced yourself to Fluance.
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