Today I will talk about a very popular turntable in the Fluance RT81 Review text.
- 1 Fluance RT81 Review – Intro
- 2 Fluance RT81 Specifications
- 3 Fluance RT81 Review – Construction
- 4 Fluance RT81 Review – Appearance and Functionality
- 5 Fluance RT81 Sound Test
- 6 Fluance RT81 Video Review
- 7 Final Verdict
- 8 Should I buy the Fluance RT81?
- 9 Is Fluance a good turntable brand?
- 10 Does the Fluance RT81 have auto-stop?
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, its 6 proprietary turntables are in a league of their own.
But for this in-depth review, I 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’s in the box?
When you purchase the Fluance RT81, the shipped box will include the following components:
- RT81 turntable
- Tinted dust cover
- 2 dust cover hinges
- Aluminum platter
- Rubber slip mat
- Rubber belt
- Removable headshell along with Audio Technica AT95E cartridge
- Adjustable counterweight
- 7-inch or 45 adapter
- 5 ft 100V – 240V (50/60Hz) AC power adapter
- 3 ft RCA cable with incorporated ground wire (PFHTCA)
- 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 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.
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.
The RT81 features a solid MDF wood plinth. In contrast to standard plywood, MDF wood has a high-quality composite construction that delivers long-lasting results.
To make the RT81 look like a presentable piece of equipment you can place anywhere, Fluance has used a high gloss finish on the base. The high-gloss finish 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.
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 that features a detachable headshell, and a prime-quality Audio Technica AT95E cartridge. This cartridge contains a cantilever made with premium aluminum and equips an elliptical tip stylus on its end.
A speed selector is also featured on the above surface of the wooden plinth to switch between 33 1/3 and 45 RPM.
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 controls the auto-stop feature.
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 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 so the record can rotate uniformly. Placing the rubber slip mat on the underside of this platter reduces reverberation for producing a pure and crisp sound.
The Fluance RT81 is a belt-driven turntable that offers stability to the vinyl record being played and ensures 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 switch on the top. 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.
One of the components I was 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 excellent 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.
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.
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 cartridge 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.
I was 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.
Fluance RT81 Video Review
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
- 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
- The rotational speed is not entirely accurate and might require fine-tuning adjustment
- No designated place to keep the 7-inch/45 adapter.
Should I buy the Fluance RT81?
Fluance RT81 is a decent turntable. It has its flaws but for that amount of money this turntable is more than good.
Is Fluance a good turntable brand?
This Canadian-based audio brand has several decades of experience in turntable making. So, the answer is yes - Fluance is a good turntable brand.
Does the Fluance RT81 have auto-stop?
You will find a switch on the back of your Fluance turntable, sliding this to the ON position will enable Auto-Stop. 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.