Fluance RT82 Review • High performance at a great price
Fluance has established itself as a manufacturer of low-cost, quality audio products, and the Fluance RT82 turntable also lives up to this description.
The manufacturer claims the Fluance RT81 is the best turntable for beginners and we share their point of view. However, more advanced listeners looking for more flexibility and sound customization will likely be more interested in the RT82. While the RT82 lacks a built-in phono stage, it makes up for this with a much better cartridge and motor.
Fluance RT82 price and availability
The Fluance RT82 vinyl turntable is priced at $ 299 (23,000 rubles, 8,500 hryvnia) and is already available for purchase in stores around the world.
Fluance RT82 design
The Fluance RT82 is available in three finishes: bamboo, high-gloss piano black and natural walnut (dark wood). The lid design measures 5.5 x 16.5 x 13.75 inches / 14.0 x 41.9 x 34.9 cm (H x W x D).
The RT82 is equipped with an s-shaped tonearm and a beautiful aluminum playback speed control knob that allows you to choose between 33 ⅓ and 45 rpm. It supports auto start / stop function which is also present in RT81. Thanks to this function, the stylus smoothly stops and comes off the surface, thus preventing damage to it.
The main disc is made of aluminum and a flat belt connects it to the motor. Also included is a rubber mat that covers the disc.
The rear panel contains RCA outputs, a GND input, a switch for activating the auto stop function, and a power port.
The construction weighs almost 7 kg and is supported by three large rubber feet that can be easily adjusted. Fluance also provided the user with a small bubble level that can come in handy during setup. It is imperative that the turntable is placed on a level surface, otherwise the platter will rotate at different speeds, thus distorting the sound.
Fluance RT82 technical features
At first glance, the RT82 looks almost identical to its simpler counterpart RT81. However, there are two details by which you can distinguish them from each other. The first part is the turntable motor and the second is the supplied cartridge.
The RT82 motor is much better as it is separated from the disc, thus avoiding unwanted motor noise. The included Ortofon OM 10 stylus is also a big step up from the Audio-Technica AT95E featured in the RT81.
As for the assembly technologies, we can talk about the noticeable superiority of the RT82 model from the RT81. The RT82 motor is a servo-driven DC motor that is isolated from the turntable disc to help reduce unwanted noise during operation.
Like the RT81, the RT82 retains an auto play / stop function that can be disabled using a switch on the back of the unit.
The most noticeable difference between the newbie model and the more professional version is the lack of a phono stage on the RT82. This may seem extremely counterintuitive to you (why a more expensive turntable does not have a built-in amplifier), in fact, its absence plays a big role.
The RT81 phono stage is average performance, and the fact that Fluance engineers decided to cut costs and remove it from the design of the new turntable led to a reallocation of the budget, which is why we got a better motor and cartridge on the RT82. Improving the quality of these components will directly affect the playback quality.
The turntable has a nice cover to protect it from dust and mechanical damage, although Fluance recommends removing it completely for best sound, and we support that recommendation.
The RT81 sounded good enough with an Audio-Technica cartridge, so you’ll be glad to know the RT82 sounds noticeably better. You can expect more detailed, versatile and dynamic sound from this player. Just $ 50 more expensive than the RT81, but the audio upgrade is worth it, especially assuming you supplement it with a good amplifier. We connected a Vincent PHO-8 phono stage to our test device.
In short, the sound picture of the Fluance RT82 is warmth. The supplied Ortofon OM 10 cartridge delivers colorful bass, making your recordings relaxed and fun. However, we wanted the sound to be more neutral, so that the user was able to work with as many genres of music as possible.
Bass does not overpower other frequencies, but sometimes it did overlap in the mids, causing some of the vocal lines to feel a little washed out. The highs lacked a certain amount of brightness and precision that you can achieve with a more expensive cartridge, but for this price range this is more than natural.
It should be noted that the modernization of the engine has borne fruit – as a result, we get the stability of the playback speed, which the RT81 lacks.
The noise isolation of the Fluance RT82 is provided by rubber feet and a separate motor, which together help create a beautiful and smooth backdrop for music playback.
The only difficulty we encountered during our testing was the turntable phoning during playback even when grounded to the Vincent phono stage. The Fluance documentation states that you need to ground the RT82 turntable to the preamp and then ground the preamp to the speaker, which is odd because, firstly, most speakers don’t have a grounding terminal and secondly, other turntables don’t require grounding at all. However, we fixed the problem by grounding the RCA preamp on another device.
Fluance produces high performance audio products at a great price, and the RT82 turntable is no exception. While its simplified counterpart, the Fluance RT81, can be a great choice for beginners thanks to its built-in phono stage, the RT82 is a more advanced, modified turntable model. Yes, you will need to attach an additional phono stage to it, but this gives the RT82 the opportunity to grow and improve with your system as far as your budget allows.
The RT82 is a great foundation for a home audio system that you can add and improve in the future, for example, over time you can add an acrylic disc, a powerful phono stage and amplifier (and this is just the beginning).