Fluance Reference Turntable Review: Taking vinyl to the next level [Video]

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Fluance RT82 turntable

With the resurgence of vinyl, Fluance has been introducing some record players that have been receiving high marks with audiophiles. The reference line-up from Fluance is meant to give the pure analog sound. We’re checking out the RT82 – the entry point into Fluance’s reference turntable collection. Check out the video for more on the RT82.

Fluance turntables

We’ve checkout a couple of other speakers from Fluance this year and have been big fans of what they’re making. Fluance has a nice line-up of turntables to fit a variety of needs and budgets. The starting point for vinyl players is the $200 RT80 – which has a built in preamp and thus isn’t in the reference category.

Reference performance starts at $300 with this RT82 and goes up to the RT85 at $500 with the RT83 and RT84 in between. While the basic form and function is the same between all of these, they are differentiated by some material components and differing cartridges. Cartridge selection ranges from the Audio-Technica ATN91 on the non-reference RT80 to the Ortofon 2M Blue found on the RT85. What we have on this model, the RT82 is the Ortofon OM 10.

What is Reference?

So what does reference mean for Fluance? They found that listeners were looking for a pure analog signal from a turntable. There are lots of great, more convenient options out there like their own RT80/81, or the wildly popular Audio-Technica LP60BK, which I also have, but because of the built in preamps they aren’t pure analog. So Fluance has put their spin on making a high-fidelity turntable line-up for listeners seeking analog purity.

Fluance RT82: Video

Settin up the RT82

There is quite a bit of setup with the RT82, as I’m sure is the same with the other models. Thankfully, Fluance provides some very clear instructions for getting everything setup. When you receive the turntable, you must attached the platter, turntable mat, counterweight, and headshell. This makes sure that everything is shipped safely but does take a little time to get the player set up.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these reference turntables do requires preamp power. Some receivers have a phono input that would work, or you can source a separate preamp to connect to most standard RCA inputs. Fluance recommends their own $80 PA10 high fidelity phono preamp, but there are other options as well. I had a Pyle turntable preamp sitting around from an old setup that I used, which is normally $33 on Amazon.

Spinning the Fluance RT82

Because of its pure, analog construction mindset, operation is manual as well. You have a speed control which can go between 33 and 45 rpm, a cueing lever and tone arm lock. That’s about it. Once setup, to get a record playing, place the record on the Aluminum mat found on the RT82, turn the motor control to the appropriate speed for the record, unlock the tonearm lock, life the cueing lever, move the tonearm to the desired starting point and drop the cueing lever.

On some other record players like the Audio-Technica LP60BK, this is done automatically via the start and stop buttons (which my two-year-old LOVES to push). But I don’t think that vinyl and analog purists will mind the manual, analog function of using the cueing arm.

Another great feature built into the RT82 is the adjustable vibration isolating feet. These three rubber feet that can be screwed in or out to adjust their height help to isolate the turntable from vibrations found in normal living situations and get a perfectly balanced turntable.

How does it sound?

So how does all of this work together to make a good sound? Incredibly pure. Since I still have a lot of the Focal hi-fi headphone gear, I listened through the Arche headphone amp and the pair of Utopia headphones. Needless to say, it was an extremely clear experience. Between the hi-fidelity signal of the RT82 and the unbelievable clarity of the Utopia, there wasn’t anything to hide in the record. The Alabama Shakes’ Sound and Color revealed some incredible texture and detail. I feel like everytime I listen to that album I pick up a new subtleties that I didn’t notice before.

Fluance RT82: The final word

If you’re looking for a way to boost your vinyl listening experience, Fluance has some great means to take your collection to the next level. If you just want to add a new turntable the RT82 is a great option for high-fidelity playback, or Fluance has built a perfect package complete with the RT82, PA10 Phono Preamp and a pair of Ai60 6.5” powered bookshelf speakers – everything needed for an incredible turntable setup. We’ve loved the other Fluance devices we’ve checked out in the past and their attention to detail and high quality auido without breaking the bank makes the RT82 a great choice for a high-fidelity turntable.

Buy the Fluance RT82

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