Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

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Yuck
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Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by Yuck » 15 Jan 2020 13:49

I got into collecting vinyl a few years ago and started out with this setup:
  • Fluance RT-81 (w/ upgrade to Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge)
  • Yamaha A-S701 Amplifier
  • Wharfedale Diamond 10.7 Tower Speakers (Pair)
  • Klipsch Reference R-10SW 10" 300w Subwoofer
I have no major complaints about the setup, but I'm getting the itch to upgrade my TT to something else. Any suggestions on a "logical" next step or should I be focusing on a different component? I think I'd prefer to stay with a belt driven table, but feel free to change my mind.

Thank you!

paddypaws
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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by paddypaws » 15 Jan 2020 13:56

I was also a belt drive guy until I got a Technics direct drive. Now I wouldn’t go back. My first direct drive was an SL-1210mk2 , the new SL-1500c is a beauty solid and well made and comes highly recommended.

Yuck
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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by Yuck » 15 Jan 2020 14:33

Great recommendation! In your opinion, what made up your mind about direct drive vs. belt drive?

Direct driver
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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by Direct driver » 15 Jan 2020 15:02

Yuck wrote:
15 Jan 2020 13:49
I got into collecting vinyl a few years ago and started out with this setup:
  • Fluance RT-81 (w/ upgrade to Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge)
  • Yamaha A-S701 Amplifier
  • Wharfedale Diamond 10.7 Tower Speakers (Pair)
  • Klipsch Reference R-10SW 10" 300w Subwoofer
I have no major complaints about the setup, but I'm getting the itch to upgrade my TT to something else. Any suggestions on a "logical" next step or should I be focusing on a different component? I think I'd prefer to stay with a belt driven table, but feel free to change my mind.

Thank you!
I'm actually a Business Analyst in my day job. As a BA, I have to ask, what are the pain points with your Fluance. What about it is not ringing your bell? What attributes would a "better" TT have that this one doesn't?

Yuck
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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by Yuck » 15 Jan 2020 15:08

What about it is not ringing your bell?
Nothing in particular, but I don't know what I don't know. A large part of this question is hoping to reveal what deficiencies my current TT may have that I may not even be aware of.

The other aspect is simply driven by consumerism I suppose. I can certainly fish for the rest of my life using only a $100 Redington Classic Trout fly rod, but eventually I'll just *want* a Sage rod. Maybe that specific analogy will be lost on you. I'm sure you'll get the point though :)

Direct driver
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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by Direct driver » 15 Jan 2020 15:23

Yuck wrote:
15 Jan 2020 15:08
What about it is not ringing your bell?
Nothing in particular, but I don't know what I don't know. A large part of this question is hoping to reveal what deficiencies my current TT may have that I may not even be aware of.

The other aspect is simply driven by consumerism I suppose. I can certainly fish for the rest of my life using only a $100 Redington Classic Trout fly rod, but eventually I'll just *want* a Sage rod. Maybe that specific analogy will be lost on you. I'm sure you'll get the point though :)
Totally get that. FWIW, I believe you will have to at least double your money to notice an improvement. And as you can tell by my name, I'm also a DD fan. For me it's about dependability and reliability. My first DD turntable was purchased new in 1977. I still use it and it is still my favorite. But honestly, the "sound quality" difference will be in the tonearm and cartridge. Anything from your existing turntable up will be amply quiet and low in wow and flutter.

The Technics DD's are indestructible tanks, but some don't like the look. And I think that the look just may matter to you, if you are human. :)

But I will say this: Removable headshell is a must for me. Not only for mounting and "examining" your cartridge/stylus, but for being able to easily swap cartridges. The perceived sonic benefits of permanently attached head shells are, IMO, blown out of the water by the convenience of a removable headshell.

paddypaws
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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by paddypaws » 15 Jan 2020 16:13

Yuck wrote:
15 Jan 2020 14:33
Great recommendation! In your opinion, what made up your mind about direct drive vs. belt drive?
For me and DD it’s been the absolute bang on speed speed of DD with quartz lock with no discernible wow and flutter. I also like the complete silence experienced between tracks and in quiet sections with the Technics direct drives no rumble or motor noise that I can hear. I like the simplicity of the mechanics, that the platter is part of the motor, so there’s effectively just a spinning magnetic field against the platter pulling it around. I like the virtually instant start and instant stop of Technics DD. When you hit the stop button the motor field is reversed for a split second to stop the platter instantly, how clever is that! Aside from the DD I like the the build quality of the Technics SL-1210 and SL-1500c, they’re isolated well from outside noise and vibrations, never experienced any feedback problems, feels owning a proper piece of engineering.

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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by Direct driver » 15 Jan 2020 16:20

paddypaws wrote:
15 Jan 2020 16:13
Yuck wrote:
15 Jan 2020 14:33
Great recommendation! In your opinion, what made up your mind about direct drive vs. belt drive?
For me and DD it’s been the absolute bang on speed speed of DD with quartz lock with no discernible wow and flutter. I also like the complete silence experienced between tracks and in quiet sections with the Technics direct drives no rumble or motor noise that I can hear. I like the simplicity of the mechanics, that the platter is part of the motor, so there’s effectively just a spinning magnetic field against the platter pulling it around. I like the virtually instant start and instant stop of Technics DD. When you hit the stop button the motor field is reversed for a split second to stop the platter instantly, how clever is that! Aside from the DD I like the the build quality of the Technics SL-1210 and SL-1500c, they’re isolated well from outside noise and vibrations, never experienced any feedback problems, feels owning a proper piece of engineering.
I'm also a Direct Drive only guy, but it's partly because I never expect to own a MC cartridge. I've heard that a MC cartridge can actually create electronic noise because of its proximity to the motor, which is why the motor on most belt drives is on the opposite side of the platter from the tonearm. Yeah, that sound a bit mickey mouse, but I'm just repeating what I've heard. It may speak to the quality of the MC cartridge though.

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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by raphaelmabo » 15 Jan 2020 16:47

Direct driver wrote:
15 Jan 2020 16:20
I'm also a Direct Drive only guy, but it's partly because I never expect to own a MC cartridge. I've heard that a MC cartridge can actually create electronic noise because of its proximity to the motor, which is why the motor on most belt drives is on the opposite side of the platter from the tonearm. Yeah, that sound a bit mickey mouse, but I'm just repeating what I've heard. It may speak to the quality of the MC cartridge though.
Earlier DD had a construction where the magnetism in the motor could upset MC's, but this seems cured by now.
Belt drives never had this problem. Some designs - Grado - are unshielded which makes them sensitive to the power supply. But Grado's works on most turntables today. It's some vintage turntables that can have problems. No, the reason for many belt drives to have the motor opposite the tonearm is because it creates a better balance plus less chance that noise from the motor is picked up by the cartridge when there's more distance between the motor and the cartridge.

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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by Direct driver » 15 Jan 2020 16:55

raphaelmabo wrote:
15 Jan 2020 16:47
No, the reason for many belt drives to have the motor opposite the tonearm is because it creates a better balance plus less chance that noise from the motor is picked up by the cartridge when there's more distance between the motor and the cartridge.
So, there are TWO reasons. :)

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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by raphaelmabo » 15 Jan 2020 16:57

Yuck wrote:
15 Jan 2020 13:49
I got into collecting vinyl a few years ago and started out with this setup:
  • Fluance RT-81 (w/ upgrade to Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge)
  • Yamaha A-S701 Amplifier
  • Wharfedale Diamond 10.7 Tower Speakers (Pair)
  • Klipsch Reference R-10SW 10" 300w Subwoofer
I have no major complaints about the setup, but I'm getting the itch to upgrade my TT to something else. Any suggestions on a "logical" next step or should I be focusing on a different component? I think I'd prefer to stay with a belt driven table, but feel free to change my mind.
I'm not sure what a "logical" step up would be. :) But Fluence is made in Taiwan, and the very same factory also makes Teac. So a Teac TN-4D direct drive perhaps? Or the TD550 belt-drive. Both should be an upgrade of what you have now. Oh and I suggest to keep the cartridge and mount in on your new turntable.

Another suggestion would be the Thorens TD402 DD direct drive, it's actually also made in the same factory in Taiwan as the others mentioned here. :) But it's a different design. It's auto-stop and this can be convenient, the others are fully manual. The Thorens has got great reviews in German magazines, and it comes with an Audio-Technica VM95, you may want to keep this on and simply upgrade the stylus to ML (very easy to do).

A different idea altogether is the turntable that I have - a Thorens TD203, belt drive, assembled in Germany. I'm very happy with mine. It has a more advanced tonearm than the TD402, but it's fully manual.

lenjack
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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by lenjack » 15 Jan 2020 17:19

The fluance rt85 would be a good step up. The 81 is a good unit, but the 85 beats it in all aspects. By the way, as far as headshells are concerned, you can interchange them between Fluance and any curved arm Technics.

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Re: Looking to upgrade my Fluance RT81 TT

Post by raphaelmabo » 16 Jan 2020 10:28

lenjack wrote:
15 Jan 2020 17:19
The fluance rt85 would be a good step up. The 81 is a good unit, but the 85 beats it in all aspects. By the way, as far as headshells are concerned, you can interchange them between Fluance and any curved arm Technics.
Or the Teac TN-3B, it has the same belt drive and motor as the Fluence (and they are made in the same factory), but the Teac has an upgraded tonearm with SAEC bearings.

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