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Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 07 Jan 2017 00:53

Hi all! My first post here. First, I'm loving this site and have found it to be very helpful as I return to vinyl as a 50-something who grew up with the records/8-track/cassette/CD/digital progression. My return to vinyl was driven by nostalgia first, coupled with the realization that music had become a sort of sonic wallpaper in my life to which I paid little attention. Vinyl allows, forces actually, one to pay attention to the music. I'm loving it.

Anyway, FWIW, I bought an RT81 before the holidays and it has been working 6-8 hours every day for a month now. No issues so far. I'm listening through a low-end home system consisting of a Pioneer AVR, an ART DJ pre and Focal 726Vs. Nothing great I know, but to me it sounds great. I'm in the midst of a career-change and am an old guy in graduate school, so I decided I needed another player in the office, so I grabbed an RT80 and set it up with a Yamaha receiver, Micca MB42Xs and a small Yamaha sub. It also has been rock solid, although because it is a hollow body, there is quite a bit more motor noise noted on start up. Luckily, the motor noise does seem not come through into the system itself.

I was bitten hard already and have purchased quite a few albums, old and new. I have upgraded the cartridges on both machines to a Grado blue on the RT81 and a Shure M97xe on the RT80. I'm enjoying the smoothness of the Shure and the liveliness of the Grado. What a great hobby and money suck this is.

Anyway, I wanted to say hello and mention that these TTs that I bought have been great. I will note that as I used the RT81 a LOT in the first couple of weeks of ownership, I wondered about parts and contacted Fluance about belts. I was not particularly pleased when their response was that any problems would be covered by their 2 year warranty on these models. They offer no parts at this point. While a 2 year warranty is great, I want to know that I can use the heck out of this machine and keep it running over time. I guess it's par for the course these days, disposability and whatnot, and again I have had no problems with the machines and love them, but I have also become aware of how many parts (and accompanying assistance and expertise) are available for popular and legacy machines out there.

Anyway, good luck with Fluance and please keep others of us posted about experiences with them and with the maintenance of their TTs.
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Re: Starting Out: Fluance RT81 or TEAC TN-300

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 10 Jan 2017 00:39

I have no affiliation with Fluance and this is only my second post here but thought I'd chime in since I bought an RT81 six weeks ago and then bought an RT80 about two weeks ago for use in a bedroom. Of course they are very similar, although I'll note that the RT81 is much heavier and much quieter (motor noise) when switched on. I've had good luck with both units so far, but I would say that the RT81 is definitely worth the extra 50 dollars. I added a Grado Blue to the RT81 and a Shure M97xe to the RT80 and have been working them for hours every day.

I use the ART DJ preamp with the RT81 and the internal preamp on the RT80. No speed issues, they sound great (to me) and I have been a very happy user. I will note that as I started using the hell out of the RT81 after being bitten hard by the vinyl bug, I wondered about replacement parts and reached out for Fluance. As far as I can tell, they carry no parts at this point for the machines and simply tell users that if parts or maintenance are needed, there is a two year warranty. It sounds like issues are handled by them sending out replacement units, which is fine until that two years is up. I'm hopeful that Fluance will grow an inventory of parts and/or that parts will become available in the after market. We'll see. I have to say that 200 bucks for a good-sounding, great-looking, smoothly operating machine is an incredible bargain IMO. I was not interested in scrounging on CL for dusty diamonds in the rough from my youth, and have found these machines to be a great answer for those of us who want to get back into spinning records with a minimum of fuss, hassle and expense.
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Re: Starting Out: Fluance RT81 or TEAC TN-300

Postby Tinkaroo » 10 Jan 2017 11:13

SeeTeeVinyl wrote:I have no affiliation with Fluance and this is only my second post here but thought I'd chime in since I bought an RT81 six weeks ago and then bought an RT80 about two weeks ago for use in a bedroom. Of course they are very similar, although I'll note that the RT81 is much heavier and much quieter (motor noise) when switched on. I've had good luck with both units so far, but I would say that the RT81 is definitely worth the extra 50 dollars. I added a Grado Blue to the RT81 and a Shure M97xe to the RT80 and have been working them for hours every day.

I use the ART DJ preamp with the RT81 and the internal preamp on the RT80. No speed issues, they sound great (to me) and I have been a very happy user. I will note that as I started using the hell out of the RT81 after being bitten hard by the vinyl bug, I wondered about replacement parts and reached out for Fluance. As far as I can tell, they carry no parts at this point for the machines and simply tell users that if parts or maintenance are needed, there is a two year warranty. It sounds like issues are handled by them sending out replacement units, which is fine until that two years is up. I'm hopeful that Fluance will grow an inventory of parts and/or that parts will become available in the after market. We'll see. I have to say that 200 bucks for a good-sounding, great-looking, smoothly operating machine is an incredible bargain IMO. I was not interested in scrounging on CL for dusty diamonds in the rough from my youth, and have found these machines to be a great answer for those of us who want to get back into spinning records with a minimum of fuss, hassle and expense.


There are at least a couple of things Fluance could to to improve their product.

-They should provide a pitch control and strobe for adjusting speed.

-They should sell spare headshells if someone wanted to buy one.
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Re: Starting Out: Fluance RT81 or TEAC TN-300

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 10 Jan 2017 14:07

FWIW, there are adjustments for speed on the bottom of the unit, and I vaguely remember somebody on the forum using those screws to adjust the rotation speed. Different from pitch control I know, although at least for me, as long as the speed is accurate and stable, I don't want for that feature. I agree completely on the headshells, along with other parts (belts, dust covers, etc), although it is helpful the arm accepts standard headshells and I bought two HS1s for the two cartridges that I bought. I suppose that in the end, assuming that the Fluance tables are really just different "flavors" of Hanpin machines, these machines have the potential to nicely fill a much-needed niche in the market place. Speaking for myself, I was certainly interested in playing records again, but if my choices had been vintage machines that remind me of the terrible mechanical consumer goods of my youth (the late 60s-early 80s), versus audiophile machines for much more money, I would have decided not to bother. I may be in the minority here, but I am pulling for outfits like Hanpin and U-Turn to succeed and make attractive, useable machines at attractive prices. Vinyl cannot have staying power without these companies succeeding IMO.
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Re: Starting Out: Fluance RT81 or TEAC TN-300

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 10 Jan 2017 20:00

Agreed on all counts Tinkaroo. I worry about eventually needing parts and whether Fluance will be in this game for any sort of long haul. I suspect that since these Hanpin-made machines are becoming more common, that after market suppliers will likely begin to carry motors, belts and other parts to keep them running. However, Fluance themselves need to show commitment as the seller by carrying parts, upgrades, etc.

I also am now aware of the vintage opportunities out there and cannot win an argument regarding the merits of the older machines, although my checks of such machines in my area failed to reveal good possibilities at reasonable prices. I am somewhat biased, as a person who grew up in the Rust Belt, driving American vehicles during Detroit's absolute rock bottom period, when American cars and Midwestern industrial might were in steep decline. I grew up with horrible middle-class Emerson-type household equipment and do not look back at the machinery from those days with any sort of longing, even though I am very nostalgic about the time period itself. To provide a better picture, I drove Ford Pintos as a teenager and in college. Yikes. Even the Technics machines that collectors go ape crazy for these days don't interest me in the least. Technics was a line of vaguely crappy low-mid-fi equipment in my childhood, available at the shopping malls and Sears. The equipment that catches my eye now is the newer stuff. There is lots and lots of stuff being made in Asia these days that kicks the crap out of consumer equipment that was available when I was a kid. It tends to be disposable, which is not a great thing, but that's a (slightly) different tangent. The bottom line for me is that if the look of a machine reminds me of brown and orange Orange Julius shops back in the day, I am likely to assume it to be junk. I know that is counterfactual, but it's my bias.
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Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 11 Jan 2017 16:22

Hello all. As I learn a little about playing vinyl and having picked up various new and used records, I wonder about the contrast between the exceptional attention hobbyists pay to precision in their play back equipment, and the media to be played back. Of the recordings I have picked up, not one single LP has been truly flat, nor have the spindle holes been centered perfectly. When watching the arm and cartridge ride on these records, there is a lot of movement, both horizontally and vertically, as the stylus tracks along. It's comical how imprecise the playback is, really. Yet, I don't hear these movements in the playback, which of course is a good thing! Still though, are the precision/obsessional aspects of the hobby reasonable, given that the media played back on these machines is likely the least precise element in the entire playback chain?
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 11 Jan 2017 17:04

There is a point of learning for me then Poinzy. I had no idea that hobbyists operated TTs with no/removable spindle. Very clever indeed. I have the sense though that there is much underlying the fact that records themselves are manufactured to slovenly standards, compared to the playback equipment used by devotees.
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP5 impressions

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 11 Jan 2017 19:50

Beautiful player, REW. I am thankful that there are good options for consumers, regardless the rest of the details. I love the look of this machine. Happy listening!
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 11 Jan 2017 20:05

Having only recently gotten back into vinyl I absolutely understand not only the attraction of the sound, but also the obsessional qualities. I worry I may go down the rabbit hole myself, since I am strongly attracted to the gadgetry involved, the minutiae, the possibilities. I've already been drawn to multiple cartridges, love the requirement to be present and involved in the listening, the vision of the spinning disk, all of it. I get it, but also see the folly of some of it. In a way, I find that gaining really good sound and presence in music is simplified through this medium, compared to the multiple web-age possibilities out there. Start talking about MP3, FLAC, lossy versus lossless, etc, CD-quality versus higher bit-rates, it all becomes annoying. Tell me that I can grab that vinyl record and plop it on my $250 turntable and get high-quality music that requires that I also pay attention, and I'm in, big time. Now I suppose the decisions become how silly to get with this stuff. Personal preference in the end, but great fun at the same time and compared to many other hobbies/pursuits it's not necessarily expensive either. Compared to travel, golf, any number of other pursuits, one can chase records and equipment for a pittance.



analogaudio wrote:The LP is an imperfect medium which was the best that could be done using analogue engineering.

At it's best it can be very good quality. To achieve the best requires attention to detail as you have noticed and the purchase of good quality components (costing hundreds but not thousands of US$).

I agree, the LP itself is probably the weak link in the chain. Self-centering platters were made (Nakamichi Dragon) and vacuum hold-down made (SOTA and Audio Technica) to overcome two of the problems. Nothing can overcome the decrease of groove velocity as playback progresses, nor the subsonic resonance of the cartridge+arm combination (although the Morch anisotropic arm minimizes this problem).

Regarding precision/obsessional aspects of the hobby these are things that entertain some people more than others and seem to me to have little to do with the enjoyment of music.

In the late 1970s it was realized that LP had reached the end of the road and the solution was a new medium, the compact disc, which does not suffer from any of the problems mentioned. I stopped buying LPs in the early 1990s and switched over to buying CDs, I haven't regretted the choice.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 12 Jan 2017 01:37

My 50-year-old ears may be jacked, but I have been finding vinyl to sound superior, and that's on a relatively inexpensive Fluance (Hanpin) running through an ART DJ into a Pioneer AVR. This is not great equipment, but I find myself almost in a trance when I'm playing LPs. I couldn't be bothered to pay attention to digital music all around me for the last many years, but I put a record on and I'm grabbed. I see the wobbling vinyl, know in my head that the frequency response it inferior, know that my gear is pedestrian, that a lot of this equipment fetishism is ridiculous, but right now I'm looking at Ortofon 2m blue cartridges on ebay, knowing that they cost as much as my turntable! Perhaps vinyl is really just an affliction.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby Melos Antropon » 12 Jan 2017 02:24

SeeTeeVinyl wrote: Of the recordings I have picked up, not one single LP has been truly flat, nor have the spindle holes been centered perfectly. When watching the arm and cartridge ride on these records, there is a lot of movement, both horizontally and vertically, as the stylus tracks along.



90% of the time, warping is due to sloppy storage before you get them. Vinyl records should always be stored upright. I use a very conventional "record cabinet", and the records are upright and snug (not "jammed in"), and every single one of them lies on the turntable as flat as a mirror. Even "warped" ones will straighten out if stored this way for a few months, and left alone. Just an info thing you might be able to use.

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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby pogo » 12 Jan 2017 02:57

SeeTeeVinyl wrote:.....Yet, I don't hear these movements in the playback, which of course is a good thing!

If you can't hear it then it doesn't matter. So remind me what your point is?
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby Copperhead » 12 Jan 2017 03:08

pogo wrote:
SeeTeeVinyl wrote:.....Yet, I don't hear these movements in the playback, which of course is a good thing!

If you can't hear it then it doesn't matter. So remind me what your point is?


I concur. A decent tonearm with decent vertical bearings should ride a warp well enough not to be audible. I thought this was the point of including vertical movement in the design.
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby SeeTeeVinyl » 13 Jan 2017 00:25

pogo wrote:
SeeTeeVinyl wrote:.....Yet, I don't hear these movements in the playback, which of course is a good thing!

If you can't hear it then it doesn't matter. So remind me what your point is?


I suppose the point is the very interesting (to me) contrast between obsession with precision, and the accompanying gadget aspects of this hobby, and the fact the the very medium being played back is sloppy and inconsistent. It's OK if you're not interested in discussing same, but thanks anyway for your comment!
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Re: Precision, or not....

Postby pogo » 13 Jan 2017 01:13

SeeTeeVinyl wrote:
I suppose the point is the very interesting (to me) contrast between obsession with precision, and the accompanying gadget aspects of this hobby, and the fact the the very medium being played back is sloppy and inconsistent.


Please accept my apology if you thought I was too dismissive. However I don't accept your premise that vinyl is by definition "sloppy and inconsistent". There are bad pressings and good pressings. I absolutely agree that the obsession with precision among many here is a bit much, exactly because of my point. If you can't hear it, then it doesn't matter.
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