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Fun with phono cartridges

edited January 24 in Related

Our youngest decided he wanted to dip his toes into collecting vinyl. We had been looking for a nice vintage turntable on Marketplace. Nothing decent and affordable popped up here in town, so I bought him a Fluance RT82 for his birthday. It showed up today - his birthday was yesterday. :# Tonight we were playing around with my little collection of used cartridges. Most came from pretty average garage sale/Goodwill tables. It was interesting to hear the differences and reminded me of hearing everyone's speakers at Iowa. All sounded good, just different flavors of good.



  • First impressions of the Fluance? Pricing seems almost too good to be true.

    I have a signature.
  • I wish I could answer that. We were using my old Technics SL-1700. He didn't open the box while he was here, so I haven't even laid eyes on it yet. I was waffling between the Fluance and a U-Turn Orbit. I'm sure they both have pretty similar build quality and both get decent reviews for budget tables. I went with Fluance mainly for the removable headshell and auto stop. I also sent him home with a vintage Philips receiver since the RT82 doesn't have an onboard phono preamp.

  • I don't have the RT82, but I do have the RT85. I think it is a great turntable. Biggest difference, is I have the Ortofon 2M Blue Stylus, and the acrylic platter. Rest of the turntable is the same. I have had it for 3 years and really like it. I think I would have to spend well over $1000 to get a noticeable upgrade.

  • That's great to hear! Knowing my son, he may upgrade the platter down the road if he really likes the whole vinyl vibe. I'll probably give him a second cartridge to play with too. I have a few Audio Technicas that are decent. I will say one of my favorites in my limited collection is an old Ortofon FF15E Mkii. I might even prefer that to the V15iii, but I need to do more listening to each of them.

  • edited January 26

    I have a U-Turn Orbit and the AT LP3BK I bought for my daughter is a way better value. It also served to remind me how good inexpensive AT carts are. :3

    I definitely like the belt type on the Fluance far more than the Orbit. The Orbit belt is basically a 14" buna-n O ring. It deforms over time, so I have to let the thing spin for a good 5 minutes before the kink works itself out. Here's a vid of the issue, where the table had only been sitting for a day. Let it sit unused for a week or more, and the kink is way more pronounced:'s purdy, though:

  • I hadn't heard anything about belt issues with the Orbits. I waffled back & forth quite a bit between those vs. the Fluance models. I like the look of the Orbits a little better too and they are made in the US! But since this was a gift for an easily distracted 24yr old, the auto stop on the Fluance seemed like a desirable feature.

  • edited February 9

    I decided to dig the old AR turntable out and see if it still works. The motor was noisy, so I took it apart and cleaned the bearing. Now it’s nice and quiet. It needs some serious cosmetic work and that might be the next project.

    I had put together the unipivot tonearm ages ago, mostly just to see if I could. It’s mostly made from surplus aluminum bits and a carbon fiber arrow shaft. Playing Kansas now and it actually sounds really good!

  • I watched a documentary on Kansas the other day. Pretty cool story on how those guys started out and such.

  • I watched that same one on YouTube! I was shocked to hear Kerry Livgren's speaking voice. Not at all what I imagines. Leftoverature was the first album (actually an 8-track tape) I bought when I was just a kid.

  • Is it me or is that cartridge aligned way off the tangent line?

  • edited February 10

    It's not just you! That was just a quick trial run to see if that cartridge was still among the living. I did align it with my trusty gauge after I took that picture. Azimuth was off too. You can see that in the first photo. That arm is a little too finicky, so I'm working on cleaning up the stock arm tonight.

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