Update: As of noon on 12/17, this deal no longer appears to be in effect. We’ll update this if the deal reappears.
If you’re still looking for record player deals, the Audio-Technica At-LP60X-GM is $10 off right now and arrives before Christmas. There’s also an Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB with Mackie 3-inch Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors and accessories bundle that will save you a little money on building a complete system.
As of this writing, there’s also a limited time deal on the Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500 Turntable, which is $200 or 29 percent off. This offers a bit more in terms of connectivity and can connect to Yamaha MusicCast wireless speakers.
Looking to give a record player for Christmas this year? If you’re in the market for something quite a lot nicer than the standard Crosley fare, you might want to scoop this deal on one of the nicest offerings from Fluance.
Fluance RT84 Record Player Specs
While Fluance is better known for its speakers, like the one we put on our best gifts for musicians post, their entire line of turntables is worth a look. This is their upper middle tier offering, combining a very dense, multi-layered plinth with a heavy aluminum platter for good isolation from the belt-driven motor. Rubber spike-shaped feet help further isolate it from the surface on which it rests.
Motor speed is very consistent, with a wow and flutter of 0.07 percent, which is a considerable improvement on the well-regarded Pro-Ject Debut, which rates 0.60 percent according to the manufacturer’s website. This deal makes the RT84 $50 cheaper than the Pro-Ject and only about $40 more than the stripped down but still widely praised U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus.
The comparison to the Pro-Ject Debut is especially interesting because of the cartridge each turntable ships with. The Pro-Ject comes loaded with the Ortofon 2M Red, which sells for $99 on its own, with a replacement stylus going for $87 at the time of this writing. By contrast, the RT84 comes with the upgraded Ortofon 2M Blue, which by itself is over $200.
That means that at this price, you’re getting the best cartridge Fluance installs on any of their turntables, which itself is worth more than half the price of the turntable overall. Even the replacement stylus is normally $200 alone.
That said, if you want to switch to the Ortofon Red later on, that’s an option, so you can take advantage of this deal without condemning the new owner to a lifetime of pricey maintenance – unless they choose to stick with the high-end approach.
The upshot is that combined with the nicely-balanced s-shaped tone arm, this turntable produces very accurate playback with a light tracking force of about 1.8 grams.
For comparison, the still very good Audio-Technica AT91R that comes with the Audio-Technica AT-LP3 that I use is generally setup for a tracking force of nearly 2.5, and cheaper turntables can approach 5 grams, which can wear your records prematurely.
All-in-all, this is a nicely appointed record player and saving $100 right now makes it an even better deal. It’s available in both walnut and black finishes.
How do you connect a record player to speakers?
Unlike a lot of cheaper turntables on the market today, the RT84 does not come with an on-board preamp. This means that in order to hook this up to speakers, you’ll need a stereo or an external preamp to make this work.
If you want to go with powered speakers, like the outstanding Audioengine A5s or even Fluance’s own Ai40WW, you can get a phono preamp to sit between them and bring the turntable volume up to line level. This can be as dirt cheap as the Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp, or you could upgrade to the Rolls Phono Preamp or the very nice Pro-Ject Audio Phono Box.
If you’re incorporating this into a larger component stereo setup, just check to see if your receiver has a phono preamp. If it has a phono input, chances are good that there is a preamp inside. If you plug it in and you can’t hear anything, you may have to incorporate one of the phono preamps above.
These require passive speakers, like the Klipsch R-41M, for example, which are $50 off at the time of this writing, as well.
What record player should I get?
Like anything else in life, the sky is the limit with turntables. The best rule of thumb is to spend as much as you can comfortably afford. There’s no reason to overdo it if you’re not a particularly sensitive audiophile, but spending a little more can pay dividends for your listening experience.
Most people start with the Audio-Technica LP60, which is a very respectable beginner turntable. The upgrade to that would be the Audio-Technica AT-LP3 that I have, which is fully automatic and allows you to upgrade the cartridge if you like.
Among Fluance’s other offerings is the RT80, which is currently also 25 percent off for a savings of $50 and offers a very nice upgrade to the LP60. Both the U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus and Pro-Ject Debut are very good offerings, though this deal on the RT84 represents a better overall buy than either of them.
The best balance of everything for the average listener is somewhere in the $250 to $400 range, which offers clear advantages over the ultra-cheap options without requiring further, potentially cost-prohibitive upgrades.