Journeying into vinyl music comes with a bit of a learning curve. There are many components, features, and other considerations to explore as you learn more about the technology and how it impacts your listening experience. There are seemingly endless products and accessories you can buy to enhance or upgrade your system. It can be confusing and intimidating to get into. At the very basic level you need a turntable and speakers to play from. Many people will ask “will product ‘A’ make my turntable sound better?” The frustrating part is the answer will often involve subjectivity or an incremental improvement in sound that may be difficult to hear. There are other upgrades that will result in Hallelujah moments that will make you wish you got that upgrade a long time ago.
So what are some upgrades you can get to improve your turntable setup? The Fluance RT81 is a great turntable for music enthusiasts who are looking to venture into vinyl, and it’s deserving of a high-quality stereo system. Whether you’re investing in the Fluance RT81 or a similar product, you should determine which amplifier, speakers and accessories to get. Below, we’ll cover the best all-around components for such a turntable.
An External Pre-Amp
The Fluance RT81 is delivered with a built-in Texas Instruments pre-amp. The RT81 pre-amp can be turned on or off via its back-deck switch. You can opt to get an upgraded external pre-amp to customize your vinyl setup. There are lots of great options online. You can also forgo an external pre-amp altogether and just use the built-in one. Some vinyl users prefer to upgrade their cartridge rather than pre-amp first. Lot’s of subjectivity in this area though.
As for your turntable’s speakers, you should stick with bookshelf speakers. Consider products like the Signature Series Bookshelf Speakers. They make for a great low foot print speaker that still deliver a full, rich sound. If you want to take your setup to the next level consider the Signature Series Floorstanding Tower Speakers. These 3-way speakers will give you the full range sound. If space is limited or you don’t want to use an amplifier such as a stereo receiver you can look at different powered speaker options. Powered speakers have the amplifier built right in so you can simply hook the turntable up to the speakers and you don’t need any other components. This makes for a very convenient and simple vinyl setup. You can read more about speaker selection in our Speaker Buying Guide as well.
As mentioned earlier you might want to upgrade your turntable’s cartridge. The RT81 comes with an Audio Technica AT95E cartridge. The elliptical diamond stylus is incredibly effective, but it might need to be replaced after years of use. Fortunately, Audio Technica offers a multitude of stylus options which are compatible with the RT81’s cartridge. Many users have preferred cartridges to fit their musical tastes. You can explore different cartridge options that sound best for your system.
A Turntable Platter Mat
You should pick up a turntable platter mat, too. Many are available, and each grips a record and platter firmly. A good mat will stop a record from slipping as it spins. Most are made from cork, leather, felt acrylic and rubber. A lot of variation exists between each mat, however. The RT81 has an included rubber mat, but you can always upgrade to a cork or other material.
While not part of your turntable setup you should definitely consider some accessories that will improve your listening experience. There are some cleaning products that are a must-have with a turntable purchase. You should include an anti-static record brush to clean surface dust off your record before playing. You should also consider a stylus brush to remove and debris that builds up on your stylus over time. Some enthusiasts also swear by record clamps for a slight improvement in sound performance.
The Fluance RT81 is a fantastic turntable choice. It’s reliable, durable and offers great sound quality. You can be up and running with a turntable very easily. If you have the extra budget, consider picking up the components mentioned above. Make the most out of your turntable, and maximize your listening experience. Getting into vinyl records can quickly become an obsession for many of us enthusiasts, and we are always on the hunt for additional components that can help maximize that musical experience.
RT81 High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player
Featuring an Audio Technica AT95E Cartridge and Built-in Preamp, the RT81 Reference turntable offers the definitive vinyl record listening experience with stunning quality that achieves the purest sound reproduction.