Originally Posted by Aliens
These look really sleek and nice, and the timing couldn't be better. My wife has been after me for a couple of years to pull out my old Technics SL-B5 I bought back in 1982 for $166 so she could play her old vinyl albums. So after more prodding, yesterday I did just that. The needle is usable but I need a new one. The lift arm and cueing lever don't work. I took the bottom cover off to analyze the situation and could get the parts for a cheap price, but honestly, after 36 years I feel I deserve a new turntable. I know, vintage and all that stuff, but once I remove everything I'm not 100% sure I'm going to get it back together correctly, and I'm mechanically inclined.
One thing I notice on these models is the lack of an easy/quick speed control. I was so anal when I played albums I was constantly watching the speed of the turntable to make sure it was always perfect. How reliable and how often must you adjust the speed on these? This will be for my wife's use in her sewing room, but I know it's only a matter of time until I pick it up and take it to my entertainment room and play my old albums. The decision comes in which model to choose from. The RT82 looks to be a definite upgrade over the RT81 but it's $50 more, however, the motor upgrade looks to be very enticing. The RT80 would be all my wife would ever need, but I have thousands invested in my system, and as I said before, I deserve a new turntable. But I have to ask myself how often will I be spinning albums. As I wrap this up, I realize this has been more of a conversation with myself. Spend the extra money or not, and is it justifiable? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I own the RT80, and while it mostly serves me well, I wouldn't recommend it now that the better models are available, unless somebody had a hard budget of $200 for a turntable. Like you, I can't stand speed inconsistency, and it is a problem I have had to occasionally deal with on the RT80 (it's actually in for warranty service as we speak because of this... Fluance is fantastic to work with if you do have problems, though!). The servo speed regulation of the new motors promises to be the hugest upgrade from the 80/81 models, based on my experience with the RT80. To answer your question about speed adjustment, I have had to adjust with the screws underneath a few times. It is annoying to do, but I am glad it's at least an option. However, my understanding of the new models is this should never be necessary (and may not even be possible) because of the servo controller. It is supposed to check and adjust speed up to 500 times per second, so as long as they have their calibration right on for the two speeds, it should be fine in this regard.
I also think, if you are going to use an external phono stage or even a built-in on a receiver/amp, I would rather not have the built-in phono that comes on the 80/81. I actually do use it, and it sounds good enough to me for now, but I do plan to upgrade to an external phono stage at some point. You can switch it off to bypass, but not having it in the chain at all is appealing to me.
I have said before, but I really think the best deals are either the RT82 at $300 or the RT85 at $500. If you really do not care about having an acrylic platter or 2M Blue cartridge, I think the RT82 is probably fine, and is definitely worth the extra money over the older models. However, the acrylic platter and 2M Blue are well over $200 retail worth of upgrades from what comes with the RT82, were you to want to upgrade those parts eventually, anyway.