Top positive review
119 people found this helpful
A fantastic turntable at this price point - truly raises the performance / price bar.
on June 2, 2016
This and the walnut finish RT-81 may just be among the best values in a turntable on the market today. Let me go off-topic slightly, then I'll get back to the turntable itself. I am very much NOT a newbie to vinyl. I was buying component turntables back in the 1970's when those vintage turntables were new - so when I caught wind of these turntables as a Kickstarter project, I jumped on it as an earlybird as I really got a good feel for what I saw. Well I now have taken delivery and am very pleased with what I have. Let's get into the turntable....
Built quality as well as fit/finish is very, very good. I went with the polished ebony RT-80 as I had every intention to upgrade the cartridge (one difference between this as the RT-81), I was pleased with the felt platter mat and I was 50/50 split on the walnut over solid base / plinth vs. piano finish over a hollow plinth. Both have the same arm, the same DC servo motor with electronic speed selection (vs. changing the belt position) and have a built in preamplifier that can be defeated. The platter is aluminum with a black finish, which matches the metal arm. All rests on compliant feet. The finish is truly beautiful!
Setup was quick and easy, and I had the unit playing in a matter of minutes out of the box. Performance in every way is quite good by audiophile standards - this feels like a 1970's turntable. Speed is dead-on with no detectable flutter and I heard no rumble at reasonable volume levels - and I was actually surprised at how good the base level Audio Technica AT91 sounds when in a good arm as it had no tracking issues at 2 grams and is quite forgiving of worn recordings that my other turntables honestly are not forgiving of. Sound is dynamic with a crisp treble and punchy bass - don't dismiss this cartridge, especially if you don't mind having a second high-end cartridge for those mint albums (which we often did "back in the day".
Only issues were a minor feedback issue that I suspect the slightly heavier RT-81 with it's solid base might be more forgiving of, and I found that the auto stop takes several revolutions before stopping the motor. This turns out to be normal. A note that the phono preamplifier turns on when you select the speed - platter rotation is activated when you move the arm off the rest just as most turntables were "back in the day".
Overall I am very pleased, glad I backed this project, and it's good to see a quality turntable that is a real audiophile product and not a DJ wannabee at a very good price. Outside of the walnut RT-81, the only real competitor would be the base level U-Turn Orbit at this price point. Everything else is either plastic or at a higher price point with very little added performance.