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Fluance RT85N Budget Turntable Includes One of Our Favorite Cartridges

The brand new Fluance RT85N Turntable comes with one of our favorite MM cartridges pre-installed but is it that much different than the RT85?

Fluance RT85N Turntable

Fluance are a Canadian manufacturer with a strong focus on budget turntables and loudspeakers. Their products make our “Best Affordable Audiophile Turntable” list on a rather consistent basis and our experience would suggest that they offer tremendous value for the money. If you’re considering something from Pro-Ject or Rega in the same $500 price range, you might want to put the brand new Fluance RT85N turntable on your short-list.

The first thing that caught our eye was the announcement that the Fluance RT85N comes with the Nagaoka MP-110 Phono Cartridge pre-installed instead of the Ortofon 2M Blue ($239.99 at Amazon) which is still available on the RT85.

Fluance RT85N Turntable comes with Nagaoka MP-110 Cartridge
Fluance RT85N Turntable comes with Nagaoka MP-110 Cartridge

Both cartridges make our “Best Affordable Cartridge List” because they offer so much performance for the money. The 2M Blue is $139 more than the Nagaoka MP-110 which makes the $499.99 sticker price for the RT85N model rather interesting.

Manufacturers don’t pay retail pricing for cartridges and both tables are the same price.

The Fluance RT85N is currently only available in a Piano Black finish; the marketing images show the table with the Nagaoka cartridge in multiple finishes including the Natural Walnut finish.

Fluance RT85N Turntable Cover Open

I suspect the table will be available in 4-5 finishes at some point but only one is available right now as a pre-order.

The RT85N features a servo motor, acrylic platter, and a “solid wood” plinth; the last detail contradicts information available on the website so we’re waiting for clarification on that point.

The Fluance RT85N does not come with an internal phono stage; something is offered by Rega and U-Turn on their entry-level turntables which suggests that Fluance thinks owners will already own a better quality external phono preamp or utilize an integrated amplifier with a MM stage already included.

Fluance RT85N Turntable Rear View

The Nagaoka MP-110 is a sleeper of a cartridge ($99.99 at Amazon) and we use it frequently during our tests of phono preamplifiers. Is it better than the 2M Blue? We could live with either one on a permanent basis and they are substantially better than the Ortofon 2M Red ($99 at Amazon) that comes pre-installed on a number of entry-level turntables below $500.

On the surface, the Fluance RT85N looks like a solid table for $500 but we’re still not convinced that there is much daylight between it and the existing RT85 ($499 at Amazon).

Fluance RT85N Turntable
Fluance RT85N Turntable

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Related reading: Best Affordable Audiophile Turntables

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