Going to replace my Fluance rt85

In the next few months, I would like to replace my Fluance rt85 turntable with something better.  My budget is under 2k.  I use a Ifi Zen phono stage into my Lab12 Integre 4 Integrated into my KLH Model 5 speakers.  I have a Ortofon Blue Cart on the turntable now. New or used is fine. Any suggestions would be great. Thank you.


Here ya go. I doubt you would do better within your budget. My friend has the 1210gr ( same table in black) and he likes it very much!


For $699 you can get a new Pioneer PLX1000 direct drive TT. I have one in my collection. Herb Reichert gave it a very positive review a few years ago in Stereophile. I doubt you can hear any difference between it and the several times more expensive Technics. Money saved could be put towards a mc cartridge like a Hana SL.

Or in fact the PLX1000 may be ok, and the Technics G series may be a lot better. Whether the latter is worth the extra bucks is probably a function of your goals in upgrading from your Fluance.

In general, you get what you pay for. With $2K you should be able to extend your reach by buying used. For instance a used Rega 6. If by this means you can get into or near the $5K range new, you are going to be getting a far superior table. These are low end audiophile tables. They have been carefully crafted with components of very high quality and with great care. These tables, in general… not just any, you need to do your research, will be much quieter, more dynamic and stable than something anywhere near the $1 - $2K range.

You might go back to Stereophile and The Absolute Sound five years and find tables in the $4K to $5K range. Then locate a used one from a reputable dealer like Echo. I personally would not buy a used table from an individual I did not know. A good dealer with used tables will go over them and make sure they perform to their potential.

I wouldn’t put a $2k TT through a ifi Zen unless it was the newer 3. I would upgrade the phono stage first and see what kind of sound I was getting.  What's the point of upgrading the TT if the phono stage is holding it back?

I had a Rega P1/2M blue combo going through a Darlington Labs MP-7 and it sounded great.

Phono stage is just as important, maybe more, than the TT/cart.

Hey Laecp123,

Here is my two cents. I just recently upgraded from a Fluance RT85. I looked and listened  for a year before a finally pulled the trigger. I went with the Mofi Ultradeck with the Matertracker cartridge. I found it used for just under 2k. I was very happy with my Fluance but the cartridge compatibility was very limiting. I also bought an after market device by "Q Up" since I got used to the autolift on the Fluance. I run my turntable through the phono stage on my Rogue Cronus Magnum iii. I instantly noticed a much deeper black backround in between tracks. I also notice the difference in the weight of the arm. Watching my Fluance spin I could see movement in the arm across tracks. The Mofi is much more solid. I do hear more of the flaws on the not so perfect vinyl I own. Overall the Mofi sounds better in a lot of ways. Does it sound almost 3k better(based on MRSP) that's debatable. It sounds better to me but.... If I had paid the new price I think I would be unhappy. At the used price of 2k I think it was a good purchase. 

I vote for the Orbit Theory, which starts out a buck under 1K. Made in USA, you can order direct with or without phono stage. It comes with a tapered cast magnesium arm, and you can up grade to Ortofon Bronze cartridge. The Theory features a solid wood plinth, and triangle feet layout. The feet are above price point, IMHO. I bought one to replace a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon in my third system. The only two minor complaints I have are the cheap dust cover hinges, (they seem to work and are holding up well) and you must buy a replacement belt, (as far as I know) from Orbit. If you like to tinker, consider a used Thorens, for which there is great parts support, and service manuals can be down loaded from <vinylengine.com>. You will find a wide range of models out there that will fit under your price cap from "entry level" to true audiophile. I bought a Thorens TD 165 series 1 as a project, I have about $500 total into it so far which includes, new belt upgrade phono leads, and suspension springs. It has impressed me for the bang for buck. . .... Good luck

I like the Pro-ject X8 evolution. Look up

Michael Fremer's review on youtube. Killer table just slightly above your budget.

Thank you @cpdkee. I just recently last night was looking at the Mofi turntables and they seem very nice.  The newer Thorens 1500 and 1600 are out of my price range new but will keep an eye out for used.  For now, I think I may try to upgrade my Phono stage to a used Parasound JC 3 Jr, or the like and maybe next year go for the new turntable.  I am not convinced my $200 Ifi Zen is giving me all the detail my Ortofon blue and Fluance is extracting.  The whole cartridge, phono stage and table and arm relationship is a hard one to crack as far as upgrades go when you have a budget.  But that is why they call this a hobby.  Listening to my music is much more fun. 

I fully agree that a used TT will get get you better value for the money. Once you decide on the TT I would then shop to upgrade the phono stage to match the turntable you got. As a principle, IMHO it is better to start with the source and work on the value chain based on your sound preferences…and pocket limitations.

good luck!

Generally, why is the Technics SL1200G given more mention than the SL100C, which is $1099.00 vs $1799.00?  They seem to have almost identical motors, arms and performance.  The 1200 has DJ features most of us here are not in need of.  OP can get an SL100C and a Bronze stylus under budget and be off to the vinyl races.

I upgraded from an RT85 to a slightly used Rega P3 and and a Moon lp 110 v2 phono stage a year ago. I had no itch to change these two (but everything else).

The P3 can take the OP far, especially with a wall mount and eventually various upgraded bits. i have heard at some length a P3 with a Dynavector arm / Signet TK-9…. certainly sweet sound. @ghdprentice that very Setup came from Echo - good dudes w opportunities for cool gear anew each day…. 



After the early upgrades, I decided that 1/3 TT, 1//3 phono stage, 1/3 cart is the ratio I like.  All three equal, that way I don't feel any one part is a bottleneck, and each is working to get the most out of the other.

I'm still working on the cart part, but at least I know I'm getting the most out of the cart I got.


Consider VPI Scouts as well.  I myself got the Scout 1 used from the original in owner and was well cared for… I feel the JMW 9” tonearm and the table is quite good and is within your price range. Also VPI customer support is very good and made in the USA.   If you hunt well you might even have $$ left over for an MC.Cart.  

I agree with others that an alternative strategy is to upgrade the phono stage before or after. I found that phono stages to be as important as the tt + cartrige) and are worthy of the same investment level. 

Hello, +1 on the phono stage. I use the Hegel v10. It retails for $1650 but used you can get them for under $1k. Second I might go with a Hana SL cartridge which is about $750. I’m not saying the Fluance RT85 is the best but it is a good start. I believe with these two upgrades you will be amazed. After that save up for a better tt you can move your cart and phono stage to it. If you can splurge a little and might get the Hegel for $800 get the Hana ML for $1200. That is as high of a cart I would go on that table. I own the Hegel v10 on a $8000 tt. I do have a Hana Umami Red which is almost $4000. But the Hegel keeps up with it and the turntable no problem. 

Another happy VPI owner, I have the Aries Scout with JMW 9"" arm. You can pick up a great deal used that's how I got mine. I would also say start with the phono pre and cartridge.