If you were an aspiring audiophile in the days before digital, reading about audio gear was essential, because there was a huge difference in audio quality between entry-level audio gear and the unaffordable stuff you read about in stereo magazines. Even on a limited budget, it was essential to splurge on a high-quality turntable for example, because turntables were mechanical devices, not electronic ones. Audio quality was easily affected by how precisely the motor could turn the platter to stay at exactly the right pitch -- that's where terms like wow and flutter come from. Well, turntables are back. And if the resurgence of vinyl records excites you and you want to get on board, you'll need to look at the specs all over again if you want to hear records the way they were intended. Let me save you some work: Right now you can get the Fluance RT80 Classic High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable for $149.96. when you apply the CNET-exclusive coupon code RT80CNET at checkout. That's $50 off and matches the lowest price I've ever seen on this model.
The RT80 is Fluance's entry-level turntable, and as such, it omits a few of the high-end flourishes you'll find on its bigger brothers. Don't look for a solid wood body, for example; the RT80 is made from fiberboard. And the cartridge is Audio Technica's AT91 -- that's perfectly fine, but there are pricier cartridges with higher fidelity.
That said, this is a very well-regarded turntable with thoroughly respectable specifications, like a wow and flutter of 0.2% and a signal-to-noise ratio of 67dB. And you can manually adjust the turntable's speed by plus or minus 1% (Fluance provides a guide for helping you do this, if you should so desire.) Moreover, over on Amazon, buyers give it 4.5 stars based on 288 ratings, and the specs are equivalent to the last turntable I owned long ago before going all digital.
This deal should be available through June 2. What's your take? Do you value vinyl and enjoy mucking around with analog hardware like turntables, or are you perfectly happy with your digital music and streaming services? Sound off in the comments.
This article was previously published. It has been updated with the latest deal information.
Watch this: How to set up a budget turntable
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