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Rega Tonearm Tuning & Setting up

For Origin Live & Rega arms – critical for optimising performance

Origin Live & Rega tonearms are sensitive to various adjustments – some of these secrets are not well know to owners or dealers. This page is designed to help you get the most out of your tonearm.

– Treat the arm with care as some parts can be broken. To this end ensure that all tightening of any bolts is carried out gently and without causing undue strain.

– When bolting the arm to a deck you only need tighten the large bolt to finger tightness or very slightly tighter (“nipped tight 1/16 turn”). It is best to experiment by listening to music. This may seem laborious but you will be richly repaid by improved performance. The mistake of over tightening this nut is often made, with the result that the music is deadened.

– Ensure that the TOP side of the tonearm is Parallel with a FLAT record, if not then use the threaded integral VTA adjuster on Origin Live arms or packing washers in the case of Regas. Tonerms are best tuned in by ear- if the tonal balance is bright and bass light them lower the base of the arm. If the balance is dull in the trable then raise the base of the arm.

– On the RB300 RB600 & RB900 set the tracking force dial adjustment to exactly 3 gram and leave it alone. It is best not to use the dial to set tracking weight. Instead set the arm tracking weight using a stylus balance and moving the counterweight. The reason for this is that the tracking dial uses a spring to dynamically load the arm – however this also feeds vibration into the arm and has been found to be disadvantageous to performance although it is more convenient from an adjustment point of view. Rega set the dial to be effectively disengaged at its 3 gram setting (this may sound strange but it’s logical if you think about it for long enough). The simple test to see if this is correct is to try it! If you find however that your counterweight is not heavy enough then set the dial at 2 grams and try again – Alternatively you can superglue on steel washers.

– Always use a cable clip to secure the arm cable and leave a slight droop on it so that it isn’t “tight”. This again is helpful to “earth” vibration in the cable.

Origin Live & Rega Arm Specifications
Effective Length 240 mm
Overhang 17.24 mm
Offset Angle 22.92 deg
Mounting Distance 222.76 mm

– The tip of the stylus should be 240mm from the pivot. In approximate terms, the armboard mounting hole should be such that the cartridge stylus will “overhang” the record centre (spindle) by a distance of around 17-19mm for an arm that is of 229-250mm Effective Length (distance from stylus to armboard mounting hole centre). Roughly check this by swinging the stylus over the record spindle.

– It is recommended to place a special cork washer (supplied by Origin Live) under the arm base nut.

– Lastly the sliding control for tracking bias should be set to be approximately equal to the tracking weight value. You can then fine tune this by ear using the centre track of a record. There are various methods from listening by ear to watching whether the cartridge cantilver deflects to one side or the other (you want to see not the slightest deflection when the stylus touches down on a centre track. This technique is only possible on cartridges with softer suspensions and longer cantilevers.

Additional notes for Origin Live modified arms

– On the modified OL1 or RB250 you will need to use a stylus force gauge (balance) to set the arm tracking weight. If your gauge measures in mN then 1 gram = 10 mN.

– Always use a cable clip to secure the arm cable and leave a slight droop on it so that it isn’t “tight”. This again is helpful to “earth” vibration in the cable. (Please note that the occasional rewired arm makes a slight “rustling” noise through the speakers when it is lifted across the record. This should not be a cause for concern as it only caused by microphony of the internal silver litz cable – under normal playing conditions this is inaudible. For rewired arms the additional earth lead should be connected to the earth of your preamplifier or amplifier. This earth lead is best separated slightly from the main leads so do not wind it around them for best performance. Avoid pulling the external wires at the base of the arm as they are not indestructible and can become detached if excessive force is used to manipulate them.

– When tightening the counterweight, set it so that the Allen bolt is at the side of the arm (not at the top) and tighten firmly.