How important is precise VTA adjustment?

I am at the stage where I am about to make the plunge into the Vinyl arena. I have a opportunity to purchase a Michell TT with a package deal on the Stock Rega 300 tonearm.

My findings indicate that Rega makes the VTA adjustment process a nightmare. You actually have to remove the arm from the armboard and insert washers to change the VTA.

To me this sounds like a rather inaccurate way to make adjustments on such a high precision product like a tonearm.

Furthermore, I am not really sure that it's necessary to have this adjustment in the first place. I am no turntable expert and was wondering if a VTA adjustment in the hands of someone like me who is inexperienced with tweaking would only cause problems.

Does anyone know what adustments do come with the Rega arms and what adjustments are important to have?

Also if anyone could recommend a MC cartridge that works well with this arm I would appreciate it.

Much of what you say is true. The washers certainly are an inaccurate way to adjust VTA.

VTA is more or less critical, depending on the quality of the cartridge and your associated equipment ( how much it lets you hear the change ).

If you had a tone arm that was easy to calibrate and repeat the VTA settings, such as with a Graham or a Tri Planer, you would find the perfect setting with just a little patience and listening.

Correct ( or incorrect ) VTA can make almost as much difference in performance, as the jump from mid to high end cartridge would provide. The tonearm too high in the rear causes the bass to suffer and collapses the soundstage. Too low in the rear and the timber is muddied and heavily modulated passages are mis-tracked, distorted, or both. My hope is to help you understand what VTA does, although the Rega is not an ideal candidate for experimenting, unless you are a seasoned turntable guy.

As for cartridge, I will leave the ultimate answer to someone who had made the comparison with the Rega arm. As a guess, I would choose the Benz Glider or similar medium output designed moving coil cartridge.
Michell makes a VTA adjustment base for Rega tonearms that I use with my GyroDec and OL250 arm that makes it easy to adjust VTA. I have found that on the GyroDec it results in much better sound to only finger tighten the tonearm hold-down nut.
I should add that the Michell VTA Adjuster raises the tonearm 1.75 mm from standard. You may have to shorten the arm board standoffs or you could order shorter ones from Michell.
As already noted, there are two (maybe three) VTA devices that are available for the Rega RB300 and RB600 tonearms. I have seen them mentioned by VPI, Rega (Lauerman Audio Imports, in Knoxville, TN), Express Machining, and also the AudioAdvisor. The easiest place to start is AudioAdvisor

The RB900 arm, however, has a solid, 3-point base mount that is secured to the arm board, and the only way to adjust VTA is by inserting washers between the tonearm base and the armboard. If you are not the RB900 arm, however, this is not an issue.
VTA is so important that it should be adjusted to match the thickness of the disc being played. Playing a nice thick disc is the same as lowering the arm. Things like this are the reason I gave up vinyl although I readily admit that it sounds light years better than CDs. Don
Suggest the Sumiko Blue Point Special as the recognised standard for this arm. Worked great on my Rega table.
I appreciate everyone's input on this issue. It appears that there are several VTA options available for Michell turntables, but they do not appear to be user friendly. It also seems that VTA is such an important adjustment that I am beginning to question the purchase of this tonearm.

I was told by a dealer that having a VTA adustment and not knowing what I was doing was worse that not having it at all. (Its a less important setting is what I gathered from this message.)

Why would anyone want to buy a tonearm that does not offer such a performance critical adjustment in the first place?

I am rather suprised that someone would invest such large amounts of money into a precision product like a turntable; go through all the trouble of leveling the table, the suspension, the tonearm, nit-picking over isolation and damping, and then place a tonearm that did not provide a easy and ACCURATE way to adjust this crucial parameter.

Perhaps this is why I am being offered this deal in the first place.

I want to thank all of you who contributed and I certainly welcome any new advice on this subject. I really do not want to commit funds and regret it later.

For the time being, I will attempt to purchase a TT without the REGA 300 arm and look at other tonearm options. If I am convinced that an option exists to simplify the REGA setup than I will reconsider it.
"Perhaps this is why I am being offered this deal in the first place."

Regas are a typical arm found on the Michell tables, but they are not as expensive as the SME, et. al.

Getting an arm with a nice VTA adjuster is definately a better bet, but it's going to cost you. If you have the scratch, hey, there you go. Problem solved:)

"Why would anyone want to buy a tonearm that does not offer such a performance critical adjustment in the first place?"

Personally, my budget was the deciding factor. I am currently playing with my VTA adjuster to get the stylus two degrees forward of vertical. Lucky for me, mine sounds fine with the collet flush to the armboard.
The answer is dependent on your choice of cartridge, specifically the shape of the diamond stylus itself. The more radically spade-shaped it is, the more critical VTA becomes. With many less expensive elliptical-variety shapes, a washer adjustment will be able to get you close enough. The dealer should be able to perform the proper set-up for you, and then you won't have to worry about it, just listen. BTW, Rega doesn't provide this adjustment in the interest of high rigidity, which they feel is of paramount importance. Their own cartridges are sized correctly for the RB300 without need of adjustability.
many cartriges work with the rega arm, without vta issues, thus, no need for the cost/shimming headaches, etc.