Make sure the table is level.
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I haven't adjusted my Rega arm in a long time (some audiophile I am!) but as I recall, the adjustment is backwards from what you would think - all the way OUT is off. Try starting from the full off position and see what happens. If the arm seems to be floating back quickly to the armrest, you need some professional help.
I don't think this is unusual. I experienced the same thing with an RB300. With antiskate set to 0 and tracking set to 0, the arm slowly drifted back to the arm rest. The antiskate mechanism is magnetic which might explain why it exerts a force even when it's "off." If the drift is slow, I wouldn't worry about it. Just do your best to set the tracking force.
Are you using a tracking force gauge and adjusting the counterweight to apply force? This will give the best sounding results. Rega's tracking force knob is known to introduce vibrations into the arm tube. Here's an excellent overview with best practices:
Unfortunately the RB301 has taken a step backward from the original classic Rega RB300. Quality control has fallen off considerably; I briefly owned a brand new P3-24 and was disappointed buy the finish of the tonearm, particularly around the headshell where there were burrs that were not filed down after casting. The way the antiskate is set is downright cheesy. Also the instructions that came with the table are about useless; I'll never buy another Rega turntable.
What cartridge are you using? It may be too heavy for the standard Rega counterweight - I experreinced that with my P7/DV20XH. I had to get the Rega tungsten wt. (125g) before I could get my arm to float correctly. I know this does not answer your question about the AS but your first step is getting the arm to float so you can set teh VTF which will afect the AS setting.
I have the same "problem" with my RB 300s. This is my second RB 300 by the way. The first one had that problem too, PLUS the azimuth was way off tilting my cartridge to the right, PLUS when you cue the lever all the way down, the tonearm only goes down midway ... you must only cue the lever midway for the arm to totally drop onto the record. Rega's QC sucks! (My second RB300 is okay though except for the "strong" antiskating - which I now attribute to be normal for all RB series tonearms).
Wow.................I guess I'm really lucky...... I've been the very happy owner of a brand new P3-24/RB-301/Exact 2 combination for over two months now, and have not been bothered by any of these problems. My table was properly set up by my dealer, and everything is working well, and the music sounds absolutely wonderful.
I would agree with Adam - although I have the RB700 on my P5, which I do think is a better arm, you shouldn't be having any problems with your RB301, assuming it is set up properly, meaning how Rega intended. My dealer set mine up for me, and I only had to make a very small adjustment to my anti-skate once I had it on my equipment rack and made sure it was perfectly level. The arm will return slightly because of the magnets, as some have said here, but only very slightly, it should not be causing any sonic problems.
This is super easy...Slide the counter weight till it floats just above platter,set the dial (force setting) to the correct cartridge weight,set the bias slider to the same setting as the dial. If the table And platter are level it will be setup properly.Check stylus force with gauge to double check.
My question is how is one supposed to set the bias slider to the same setting as the dial on an arm like the Rb301? I see nothing on the bias slider to indicate a setting other than a notch about 3mm long placed near the end of the slider's shaft. I have no idea what this notch is supposed to represent. I have a Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood set to 2.3 grams and no idea where along the slider 2.3 is represented. If you understand the Rega slider I would appreciate a more detailed explanation.
I recently setup a P3-24 with an RB-301 and a Dynavector 20x2-L. It took a lot of effort to get it to sound right, but once I did, it was well worth the effort. Basically, even at a tracking force of 0, the arm will drift back to its stand, so that's normal. Secondly, I strongly recommend you use a good stylus force gauge and set the tracking force without using the tracking force knob. It does have a tendency to pull the stylus out of alignment with the cartridge's magnets when set at anything besides 0 and lessen the sound quality. Just use the main static weight and spend the $70 or so it now costs to get a quality digital stylus force gauge. It will be be well worth it.