Rega P9 specs Re: spacers

Hi: could anyone tell me if the Rega specs on spacers are a good starting point to tell how many spacers I will need with a certain cart.

For instance Rega says their carts are 14 mm. Therefore if I have a cart that is 16 mm I would need one 2mm spacer. If I have a cart that is 19 mm I would need a total of 5 mm in spacers.

Is this is correct? If so, does anyone know if the height measurment is to be taken with the cart,mounted on the arm, and sitting on a record (i.e suspension engaged) or if the measurment should be taken without the action of the suspenion. I guess the question here is: does anyone know how rega get the 14 mm measurment, so that I can measure potential new carts the samy way, and gauge the spacer requirements.

Also, how do I short list potential carts for the RB1000 tonearm with regards to calculating resonance frequency. I cannot find specs for effective mass on this tonearm.

I'd appreciate it if any P9 owners out there could give me some tips on using this table with anything other than a Rega cart.
I use mine with a Kontrapunkt B and it is, to my eye, about as tall a cartridge as can be mounted on this arm. I think that the arm can handle just about any mc cart and that only highly compliant cartridges pose a problem. You may be able to get the dimensions of the cart from the manufacturer's specs.
You sound pretty clean on the shims. You will certainly be close. I used the Wally VTA tool to determine my shim needs (now I can't find it). Be sure to include the Dynavector xx-2 in your cartridge list. Great synergy betwenn Dynavector and Rega.
Best of luck.
Pbb: Thanks for the input on the compliance, that helps a lot. How many spacers do you end of having to use with the Kontrapunkt B?

G_m_c: I am going to have to see about getting one of the Wally VTA tools you mentioned. I need something that will give me accurate measurments.

The problem I am having is that the numbers don't match what I am seeing. With a cart that is 19 mm high I figure I should need 5mm in shims. However, visually and audibly (sp) 2mm seems to do the trick. (tonearm looks level, and it sounds better) This has got me to wondering if something else is out of whack.

I'm just being paranoid I guess, but this was a major purchase for me, and it bothers me that the measurments are not making sense, not to mention the fact of trying to shortlist carts and decide how many spacers I need to have on hand.

I've been thinking about the Dynavector carts. The 20X L or H is probably more in my price range. Do you think it is worthy of the REGA? :)))

Thanks to both of you for your input. I take it you're both happy with the P9. I haven't had much of a chance to listen yet. Looking forward to it though.
In reference to my previous post, what I mean is that if you wish to install a cart without lifting out the factory installed arm to shim it, the Kontrapunkt is at the limit in terms of body height.
OK, thanks for the clarification.

Ortofon doesn't list the height of the Kontrapunkt but it is most certainly more than that of the REGA Exact (which REGA says is 14mm). It's a lot higher. Based on the looks of it, I'd say it's probaby higher than most carts period.

If you are using it without spacers and not having problems, then it seems that trying to calculate spacer requirements beforehand based on the > 14mm measurment is not the way to go. Sounds more like a trial and error thing. I hate that. :(

Thanks for your help, it's back to the drawing board for me. I guess the best approach is pick the cart - have spacers on hand and use them if required.
Getting arm height right is a two step process:

Rough in the height visually. This can be done in different ways, but the point to remember is that ALL one can do visually is rough it in. Logically, this means one should choose a method that achieves an approximately correct setting quickly.

IMO this makes the Wally VTA device almost completely useless. It not only puts you to considerable pains, it complete ignores what matters most: the stylus in the groove.

The SRA methods posted multiple times here by Nsgarch and explained in Jon Risch's article in the FAQ's on VA are more accurate because they focuses on just that: the stylus in the groove. If you're really worried about roughing-in accurately (!), this is probably the best method I know. Spend enough time and you'll get quite close to the sweet zone for any particular arm/cartridge combination.

Personally I just make the cartridge "roughly" level by eye and proceed directly to...

Arm height must be fine tuned by ear, whilst listening to music. No visual adjustment will ever replace that.

Therefore, the best (and most enjoyable) use of one's time is to learn what to listen for and how different adjustments sound.

FWIW, when I had a Rega style arm I replaced the spacers with an aftermarket adjuster. Trying to fine tune by ear otherwise would have been an impossible chore.

My $.02, for whatever they're worth!
My understanding is that the height is measured from the top of the cartridge (that sits againt the headshell) to the tip of the stylus. There are aftermarket VTA available that allow the arm to be adjsuted manually. Use of htese will void your Rega waranty I was told by my dealer.
Thanks Doug, I've read the articles you mentioned, but as you said the fine tuning methods can't really be applied to the REGA without the aftermarket VTA adjuster. I don't know if there is such an animal available for the RB1000 tonearm.

Seeing as I'm not that experienced at setup, I decided I would like to keep things simple, and sacrifice the fine tuning for now.

It's not turning out to be as straigtforward as I expected though because the numbers I have been given to work with are not making sense.

According to specs, I should need 5 mm spacing for the cart I am using; however, 2mm spacing is what gives the best result both visually and audibly. Obviously the answer is to use the 2mm spacer, and forget about it, but it bothers me that the numbers don't work out, and I keep wondering if I am missing something, or if something else on the table is out of spec. not to mention the difficulty in planning for future cart. purchases.

Thanks again, let me know if you have any info on the VTA adjuster for the RB1000
Pete Riggle's VTAF "should" work on an RB1000, though it would require modifying the plinth (slightly larger mounting hole). I've heard nothing but good reports from users, though I haven't used one myself.

Info here:
I won't be drilling any holes in the table that's for sure. I think I will have to work out a formula of my own in regards to the shims.

Thanks for replying. Yes, Rega says to measure from top top of cart (where it sits against the headshell) to tip of stylus. Theirs are 14mm. Mine is 19mm. 5 mm spacing does not give the correct arm height, so it's back to the drawing board to try to figure out a formula that gets me close, or figure out why something that is supposed to be so simple isn't.

I think you are getting way to caught up in measurements or specs. Rega doesn't publish specs for spacers needed with specific cartridges or cartridge height. Nor do cartridges publish these specs (at least any cartridge I have used). There is no spec for VTA. It is up to personal taste. Level is the starting point.

Just put in spacers to get it to somewhere near level. Then measure the height of the arm (or cart) with respect to the a record with a small one or two inch ruler (you can make your own). Fremer explains this in his DVD. You can use this as a starting point. Then, add or remove spacers as necessary according to your listening tastes keeping in mind your initial, measured reference to a level arm. With the Rega, this requires some bit of audio memory due to the task of replacing spacers is not immediate.

I think you should be more concerned with aligning your cartridge, getting your cartridge loading correct into your preamp, and VTF.

For most cartridges, you simply want it level or slightly up or down from there.

Finally, you don't need to figure out height and spacers needed before you order a cartridge. Get the cartridge and if you run out of spacers, use $2 washers from your hardware store. If those make you uncomfortable, then order more $30 spacers.

Btw, I have two tables, one of them is a Rega P5. I am using a 1mm brass washer with my Denon 103R. Many people like 2mm. There are no set rules to this.

Thanks Plinko: I understand what you are saying, and it is exactly what I plan to do.

Initially, I was trying to follow the instructions (from the REGA website) for calculating spacer requirements. They say. All REGA carts measure 14mm. The height specs for my cart are not published, but I got them from the distributor (which I double checked myself) and thought i could go from there.

Unfortunately it did not work out as planned, so Yes, I am going to have to play around to find the correct height instead of being able to calculate it beforehand.

I think I have found what works, but the mismatch got me to wondering if something else could be wrong, which is why I asked the original question. It seems no one else is gettng tied up in knots over the measurments, I guess I'm just funny that way.

Thanks for your reply, I'll try to relax a bit. :/
Hey wfs, forgot about your question about resonant frequency. try the cartridge database at vinylengine:

You can look up cartridges or plug in your own arm mass and will tell you what range of dynamic compliance is suitable for your arm. But remember, it is not 100% accurate and you can listen to carts on the out range of specified acceptability. The Rega arm should be decent or very good with most cartridges.
Do you know the effective mass of the Rega RB1000 arm. I can't find that information.
also at vinyl engine:

dunno. it's probably 12 or something similar to the other arms. wonder if Rega will tell you.
Thanks Plinko - I'll plug the (-) into the cartridge database and see if I get any matches. If that doesn't work I'll try "or something"