Rega planar 8 : Tracking force and Anti-skate settings


I set my Planar 8/Apheta 3 to what I found to be sweet spot of exactly 1.81 gr of vertical tracking force. I measured it with a very accurate and calibrated 5gr scale.
I set anti skating according to what gave me the best sonic result and the reading (see attached picture) seems to correlate to the 1.81 gr tracking force.
Sound wise everything is perfect. The only issue I have is when the Apheta stylus reaches a deep crack. In this case the tonearm would jump and land 15 seconds prior to the point on the record where it jumped from. So sound wise settings are at the best spot for me but when the stylus reaches a crack it seems as if there is not enough weight on the stylus and as if tracking force pulls the tonearm towards the beginning of the record.
The problem occurs on records that were properly cleaned and sound completely quiet.
I never had such problem with my planar 3 on these points on my records .

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I don’t see an attached photo. Can you retry?

In my experience using Rega’s and specifically the P8 and P10, your anti skate should be about half of your VTF. 

+1 jcoehler

From experience owning a P25 and now a Planar 8; anti-skate should be set at 50-60% of the appropriate VTF value.

I'm not a robot...

jcoehler & tubegb,

You are right ! setting anti skating to 50-60% of the VTF resolved 90% of the stylus jumps and also improved the sound significantly. Especially the sound stage.
I guess the rest pf the 10% are related to dirt or scratches or is it that the unique prolonged apheta 3 stylus is more sensitive to scratches ? 

The Apheta 3 utilizes a fine line profile. So, it will ride lower in the record grooves and therefore extract more information and detail. To your point, it could also be more sensitive to dirt and imperfections. Glad to hear you're noticing a significant improvement.

So your anti-skate was set way too high. Happens all the time. I am just about convinced this is the case with the vast majority of arms, where people follow directions instead of doing and listening and figuring it out for themselves.

Always- always- make adjustments by ear. 

The one exception is VTF where you must stay within the manufacturer's specified range. But even there it is set by ear, while respecting the range.

I would recheck VTF. This time being sure to defeat side bias first. Also be careful to have the stylus at record height when measuring. If the scale is on top of the platter, or worse on top of a record, this added height can give a VTF reading that is different than actual when playing a record. 

There are two ways to fine tune side bias by ear. One is to listen for breakup or sibilance. When playing a record the left side of the groove is the left channel, right side the right channel. So if it seems you're hearing breakup or excessive sibilance more often on the left, that could indicate not enough stylus pressure to that side and you would decrease anti-skate. Or vice versa, if breakup on the right then more anti-skate.

This one can also be done with test tones. This is crude but not as crude as going with the manufacturer's stock settings.

The real fine tuning is when you have everything else nicely dialed in, including especially VTA. Then very small changes in side bias can influence centering and solidity of the image. This varies from cartridge to cartridge but in general when side bias is just right you will hear improvement in imaging with the whole stage becoming more solid.

Sounds like you already heard this going from really bad to halfway good. Get used to how this sounds then maybe try refining it with some very small adjustments one way or the other. The key being, very small. The closer you get the smaller the adjustments.


if the LP is in such bad condition, I’d bin it before adjusting my tonearm to play through it.

Setting the Tracking force is very easy. I found the sweet spot to be 1.80 gr. 1.81 is a bit less refined and so is 1.79.
Setting the anti skate is a bit harder. Yes. Setting anti skating to 50-60% of the VTF is way better that 100% of VTF but the nuances are harder to detect as the weight of each side differs in various recordings. Is there a reference record that makes it easier to adjust anti-skating ?

Dear 13,

your findings for setting AS make no sense. Since skating force is always changing as you play an LP, it cannot be true that +/-.01g of AS makes any real difference. There is NO single correct amount of AS. Moreover, even 50% of VTF seems high for AS, but it depends on how your AS device is calibrated. Have you tried setting the antiskate to zero, playing a typical LP, and then gradually increasing antiskate from zero until your ears tell you there is no distortion in the right channel. The condition of zero antiskate usually causes audible distortion in the right channel.

"Have you tried setting the antiskate to zero, playing a typical LP, and then gradually increasing antiskate from zero until your ears tell you there is no distortion in the right channel"

I went ahead and followed your advice. I found that 0.5 gave the best result. I now have way better sound stage and accuracy than I had at 0.9 (which was much better than the 1.8 suggested by the manual). Thank you so much for the excellent tip :-)

The question is though why doesn't Rega recommend this 0.5 anti skate value or a value close to that when it's obvious that a value similar to VTF as they recommend  produces poor sound ? The sweet spot of 0.5 is so far from their recommendation that I did not dare trying it...

You’d have to ask them. No one else recommends that much AS for a given VTF. Plus I don’t know how their AS device is calibrated.