REGA VTA Question

Well, I have another rookie question. I recently purchased a Benz-Micro Glider for my REGA P5. According to REGA you are not supposed to change the VTA with any cartridge on a REGA table. The Glider is much taller than the Exact 2 cartridge that I was using. My questions is, should I leave the VTA alone, or use the REGA shims to raise up the back end of the tone-arm? The shims come only in a 2mm size. The tech at my dealer recommended raising the tone-arm by 4mm! I want to get the best sound possible! What should I do?

Also, should they use the REGA protractor for alignment, or wally tractor type mounting method. The cartridge was set up using the REAGA paper mounting guide.

Thank you for your assistance!!
Hi Rick,

I recently installed a Lyra Argo i on my Rega table. The best VTA for me was with the arm slightly lower than level at the rear. Like anything, approach it slowly and listen for yourself. In my case, Rega was wrong and also the dealer was wrong. Bottom line... somewhere closer to level will probably give the best results.

I setup my cartridge with a Soundtracker protractor (It looks much like the Clearaudio protractor)and everything sounds good. However, being a tinkerer I order a Mint tractor a few weeks ago but it's not here yet. I'll be interested to see if it does better. Yip is really easy to deal with and everyone sings his praises.

Good luck with it!
You could always install one of the many VTA adjusters and experiment. I use the Origin Live threaded adjuster. It's easy to install and use. Here's a link:

I don't care for the Rega protractor. I've had far better luck with the free protractors from Vinyl Engine. Of course, for $100 the Mint tractor is supposed to be great.
If they don't want you to change VTA, then why do they make shims? BTW, I have both 1MM and 2MM shims, both from Rega, so they have made both. Shim away, why live with incorrect VTA?

The other question is a bit more complicated. The Rega alignment is not consonant with the maths set forth by Baerwald. The inner null point coming quite a bit closer to the lead out groove with the Rega protractor. The differences between the two alignments are readily audible and you will, no doubt, prefer one over the other. I have preferred Baerwald alignment in all systems and setups over a thirty year span, but you might not, and that's great.

"What should I do?" I want to answer this question a really different way. Rick, you should learn to do a decent alignment yourself. It is time consuming, but not difficult and it is part of what makes this a hobby. You can't rely on dealers, or experts, or anyone else's ears. Download the Baerwald protractor for free from The Vinyl Engine. Get yourself a cheap practice cartridge such as an Audio Technica AT95E or a cheap Shure. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Michael Fremer's DVD is an excellent visual aid that takes you through all of the steps necessary to do your own setup. There is nothing more rewarding than a job well yourself.
According to REGA, they manufacture shims for those people that buy REGA tonearms for aftermarket TT's. REGA says that you should absolutely not adjust VTA for any cartridge using there own TT and tonearm. The arm tube was exactly parallel to the platter when using REGA's own Exact 2 cartridge. So, I am having difficulty understanding why REGA recommends doing nothing when the arm tube is not close to being parallel to the platter.

What would be good starting point in terms of raising the VTA? Should I start at 2mm, or go strait to 4mm? Thanks for all the input!!! It is appreciated!

The arm tube was exactly parallel to the platter when using REGA's own Exact 2 cartridge. So, I am having difficulty understanding why REGA recommends doing nothing when the arm tube is not close to being parallel to the platter.
Maybe you've answered your own question. If a non-Rega cartridge doesn't perform as well, people who don't think things through like you're doing may just go back to a Rega one, without trying to do a better setup.

Rega also recommends playing LP's without cleaning them. Unless they get a commission for each LP that has to be replaced because it was ruined, that advice makes even less sense.

Roy Gandy recommends what he recommends, for whatever reasons. You can ponder his motivations or you can seek your own answers and learn to optimize your own setup, as Viridian suggested.
Gandy stresses mechanical ridgidity over all else. They feel that Installing a shim or variable VTA adjuster nut compromises the sound and Gandy argues raising the arm up or down a few mm's actually only changes VTA angle by an inconsequential amount. Sometimes it's no bad thing to have the arm a little lower towards the back, see how it sounds to you with no spacer first. From rega's site:
Arm Height or V.T.A adjustment can be a controversial subject. Rega believes that the integrity of the arm fixing onto the arm mounting board is much more important than the questionable facility of arm adjustment: The arm should be reasonably parallel to the record surface or slightly lower at the mounting. The only time a spacer is necessary to raise the arm height is if the rear of a cartridge is hitting the record whilst playing.
I use a single 2mm. The ideal would be 3mm. Does not exist. 4 mm raises the arm at the pivot point too high. Gandy himself says is preferable to be a bit low.
VTA is not really that important except if you have many 180 or 200 grs records badly warped..
The most important improvement you can make is to get a decent constant rotational speed. You must replace the polymer sub-platter by an Isokinetic (or Groovetracer, if you are in America). Even if you have the TTPSU the Rega is not speed accurate. And the plastic subplatter attracts dust to the belt. Complement that with the Rega white Belt
Buy a standard (not the Rega Version) Michell clamp. This comes with a felt washer. Keep it in for normal records, remove it for 180 grams or over. It's the equivalent of raising the arm pillar pillar about 1 mm. Get rid of the felt mat for a further rigid coupling of the record to the platter. I found Herbie's Mat which is silicone foam a good one.
And then forget VTA. Make sure records are immaculately clean, by using a carbon fibre cleaning arm and connect the wire to the ground of your preaamp. This carries the static out which prevents dust atraction, and this way your expensive Glider stylus will last maybe one year more.. Nowadays they are hard to find. Try Analogue Seduction on
You said:
"So, I am having difficulty understanding why REGA recommends doing nothing when the arm tube is not close to being parallel to the platter."

Fillmoor answered you question with great accuracy, above. If you want to read it in Roy Gandy's own words, go here:
You MUST buy a VTA adjuster for non-Rega cartridges!

I recently purchased a near mint Rega P3-24 for $400 (minus the owner's Clearaudio cartridge which was listed separately)to upgrade from my 90's model Thorens TD280 MkIV.

The Thorens (which came pre-mounted with an Ortofon MC-X5!)was purchased new for $295 from J&R Music because I was afraid turntables would disappear from the marketplace at that time. It sounded great for all these years with the Ortofon, despite the tonearm being canted down several degrees from horizontal (positive VTA).

After installing the MC-X5 on my "new" Rega, I was dismayed to find my music now sounded dull, muddy and lacking definition. At first I feared that I had damaged the cartridge during installation, or that it was not well suited to the RB301 tonearm. Upon closer inspection I determined that the tonearm was actually canted slightly up(ass down)from being parallel to the record surface.

Research revealed that Rega manufactured cartridges are only 14mm high from headshell to stylus tip while my Ortofon measures about 19mm.

I ordered the Rega 2-4-6-8mm VTA adjuster. Elsewhere in these forums I read that if you raise the RB301 by 4mm it creates a problem in that the counterweight hits the shallow top of the dustcover when closed. This can be solved (for over $100) by replacing the counterweight with an underslung aftermarket or Rega tungsten weight of smaller diameter. Thankfully this wasn't necessary!

I installed the Rega VTA adjuster to raise the tonearm base exactly 4mm and checked the counterweight clearance. Because the Ortofon MC-X5 is so light (4.1g), the stock Rega counterweight balances very close to the tonearm pivot and thus does not rise quite high enough to contact the dustcover when the stylus is cued to the record. While I lucked out in this regard, I caution other Rega owners to take this (cartridge height and mass) into consideration if selecting a non-Rega cartridge.

The result - I am blown away by the new sound of my vinyl collection after this small adjustment. The Ortofon MC-X5 now sings better than ever regardless of whether I'm listening to jazz, rock or opera.

VTA makes a HUGE difference despite what the Rega folks may claim.
Hi Phantis

Where did you order your Rega 2-4-6-8mm VTA adjuster from? I've seen some that go for $20 to more fancy aftermarket Rega VTA adjusters that are $100-$120 plus. I believe those VTA adjusters allow you to tweak the VTA on the fly.