Rule of thumb for VTA

Hi all,

I'm wondering if there is a rule of thumb for setting VTA? Really what I'm looking for is a quick way to rough out the VTA. Should the arm be level when the stylus is in the groove? Should the arm be sloping downwawrd from the pivot toward the cartridge? The reverse?

I know that the right answer is to listen and judge for myself but I have a Rega P25 which apparently doesn't offer much in the way of VTA adjustment so I would like to find a simple approach to get it close.

Thanks in advance,

I am by no means an analog guy, how ever I have played with some very nice turntables, and when setting up a table we always set the VTA level when the stylus is in the groove, and listen, then tweek it up a little and listen and then down a bit and listen. At which point you can discern which location is most desireable- it will be obvious, when it is set correct you will get a wider sound stage, blacker back ground, much higher resolution and most important a high PRaT. I don't see how there could be a definitive answer to this question due to the nearly infinite cartridge/tonearm combo's possible compounded by the table- some cartridges fit less then wonderfully and require heavy VTA adjustment just to work. Though I would say start level and go from there- see you on the flip side.....of the LP ~Tim
I don't think there is a set place to start so I recommend the following... start with a level table and raise the pivot end of the arm until high frequenies are not reproduced properly then gradually lower until the highs are pure and the bass and sound stage slam and expand.
That's as easy as it gets, it takes a bit of time unless you are using a Rega cartridge then the arm is automatically set for correct VTA!
I have had Rega tonearms on my VPI turntable (first the RB-900, and currently the RB-1000). Although the Rega arms lack provision for VTA adjustment, I have found Rega's stainless steel spacers between the tonearm base and armboard work quite well. I adjusted both the RB-900, and now the RB-1000, using a small level so the tonearm is level (i.e., parallel with the platter).

Since different manufacturers' cartridges vary in their stylus rake angle, the "ideal" VTA for the Rega tonearm will vary depending on the cartridge you use. Therefore, I suggest you set the VTA by making the tonearm level, and not worry about whether it should be 1 degree higher or lower.
yes, first make sure your table is perfectly level in both directions, this is important. Then almost all cartridges are made so that when your armtube is parallel to the record surface, your vta should be set. I do not think micro VTA setting is that important. Michel Fermer of stereophile mag. says he sets his for 180 gram lp's and it sounds fine for all his other lp's no matter how thick or thin they are. I have personally played for many ,many hours with VTA and always go back to the affor mentioned setting.
I use the method of starting level while the cartridge is in the groove. Then I make small up or down adjustments as needed. Raising the VTA will usually accent the high freq, and lowering will usually accent the lows. Small adjustments can make big changes. Different cartridges like different VTA angles, so it is always an experiment.
Anyone ever run into an arm where the arm tube is not exactly parallel with the headshell and, therefore, the headshell is the proper location from which to establish initial "levelness"?
Thanks to all of you for your quick replies. I'm going to focus on the level arm tube for now and then play more with it later if time permits.