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Installing Rega and Origin Live tonearms

This document is reproduced here by kind agreement of Mark Baker at Origin Live. For a downloadable version of the complete manual including a section on cartridge installation, and more information on the full product range, please visit the Origin Live website.

Origin Live

Installing the arm

Rega arms and Origin Live arms require mounting dimensions such that the centre of the platter to the centre of arm hole is  approx 223mm plus or minus 2mm tolerance and the hole diameter for the arm is 24mm to 25mm.

Please note that for the Origin Live Silver 250 tonearms do not adjust bearing tightness - this is carefully set at the factory - it may seem that there is slight play in the bearings - this is deliberate and must be left alone or degradation will result - it is not actually play in the bearings but carefully designed tolerances of other components

VTA (Vertical tracking adjustment)

To allow the cartridge needle to track at the correct angle it is important that the base of the arm is at the correct height in relation to the platter. Usually the optimum setting is such that the TOP edge of the arm is parallel with the surface of a FLAT record you can use a piece of card with parallel lines drawn on it to check this once the cartridge is fitted.

Most cartridges have a height of 17mm and if this is the case, then the base of the arm should rest approximately 31mm below the top of the platter surface. If you cartridge height is different you can work out where the base of the arm should be from the preceding figures.

If you do not have a VTA adjuster

  • If you do not have a VTA adjuster then use the 2 large spacing washers supplied to set the arm base to the correct height according to the above figures.
  • It is recommended to place the large serrated washer (supplied by Origin Live) under the large base nut as shown in the diagram Rear end view of counterweight. For decks with metal arm-boards (e.g. the Gyrodeck) it sounds best NOT to fit the serrated washer if in doubt listen to the difference. The washer does not always fit on the Rega 3 deck if this is the case leave it off.
  • Bolt the arm to the armboard or plinth. You only need tighten the large bolt to finger tightness or very slightly tighter ('nipped tight 1.16 turn'). It is best to experiment by listening to music. This may seem laborious but you will be richly rewarded as this adjustment is CRITICAL for performance. The mistake is often made of over tightening this nut with the result that the music is deadened.

If you have the origin live threaded adjuster
(which fits most decks)

Thread the adjuster onto the arm. Ensure that the threaded metal sleeve is a the right way up with the recess on the top side. This ensures that the arm goes all the way down into the sleeve. If you find your arm is too high when fitted then you should remove it as it adds 1.5mm to the height of the arm. As a starting point set up the arm such that it is parallel with a FLAT record, if not rotate the VTA adjuster at the arm base to get the level right.

It is recommended to place the large serrated washer (supplied by Origin Live) under the large base nut as shown below. For decks with metal armboards (e.g. the Gyrodeck) it sounds best NOT to fit the serrated washer if in doubt listen to the difference. The washer does not always fit on the Rega 3 deck if this is the case leave it off.

Bolt the arm to the armboard or plinth. You only need tighten the large bolt to finger tightness or very slightly tighter ('nipped tight 1.16 turn'). It is best to experiment by listening to music. This may seem laborious but you will be richly rewarded as this adjustment is CRITICAL for performance. The mistake is often made of over tightening this nut with the result that the music is deadened.

If your armboard is less than 10mm thick you will need to fit an arm 'packing washer' between the armboard and the large bolt or it will not 'clamp' on the 4mm thick armboard.

If you have the Origin Live sliding adjuster

Do not fit a threaded VTA adjuster. Ensure that the Aluminum sleeve is the right way up with the recess on the top side. This ensures that the arm goes all the way down into the sleeve. Place the arm in the aluminum sleeve and then clamp it in position via the set screw in the side of the VTA housing (i.e. the sleeve is forced in to grip the arms threaded base). You do not need the Rega nut on the base of the arm. Only tighten the set screw sufficiently to clamp the arm firmly in position over-tightening can make the arm sound bright.

Fit the arm cable clip

Fasten the arm cable - this should be supported by a cable clip screwed into position underneath the plinth - leave a slight droop on it so that it isn't 'tight'. This again is helpful to 'earth' vibration in the cable. (Please note that the occasional rewired arm can make a slight 'rustling' noise through the speakers when lifted across the record. This should not be a cause for concern as it is only caused by the microphony of the internal litz cable - under normal playing conditions this is inaudible.). The earth lead should be connected to the earth of your preamplifier or amplifier. This earth lead is best separated slightly from the arm signal leads so do not wind it around them for best performance. Avoid pulling the external wires at the base of the Silver arms as they are not indestructible and can become detached if excessive force is used to manipulate them.

Arm and Cartridge set up

Fit the Cartridge (if not fitted already)

Fit the cartridge to the arm using an alignment gauge and ensure the headshell wires are bent so that they are clear of the record surface. If you are not familiar with fitting cartridges then please read the section 'hi-fi cartridges - setting up procedures'.

Set tracking force & side force bias

Ensure that the bias adjustment slider is set to zero. Set the tracking force to the manufacturers recommendations using a stylus force gauge (stylus balance). When tightening the counterweight, set it so that the Allen bolt is at the side of the arm (not the top) see figure 'rear end view of counterweight' and tighten firmly - check tracking force is still correct after tightening.

Once the tracking force has been set you can set the sliding control for tracking bias - This should be set approximately equal to the tracking weight value. The settings you read on the arm are not always dead accurate so it may be worthwhile to fine tune the setting by ear using the centre track of a record.

Use of a stylus force gauge

Most stylus force gauges work on the same principle as a set of scales or balances. For example the Ortofon stylus force gauge, first place the stylus on the inscribed or graduated portion of the scales. Then try the stylus at different points until you find the point where the beam 'balances' freely in a roughly level position. You then read the force that is being exerted - ( 1gram = 10 nM if the scale is in nM). From this number you can assess whether you need to increase force or vice-versa. Move the tonearm counterweight accordingly and re-measure the tracking force. Repeat this procedure until the correct tracking force is obtained. The Shure stylus force gauge works slightly differently so follow the instructions that came with the gauge.

Set the VTA (vertical tracking adjustment)

To allow the cartridge to track at the correct angle it is necessary that the base of the arm is at the correct height in relation to the platter. Usually the optimum setting is such that the TOP edge of the arm is parallel with the surface of a FLAT record - you can use a piece of card with parallel lines drawn on it to check this. Place the cartridge on the record with the deck switched off. Hold the card edge onto the record in a position alongside the arm and see whether the top edge of the arm is parallel. Raise or lower the base of the arm till you achieve parallel position. Most cartridges have a height of 17mm. If this is the case, the base of the arm should rest approximately 31mm below the top of the platter surface - see diagram 'cross section of sub-chassis'.

It is worth experimenting with VTA adjustment. Slightly raise or lower the arm and then listen - if the sound is relatively bright then the arm is too high, if it is relatively dull and bass heavy then the arm is too low.

  • If you have no VTA adjuster Raise and lower the arm by fitting spacing washers under the arm. Alternatively you can raise or lower the height of the platter - this is easily accomplished by removing the platter and sub-platter to reset the height of the threaded bearing house (see 'diagram showing threaded bearing house arrangement').
  • If you have the threaded VTA adjuster Raise and lower the arm by rotating the VTA adjuster. If you find your arm is too high in relation to the platter with the VTA adjuster set to give the arms lowest position then you need to raise the height of the platter a few millimeters - this is easily accomplished by removing the platter and sub-platter to reset the height of the threaded bearing house (see 'diagram showing threaded bearing house arrangement').
  • If you have the Origin Live VTA sliding adjuster Raise and lower the arm in the aluminum sleeve and then clamp it in position via the set screw in the side of the VTA housing (i.e. the sleeve is forced in to grip the arms threaded base). You do not need the Rega nut on the base of the arm. Only tighten the set screw just sufficiently to clamp the arm in position - over tightening can make the arm sound relatively bright.

Set the arm fastening tightness

It is best to experiment with the tightness of the large Rega base nut (if fitted) by listening to the music. This may seem laborious but you will be richly rewarded as this adjustment is CRITICAL for performance. This mistake is often made of over tightening this nut with the result that the music is deadened.

rear view of counterweight

Notes

A detailed description of cartridge setup and care is included in the end sections of this manual..

Please note that the occasional rewired arm can make a slight 'rustling' noise through the speakers when lifted across the record. This should not be a cause for concern as it is only caused by the microphony of the internal litz cable - under normal playing conditions this is inaudible.

The earth lead should be connected to the earth of your preamplifier or amplifier. This earth lead is best separated slightly from the arm signal leads so do not wind it around them for best performance.

We guarantee arms supplied by ourselves to be free from fault for 2 years and will undertake to correct any faults providing the arm has not been modified by any party other than ourselves and has not received maltreatment of any kind.

Now that all the hard work is done you can settle back and hear the results - we wish you many hours of enjoyable music and rediscovering your record collection.

Fit the cartridge to the arm using an alignment gauge and ensure the headshell wires are bent so that they clear the record surface. Ensure that the bias adjuster slider is set to zero. Set the tracking force to the manufacturers recommendations using a stylus force gauge (stylus balance). When tightening the counterweight, set it so that the Allen bolt is at the side of the arm (not at the top) see figure below and tighten firmly - check tracking force is still correct after tightening.

Set the sliding control for tracking bias - This should be approximately equal to the tracking weight value. You can then fine tune the setting by ear using the centre track of a record as the calibration is not always dead accurate.

It is worth experimenting with VTA adjustment if you can. Slightly raise and lower the arm and then listen - if the sound is bright then the arm is too high, if it is dull and bass heavy then the arm is too low.

original text and images © Origin Live

Origin Live, Unit 5, 362b spring road, Sholing, Southampton , SO19 2PB . UK .

Tel:- 02380 578877
Fax:- 02380 578877

Owner:- Mark Baker C.Eng, BSc(Hons) MRINA

originlive@originlive.com

http://www.originlive.com


Comments

Bias/Anti-Skate Adjustment

I've found using a dead wax (un-recorded/slick/no groves/blank) LP on a set-up/adjusted TT works best. Go to the middle of the spinning LP and drop the arm and start adjusting.
When the arm remains in place without falling in either direction (the center or outer edge of the LP), you are about as close as you are going to get for setting bias.
Note: This works for any tone arm

un-recorded/slick/no groves/blank

....and where would one obtain such a disk???

MikeP