Cartridge alignment. What do I need to know?

I’m not sure I said “tight as possible” rather “You’ll want the bolts done up nice and tight and evenly torqued, but not too tight if the body of the cartridge is made of a soft or deformable material”. This is of course in context of the OP’s Rega tonearm.

FWIW, I use the Rega’s cartridge torque wrench myself which, IIRC is set at 0.4Nm. This is great at ensuring all the securing bolts are torqued evenly.

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Only from an aesthetics point of view really. With a different alignment than what the arm was designed for, the cartridge won’t sit straight in the headshell, other than that I don’t see what difference it would make.

The one exception would be an S-shaped arm, but the offset cartridge will still be much better balanced than in a straight of J-shaped arm as most are nowadays. So it’s probably safe to conclude this isn’t much of an issue in the real world.

…in any case, I would not want my cartridge to be non parallel with the headshell.
…but, yes, there is a certain amount of freedom in using a non parallel to the headshell arrangement, but only a certain amount.
If you look at the main alignment protocols, they are all compromises and I see no reason to make life difficult!
I well remember the days when TTs and arms were not bought as packages (like Rega always are) and each combination required an armboard specifically drilled to account for the varying geometries…

To be fair, it’s hardly noticeable, it’s not as if the cartridge is suddenly pointing sideways. I have non-standard alignments on both my decks, and you have to really look for it and even then it’s hard to notice.

They’re all compromises, so you pick the one that suits you (and your record collection) the best. Or, you indeed keep life simple by just using the protractor that comes with your deck. I must admit I also just chose on based on how they were described, and have no idea whether it’s audible or not.

I do have identical cartridges and headshells, so maybe one day I’ll do this experiment.

Stevenson, as Rega (and my Technics) use, is in theory ideal if you have a lot of classical music (crescendos near the end of a side), or 45s.

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Torque wrenches below 1NM are less easy to find. Using torque to tighten fasteners is a bit of a lottery. Even more so at fractions on a NM.
I’ll see if I can borrow a wrench or use common sense.
Need to nail the alignment first!

You should be able to do it by feel and get pretty close - nip them up then tighten by a similar amount for each bolt. There used to be a time where it was thought best to tighten until the allen key deformed or something broke. I’d imagine that wrecked a number of tonearms and cartridges, so don’t go mad. Much will depend on the materials used but you should get an idea of what’s Ok (i.e. good and tight) and what’s probably too much, or worse, probably broken.

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Received my alignment tool. Quick check shows both cartridges aligned at the outer null point, but not at the inner. Both rega arms, but neither rega carts. Both aligned by different people.
Will get the rega cardboard tool out the lift later and check with that.

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Don’t forget…alignment protocols also depend on arm pivot to spindle geometry, so a Rega protractor might not be perfect for a rega arm on a non Rega Tt

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My P6 is sort of aligned using the Rega alignment tool. As it only uses one place to align, then to get overhang correct, it requires the cartridge and head to be parallel.

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…in achieving that parallel status, all degrees of freedom are negated and there is no need for 2 point alignment.*

  • I am not a geometrician.

You are just complicating Roberto work. The Rega protractor is well enough to align a cart, even if not a Rega cart.

You are incorrect in saying this.
Indeed, the Rega protractor will work for any cartridge on a Rega TT + Rega arm combination.
It will virtually certainly not work for a different manufacturer’s TT despite the consumer selecting a Rega arm (due to different spindle to pivot distances.
I made it clear that the Rega TT + Rega arm will work for any cartridge by using the Rega protractor.

I understand what you are saying here. The " armboard" for my michell Gyro se is quite a well engineered piece of kit. Whilst it can be fitted in one of three ways, it is specifically marked to be fitted in one. And is.
Are we saying that it is possible that Michell would not have manufactured the armboard to suit the standard Rega dimensions? ( I guess I could phone them).

Placing the Rega cardboard template on the gyro, the cartridge is out. Whilst the cartridge is parallel with the lines, the headshell is not. The cartridge will need to move a mm or two forward.
The opertunity to adjust has occurred a bit earlier than I was expecting.

My apologies, I understood the contrary.

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No matter what TT a Rega arm is fitted to the centre of the arm pivot point MUST be located exactly 222mm* from the spindle centre. If it isn’t then good luck trying to get precise alignment!

  • Taken from RB1000 instructions

My guess is that one of the three orientations is for Rega geometry…Michel use Rega arms as the basis for their own variants.

It is marked to show the correct orientation. After I last posted I was thinking that the gyro se must act as if it were a Rega. Not least as Michell mod Rega arms, and if they didn’t, what standard would you use to align the cartridge?
Which makes things a bit easier. And confirms that my benz ACE sl has not been correct since fitted. ( when supplied one of the three pillers that sets the height of the armboard was 5mm more than the other two. Yes, the cartridge was on the piss).

Sounds like you have got it sorted out.

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I’ve moved the benz back a couple of mm in the headshell.

Using the rega supplied cardboard gauge the heads and cartridge are aligned to it.
Using my other mirrored gauge with 2 null points that is also aligned.

Now the real test. Some vinyl.


…not sure about the nylon washers between the screws and the top of the headshell though…these must impair rigidity of the mounting…