Between my unfamiliarity with the RB303’s idiosyncrasies and the scant information provided in the 6-by- 6-inch, 11-page manual, I experienced a few moments of frustration with the RP6. But some digging on various Web sites and a brief conversation with a tech guy at Sound Organisation straightened me out.
Unlike most high-quality tonearms, the RB303 offers no adjustment for vertical tracking angle (VTA), which is the angle at which the arm rests when it’s lowered onto a record. Rega’s philosophy is that fine-tuning of VTA doesn’t significantly affect sound quality, and including the adjustment would reduce the arm’s rigidity. Shims that allow the RB303 to accommodate cartridges of different heights can be provided.
Azimuth — the left-to-right tilt of the cartridge around the tonearm’s axis — is also non-adjustable, and for the same reasons. I checked the azimuth using the left-channel-only and right-channel-only 1-kHz test tones from The Ultimate Analogue Test LP and my NTI Minilyzer, and found that the leakage was –20.0 dB left-to-right and –22.1 dB right-to-left. That’s okay, but in comparison, the leakage on my lovingly tweaked Pro-Ject RM-1.3 turntable was too low to measure with the Minilyzer.
While I was at it, I ran a couple more measurements. Pitch/speed error was a very low +0.004% at 33 rpm and +0.005% at 45 rpm. Wow and flutter, measured with a Clio FW analyzer, was also low at 0.234% unweighted, 0.074% weighted.
With so little capable of adjustment, what’s there to tweak? You can start with the cartridge alignment, using a supplied alignment protractor. (My sample needed only a very slight adjustment.)
Vertical tracking force (VTF) for the Exact cartridge isn’t specified in the RP6 manual, but the Exact manual that I downloaded from Rega’s Web site told me the proper VTF is 1.75 grams. I balanced the arm and dialed in the VTF on the arm’s indicator scale, and my Shure tracking-force scale confirmed that the setting was perfect. Finally, I set the RP6’s anti-skate adjustment to match the VTF.
With the fussy stuff done, I tried the RP6 in two systems, one using a Krell S-300i integrated amp and Krell Resolution One tower speakers, and another using the HE-6 headphones and EF-6 headphone amp from HiFiMan. I used two different phono preamps, the NAD PP-3 and the Parasound Z-Phono. With most turntables, you have to make a separate ground wire connection to the phono preamp, but the RP6’s ground connection is integrated into the turntable’s hardwired, high-quality RCA-tipped cables.
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