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Rega Planar 1 skipping with Bias-2 installed

Discussion in 'audio' started by SargeAussie, Mar 9, 2019.

  1. SargeAussie

    SargeAussie New Member

    Hi All,

    Greetings from Sydney, Australia.

    I purchased a Rega Planar 1 TT in December and purchased the upgrade pack containing the Bias-2 cart, a better wool mat and the upgraded elastic band. My dealer set the bias to the Rega recommended 1.75g VTF.

    Since then, I have purchased a number of new and used (good to excellent condition properly cleaned) LP's and a certain number of them skip on tracks where it will continue on after repeating a random number of times or it will repeat infinitely until I intervene. This is becoming extremely annoying, so I started to do some research.

    I have found a number of threads on various forums that put this issue down to the anti-skate on the RB-110 tonearm and the fact that it is essentially hard-wired to work with the Rega Carbon cartridge (tracking at 2-3g VTF) that comes with the Planar 1.



    The second thread listed above shows a DIY approach to fixing the problem by removing the glued-in anti-skate magnet under the tone-arm and re-adjusting it to the correct setting. Personally, I am not comfortable with the level of DIY as I'll probably end up breaking something.

    My question to Rega (and possibly Paul Darwin if he spots this) is simply this. What am I supposed to do? No mention is made by Rega that the 'upgrade pack' will essentially cause skipping problems due to the un-adjustable anti-skate device on the RB-110. Had I known this was the case before purchasing the TT, I probably would have purchased the Project Debut Carbon rather.

    I very much doubt that my Rega dealer here in Sydney is going to refund me for both the TT and the 'upgrade pack'. It would be good to get an official position from Rega on this to educate people who are new to vinyl that this is a problem when you're looking to upgrade the cart with the Planar 1.

  2. pocketkitchen

    pocketkitchen Registered User

    Have you called the dealer yet and explained the problem. Firstly, bias isn’t VTF. Also, incorrectly set bias is unlikely to cause skipping. Incorrectly set VTF is very likely to cause it if it’s too light. Whatever you do, don’t go DIYing, you’ll invalidate your warranty and leave yourself stuck. If the dealer can’t fix it, which means that they should be able to demonstrate to you that the cartridge tracks a record properly, then it’s possible there’s a fault, in which case, ask them to swap the deck and demonstrate it working correctly before you take it away.
  3. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Sounds like the tracking is set too light
  4. SargeAussie

    SargeAussie New Member

    Not yet, although it is seemingly inevitable. I have a VTF scale coming in the mail next week. I'll take some measurements when I get it and report back.

    I have checked that the TT is level.
  5. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    Sorry to hear that you are having record skipping issues, Simon.

    Question: Do the records skip regardless of how far along the tonearm is across a given record, or does it seem to skip at the same distance in?


    P.S. The vinyl newbie's postings that you linked to on the Art of Sound is demonstrating nothing other than that fact that his tonearm anti-skate compensation is clearly working well. Assuming that his deck is level, a quick wipe of his arm cueing platform rubber grip (and the underside of the tonearm tube where it makes contact) will solve his desire to keep his stylus afloat above a given point.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  6. RustyB

    RustyB Registered Ginga

    Unlikely in a Rega, but sticky bearings can cause this. Balance the arm neutrally, and check that it moves smoothly outwards across the playing range.
  7. SargeAussie

    SargeAussie New Member

    My force gauge finally arrived. I was surprised to find that the force that the dealer had set was approximately 1.94 grammes. I adjusted it too approximately 1.76 grammes. Surprisingly, the skipping has virtually disappeared. It doesn't make sense to me, seeings as though skipping is generally caused by VTF that is too light.

  8. hifi_dave

    hifi_dave Hi-Fi Retailer

    Have you checked the overhang using the Rega supplied protractor ? Because the cartridge looks too far forward in the headshell and skew wiff.
    linnfomaniac83 likes this.
  9. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    More VTF requires more anti skate, so reducing VTF ought to aggravate the problem... a strange one for sure!

    If you’re not too far away from your dealer, pop in with it and get them to check alignment/overhang, it’ll take them five minutes and they can torque the bolts correctly too.
  10. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    I'd say that overhang isn't far from smelling good, but skew is surely off a whiff.

    Neither should cause record skipping though.

    A slightly heavier VTF leading to record skip would have me looking at the height of the cueing platform. Adjustment will require a 1.2mm hex (Allen) key.
    linnfomaniac83 likes this.
  11. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    Good point, forgot about that one, I’ve had to adjust the height of the cueing platform on Rega decks a few time, don’t know why I didn’t think about that... although in my case, I had to raise the height.

    MARTIN TURFF New Member

    Hi All ....I have had this problem with a P2 and the Bias 2 / upgrade kit ....and as evidenced on a number of threads / sites its a common problem where the cart on either a P1 or P2 has been changed from the Carbon ( which they were set up for and which is relatively bomb proof !). I solved the problem by a number of ways .... the main was to adjust the magnet under the arm by loosening it and resetting about 1/3 way out ...it was easy to do after removing the arm , but of course take care and note that Rega state any mods will invalidate the warranty ( mine was 2nd hand so no real risk to me ). I found it takes a few trials to determine the best position, too far and the antiskate becomes uneven ...when happy I fixed using blutack so all is reversable.
    I also would check that the the deck is actually level ( in fact I have slightly over compensated ) , and well insulated from vibrations ( I use Ikea Lack table and sorbethane mushrooms ). Lastly I have slightly increased the head tracking weight to around 200 rather than the 175 recommended for the Bias 2 .
    I now am a happy bunny , and all the system sounds great ....... however I am starting to get a yearning for a P3 .....

    Hope this helps


    Just to add the VTA was adjusted by the addition of the thicker wool mat that comes with the upgrade kit ....dont know if this is an issue for you ?
  13. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    Hello Martin, and welcome to pfm.

    Despite what you may have read elsewhere, there is no common problem with the Rega Performance Pack kit (formerly known as RP1 Performance Pack, now dubbed Planar 2 Performance Pack) on any version of P1 or P2. The geometry of the entry level RB tonearms is the same as that of any other RB model, and the fixed anti-skating bias of current models is a sensible approximation for cartridges that track best round 1.75 to 2g VTF.

    The simple fact is that anti-skating bias can only be an approximation, as, although the angular velocity of a tonearm moving across a record is more or less constant, the velocity of the undulating groove against the stylus is not. Groove velocity varies from ~50cm/s down to ~15cm/s from beginning to end of a typical 33 1/3rpm 12in record. As such, any fixed opposing force (typically 10% of downforce) applied to the tonearm to counteract skating can only be perfectly in balance with the skating force at just one point along the disc radius. But Rega tonearms don't actually employ a fixed opposing force, as their anti-skating mechanism consists of a fixed position magnet (even the adjustable ones) and a moving magnetic armature; as the tonearm swings inward the side force compensation is gradually reduced at a similar rate to the gradual reduction of groove velocity with decreasing diameter. As such, Rega tonearms are capable of striking a nearer to equal balance between skating and anti-skating at multiple points along the record radius. This is all the more a sensible approach in the entry level designs that are meant to be as plug and play as possible.

    What concerns me more is that your deck is intentionally not level, and that you somehow believe this to be helping further offset the effects of what you perceive to be too much anti-skating force (despite having adjusted the position of the magnet; presumably further out). If so, then I would suggest that you spare a thought for the long term health and welfare of your main bearing, not to mention its performance. IOW, the extra help that you are attempting to give to the skating force to counter what is essentially a none problem should be the least of your worries.

    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019
  14. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    Update regarding the dimensional height difference between the AT91/Carbon and Rega MMs.

    Although A-T never published the actual dimensions of the now discontinued AT91 cartridge, all VM series, and all but the AT33 series MCs (16mm) are specified as being 17.3mm tall (unloaded) from stylus tip to the top of the cartridge body. The new AT-VM90 series models are all listed as being 17.2mm tall, according to the 2018-19 Phono Cartridges catalog.

    I don't have an AT91/Carbon to hand, but if it isn't far off from 17mm then changing one out for a Rega MM (~14mm tall), is likely to not only require the thicker wool mat, but possibly also a slight lowering of the cueing platform on Planar 1 and 2 to prevent contact with the latter during play. I would suspect that, without the thicker mat, a cueing platform height adjustment would be mandatory.

    Rega dealers should be well aware of this, however, it is something that is very easy to miss during a 'static' installation. It can also be so close as to only cause intermittent contact with thinner records during play, and/or at the negative apex of the down swing from record warps/ripples, etc. IOWs, if it looks like it is close enough to almost touch during play then it is going to touch during play.

  15. DSJR

    DSJR Between us and them

    Rega bias correction is always a touch on the high side and of course it's fixed in current lower model Regas. I suppose I'd have looked for an elliptical stylus for the Carbon (I have a Thakker EPO-E stylus for a spare AT91 body and it's Jico made - I believe - with a nice bonded well finished elliptical tip, a more refined sound 'up top' and with superb tracking).

    I believe many Rega decks are sold in factory sealed boxes these days, so anything can happen frankly, once the customer takes it out the dealer's door. Good luck to the OP if he honestly feels the Bias to be an upgrade on the Carbon. By the way, Tracking a Carbon or any similar AT (and Goldring E1/E2 I suspect) at well over 2g is a recipe for sonic disaster ime, as the sound thickens up and goes too muddy. Mine tracks superbly at 1.8g, as does the EPO-E and AT95E I seem to have collected here... if you have a browser translator, take a look at the German Lowbeats site for reviews, measurements and sound bites taken with matched levels on a P9 I believe.


  16. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    Despite Rega's website listing 2 - 3g as the recommended VTF range for Carbon, the RB110 tonearm provides 1.75g downforce with the Carbon fitted with Rega stainless fasteners and the counterweight pushed all the way forward to the rubber O-ring stopper.

    I'm not sure where Rega got the 2 - 3g from, as all of the AT90 series* were spec'd at 1.5 - 2.5 g (standard 2.0 g) by A-T themselves.

    Only the otherwise similar AT3600L* (OEM to turntable manufacturers only) is specified at a fixed 3.5g!

    I too have always found the AT90 series models to track well and sound best at 1.7 - 1.8g.
  17. Cyreg

    Cyreg pfm Member

    Hi there is NO performance upgrade kit available for the Planar1 (first one in line is Planar2 with RB220 arm)
    You have no possibility for VTF and the counterweight is only exactly adjusted for the Rega Carbon and OK VTF!
  18. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    VTF is adjustable on the Planar 1, there’s no reason you couldn’t fit the performance pack on a Planar 1 as far as I’m aware. I have an RP1 with an Elys2, white belt and the thicker Rega mat... works a treat in my second system!
  19. Joolzdee

    Joolzdee pfm Member

    Rega's own website does clearly state that the Performance pack is not suitable for the P1, Planar 1 and Planar 1+ turntables.
  20. linnfomaniac83

    linnfomaniac83 I bet you can’t wheelie a unicycle!

    Strange, I’ve not really looked closely at a Planar 1 but what I have on my RP1 is essentially a performance, performance pack... I already had a thick mat from my P5 (my P5 has an Origin Live mat), I bought a white belt and a brand new sealed Elys2 for less than half price and bunged them straight on the RP1 without any issues at all, it’s a LOT better than stock. Shame if you can’t do the same for the Planar 1 and a step backwards IMO.

    I suppose the new AT95 range could be a good option for upgrading a Planar 1.

    Edit, I just looked at the Rega website, they say it’s not suitable for an RP1... but they used to sell it for the RP1 before the new Planar range was introduced... so what’s that all about then?

    The RB101 arm even accommodates the three point mounting an Elys so a Bias would certainly work. The Elys was heavier than the Carbon so you can’t just push the counterweight all the way forward and achieve correct VTF like you can with the Carbon, but you simply set it with a VTF scale like you would with any other arm.

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