Will Origin Live Conqueror tonearm fit my Rega RP10's skeletal plinth?

I'm considering replacing the RB-2000 tonearm on my Rega RP10 (circa 2014 - 2016) with an Origin Live (OL) model, probably the Conqueror MK4, and all indications are the hole diameter for the 3-point mount should be identical, but I am concerned that my RP10's skeletal plinth may be too small near the base of the tonearm for the OL's oval or triangular "plate" or "frame" that appears in photos above and around the mount base (where the Rega arm has its bias force adjuster.)  If anyone on Audiogon has the Conqueror tonearm, could you take measurements of that part and respond?  Additionally, if you have the Rega RP10 table and have replaced the RB-2000 with an Origin Live arm, could you provide your experiences?  I'd appreciate it!  Mounting should not be a problem if the base is small enough to fit the plinth. The weight differences between the Rega and OL arms are within a pound or so and I expect the plinth can handle that. 




Glad you are starting to get things situated.  I am currently using a Conqueror Mk4 and an Enterprise Mk4 and my dual arm Origin Live Sovereign TT.  In the past I have also owned the OL Silver Mk2, OL Encounter Mk3c, OL Illustrious Mk3c so have a little experience with your situation.  The “finger tight” requires some pretty strong fingers, but know that you should not ever need to employ any wrench. It must be just tight enough that no rotation of the tonearm base is possible during general use.  My normal procedure to accomplish this is to get the nut very tight by hand with the tone arm rest slightly to the right from the final position I wish it to occupy.  Tighten the nut as much as possible under the table and then hold the nut and slightly rotate the tonearm base above clockwise ultimately placing the arm rest into its desired position.  Rotating the base above while holding the nut gives one a little more firmness.  These are very small adjustments.  Snug it just enough until the arm does not rotate while you are setting the other adjustments or when in use. 

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After many adjustments and readjustments, setting and resetting of everything associated with the new tonearm, and much listening to get it to the point where it is now, I can honestly say that the OL Conqueror tonearm works well on the Rega RP10 skeletal plinth. The plinth did not require any modification but would benefit from (and may receive) longer legs (taller feet) to raise it a few inches, as the new tonearm’s relatively thick cables are significantly less flexible than those of the Rega RB2000 and interfere with having the plinth sit at its normally low height when centered on the component stand. I presently have the plinth positioned so the area where the tonearm is mounted slightly clears the component stand, allowing the cables to fall nearly straight from the bottom of the tonearm mount. Raising the plinth a bit higher will enable a gradual, safe bend in the cables so the plinth can be centered on the top, but it’s quite stable where it is, and I actually like it sitting low.

As to the effort involved, the RB2000 is the tonearm that came supplied with the RP10 plinth as a package and is a wonder of simplicity that is very easy to install and setup. Drop it in the plinth’s mount hole, add a spacer or two if you want so the VTA is just right, insert the 3 screws that fix the tonearm’s position (very helpful), then mount the cartridge and setup to get the best overall sound quality. This can be done in a few minutes to an hour depending on how often you’ve practiced it. On the other hand, the OL Conqueror can take one a weekend or longer to get reasonably close the first time, as it lacks Rega’s very effective 3-point mount, so one needs to take extra care to achieve proper positioning, arm height and sweep of the arm over the platter, and then HOLD IT THERE.

The Conqueror has more adjustability, and one adjusts and refines the settings and positioning a lot to get everything just right. The Conqueror’s tube mounting with its threaded VTA disc does tend to move until it is clamped down tightly (and OL says tight is not necessary, but it is very much necessary or the mount will move, which throws everything out of whack.) If you’re a tinkerer you won’t much mind the effort and will feel happy with yourself when you’ve managed to get everything set. You’ll invest the time to justify your expenditure, if for no other reason, but it pays to be careful and precise.

Once the arm is mounted, aligning the cartridge is very much the same as with the Rega arm. However, setting the tracking weight and side bias on the Conqueror can require considerable time as the tonearm weight is a finicky, slightly wobbly affair that has to be positioned, clamped down, weighed, loosened, repositioned, re-clamped, re-weighed, etc. The “Fine Adjuster” is actually an additional weight built as a thick screw, and offers little effect while being incredibly clumsy and difficult to set. It just moves its own weight toward or away from the big weight to which it is attached. I hate the design of this part of the Conqueror, and quite frankly Origin Live should rethink this and make it better. Additionally, there is no conventional, graded, marked weight adjustment so one must use a scale for every adjustment made. It’s ridiculous! Even the cheapest Junk tonearms have better tracking weight adjustment than this pricey boutique tonearm!

The side bias swing hook and sinker (my terms) have a profound effect, and one sets this by trying different angle positions of the swing hook, raising and lowering a little ball on a rod, and listening for the best sound quality. Don’t set it right and you hear distortion, get it right and the distortion disappears. Anyway, it’s all time consuming and in my opinion clumsy and lacking in refinement, but it works.

Setting the tracking weight on the Rega is easy. Mount the cartridge, zero the tonearm weight and then turn the fine adjuster dial. Simple and easy and once done, you don’t need to re-measure with the scale just to add or delete a single gram. Regardless of any possible sonic detriment afforded by Rega’s spring bias, Rega makes it a heck of a lot easier to set this, as well. Just push or pull on the adjustment “handle” to set your preference. The Rega’s halfway position is even marked for you.

The Rega has the look of elegant minimalism while the Conqueror has a higher tech, busier and pricey appearance, yet both tonearms look as if they belong on the RP10 plinth. The Rega has the simpler and easier to use tonearm rest. I found I’d sometimes flip the plastic rest clip over when using the conqueror’s arm lift, and then have to place it back where it should be before moving the tonearm to the rest.

As you may have assumed by now, the Rega is much easier to mount, set up and even to use. To add to that it is lighter in weight, easier to zero balance and set the side bias, and easier on the wallet.

The Conqueror seems to require a higher tracking weight or it will skip more easily than the Rega. The Conqueror feels about two pounds heavier overall but I’m not sure how much of that is in the multi-piece arm tube. It may be that the cartridge I’m using suits the Rega better.

How do the two tonearms compare in regard to sound quality? Is it worth the expense and effort to change from the RB2000 to the Origin Live Conqueror?

Well, I have more testing to complete before I can state that definitively. What I can say, from what I’ve heard so far, is that the Rega RB2000 is a good tonearm, and a bargain at its price, because significant differences in sound quality at this point are not there. In fact, the two tonearms present a very similar aural image. Consider though, that the Rega and its cabling are well broken in and the OL Conqueror is brand new, and I’ve noted the sound changing as the Conqueror’s tonearm cable is breaking-in. I have unfortunately noticed that studio echo (reverb) on some vocals seems a bit more present, but that makes vocals a bit hollow, and is not really a quality improvement. It’s just a minor difference.

The Conqueror has been lauded many times by reviewers, but is about twice the price of the Rega. If you’re searching for a new tonearm to fit a Rega plinth and don’t want to use a Rega Tonearm, and you don’t mind the financial expense, or spending the time on getting the mount and setup just right, then the Origin Live Conqueror would be a good choice. I don’t personally believe the Conqueror is worth ditching an RB2000 or RB3000 if you have either Rega tonearm already. If you have a modern Rega plinth and just want a top quality tonearm, get the top Rega model. You’ll save a lot of money, have an easier time of mount and setup and receive similar performance to the Conqueror.

Time will tell whether the OL Conqueror really is sonically better than the Rega RB2000. Do I like it? Yes, but it has drawbacks I wish it didn’t have, and I prefer the simplicity and ease of use of the Rega. I intend to swap the two in and out of the plinth a few times to discover how much difference may actually exist, but that’s a long term thing.

PS. I have not adjusted the Azimuth on the Conqueror, so I cannot yet speak to how well that works or how difficult it may be, but it is adjustable. Origin Live recommends that one not adjust it unless truly necessary. There is no azimuth adjustment on the Rega, so if needed, one would likely have to shim above the cartridge to get a slight tilt.  

I'm now trying Iso-Acoustics' OREA Bronze as feet or as platforms under the Rega's standard plinth feet.  I'd rather these pucks were adjustable.

"What I can say, from what I’ve heard so far, is that the Rega RB2000 is a good tonearm, and a bargain at its price, because significant differences in sound quality at this point are not there."

"from what I’ve heard so far, is that the Rega RB2000 is a good tonearm, and a bargain at its price, because significant differences in sound quality at this point are not there."

Confirmed my guess of the outcome.

If that were me, I would put the Rega back to original condition, use the dough from the sale to get a new platform for the arm OR just sell the arm and enjoy the Rega and buy more records.

I'm now trying Iso-Acoustics' OREA Bronze as feet or as platforms under the Rega's standard plinth feet."

Another guess -no real SQ gain. I HOPE your experience proves my wrong.