Once horizontal-axis tonearm bearing assemblies are complete, further arm-building steps including preparation of vertical-axis bearings, installation of signal cables, final assembly, and final fine-tuning of arm azimuth alignment (to ensure that head shells will be perfectly level vis-à-vis the turntable platter). Then, finished arms are run through a test station where arm friction levels and other functions are verified. Only after that final, strict test are arms ready either for sale as standalone products or for fitting on appropriate Rega turntables
Not to be outdone by their counterparts in the tonearm assembly area, Rega’s cartridge assembly team is a close-knit group charged with doing some of the most delicate assembly work used in any of Rega’s products. Of particular interest was the process through which a highly skilled worker (who evidently has hands like a surgeon’s) winds coil wires on the cross-shaped former used in the Rega Apheta moving coil cartridge’s motor assembly. The wires used are thinner (actually, much thinner) than human hairs, so they must be handled with the utmost care. It was also revealing to see how that, at each cartridge assembly station, there are special viewing scopes that allow workers to check the alignment of styli, cantilevers, suspension systems, and other cartridge motor components. Many companies would not bother with the rigours of cartridge manufacturing, but that is simply not the Rega way. Thus Rega builds all but its least expensive phono cartridges—including the RB78, Bias 2, Elys 2, Exact, and Apheta—in house; the low-cost Carbon cartridge is outsourced to a third party manufacturer who builds the moving magnet design to Rega’s specifications.