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Opening the tone arm box was a little more intimidating but a few minutes was all it took to put the new arm together, sliding the counterweight on the back and the mounting base on the shaft. The pure copper DIN cable included fit right into the bottom of the shaft and the arm could be lowered onto the mounting plate. Three screws later to secure base to plate and the arm was in place. Even for somebody like me exchanging a tone arm for the first time and possessed of ten thumbs, the entire operation took no more than 30 minutes and I am being generous. Obviously once done, I still had to mount the Denon DL103 to the head shell and attach said heads hell to the arm but this again was highly facilitated by the detachable head and the simple DIN connection between arm and head.

As with any other cartridge/arm combo, the final steps were physical alignment, VTA, downward tracking force and anti skating. A good scale and protractor are highly recommended but reaching satisfying alignment for the DL103 proved easier than expected by slightly rotating the mounting plate (remember to tighten that hex screw once done) and moving the cartridge on the head. All in all, setup took about an hour from opening the box to having a fully operational and aligned cartridge on the WTB211. It may seem like an adventure and when I first opened the box I felt overwhelmed but the reality is, with a few appropriate tools it is far easier than it looks or sounds. Was it worth the time and expense?

Absolutely. This was one of those changes that are not necessarily easy to describe. Nothing was really wrong with the RB30 yet musically speaking, the step taken with the WTB211 was huge. It was a step-up of elegance and flow which enables a better understanding of the musical intent of composer or musicians. I can also pinpoint a list of audiophile attributes that improved (in no special order soundstage depth and layering, treble extension, bass control, soundstage width, micro dynamics, resolution and transient precision) but because all improved to a similar extent without one standing out, the end result was a very even progression forward of musicality for lack of a better term. This makes the listener connect with a musical piece beyond the recorded notes.

One distinct other improvement over the Rega RB300 was treble quality. I had not noticed until the WTB211 made it disappear but there had been a slight metallic ringing to the RB300's treble that became more obvious with ribbon tweeters and especially the TangBand units on the Zu Essence (less so on the Genesis G7.1f I reviewed a month ago). While the WTB211 allowed the treble response to extend higher, the quality of the treble also improved significantly to offer more nuance and finesse without any hint of ringing. As always, when treble resolution improves without introducing harshness, the result is a better sense of space and aeration around the musicians as well as better instrumental textures.

A second noteworthy element was no distortion from the inner grooves of certain poorly pressed discs. Vinyl experts will jump in right away and call the earlier noise related to my cartridge alignment, not the RB300. Perhaps, but since I put no more or less effort into aligning the cartridge on the new arm, I must conclude that it is either easier to achieve satisfactory alignment on the WTB211; or that the base for the RB300 was not mounted exactly to spec by the factory. In either case, it was a nice improvement for those less than stellar records I have been gathering up at garage sales.