Classic 9" J shaped arm with knife-edge bearings. Adjustable overhang, vertical tracking force, anti-skate and arm height. Later models had optional fluid damping.
The series I and II had removable headshells, series II improved had a fixed headshell and S2 improved had a lightweight removable headshell (type S-2).
The 3009 R was a reintroduction of the original series II that ended production in 1972, but featured a new arm tube, counterweight, low mass headshell (type S2-R) and revised geometry.
Sensitivity and strength combine with versatility to ensure the continuing popularity of the 3009.
Built throughout with instrument standards of quality, the SME 3009 has all parts precision machined, heat treated and ground where necessary.
Finished in satin chrome plate, gun black and polished stainless steel.
A unique weight system enables the arm to be balanced longitudinally and laterally.
This important feature makes levelling unnecessary.
Reproduction is unaffected even if the arm and turntable assembly are tipped through 30 degrees from horizontal, demonstrating the excellent groove contact maintained.
Models 3009 and 3012 are of similar construction, the essential difference being the length of the tonearm.
The purchase of an SME 3009 arm is a wise investment for anyone interested in the highest quality of reproduction from discs - £25 HiFi News 1961
I know of no other arm possessing all the qualities of the SME. Among these qualities versatility and precision are paramount, and the refinement of the original model into the series II has been an eminently worthwhile operation. Purchase of this arm should be regarded as an investment of capital, not an expenditure - £25 7s HiFi News 1973
Perhaps one of the most popular high quality tonearms ever made. Reasonably clear if somewhat lifeless in sound quality. Bass performance was considered good if a bit soft at times, but it was judged reasonably extended and in good balance with the rest of the performance - S2 improved Noel Keywood HFN 1978
The tonal balance was fairly open, but the sound lacked precision and stereo focus was felt to be impaired throughout the frequency range - 3009R £190 HiFi Choice 1984
A well built and finished product which may be available at an attractive price. Sound quality was characterised as somewhat brash and lacking in bass definition - 3009 improved HiFi Choice 1984
series II imp instruction/owners manual (alt scan) (en) - Terry Robinson
(alt scan) instruction/owners manual (en) - limerick23
series I mounting template (en) - gummybun
series I bias adjuster instructions (en) - gummybun
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SME 3009 / 3009 owners manual, service manuals and schematics are for reference only and the Vinyl Engine bears no responsibility for errors or other inaccuracies. The PDF files are provided under strict licence. Reproduction without prior permission or for financial gain is strictly prohibited. This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by SME.
Submitted by Alexis69
Wonderful tonearm, one of the best still available.
Submitted by Dr Pan K
well executed arm, 9.5 gr effective weight so will match most MM and some medium-high compliance MCs. Adjustable VTA, sme headshell for fast changes- comparisons of carts.
Submitted by bixlives!
The SME 3009 and 3012, is the most versatile mastering arm I have used, and I have used a lot. Sure, I listen to records casually, but mostly I use it to do critical transfers of rare parts -standard groove mostly, not microgroove. Before people pass up these famtastic arms, they should learn some basic newtonian physics and resonance theory. The main problem with the SME is that it does not have ENOUGH mass! Zero mass arms like the old Grace, also have super high resonance. In the end they look groovy, will impress all your friends, get you laid, make you high...but they sound like the old Fischer-Price Close-And-Play.
I have modified my SME with an extra counter weight and heavier, more ridged headshells. The results are excellent. The easiest place to lower resonance on an arm is at the head shell and the counter weights. The SME has a particularly well weighted arm tube. Not too light, not too heavy. The 3009 could use a bit more mass in the arm tube, but the 3012 is PERFECT. Obviously, production and profits came first with SME. People do not hear slight tracking error differences. This is NOT why the 3012 sounds so much better. It sounds better, because it has HIGHER MASS. Simple, Newtonian baby physics. So if you own a 3009 or even 3012 do NOT use the later SME headshells -they are far too light, and thin. They have poor rigidity. People pay lots for these because they look cool & they are original, but they are rubbish. I have always wondered how SME could make such a fabulous tone arm AND headshell, only to redesign the headshell so idiotically. This is also why Ortofon cartridges with their great ONE PIECE cast headshells sound so wonderful. I collect old Ortofon headshells and retro fit GE VR IIs to them and the results are masterful for standard groove records. For you vinyl folk, save some bob, buy a basic Technics headshell, add some lead weight to the underside, -about 4-5 grammes around the inner rim, and enjoy the difference.
The SME dampening gadget is great for people with bouncy floors and toddlers. But it will NOT make your record sound better -just make it PLAY better. People who do critical transfers do not use dampeners. Dampeners add friction to 3-d movement of the arm. That does not work out to well for making a modern vinyl record sound better. If you have the dampener AND a record clamp you are really missing the point.
Go to a serious FM radio station or the BBC. Walk into their production studio. Your amop and speakers are as good as theirs, perhaps, but playing a record sounds so much better -why? Look at the turntable. What ever it is it's HEAVY and well mounted in stone. E.g., a Technics SL10 w/ a 50lbs flywheel or perhaps an EMT or even old massive RCA 77 (mild rumble is not the worst thing that a table can do!).
My TD124 is mounted on cement to a 200 lb frame. It does not bounce. My over-all resonant frequency is low, but that's not the main advantage to being mounted on concrete. What's really happening with heaver bases and steadier mounting is the reduction of resonance LEVEL. Once it's at a non audible point with bi-amped subs and bearly shows up on a spectrum analyser, you'll hear the difference. You will be in heaven.
Remember the first time you played a record on a turntable of physical substance? I.e. a HEAVY flywheel, frame, plinth, etc? I was about 14 and it was like night and day as I recall. My family had a nice McIntosh system but some sleazy salesman sold the old fellow the super light Weathers turntable. Weathers tried to conquer all by making a 2 ounce flywheel and using a fly-speck motor with so little torque that it took 20 turns to come to speed. It was a great table for the cheap price and the Shure M3, but NOT for a serious system. AR used some of their thoeries about 12 years later and made one of the all time great cheap tables ever made, but it had a HEAVY flywheel (the key). The old AR sold for about 50-75 Quid? —and could best a Garrad 301, —even with it's funky tone arm!
But I digress. The SME is darn safe choice. It will play almost ANY cartridge and ANY record. I remaster 78RPMs, mostly with my SME. But I also slip on a Shure V15xVMR (yes, the last one), and transfer pristine vinyl. The SME is one of about 4 arms that can do this. From a GE VR II or RPX at 10 grammes to a V15xVMR at 1.25 grammes -That's one heck of a range. If I had my choice I'd take an Ortofon 16 over the 3012, but not by much. Paix.
Submitted by dominiquemichel
With my TD124 and a Stanton 980LZS, this is the perfect combination.
OK, it will be better with a 3012, but I get a very good price on this one. I try an SME 4 on the thorens, but the 3 is performing better on it.
One default, when I try to listen to Tchaikowsky 1812, it is too light and tales off like a jet fighter at the second cannon shot.
It is why I have another headset, a heavier one. The cartridge on it is not as good than the Stanton, but as we note here the 3009, I give it 8 on 10. -1 because the 3012 on the TD124 will perform better, and -1 because it is too light, which is not always an advantage. Otherwise, it is an outstanding arm.
Submitted by desertdog
good arm if used with damping system, well worth getting. very good if you use a selection of different cartridges easy to swop headshells and setup. i have had good results with all the high output moving coils i have tried.
Submitted by enzedone
I have one of these arms Series II improved. From what I've read the headshell is actually moveable? Can be twisted to the correct horizontal position? My one will never stay in the correct horizontal position as it seems to have a lot of play right at that point. I don't want to try a glue it as I'm not sure that it will be correctly lined up. Could I simply look for another new wand assembly that will take the removeable headshell? Want to get this sorted before rewiring the arm.................Thanks
Submitted by CreSon
Har provat många tonarmar men - man återgår oftast till sina gamla SME-armar. Har just nu två SME-3009 en MkIII och en MkII. Jag ångrar bittert idag att jag lät mig övertalas att sälja min SME-12! Är det ngn som har en på lager?
Submitted by jecman
Seems to need a light tracking, light weight, high compliance cart in order to shine.