SME Series III
Low mass 9" tonearm with adjustable overhang, vertical tracking force, anti-skate and arm height.
'S' models where a cut-down version without the expensive rack and pinion adjustment and with the fluid damping as an optional extra.
The state of the art in independent tonearms, the SME series 3 precision pickup arm is the culmination of research and development extending over more than seven years.
It embodies a number of significant breakthroughs as well as evolutionary improvements over its distinguished predecessor.
For example: Nitrogen hardened titanium tubing having a wall thickness only twice the diameter of the average human hair provides a previously unattainable strength to weight ratio.
The arm has a soft core and an internal fibrous lining which results in a natural damping of the vibration fed into the arm by the cartridge.
Later arms used the CA-1 arm tube with revised geometry optimised for 12" records.
Mounting distance: 215.4mm
Effective length: 229mm (original), 233.2mm (CA-1)
Overhang: 16mm (original), 17.8mm (CA-1)
Null points: 60/117mm (original), 66/121mm (CA-1)
An entirely different sort of sound and very distinctive in it's own right, the SME series III is a very interesting performer - Noel Keywood HFN 1978
Colouration was comparatively low and the overall sound pleasantly relaxed. Stereo imaging was to a good standard and the bass registers reasonably detailed and extended - III £120, IIIS £90 HiFi Choice 1983
instruction/owners manual (alt scan) (en) - PopeyeMills
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SME Series III / Series 3 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 for financial gain is strictly prohibited. This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by SME.
Beautifully constructed and a pleasure to use. Cartridge compatability issues though and a little on the 'gentle side' sonically, but makes up with wonderful detail.
8/10 by satanfriendly
Beautifully made and easy to set up,but rather lacking in fine detail and impact.
5/10 by abril
Nice to setup if a bit time intensive.
Somewhat picky about cartridge matching, tends to work best with very high compliance cartridges. Slightly soft sound that can tame a slightly aggressive cartridge.
Later CA-1 arm tubes not only have changed geometry but sound better too.
SME-IIIs sounds much the same but lacks lateral ballance and rack and pinion adjustments.
9/10 by pivot
Simply great. Easy to set up, and made some previously meh sounding records sound totally pleasing (in a good sense), probably because of its neutral sound and excellent tracking.
9/10 by flavio81
Well made and easy to set up-superb detail when used with the right cartridge
9/10 by bertiesme
still a good arm but the development went further....
The 3009 III played a Denon DL 103 satisfactory for over 20 years! That match worked much better than people said.
But desire grew and the DL 103 was replaced with a Benz ACE and this cartridge exposed the weaknesses of the arm. It was not possible to get completely rid of distortion and the sound was strained - in comparision with the SME 310 which is a huge improvement.
5/10 by max130
My SME 3009 III played with the Micro Seiki BL 51... and played very very well with a van den Hul cartridge... good old staff..
5/10 by imusic
Owing one for thefirst time now, mounted on a Technics SL 150 with a Goldring 2300 cartridge. Sounds simply wonderful and very engaging. So many people say this tone arm is rubbish; I think it 's a wonderful arm. I also own a Stanton 881S and plan to try it after i replaced the worn stylus.
10/10 by Marcel58
sme s 111 s .A much maligned arm. For some reason gets bad reviews. Having owned one for 10 or more years, this is a brilliant arm. On my Linn Sondek it plays superb. I can play it with any cartridge, shure v15 type 111, Audio technica 440 mla, But believe it or not my favorite cart is a Nagaoka mp11. For some reason this cart does everything right, and sounds great, better than all of the above and as cheap as chips.......
9/10 by meharding
The SME Series III sounds wonderful. I think is the best arm in the SME range (sonically).
10/10 by Quiras