had the arm on the deck for a week or so now, so would like to share my findings.
firstly i have rebuilt the arm basically from scratch and rewired it with 7 strand silver plated wires, these i platted a'la litz style. i then teased ut some cotton wool and stuffed it lightly inside the arm tube. i put rca connectors on it and had a 7mm thick acetel bed plate made at a local to me precision engineering firm, its an exact match to the metal SME one, but denser (no ringing), lighter and structurally much stronger. i purchased two new headshells, cheap ones from maplin, they may not be esoteric and have gold plating, wood and the like but they are solid and don't again ring like the SME one they are bit heavier but far more rigid, and much easier to deal with as they dont have the silly arm lift arrangement of the SME stock headshells. finally the damper was fitted and filled.
fitting was a breeze using the stock michell supplied base plate adding the decoupling kit which is a cheap but worthwhile upgrade, i used puresound silver plated phono interconnects to my tag mac f3 pa10. setting up again a breeze compared to my hadcock 242 which incidentally seems to have disintegrated on removal. i used a littel bit of blu tack on the headshell so that my two carts weighed in at exactly the same weight, this meant i could swap about really easily and quickly (something i missed dearly) the VTF system is easy to do and very accurate no need to risk a stylus on a scale (broke my dl304 doing that) and the alignment gauge works a treat and its so easy to set up just by sliding the arm back and forth. and again very accurate. i had a mint lp guage costing over a hundred quid for the hadcock adn it was never spot on. i got this spot on in 5 mins and used the HFN test record to prove it.
i tried the shure m97xe first and it was not much of a differance from the hadcock. i think the whole may be a little too heavy, and i noticed a little bit of sibilance as well. the AT33 PTG was a differant story. WOW like night and day now i know why this cart is so beloved of many on here. and why i have had two over the years. this is a marriage made in heaven. the shure may have a deeper tone to it but its wooly and a bit uncontrolled the AT££ can seem a littel thin to unaccustomed ears but when need the bass comes in tight controleed spade fulls and spadefulls. but the mids and highs are to die for and the SME just allows the AT to sing like a bird. not once did i here any sibilance or spitting, at about 3/4 of a gram more VTF the AT is tracking way way better than the supposed king of trackers the shure.
so i have the AT33 firmly at home again. i may try lowering the VTF a bit from 2 to 1.8 gms which seems to be what everyone else does on the engine.
some one said the 3009 was a popular chioce for the GYRO in an previous era, and that this was replaced by the cheap REGA, i can't imagine the two can be compared. the SME is superbly built, and as is seen everyday to last the test of time mine must be 30 + yrs old. IMHO the SME ive have just fitted, is by some degree better then the Technoarm A that came with the deck when i bought it.
im just wondering what the newer SME 309, IV or V would be like on this, ive heard it can be a bit sterile, and costs a wad or two, will it be money well spent, and im afraid i dont like its looks much compared to 3009.
N.B. all when speaking to SME whilst doing ths to get a couple of bits and advice they are cosidering making an m2 9r like the current series m2 12r j shape arm they produce; now there's a thought. everyone badger SME to make a 9 inch version of the M2.