I just took delivery of a vintage Sony TTS-3000 turntable with a SME 3009 Series II tonearm. It was shipped to me with the balance weights removed from the arm and arrived without obvious damage thankfully. This arm was purchased new in 1969.
I looked at the library here to determine how this counterweight goes back on and will have to set up the tracking force, anti-skating etc. But when I put the counterweight on and snug up the allen screw the torque cause by the outrigger weight rotated the tonearm extention (rearmost part of the tonearm) and the outrigger hangs down instead of out to the side.
I looked in the VE library and found in the SME Servise manual, Service Sheet #25, that there are two "Elastic coupling rubbers" on a center spigot (got to love the Brittish terms) that are supposedly replaceable. It instructs one to claen up the metal parts and superglue new rubber pars on then slide it all back together.
Can I get these replacement rubber pieces? I would be willing to pay a real SME wise person to go over the whole arm and set it up on my turntable if there is someone in Arizona...
Since I made the above post I have found (on the Internet) a place called SME Tonearms.com They sell the rubber bushings for the tonearm extention that I need. They also offer a rewire and refurbish service for My SME 3009 II tonearm. This includes full disassembly, clean everything and replace anything not in spec with genuine SME parts, well as ireplace arm wiring with Cardas gold wiring which eliminates a troublesome connection at the bottom of the tomearm. This service is $350 and would include these bushings as I understand it.
I would have to take the tone arm off the table and send it to them in Minesing, Ontario, Canada. I sent them a e-mail asking what their turn-around time for this service is. I was not planning to sink this kind of money into the arm, but I wold know it is all good after this service and worthy of a good cartridge.
The arm was sold in 1969 so it is 43 years old and orriginal.
Have any of you heard of this shop: SME Tonearms in Canada? If so can you reccomend them?
I own several SME arms (probably too many). The rubber decoupler eventually degrades and needs replacing. If you contact SME in the UK they will supply you with the rubber bushes. Replacing them is pretty straightforward. I havn't found it necessary to have any of my arms serviced by an outside company. Dave
David, I appreciate your reply (and your fondness for the SME tonearms). My concern was that the wiring could be source for concern due to 43 years and possible corrosion. I may ask SME direct for these bushings and just replace them myself as you suggest.
I would still like to hear any comments on experience with the www.smetonearms.com shop in Canada.
Bill in AZ wrote: My concern was that the wiring could be source for concern due to 43 years and possible corrosion.
If you want to DIY the wiring replacement attach a heatsink to the h/s socket pins before doing anything, even while desoldering the wires from the arm base. This is necessary as the heat can easily damage the pastic springs of the pins.
I had a less than perfect experience with Alfred Keyser of SMEtonearms.com. He is a nice guy. That said, my 3009SII came back to me with a non-functioning cuing mechanism and without the original headshell that I had shipped to Alfred. The new headshell was cheap, flimsy, and incompatible with my arm unless quite a bit of headshell weights were used. When I asked what happened to my original SME headshell, Alfred told me he found a crack in it. Why didn't he return the allegedly defective original headshell to me? I should have demanded that he do so, but I wanted to keep on Alfred's good side. On top of all of that, the brass mounting plate that Alfred pushes as "indispensable" created significant VTA issues-it puts the tonearm so high that a half-thickness arm board is needed to even come close to proper VTA. Alfred does not respond to phone messages or e-mails promptly. He is a heck of a salesman. He did a fine job with the rewiring (though the leads were mislabeled). He also pushed rather hard for me to buy a very old (50 years?) GAS Black Beauty cartridge (I may have the name wrong) at $500 which I can't help but be skeptical of. I would look elsewhere if I were doing it all over again.
FSonic, Good to know. I have $968 into this turntable already. If I put another $350 into the arm (plus the rubber bushings that I know need to be replaced and are "not included in the standard rebuild") it is making me question that this vintage turntable was a wise purchase.
I was looking at the 'arm last night and I really have no feel for what is "good" or bad on these things. At this point I could:
1) order the rubber bushings and glue it together play a few record and see what I have, or
2) pull off the SME 'arm, dismantle it and ship it off to SME Tonearms (Canada) for Alfred's Refurbish and rewire service for $350 or more. My issue with this is that I still have to properly mount and setup the arm on the table and the cartridge into.
3) push the whole vinage turntable off the back of the bench and buy a new Rega RP3-24 table with their decent arm and Ellys2 cartridge for $1100 and get on with listening to music.
Well, if it's any help, I started out with a TD124 and the SME3009SII. I love the table, but didn't love the outdated arm. The arm was a technical marvel in it's day, but it hasn't held up well compared to modern arms IMHO. My humble take is that there are many great vintage tables and not very many great vintage arms. Granted, mating the TD124 with a VPI 9T arm presented a hole new set of challenges, but once I got everything taken care of, the sound is amazing and I am very happy.
All replies appreciated. At this point I feel I need to step back for a bit and determine the BEST direction to go forward. Dump endless cash into the old SME Arm in hopes it will be as good as some say, or Pull the plug now and abort this path entirely avoiding the "whipping a dead horse" scenario. I do not want my hi-fi to a become a big hole that I pour money into...
I suspect the prudent thing to do is to attempt to repair the obvious on the SME arm myself (to avoid shipping risks and time), play a few records and see what I think of the old gal. If she seems to have potential only THEN consider a rewire job.
On a good note: the Sony TTS-3000 seems to turn just fine, speed locks into 33.3 rpm quickly and stays there.
This past weekend I got my Sony TTS3000 table with the SME 3009 tonearm up and running. I found the longer arm extention bushing was actually in good shape while the rear one was mostly disintegrated. I found an "O" ring that had the proper ID and OD to replace this rear bushing and put her all back together Saturday. I set the mainweight for tonearm float with the outrigger weight all the way rearward and then slid the outrigger weight forward for what may be 2 grams tracking force. I need to get this checked before I play more records.
She sounds GREAT! My first time back to vinyl after some 22 years, very nice indeed. There really is more detail to the music than CDs, more depth.