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SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

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SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby donic » 28 Jan 2013 09:37

Hi,

I'm considering to change my current SME3012 to Thomas Schick tonearm. I use SPU Royal GM cart.

Do you think it's going to be significant improvement from the sound quality point of view or it's a kind of left/right step ?

Thanking in advance.

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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby OneyedK » 28 Jan 2013 14:42

Personally, I have no idea how the Schick tonearm sounds, but it looks stunning.
Question is, is it better than a SME 3012 in top shape?
Seems like you have to do without anti-skating, something that imho is still needed, even in 12" arms.
I know a few SPU users and they all use Jelco and yes, they also use the internal damping of the arm.
Maybe you should take a Jelco 12" into consideration.
(after all, the Ortofon ones are made by Jelco and share the same specs)
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Thorens TD 126 MkIII / SME Series III / Ortofon SME 30H // AT-OC9ML/II
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Denon DP-1200 - WIP -
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby donic » 29 Jan 2013 12:10

Hi

Have you got any experience with Ortofon RS-309D and Ortofon SPU carts ?

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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby LousyTourist » 29 Jan 2013 13:27

wow, the Schick is minimal to the extreme. If I had a 3012 I would be hard pressed to replace it with anything, let alone something that looked like it was built in a garage. SME engineered the heck out of their tonearms, I hold their work in high regard.

I have never heard the Schick so for all I know it is much better. I'm just saying the odds are not in its favor.
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby J.D. » 29 Jan 2013 19:19

(First, Agree with above that condition of your SME is of paramount importance, and a lesser arm in perfect condition may well be an improvement on a battered older arm. All relative there.)

Things to think of vis a vis Schick / SME...:

Sme has at least fifty years as a major corporate practitioner of specialty audio in this particular question.
Sme developed the 3oox series to support the Spu, in the late fifties. They've been improving and optimizing it all these years. http://www.stereophile.com/news/110606ara

Schick surfaced as a diy practitioner about ten yrs back and by now has had phenomenal success.

If there was doubt as to the deeper resources of R&D as well as test facilities, I think you need to tip that to SME. As far as which may be the more 'inspired' design or other unmeasureables, I think you may have to go with your own impression.

Spanning the golden era of Lp usage, Sme has made tonearms in the tens of thousands. But they are an industrial concern whereas Schick does handmade arms.

Disclosure: I'm an Sme owner, and have owned several of their arms over the years. If I were looking to find a more 'independent' style tonearm designer I'd look toward Franz Kuzma, who is known for extensive R&D and testing.

Sme is a Major Player in analog audio. Mr Schick is his own phenomenon.
Your call.
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby donic » 29 Jan 2013 20:01

J.D. thanks a lot for your advice and link to history of SME.

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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby Br3098 » 29 Jan 2013 22:24

Owning both, I would say that these two tonearms are completely different in character and serve different purposes.

The SME 3012 is a very good (not great, IMO) tonearm, best suited for use with a variety of medium compliance cartridges. It works well with either the Ortofon SPU or Denon DL-103 cartridges, but is not the best choice for either (again, IMO).

The Thomas Schick G-type tonearm is a very simple, elegant arm best suited for use with either the Ortofon G-type SPU or Denon DL-103 families. There is also an A-type tonearm that is a solely designed for use with Ortofon A-type SPU cartridges.

As much as I enjoy the Schick tonearm for use with SPUs, I feel that the Ortofon 12" tonearms (AS/RS types) provide a better overall sound, at least in my rigs. But the Schick is unsurpassed for use with the DL-103/103R. In fact, I will say that you have not heard a Denon DL-103 type cartridge do all it can do until you have heard it on the Schick tonearm.
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby Dr Pan K » 30 Jan 2013 00:09

actually schick produces his tonearms in the garage, though this is not necessarily bad... still i find them a bit expensive for an almost DIY construction

Image

the 3012 is a very well made arm, will fit very well with the 103, but my first choice for a vintage tonearm would be a SAEC. actually i bought one recently (308 L) and fitted a DENON 103 R, sound is beyond reproach.

for a new tonearm i would opt for a Jelco 750 12 inch. at this price range probably the best 12 inch tonearm, will work well with "heavy" carts, plus the oil damping.
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby Eoin » 30 Jan 2013 01:04

Schick arms were designed specifically for the SPU. Theres a lot of Information available online about them. I could guess which will provide the better result... But it's only a guess. SME make great arms and a 3012 is rare but it is what it is if you see what I mean. This is a beautifully handmade large unipivot specifically designed for your cartridge.

I think the price is likely very reasonable given the work to produce. These are handmade to a vey high standard. If you have the means and an SPU surely a schick arm would be a strong consideration. I can't imagine it would be a sideways move... They're very different arms.
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby zharca » 30 Jan 2013 03:25

J.D. wrote:
Sme has at least fifty years as a major corporate practitioner of specialty audio in this particular question.
Sme developed the 3oox series to support the Spu, in the late fifties. They've been improving and optimizing it all these years. http://www.stereophile.com/news/110606ara

Schick surfaced as a diy practitioner about ten yrs back and by now has had phenomenal success.

It would, of course, be a bit picky to point out that the original design of the 3009/3012 goes back to a one-off DIY project by A R-A when the company was:

Scale Model Engineers

whose main business was making trackside accessories for model railways :D
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby donic » 30 Jan 2013 06:38

Br3098 wrote:(...)
As much as I enjoy the Schick tonearm for use with SPUs, I feel that the Ortofon 12" tonearms (AS/RS types) provide a better overall sound, at least in my rigs.
(...)


Hi

Thanks for your opinion, especially it's based on your experiences with both tonearma i.e. SME and Schick.

Just to be 100% sure I understand you properly, have you ever heard one of Ortofon 12" tonearms (AS/RS) or is your above opinion based on what you feel ?

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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby J.D. » 30 Jan 2013 20:18

zharca wrote: It would, of course, be a bit picky to point out that the original design of the 3009/3012 goes back to a one-off DIY project by A R-A when the company was:
Scale Model Engineers
whose main business was making trackside accessories for model railways :D

And in the spirit of that, I suppose it would be similarly picky to point out that therefore,

Schick and SME Ltd are concerns with exactly the same qualifications and resources, with the minor exception of the fifty-plus years of experience with industrial design & manufacture that SME has with tonearms. And their extravagantly larger research, development, testing resources and facilities.

So it's a good thing no one's being 'picky'. Because then, we'd also need to note: "The original company was formed in 1946 under the title The Scale Model Equipment Company Limited to manufacture scale models and detail parts for the model engineering trade. During the 1950's movement was away from model making to precision engineering, principally parts for aircraft instruments and business machines." {sme homepage}

Far be it from me to denigrate the value of the successful diy entrepreneur. But let's also not compare scaled-up garage manufacture to fifty years major standing in the worldwide audio industry.
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby Hanuman » 31 Jan 2013 02:59

J.D. wrote:Far be it from me to denigrate the value of the successful diy entrepreneur. But let's also not compare scaled-up garage manufacture to fifty years major standing in the worldwide audio industry.

Right, but, while you might be buying a reputation, it's a product you're listening too. Let's also not compare the products based only on the heritage, retrospectively applied in this case. SME had zero years of any standing in the audio industry when the 3009 was first launched. That tonearm was new and unknown then - and built by a mere model railway company to boot but SME evidently got it mostly right at their first crack. Reviews and reaction to the Schick arm suggest that Thomas Schick might also have hit the ground running with his first product.
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby Br3098 » 31 Jan 2013 06:07

donic wrote:Just to be 100% sure I understand you properly, have you ever heard one of Ortofon 12" tonearms (AS/RS) or is your above opinion based on what you feel ?

donic,

I rebuild and restore classic turntables in my spare time, and I have used several of the classic Ortofon tonearms in my restorations. So I guess you could say that I have heard a few examples. I especially like the classic Ortofon RMG-309 for use with SPU-type cartridges. I have used the current Ortofon AS-309S, the RS-309D and the new TA-210 units on various projects, and find them to be simply excellent, IMO. The rubber-filled arm tube of the AS-110/210 models can be a great benefit in situations where there is a need to minimize the tonearm resonance interaction with a large wooden box plinth, for example.
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Re: SME 3012 vs Thomas Schick tonearm for SPU

Postby donic » 31 Jan 2013 07:12

Br3098,

Thanks
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