SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

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VinylMan83
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SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by VinylMan83 » 01 Nov 2018 20:50

Hello everyone,

I hope that everyone is doing well today. I'm brand new to Vinyl Engine (even though I was lurking on this site for sometime now) and I'm really happy to be here in this community. I got into vinyl and turntables back in 2012 and my passion quickly grew. Over the past six years, I have been using a basic/inexpensive rig, but recently, I've decided to finally upgrade. This is where I could you everyone's expert knowledge and guidance :).

I recently purchased a Thorens TD-125 MKII turnbable, without a tonearm and cartridge. After doing my research over the last several months/year, I decided that I would like to try out the famous SME 3009 Series II tonearm. Ive done research on the Series II non-improved vs. improved versions. Overall, I found that the non-improved version is the better of the two, unless I am mistaken? In addition, I also learned that a lot of people prefer the fixed headshell versions over the detachable headshells.

With that being said, I have been searching for a Series II non-imporoved fixed headshell version, but they are tough to come by. However, I was able to find two different auctions on Ebay. One is the Series II Improved Fixed Headshell version vs. the Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell version. I'm kind of torn on which one to go with. I tend to overthink all of the details, so I figured I would seek out advice here. Any thoughts or opinions on this choice?

I greatly appreciated everyone's Help. Cheers!

Bufo Bill
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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by Bufo Bill » 01 Nov 2018 23:07

I have the fixed headshell Series II, and am very happy with my choice, but I guess if you like swapping cartridges and experimenting the changeable head shell might be easier to work on? Either way, they are very saleable items, so you should have no trouble selling it on at a later date.
Just my take on it.
Bill.

Alec124c41
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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by Alec124c41 » 02 Nov 2018 00:09

The improved, fixed headshell arm is very light, best suited to cartridges of very high compliance.
The non-improved will happily handle most headshells, including very fine moving coil cartridges.
If you had a Grace F-9 E or R cartridge, the light one would sing beautifully, but their are very few F-9s still around.
I would suggest the regular one, with the interchangeable headshell.

Cheers,
Alec

tlscapital
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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by tlscapital » 02 Nov 2018 03:46

What Alec124c41 said. You should determine prior what cartridge you imagine to fit it on. Wonderfull designed tonearms IMHO. Very evolutive to be really improved and/or converted. The 'Improved' more so but the 'pre-Improved' are rarer and prefered as-is fortheir heavier effective mass.

VinylMan83
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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by VinylMan83 » 02 Nov 2018 19:14

Thank you for the advice everyone! I greatly appreciate it. In regards to cartridges, my top 3 contenders so far are as follows:

- Shure V15 III with Jico SAS stylus
- Denon DL-110
- Ortofon 2M Black

Any suggestions on which one to go with? Or am I excluding another excellent choice? Thanks again!

reynolds753
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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by reynolds753 » 02 Nov 2018 21:56

I have a Shure V15III with a Jico HE stylus mounted on an SME 3009 II improved tonearm with the detachable head shell. The table is a Thorens MKII BC. I will often switch out the head shell with different cartridges and the Shure V15 III with the HE is my favourite. I should suspect that with the Jico SAS you cannot you wrong.

As an aside: why no love for the SME 3009 II improved tonearm with the detachable head shell?

Alec124c41
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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by Alec124c41 » 02 Nov 2018 22:05

That was not one of the choices available to the OP.
I do have the SME 3009 S2 Improved, with the detachable headshells. The Grace F9 beats the Shure V-15/SAS, hands down.
Some people love the V-15s. I find them lacking in separation.
The Ortofon Black has that sweet presentation, with a better soundstage.
The DL-110 is lively, with a wide-open soundstage.
Both of the latter are better on an arm heavier than the Series II.

Cheers,
Alec

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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by reynolds753 » 02 Nov 2018 22:19

I should rephrase my aside as "Is the II non-improved better than the improved?".

I would love to listen to the Grace F9. I saw some for sale and they were on the pricey side.

VinylMan83
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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by VinylMan83 » 02 Nov 2018 22:35

Alec124c41 wrote:
02 Nov 2018 22:05
That was not one of the choices available to the OP.
I do have the SME 3009 S2 Improved, with the detachable headshells. The Grace F9 beats the Shure V-15/SAS, hands down.
Some people love the V-15s. I find them lacking in separation.
The Ortofon Black has that sweet presentation, with a better soundstage.
The DL-110 is lively, with a wide-open soundstage.
Both of the latter are better on an arm heavier than the Series II.

Cheers,
Alec
So the Grace F9 is better suited for the Series II Improved tonearm, as it is a lighter cartridge, right? Thanks again.

ludite
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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by ludite » 03 Nov 2018 03:03

I don't know how to post a link,but you should look at analogue-classics.com they have a good page on the 3009's and their differences.

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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by audiopile » 03 Nov 2018 04:09

It's not the weight of the cartridge that matters - but rather the compliance (springieness to coin a misspelling?). Sorta indirectly you can assume the compliance from the Vertical Tracking Force (VTF). When the improved series were introduced it was to match very high compliance /light VTF cartridges that were all the rage at that time. Compliances in the 30's and even 40's were offered with some of the best MM/IM carts of that era. These called for VERY light effective mass arms - thus the improved series. What this shakes down to is that in todays world (carts available new from retail sources) -most carts are likely to run better in either the non-improved 3009 or the 3009 improved with the detachable headshell- because the detachable headshell improved is a bit higher mass and therefore a better match for lower compliance modern cartridges. Someone correct me if I'm wrong - but I don't think there was a SME 3009 without a removable headshell until the series II improved fixed headshell was introduced and as Alec stated that arm (effective mass as low as 6.5 grams) really was intended to be used with really high compliance cartridges of that era -pretty darn near un-available in today's world as new retail products.

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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by Alec124c41 » 03 Nov 2018 04:34

Audiopile said it.
If you put truck springs in a sports car, it doesn't work well.
If you put a Denon DL-110 on a Series II Improved, you will wonder where the bass went.
Put the DL-110 on the non-improved, which has the higher effective mass, and it will blow you away.

Cheers,
Alec

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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by reynolds753 » 03 Nov 2018 06:19

The question, then, why the switch to low compliance cartridges? My generation, way back when, were schooled in the high compliance, low VTF cartridges,

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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by tlscapital » 03 Nov 2018 10:44

reynolds753 wrote:
03 Nov 2018 06:19
The question, then, why the switch to low compliance cartridges? My generation, way back when, were schooled in the high compliance, low VTF cartridges,
This is a complex re-"r"-evolution and there is not one simple answer to that. The technicians and designers of the phono gear industry are continuously in the quest of new and better analog groove retrieval and once what is THE "new" IT the trend is set for the "public". With time, the endurance of what is actually not considered the better anymore unwind...

It is also a "commercial" argument to conquer the market of both the last records definition and processing as well as the last phono gear sales. Medium compliant cartridges dominate the market these days and low compliance have their fanatics. I am of the last as it provides the best tracking on my old beloved 45's and provide the fullest groove retrieval.

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Re: SME 3009 Series II Non-Improved Detachable Headshell vs. SME 3009 Series II Improved Fixed Headshell

Post by abs1 » 04 Nov 2018 16:52

In all reality you should decide on what cartridge suits you before you choose the tone arm.

An S2 Improved with the non-detachable headshell will not only limit the selection of cartridges that are optimal for this tone arm, but the lack of a detachable headshell will make it much more difficult to swap cartridges, if trying out different cartridges might be on your menu.

The S2 non-Improved with the removable headshell has enough versatility to allow the use of most modern cartridges and you'll be thankful for the convenience when it becomes time to try out different cartridges. For example, let's just say that in the future you decide to delve into the world of MC cartridges or SPU's. The non-Improved 'arm is versatile enough to allow you to switch back-and-forth.

IMO, the ultra-light tracking craze of the past was over rated, and most manufacturers (provided they were able to stay in business) eventually realized that tracking somewhere between 1g and 2.5g was the way to go utilizing modern technology. Most of the low tracking cartridges of the past haven't been available (as new) for years, and quality replacement styli are usually pretty expensive.

My recommendation would be the 3009 S2 non-Improved for the above reasons.

Cheers,
Al

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