SME upgrade?

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STEV-O
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SME upgrade?

Post by STEV-O » 09 Jan 2019 23:31

Hi all, I’ve been considering trying another Tonearm as a alternative to my SME Series III’s I’m considering a 3009 II Improved or pos a Series IV.

I’m happy with my Shure M97xe which I like on the IIIs

Any thoughts?

nat
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by nat » 10 Jan 2019 01:42

Hmm. I though if you were happy and you know it, you were supposed to clap your hands, not buy a new tonearm.

If you are happy with the Shure, probably you have the ideal arm for it right now, even as we speak. Of course there are a huge number of possible alternatives, some of which might be better, some worse, and all of which will cost you a fair amount of money, both upfront, and later as you wear out the stylus, and all of which will require work to remount the arm and the cartridge.
The specific arms you mention are higher mass, and while they are probably great with the Shure, the Series III was designed specifically for the V 15 and, by extension, the M 97. So they are unlikely to make a huge improvement over what is already running well.
I thought I might like a 3009 II improved, but I find I really don't like the headshell/arm lift at an angle from the vertical bearings - bugged the hell out of me. In a lesser arm, no problem, but to find out the holy grail (at the time) had a leak in it was a bummer. Whereas the Series III always delights when handled, even if it is too low mass for the MC cartridges some people put in it - even so, the sound is pretty fine, even if bass light.

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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by STEV-O » 10 Jan 2019 19:57

Thanks for that Nat, I know we sometimes chase the end of the rainbow but I like to tinker... I have read a lot into the series II but I’m also intrigued to try the series IV!

nat
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by nat » 11 Jan 2019 01:00

Probably most of us feel the upgrade itch, regardless of whether we can afford it, or whether there is likely to be any audible improvement in the sound. My experience is that some of that urge can be filled by any shiny new toy - it doesn't matter if it is even good, as long as it is new to us, and fun to play with. So I go to the dump a lot. And tag sales.
But there is also a genuine curiosity about whether we could be hearing more of what is on the record if we had better equipment. Here, the solution is less straightforward. When I was over at a friend's house listening to a Beatles record on a turntable I am selling to him (but with a different cartridge), I was stunned by how much is going on instrumentally in Strawberry Field. I don't particularly like the song (overplayed, too sentimental), but the drumming and minor flourishes in instrumentals were revelatory.
He has a used Acutex in it, whereas I'd used a variety of other excellent cartridges. The real difference, I think, was the record - I have the old multidisc best of, whereas he had a European pressing. He also has a REL subwoofer, which clarifies a surprising amount of the low end.
I love tonearms, so when the urge hits, I think in terms of upgrading arms (and the staggering cost of even modest arms brings me right back to reality). But it's the source, and the system that determine what you hear. Buying better records may have more results than a new arm. And getting every other part of your system operating properly, especially the optimum loading of the cartridge and then positioning speakers being a major items in the list, may also matter more.
As a final thought - if you like the M97, perhaps a cannier move would be a better stylus - I assume Jico, SAS, and rebuilders offer upgrades, or moving up to the V 15. You could also look at the very high compliance competition - ADC and Sonus being obvious, but Pickering/Stanton being right up there.

GyroSE
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by GyroSE » 11 Jan 2019 06:22

STEV-O wrote:
09 Jan 2019 23:31
Hi all, I’ve been considering trying another Tonearm as a alternative to my SME Series III’s I’m considering a 3009 II Improved or pos a Series IV.

I’m happy with my Shure M97xe which I like on the IIIs

Any thoughts?
What kind of turntable do you have?

STEV-O
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by STEV-O » 11 Jan 2019 20:52

The turntable looks like this!
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4812EBB4-1EBA-4131-A454-8137DED3EA42.jpeg
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vinylrayk
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No leaks in the holy grail

Post by vinylrayk » 11 Jan 2019 22:41

nat wrote:
10 Jan 2019 01:42
I thought I might like a 3009 II improved, but I find I really don't like the headshell/arm lift at an angle from the vertical bearings - bugged the hell out of me. In a lesser arm, no problem, but to find out the holy grail (at the time) had a leak in it was a bummer. Whereas the Series III always delights when handled, even if it is too low mass for the MC cartridges some people put in it - even so, the sound is pretty fine, even if bass light.
The headshell/arm lift on the 3009 and 3012 is really not a problem. I modeled this years back and did some math. For an extreme case where the record has a 1/4 inch warp at the outer edge, this causes an azumuth tilt of over 4 degrees in the record surface. The vertical bearing arrangement in the 3009 arm causes an azimuth shift of about 1 degree when it rides over this warp. The 1 degree tilt in the 3009 is in the same direction as the tilt in the record surface. The azimuth tilt in the 3009 subtracts from the tilt in the record surface due to the warp and lessens the effect. So instead of being a problem, the headshell/arm lift at an angle is actually a good thing, not a design deficiency.

The holy grail does not leak.

Ray K

_Record Az Tilt.JPG
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Sunwire
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by Sunwire » 11 Jan 2019 23:22

I don't understand why a series II 3009 would be in the running. In what way would the series II be superior to the series III? Especially for a high compliance cartridge.
If it was my arm, I would consider adding the fluid damper to the series III before trying any other upgrades.

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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by STEV-O » 11 Jan 2019 23:39

I had considered the FD-200 damper kit but they are becoming hard to find! I’ve read some reviews of the Series IV and people have had some very favourable results with the V15 and 97xe so I think I’m going to be missing out the series II. Looking to the future I’ll prob explore other cartridges and the Series IV maybe the better option!

nat
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by nat » 11 Jan 2019 23:45

I think that with the built in damping brush of the M97 and V 15, the fluid damper on the arm is less significant. It's a pity that the damping kits have gotten so astronomically expensive - when I bought one when they first came out, I think it was 30 bucks or so. Even taking inflation into account, used ones go for multiples of that.

GyroSE
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by GyroSE » 12 Jan 2019 00:10

STEV-O wrote:
11 Jan 2019 20:52
The turntable looks like this!
It looks very nice. :wink:

If you want to go for MC carts then SME IV might be a good option. I’ve had my SME IV for 7 years now and I’m still very happy that I went for one. But the most affordable of this type of SME arms is the 309 which is a very nice option too.

STEV-O
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by STEV-O » 12 Jan 2019 21:21

Thanks GyroSE, it’s great to get some feedback from someone who owns one rather than speculative opinions... (no disrespect to anyone on this thread you have all been great) defo think I’m now looking for a Series IV or I may consider a 309!

totem
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by totem » 12 Jan 2019 21:51

.
@nat
It's a pity that the damping kits have gotten so astronomically expensive
How bout we put all those 3D printers to work, seems there are enough SME owners to make the kits
a viable little venture?

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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by STEV-O » 13 Jan 2019 12:45

People are producing the fluid trough it’s the damper paddle that’s near impossible to get a hold of!

Sunwire
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Re: SME upgrade?

Post by Sunwire » 14 Jan 2019 21:13

I just checked and you can get the trough for about $30 on ebay (3D printed).
I imagine you could make your own paddle with some plastic bits you have lying around the house. Find a plastic rod of the right diameter and use a die to put threads on one end so you can attach it to the arm with a plastic nut you could buy at a hardware store.
I bet someone will start producing the paddles soon, too, however.

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