SME

SME an iconic British brand founded in 1946 by audio legend Alastair Robertson-Aikman. Based in West Sussex at the foot of the South Downs National Park, SME are makers of the finest precision tonearms and turntables in the world. With an extraordinary dedication to precision engineering and ultimate audio reproduction, owning an SME product is to possess a jewel of perfection in terms of design, manufacture and performance.

At every stage, their turntables and tonearms combine technological innovation with peerless precision engineering, all coming together to deliver the very best audio quality. Their products have won universal praise from reviewers and enthusiasts around the world, consistently setting the reference standard for many decades.

To maintain the very high standards of quality all manufacture and processing is carried out in-house. Facilities commence with design and toolmaking through all aspects of manufacturing including CNC machining, pressure die-casting, injection moulding, metal finishing, electro-plating, anodising and many other processes.

When we met the SME team, we recognised kindred spirits: highly skilled engineers unanimously dedicated to pushing forward the boundaries of audio quality. While optimised design and cutting-edge technology are important, it is the dedication, ingenuity and expertise of the SME team that ensures their products continue to be the very best in the world.

SME Model 30/12 Turntable

One of the finest turntables in the world at any price, the SME 30/12 has won high praise from reviewers around the world. Across the chassis, suspension, bearing, motor and indeed, down to the in-house production of screws and washers, the 30/12 is the very best it can be, with no stone unturned and no effort spared.

Created as an ultimate reference turntable, the Model 30/12 benefits from all the features associated with the Model 30/2, but enjoying the improved performance of a 12-inch tonearm as well as adding greater mass with a suitably upgraded suspension system. The suspension now provides 60 purpose moulded ‘O’ rings supporting the sub-chassis, which has been increased in thickness by some 16%, on one hundred and twenty strands of rubber. The main chassis has received similar attention but in this case the thickness has been increased by 19%. Small differences but necessary to afford the increased rigidity required to ensure acoustic neutrality.

The SME V-12 tonearm represents the current state of the art in tonearm engineering. Given that is was designed hand-in-hand with the 30/12, the two enjoy a superb synergy.

The unique suspension system of the Model 30/12, has no sonic footprint, it hangs the sub-chassis on one hundred and twenty strands of rubber in the form of sixty purpose moulded ‘O’ rings. An ingenious method of anchorage allows them to be removed or replaced instantly, should this ever be necessary, even while a record is playing!

The Model 30/12 is available in the following formats:

  • MODEL 30/12: Equipped for but not including a pick-up arm

  • MODEL 30/12A: As above but complete with a matching SME Series V-12 precision pick-up arm

More info

“…exhibiting nothing but sane engineering and producing sound that’s impossible to fault, the SME Model 30/12 is, in today’s context, a bargain.”

“This turntable, by some considerable margin, defines the current state of the art in mechanical performance…”

Hi-Fi News Outstanding Product Award

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SME Model 30/2 Turntable

Sharing much of the technology from the flagship 30/12, the 30/2 is a more compact turntable which still performs at the very highest levels achievable.

With its many original design features the Model 30/2 is a unique turntable. There are no critical adjustments or setting up procedures. Its immaculate construction and finish stem from facilities and uncompromising quality control which have made SME a byword for engineering excellence. Judged by Germany’s AUDIO ‘the best turntable of all time’ the Model 30/2 can be for the fortunate owner of an analogue collection the key to lasting musical enjoyment.

The laws of physics decree that the higher the mass and stiffness of a body the less it will flex and vibrate - and this is reflected throughout the Model 30/2. The sub-chassis is machined from 19mm thick aluminium alloy plate and weighs approximately 17kg while the base with its four supporting pillars adds a further 16kg. This offers the high mass and stiffness required for uncoloured reproduction further aided by efficient extensional damping of both components to reduce the amplitude and duration of their vibrational modes.

The Model 30/2 is available in the following formats:

  • MODEL 30/2: Equipped for but not including a pick-up arm.

  • MODEL 30/2A: As above but complete with a matching SME Series V precision pick-up arm.

More info

“Everyone knows what a turntable does, but what are its sonic objectives? There are only two of significance—silence and stability.

I believe that no other turntable—ever—has performed these functions as successfully as the SME Model 30”

The Absolute Sound

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SME Model 20/12 Turntable

The 20/12 is a larger and more massive version of the famous SME Model 20/2. 

It will accept nine, ten and twelve-inch arms but is especially directed at the exciting Model 312S. This offers a performance some 27% better than a nine-inch arm in respect of angular error distortion. The wand and headshell are pressure die-cast in magnesium and are 27g lighter than they would be in aluminium.
In the Model 20/12, superb instrument quality machining is allied with fundamental physics. The higher the mass and stiffness of a body the less it will flex and vibrate; the duration of a vibration can be shortened by suitable damping.

The 20/12 weighs approximately 33.5Kg (73.7lb), significant in relation to its size because it is density that matters. The sub-chassis measures only 20 1/2” (520mm) by 14 3/4” (375mm) but weighs 8.0Kg (17.6lb). Its thickness, 5/8” (16mm) resists flexing at low frequencies whilst high frequency resonance is attenuated by efficient extensional damping. The turntable has no sonic footprint. The sub-chassis is suspended on forty purpose moulded ‘O’ rings which ensure freedom from feedback. A large centrally placed fluid-damper disciplines sub-chassis movement with a pleasing sense of security when handling records on and off the platter.

The Model 20/12 is available in the following formats:

  • MODEL 30/2: Equipped for but not including a pick-up arm.

  • MODEL 30/2A: As above but complete with a matching SME Series V precision pick-up arm.

More info

“The 20/12 with 312s it is, beyond doubt, one of the three of four finest turntables on the planet. Best of all…It’s the least expensive”

Hi-Fi News

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SME Model 20/3 Turntable

This finely engineered precision turntable is built to the same exacting standard and incorporates many design features originated for the Model 20/12. Massive construction, extensional damping of major surfaces and lack of vibration from moving parts ensures exceptional detail, resolution and uncoloured performance.

Model 20/3 weighs approximately 28.6Kg (63lb), significant in relation to its size because it is density that matters. The sub-chassis measures only 440mm (17 5/16”) by 350mm (13 ¾”) but weighs 11Kg (24lb). Its thickness 16mm (5/8”) resists flexing at low frequencies whilst high frequency resonance is attenuated by efficient extensional damping.

The Model 20/3 has no sonic footprint. The sub-chassis is suspended on forty purpose moulded ‘O’ rings which ensure freedom from feedback. The method of anchorage allows the rings to be removed or replaced in a matter of moments, even whilst a record is playing. A large centrally placed damper disciplines sub-chassis movement.

The Model 20/3 is available in the following formats:

  • MODEL 20/3: equipped for but not including a pick-up arm.

  • MODEL 20/3A: As above but complete with a matching SME Series V precision pick-up arm.

 More info

“Each and every song sounded fresh, full, rich, as if it were a live performance… With no cuteness, no hyperbole, I must admit ‘When I Fall in Love’ aptly describes the first moment I heard the SME Model 20/3.”

Hi-Fi News Outstanding Product Award

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SME Model 15 Turntable

The Model 15 outperforms competitor turntables at many times it price, providing stellar performance from an elegant chassis. It could be described as "the ultimate in recovery vehicles", allowing the cartridge to retrieve the last nth of recorded material whether digital or analogue, from the vinyl disc and thus approaches the ultimate in perfection. Bringing many of the advanced technology from the Models 20 and 30 turntables, the Model 15 offers a compact footprint preferred by many enthusiasts.

The Model 15 has been designed with the same attention to detail combined with simplicity of operation that has come to be expected from all SME products. Its superb performance together with laid back styling make it a glamorous addition to your sound system that will astound and amaze listeners for many years to come.

The model 15 sub-chassis is suspended on thirty purpose moulded 'O' rings and weighs, together with the platter, more than 11.0Kgs (24 Ib), thereby meeting the requirement of high density construction on which freedom from colouration depend. The platter is machined from aluminium alloy and weighs over 4.6kg (10 Lb). It is extensionally damped, the top surface being diamond-turned with a fine scroll which delivers the very best interface with the underside of the record.

The Model 15 is available in the following formats:

  • MODEL 15: equipped for but not including a pick-up arm.

  • MODEL 15A: As above but complete with matching SME309 SPD precision pick-up-arm.

More info

“The world awash with delightful turntables at all price points, but this is the wold’s best deck below £10K”

Hi Fi News Outstanding Product award

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SME Model 10 Turntable

Applying many of the cutting-edge engineering and technology from the Model 30 flagship, the Model 10 provides astounding performance from a compact turntable at an accessible price point. The SME Model 10 precision turntable is built to exacting engineering standards providing reliability and freedom from critical adjustments. Build integrity, sophisticated electronics and vibration free moving parts allow the full capabilities on any sound system to be fully explored.

The Model 10 weighs more than 15kg (33lb) but is only 304mm in diameter, thus meeting all the requirements of high density construction on which freedom from colouration depends. This turntable is supported on three large polymer isolators within adjustable feet allowing quick and easy levelling. A cruciform sub-chassis carried on three polymer loaded towers providing impressive isolation without float. Fully machined extensionally damped platter, diamond turned top surface with a fine scroll finish for optimal record interface.

The Model 10 precision pick-up arm derived from the popular Series 300 Model 309 is only for use with this turntable and offers the same performance that has won SME tonearms the highest praise.

More info

“This is Rolls-Royce Aerospace grade hi-fi and it’s a bargain price!”

Hi-Fi Choice Editor’s Choice

“Beautifully transparent, accurate and controlled sounding turntable with peerless finish plus refreshingly diminutive dimensions.”

Hi-Fi World

 Boulder 2110 Stereo Preamplifier

Series V-12 Tonearm

Based on the multi-award winning Series V pick-up arm, the Series V-12 incorporates the same design and engineering that have made SME a byword for excellence. Coherent musical control is held over the entire frequency range in terms of tonal quality, stability and stereo imaging. Startling dynamic range, neutrality, structurally inert, the Series V-12 embodies every worthwhile feature in a pick-up arm.

The 12 inch tone-arm is pressure die-cast in magnesium complete with an Integrated headshell to eliminate tone-arm resonances in the audio spectrum and offers a 27% reduction in maximum angular error distortion over 9 inch models.

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Series V Tonearm

SME engineers, recognising the potential of the latest complementary equipment, accepted the challenge to design and build a pick-up arm which unlike others in existence would make no detectable sound contribution of its own. The work took almost four years and the measure of its success is the acceptance of the Series V precision pick-up arm by technical experts and users as one of the world's truly great audio products. 

Series V sound has an almost startling dynamic range and neutrality enabling high levels to be enjoyed. It escapes the ‘LP’ sound and demonstrates that structural resonances in pick-up arms are responsible for much that makes vinyl records readily discernible from master tapes.

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Series IV Tonearm

The Series IV precision pick-up arm owes much to the technology developed for the acclaimed Series V. Although presented at a lower price it retains the unique one-piece magnesium tone-arm, dual-lock base and other advanced features listed. The Series IV is a worthy relative of 'the best pick-up arm in the world' with a sonic performance reflecting the care and attention to detail underlying its design and manufacture.

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Models 312-S Tonearm

The Model 312S precision pick-up arm is an extension of the popular Series 300 range designed with maximising performance and ease of use in mind. It has a detachable magnesium headshell to provide the convenience of rapid cartridge interchange whilst maintaining a degree of rigidity normally only associated with arms of one piece design.

The 12 inch magnesium construction takes advantage of the reduction in Maximum tracking error/distortion afforded by the greater arm length when compared with 9 inch models.

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Series 300 Tonearm

The Series 300 offers incredible value for money and broadens the application of SME technology, borrowing much of the technology and engineering innovation from the flagship V series.

The series 300 one piece magnesium tonearms are available as Model 309 (9 inch) and Model 310 (10 inch). The detachable magnesium headshell has a new style coupling, providing the convenience of rapid cartridge interchange without loss of rigidity.

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Series M2-12R Tonearm

The Model M2-12R precision pick-up arm is an extension of SME’s popular Series M2 range, offering optimum cartridge choice with minimal tracking error and harmonic distortion associated with a 12 inch arm.

Providing classic looks and meticulous build quality, this arm offers all the most important features, traditional 'J' shaped tone-arm, detachable S2-R aluminium headshell with azimuth adjustment, two stage tungsten counterbalance system, superb quality ball race bearings and a level of rigidity to suit all types of cartridge.

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Series M2-9R Tonearm

The Model M2-9R precision pick up arm was developed, by popular demand, from the Model M2-12R. It offers the design and engineering excellence associated with SME in a more compact package. 

As a member of the M2 family this arm is built by enthusiasts for enthusiasts and among its extensive features are included: vertical and horizontal tracking adjustment, tungsten balance weights housed in satin chromed brass sleeves. Double draw-pin detachable head shell with azimuth adjustment and height adjustment by thumb wheel enabling its use with wide range of both cartridges and turntables.

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Series M2 Tonearm

These arms offer at reasonable cost, meticulous build quality with all the most important features including lightweight stainless steel tonearm, detachable magnesium headshell with azimuth adjustment, tungsten balance weight, superb quality ball race bearings etc., and a level of stiffness and rigidity to suit all types of cartridge.

The Series M2 embraces three models the M2-9 (pivot-stylus = 233.2mm = 9.18”), M2-10 (pivot-stylus = 239.3mm = 9.42”) and M2-12 (pivot-stylus = 308.8mm = 12.16”) offering pivot-stylus dimensions covering virtually all turntable requirements. These precision pick-up arms embody well tried SME principles and are suited to a broad range of cartridges including those of medium and low compliance.

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