I was recently given a Thorens TD124 II that has a SME3009 tonearm from the time that it was distributed by Shure. The tonearm needs some work and I would like it done professionally. Does anyone have some suggestions on who would specialize in this kind of thing?
I would give the folks at Sumiko a call and get their recommendations.
Sumiko Service Center located at 2431 Fifth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 (tel:510-843-4500)
Thanks for the thought Jim. But the only thing that they recommended was to send it back to SME in England, with an estimate cost of $1200-$1800. For that I cound buy a new arm (not SME at that price), or heck even a pretty decent turntable.
Try Flat Earth Audio in Connecticut. They service some old SMEs.
I have talked to them and they just sell the parts and for whatever reason they were reluctant to recommend anyone specific as being really good with those arms.
This is really good information to know for anyone interested in SME products. This lack of help or helpful info is very telling. Most audiophiles can read bewtween the lines in their response to you. Sorry this did not work for you. What could one expect if they bought the $30 K model 30 table?
This is the reponse I received when asked about SME dealers in Georgia:
Descriptor Line: Sumiko has received your message.
Thank you for contacting Sumiko, an oasis of artistry in a
marketplace of mass-production and planned obsolescence.
We pride ourselves on World Class Service and our goal is to
process your request quickly and efficiently.
As a Sumiko product owner your first contact call for
support should be to the Retailer where your product was
purchased. Each Sumiko dealer has been trained in our
Jim, while I agree with you that customer service ought to be a primary consideration when choosing gear, I think you're being a little unfair to Sumiko here. The 3009 was distributed by Shure over 30 years ago, when it was new -- I doubt any of Sumiko's partners were even out of high school back then, much less in the hi-fi business.
Yes, SME UK is asking a lot of money for a rebuild, but if you'd bought a $2000 MG back then, think about what you'd pay to have it rebuilt to spec today. I've seen NOS 3009s sell for around $400, which is probably the way I'd go -- especially when you consider that even a 3009 in need of refurbing is not without value in the age of eBay.
I don't doubt the cost of THEIR service, but I would expect more assistance in finding a dealer who MIGHT be of help. You are right in that there is no guarantee of repair given the age.
I would hope that most reps of manufacturers would direct a potential customer promptly in the right direction. There is too much competition to do otherwise. I have always thought of SME in the best of light, even owning their products in the past myself. Business is about people first and products second.
I have delt with Sumiko a number of times (I have a Primare CD player that I bought used and wanted an owners manual and while installing a new cartridge on my Project 1.2 I broke a headshell lead) and they are always wonderful. They were more than glad to help me get it to England (which really is the 100% right answer) but I'm too cheap.
I just figured that there would be someone in the U.S. that's known for restoring these units, especially since many consider it to be one of the most ground breaking products in analog.
I have had an excellent experience with the Customer Service at SME in England.
The armrest on my SME Series V was broken, and I wrote to SME regarding this. Two days later I received a small packet with a brand new armrest and a kind letter. With compliments!
Now...that's first class service, in my opinion...
This proves that SME is a class act. They may never know what a smart "marketing" person it was that put that arm rest in an envelope and sent it to you.
I certainly enjoyed the 2 SME arms I owned previously and you can be sure I will buy a new TT soon and install an new SME on it before I kick.
Maybe customer service is not dead after all.