SME 3009 II March 1971

John Wright wrote about the SME 3009 II in March 1971 (Vol.2 No.12):

Nominal length: 9". Rear overhang: allow 3¼". Distance from turntable center: 8.45". Mounting: By cutting a 1" by 2½" hole. Exact positioning not necessary, as the base has a sliding adjustment for tangency.

Cartridge acceptance: Will balance cartridges weighing between 4 and 20gm. without alternative counterweights or headshells. No allowance has to be made for tracking force, as this is applied by moving a rider weight forward.

Headshell: A perforated lightweight headshell is provided, weighing 5½gm. The headshell can be twisted on the arm to ensure that the stylus is truly vertical to the disc when viewed from the front.

Height adjustment: As supplied, the arm can partner turntables from 1" to 15/8" high. A separate, pre-cut, thin mounting board is necessary (and available) for the Thorens TD-124 and TD-121. Other, very low turntables will have to be raised up a little to use this arm. A separate extra base is available to raise the height of the arm for high turntables like the Garrard 401.

Lifting device: A damped lifting and lowering lever is integral with the pillar, and serves as an arm rest and lock. The lowering action is spectacularly successful.

Leads: Leads measuring 46" are supplied, and the measured capacitance was 130pF per channel. These plug in at the base of the pillar, and a shielding sleeve fits over the contacts to avoid hum pickup.

Lateral balance: Achieved by extending the rider-weight rod outwards from the main counterweight. Although slight differences in lateral balance may occur with changes in stylus force, this is of little importance in this type of design employing separate lateral and vertical bearings.

Damping: The counterweight-and-rider-weight assembly is appreciably decoupled from the main part of the arm. An alternate version is available with (or convertible to) damped lateral bearings, which is essential when using undamped cartridges. The vertical knife-edge pivots have also been known to chatter under adverse conditions with undamped cartridges. The base is somewhat isolated from the motor board by rubber grommets, whose compression can be varied to minimize transmission of rumble and acoustic feedback.

Stylus force: Applied by moving forward a rider weight along a calibrated rod, this proved to be accurate. The weight is comprised of two pieces so that the force calibrations can be in ½gram increments (both weights) or ¼gram increments (one weight removed).

Bias compensation: Via the weight-and-thread system (footnote 1). The instructions advise that the position of the thread guide should be such that the thread is at right angles to its arm lever at the center of the record. Our tests indicated that less error occurred when the thread was at right angles to the arm at the outside of the disc. The suggested calibrations were found to be accurate for spherical styli, but we would recommend using half a notch more for ellipticals.

Friction: It was found that the leads were very carefully dressed to give a very slight outward pull—just enough to overcome bearing starting friction. Prom a position of rest, lateral friction measured 12mg, but to accommodate lead torque, an overall figure of about 24mg. may be expected. Vertical friction measured 17mg., probably due mainly to the leads.

Effective mass: Balanced for our 7gm test cartridge, with both rider weights in place, this measured a little over 10gm., which is unusually low for a robustly built arm with a detachable headshell.

Comments: This arm is beautifully engineered and a delight to the eye, even if perhaps a little more complex in construction than is necessary for the average user. All factors of performance have been carefully weighed one against the other to obtain a balanced design that will perform well with the majority of cartridges under the majority of conditions. When the date of this product's conception is borne in mind, it is clear why it has earned such an outstanding reputation.—John Wright

Footnote 1: This method of bias-force compensation was first suggested, we believe, by John Crabbe, editor of Hi-Fi News magazine from 1965 to 1982.—John Atkinson

beek's picture

I had one back in the 70'S. It was a good arm able to handle many weights of cartridges. Sorry I sold it on another table.