HELP I Need advice SME 3009 vs. 309

I took the analog dive 1 month ago, I purchased a Vpi Hw19 mkII it came with a Sme 3009 arm. Don't applaud yet the problem is, before I even listened to this table,( I have No cartridge and have no Idea where to start) I ran across a deal for a SME 309 tone arm with a vpi acrylic armboard, I was wondering in you analog guy's in your infinite wisdom would help me ....should I sell the sme 3009 in favor of the 309? I want to use the Denon D103 but my preamp Conrad Johnson Pv10a is not quite up to snuff for this cartridge,,,a whole other story,,my question is this ,,given the fact I am going to fully upgrade this table over the course of time is the 3009 worth me upgrading with or should I jump on the 309? the 309 that much better and any suggestions on a Good cartrige in the $300-$400 range I also like the Dynavector 20x H ( hi-output)..etc,,, one last thing the preamp I want to use is the Pv10a for now but I also own the pv14L I plan on ordering the monolithic PS1 but the Denon 103 still causes problems as the CJ with the Monolithic doesn't offer enough gain( CJ pre's aren't the most quiet,,, please offer me some suggestions,,,,
I'd recommend staying for now with what you have and adding a quality high output MM cartridge, like a Reson Reca (in effect a hotrodded Goldring 1042) or one of the Clearaudio MM models.

Assuming the 3009 is in good condition, it's still a quality arm that will handle both MM and MC cartridges well.

Let your ears guide you for at least a while before spending more money.
The older 309 is a better match for a DL103 than the newer 309 or the 3009. The older 309 had more mass. Getting the DL103 will mean changing your phono stage and arm, and could be alot of trouble and expense. While I like the 103, you may find happiness with something like Dr. Joe says above, or other high output cart.
Thanx Twl.. I started researching even more and in another threads you mentioned that VPI TT's can be "heavy sounding " or thick sounding, remember auditioning this table and that
adjective came to mind and kind of stuck with me,( the cartridge was a Shure V15 III ou? I am leaning more toward a dynavector either 10X4 mkII. or just going all out
and getting the 20XH, like I said I plan on keeping this TT atleast 2-3 years till I upgrade it to Mk4 status..maybe longer if I add an Origin Live arm ...what I want to know is should I go with the 10X Or 20X,,will the TT show me all there is to be had with the 10..or is there more to be had with the 20X,,again the tonearm is the SME 3009 (it's the older "S" type arm. Thanx for all your advice

Please shed some light on the Origin live tonearm (silver)
Is it REALLY that good?...I mean isn't it just a Rega 250?
explain what I might expect with this tonearm on the VPI..
Braab8: Which 3009 do you have (there are different versions that vary in mass as much as 5 grams and they also use different bearings)?

3009II Improved

Even more versions, I think.
Braab8, I don't recall calling the VPI tables "thick and heavy", but it may apply a little, especially in the MkIV and below. Many suspension TT's sound a little like that in the bottom end. The Linn is like that.

Your questions relate to the order of importance of items in the analog chain. That order is TT(bearing,platter,drive), then tonearm, then cartridge. Improving an item down the chain, when the items up the chain are not maximized, does not yield the maximum performance increase you paid for. For example, if you paid $1k for a cartridge, and $1k for a bearing/platter upgrade, the bearing/platter upgrade would sound better with your old cartridge than the $1k cartridge would sound with the old bearing/platter. This is because the improved bearing/platter assembly allows the old cartridge to perform at a higher level than it previously could. The new cart on the old platter would maybe sound smoother and prettier, but musically no better(assuming your old cart was any good at all). Same with the tonearm. You can get more benefit from upgrading the tonearm than from upgrading the cart. This is not to say that you should have a crappy cart, but until you have a top level TT, you are not getting what the great cart could offer anyway. So that is the basic way of doing things in an analog system.

Ok, now the cart issue. I like the 10x4 MkII, in the Dynavector line. It is real good, and reasonably priced. It is a good price/performance cart for your TT.

Referring to the guidelines above, I would say that if you are going to spend more money than that, get the MKIV upgrade, or move even higher in TT's. If you want to stay in the VPI line, the TNT will sound better with the SME 3009, than a Graham 2.2 on your MKII.(Being similar expenditures). The costs might not be what you are considering but the logic holds at any price point, assuming true performance improvement for the money spent.

The Origin Live Silver Tonearm is not a RB250, nor the same as a OL modified RB250. It uses a RB250 mounting base, and that is all. The tonearm tube, headshell, bearings, bearing locations, counterweight, end stub, wiring, are all Origin Live product. This is not a Rega arm. It sounds considerably better than a fully OL modded RB250. It competes with arms costing as much as 4x its cost. An excellent value, and a must for anyone assembling a high performance analog rig on a medium budget. It is especially good if you are considering low compliance cartridges, since I don't think that the high end unipivots do as well with low compliance as they do with high compliance.

I think that if you think over what I have said here, you will know which avenue will give you the best results for your money. If I were you, I'd get a reasonable cartridge and move quickly up the TT line. Once you are at the TNT level, then you can think about these other options. Don't forget about the Teres TT. It is alot cheaper than a TNT and will do at least as well.
I'm not sure as the arm came with the table mounted already,
upon careful inspection, all it says is shure 3009 ,,no letter designation, it is silver and has the very stubby counter weight ,,, I don't know if this any case I am seriously leaning toward the Dynavector 20Xh,,and Plan to upgrade the TT shortly after,,any further suggestions ,,should I use a Mat with this TT?

THANKS A million TWL..the Teres would be an option down the line,ALthough I know you won't believe this ,But I'm really not crazy about it's Looks,,,nontheless I would seriously consider this TT,,
i have a just come across a mint boxed hardly ever used Thorens TD 124 mk 2 with a superb sme 3009 series 11 its fitted wuth a perfectly fine shure super track. now besides a silver rewire and phono leads upgrade after the maybe granite plinth ( whats the best for that please )what should i go for next ? I only want to spend what it deserves so nothing over the top please . many thanks Ananda
the 309 is a very good arm that will work with a large number of cartidges and tables. However, rather than look at an Origin remanufactured Rega 250, take a look at Audiomods version, which keeps the best part of the rega, the actual arm, and replaces everything else at what I believe is a very competitive price. I own a MKIV version, the latest, and it is every bit as good as the SME 309 and probably better. And looks stunning.