Ortofon 309 vs. SME 3012 for SPUs

I am hoping that people here can compare the vintage Ortofon 309 arms to the SME 3012s for use with G type SPUs.

My question is which vintage tonearm is the best complement to a top flight G type SPU? There are a few versions of the RMG 309 tonearm and also SME 3012s (Series I vs. Series II). It seems that the SME 3012 Series I fetches the highest price. I would like to match one with an AE90 or Silver Meister GM MKII SPU.

If your interested in a Ortofon 309D I have one in on trade

I have not heard it with a SPU but it surely handles heavy cartridges like the SPU. I used a 309D with a MC70 a while back and it was a great combination.

Good listening

The 309D is a great arm but I am specifically interested in the vintage Ortofon and SME 12" arms.
I have not heard the Vintage Ortofon but the SME 3012 lacks resolution significantly.
I have both an SME 3012 S2 and a 3012 S1. Lack resolution with an SPU? I don't think so! The S1 is my favourite, and is used on a Commonwealth turntable in a massive 40kg+ ply plinth. Magnificently musical. Can't comment on the Ortofon arm, though have had EMTs which are related.
if you do search the forums, there are some threads about it already....it all depends how far you want to go with the system...if you want to hear the SPU cartridges at the best... you should look for Ortofon tone arm. If you want more flexibility and maybe more "modern" sound you can go for SME. I would rather have 2 or 3 arms for that, means one of them for sure would be the Ortofon RMG......
It seems that both arms work very well but I am definitely interested in having the arm for exclusive use with SPUs (I already have an outstanding TW 10.5 arm for modern cartridges).

Does anyone know what the differences between the RMG 309 and the RMG 309i version are? I heard an RMG 309i paired with the SPU AE90 on another system using my same turntable and thought it was an outstanding combination. How does the older RMG 309 compare sonically?
I did not mean SPU lacks resolution, I meant the SME is not a highly resolving tonearm. I have compared it to a Naim ARO and 47 Labs RS-A1 and both of them showed how much details the SME was lacking.
I decided to buy a restored Ortofon RMG 309 arm and am now on the lookout for a good SPU :) I have heard both the AE85 and AE90 (I liked the AE90 most) but those command pretty high prices on the big auction site and I have read that the Silver Meister is one of the best of the bunch. There are other SPUs that I would ultimately like to try but most others would require a SUT (my preamp has 68db of gain).
I also have heard/read that SPU Silver Meister (earlier one, not MKii) is one of the best matches with Ortofon RMG 309.
To enjoy the old SPU sound, SPU Classic GM E MKii may be good enough. Most other SPUs cost twice as much, and I wonder whether they are that much good for old 50~60's music.
Ortofon will say their current ST-80 SE ($1600) would be a best match, and Verto ($1000) would be good too.
SUTs based on Hashimoto transformers may worth a look. Or Bob's device?
I would like to avoid cartridges that require a SUT because to get one that would match the quality of my phono section would be quite costly between the SUT and the extra pair of RCAs. It's also another piece in the signal chain...

What are the differences between the early Silver Meister and the MKII version? The MKII version has sufficient output (.3MV) so I know it would work with my phono.
Ortofon SUT are very good. Secondly a nice SUT in the chain goes a good distance in making the sound more delicate and unforced. Even the very good phono amps introduce some sort of its own distortion and signature when amplifying a 0.3mv signal. It is not readily audible but introducing a decent SUT immediately reveals it.
Latinsambal appears to be using a Tron 7 preamp. The Tron phono uses a step up transformer internally for MC's already to amplify 0.3mv signal. Latinsambal might well be able to run cartridges down to 0.2mv depending on the gain structure of his preamp and power amp. He will have to turn the volume up - and result will be dependent on the noise floor being acceptable and whether he loses dynamics.

Pani you obviously haven't heard a decent all tube phono stage. In my experience most SUT's are coloured and compromise the sound. It's taken me years to find a couple of good SUT's that dont compress, lose transparency and dont degrade the sound. My Marantz 7 ( modded ) will amplify 0.25mv up with no noise and gain to spare. I only use SUT's with MC's at 0.15-0.2mv - Dynavector Karat Nova 13D, Ikeda Kiwame & Fidelity Research FR1mk3.

Conversely I also have a solid state head amp built by Reto Andreoli, who produces the Magic Diamond cartridges, that trounces most SUT's - pulls more detail through the midrange and is far less coloured.
Hi Dover,

Yes, the Tron Seven I have is the Ultimate version with silver wiring and silver transformers. It has 68db of gain on the MC input. With my Windfeld cartridge (0.3MV output) and SET amps my listening level is between 8:30 and 9 o'clock. Past 9'oclock produces eviction-notice sound levels :) The preamp is absolutely silent at any volume level I have tried.

I'm still thinking that the Silver Meister GM MKII might be a great choice for me given that I love the sound of the Windfeld. Does anyone know what the differences are between the older Silver Meister and the new MKII version?
Dover, you are possibly right, most tube phonostages I have heard uses an SUT inside for the first level of amplification. You possibly mean a full tube amplifier phonostage without any SUT, can you please suggest examples that you think are worth considering ?

Most SS phonostages I have heard, even the good ones sound nice but with a good SUT, gain a certain grace in the sonics.
Pani - there are not a lot of tube preamps that can amplify MC's with all tubes in the phono. The Marantz has seen off my old Jadis, Manley Ref, Klyne ( all owned ) and quite a few others.
The Conrad Johnson TEA2SE is ok for about 0.4mv up, no trannies.
CAT preamps are quite good. Heard one recently sounding very good with Micro Seiki 5000/Graham Phantom/Benz.
Some of the early VTL's had all tube MC capability, but the output impedances from the line stage really only suit tube power amps.
Wavelength Audio phono - this would be my choice.
TW Acustic Raven does a very high gain full tube based phono on the Thoress preamp.
you should try to find a japanese only 500-limited edition of SPU "spirit". it ain't silver wired but a rumour among Japanese audiophiles is it has the best price/performance ratio compared to any SPU. it ain't exactly a silver meister but it cost 40% less while performing significantly better than classic (for 20% more), especially on modern production.
The Spirit is a very nice SPU and I agree the price/performance is a sweet spot. Most are sold and they are super rare outside Japan. I've only very briefly compared them but I liked my Royal GM more. Once I can get a rear tonearm up and running on my Raven for the SPU I will do a more serious comparison.

In fact thats what attracted me to this thread. I was going to use my Jelco 12" or an FR64fx for this purpose but thought have been turning to alternate 12" SPU friendly tonearms like FR66fx, Ikeda IT407 SME 3012-R, M2-12R or the Ortofon RMG309i. So many options!
I use a 309D arm, so I figure it deserves at least one SPU in it's life. Can any users commented on the advantages, disadvantages of the bodied verses N versions of the cartridge. The latter are quite a bit cheaper. Thanks
I use a 309D on my TW Accustic Raven one and find it an excellent match. I chose it, because Thomas at TW uses it himself and he told me, he felt it gave 90% of the performance of a Phantom at a much cheaper price.
I had did have the RS212D briefly but had to return 2 samples due to loose bearings unfortunately. I ended up with the AS212S as that one in the shop was ok. It was a nice arm on my SP10 with an SPU and various other carts. I changed to the 750L to see what the 12" fuss was about and preffered it with my SPUs. I'd like to try a good 309D yet but the M2-12R and RMG-309i look very tempting. Not sure how much better than a 750L they would be though, if at all.

I am using both arms on my EMT R80 (927). While the Ortofon carries the EMT Tondosen (perfect match) I am using the SME 3012 (first serious, prototype version) for the SPUs, also for the Silver Meister etc. Both arms deliver an exceptional sound quality. The SME is one of the best designs I ever heard and believe me I am in many toneams. Don't go for a series II.
I also have the 309i (Japanese version designed by Ikeda san) which is not a bad one!! Nevertheless I do prefer the original 50 year old Ortofon.
I will also vote for the SPU Spirit...it is wonderful cartridge combining the "classic" sound and the new era sound....just be careful about the SUT you will be using with it.
Have a problem to open a spindle bearing housing to cleanup the balls on old Ortofon Rmg 309, need help.