SME 3009 Series III Haters


Not much has been written about this old classic lately but I just acquired one and put it on an Oracle Alexandria. I read all sorts of bad comments like its the Red Head of SME’s arms but there were a few that loved it and I’m here to say I’m in the love camp. I’ve been at this for 40 or so years and had my share of gear. I have a Grado Reference Series 2 that weighs 10 gms with a compliance of 20.
The arm only has a moving mass of 5 gms, that is low these days but this combination works fantastic.
Ya the arm has all sorts of adjustments but most of us enjoy messing around with that sort of thing anyway, and every setting makes perfect sense and makes you think why don’t more arms give you that flexibility. Anyway all the manuals can be downloaded so there is no reason if you come across one you couldn’t get it to sing on your system. There are other classic SME arms from the 80’s that sell in the thousands but these can be had in the $500 range. Worth ever penny and only going to go up in price.
Get your hands on one and see for your self what a quality arm feels like and sounds like.
This has the feel of an arm that just came out, can’t believe it’s 40 years ago. My 2 bits worth 😎





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Showing 2 responses by chakster

There are many great tonearms designed for high compliance cartridges, many of them are underrated today, because high compliance MM/MI cartridges is definitely not a trend of today. You have to try Grace F14 or LEVEL II with BR/MR stylus on this arm to forget about Shure forever.

Why SME tonearms is definitely not my kind of arms, i remember some users posted about this model many times on audiogon. However, the arm is too ugly for my taste, just like those Grado tonearms.

My current favorite tonearm for mid or high compliance cartridges is DENON DA-401, the arm is underrated and i was lucky to buy NOS in the box few years ago (the price was sweet). Mounted my Joe Grado Signature XTZ MI cartridge on it. It’s been a while since i used this cartridge, first time on this arm, love it!

Not a hater, but SME of any king never was in my wantlist. On vintage side there are many top class Japanese tonearms that just much more attractive (imo). On the modern side there are also so many other tonearms available. I think i will never buy any SME. I just don't understand the hype about SME (and knife-edge bearings). 
There are several better looking arms out there but for the average audiophile spending thousands on an arm or even a
turntable is out of the question. I don’t think there is anything as good as this under $500.

This is exactly the price point for Denon DA-401, it is under $500
Wonderful tonearm, i became a fan of it quickly.

Something equal in this price category is Micro Seiki made for Luxman (answer to Infinity Black Widow).

P.S. Another favorite so far is Victor UA-7045 for slightly higher price (used). Actually many vintage tonearms are best buy in terms of quality versus price. Some of them just less popular or unknown compared to SME, most of them are Japanese, not British.