SME III Tonearm: Classic or Dinosaur?

At 14, I killed myself delivering papers and mowing lawns to buy my first Hafler amps and Magneplanar MG-1b's and I lucked into a deal on an SME III tonearm on a Kenwood KD-500 with a Grado Signature cartridge. I thought the SME was the most exotic piece of gear in the world with its fluid dampening system and pulley mounted anti skating (?) device, and with fond memories was very excited to see one for sale recently. Does anyone know how this arm might compare with tonearms of today, especially the newer SME's? Could this work reasonably well or am I just being sentimental?

Showing 1 response by jeffloistarca

The evolution of the SME arms were more feature oriented than anything, the series 4 and 5 borrowed heavily from the III's original design. I'd have to say the series 5 was a clear step up from the III, but, the III remains a terrific arm and assuming the price is reasonable I wouldn't hesitate to install this classic. Interestingly enough my favourite arm in terms of perfomance, features, ease of use, and value is the SME345 marketed at one time by Oracle. Jeff