SME Series III or SME 3009

I have an SME Series III arm with an Ortofon SME 30H cartridge I use with a Thorens TD 160 BC II turntable. I'd like to buy a TD 124 just because I think they're so handsome and I lusted after one since the 50s when I first became interested in audio. But most of the TD 124 I see listed come with SME 3009 arms. Would a 3009 be a step up or down or sideways from a Series III? The Series III is handsome and entertaining in itself with its weight suspended over a pulley.

I have used a Series III tonearm on a TD-124 and found it to be an excellent match, IF you take care to mate the proper cartridge to this tonearm.

The SME 3009 Series III tonearm is quite different from the earlier Series II model. It is a low mass tonearm designed for high complance cartridges when ultra-low tracking force was de rigueur in the 80s. However, I find it to be an excellent tonearm with many useful features, including interchangeable arm wands and the ability to really fine-tune the arm for best performance.

As mentioned, this tonearm requires a high compliance cartridge. I have had good luck with the Ortofon 2M series - I have run the 2M black on a TD-124 and IMO it was outstanding. Also, most of the Soundsmith cartridges can be ordered as 28 uM (high) compliance units. Some other choices would include the AT OC9/III and 150MLx, Grace F9, Grado Gold/Silver/Black/etc series, Ortofon OM30, Shure V15 series (w/ JICO SAS), Sony XL-MC104P. Some of these are avalable new, some are via here or eBay.

Downside: I can't think of any LOMC cartridges that I would try to mate with this arm, but that's not a big problem in my book.
Having read your post here and a series of posts on the Asylum, I've decided to keep the SME Series III with its Ortofon SME 30H cartridge and look for a TD 124 without a tonearm, or try to work out a deal where the seller keeps the SME 3009.

I came across this old thread and saw my post at the end of the year. I found a local source for Thorens expertise from whom I bought a beautiful TD 124 that he had mechanically restored -- it didn't need cosmetic restoration. He did a proper setup of the SME 3009 Series III arm with Ortofon SME 30 H cartridge. The table and arm are a joy to use. The sound with high-end vinyl is superb, but even my old vinyl sounds surprising good. I ordered a lucite cover that lets the unit appear like the jewel it is. It sits atop my equipment cabinet so I see the icon every time I enter the media room. Pure joy.