SME Tonearms of Canada - Alfred and Company that sell new and refurbish SME


Does anyone have experience with SME Tonearms of Canada smetonearms.com. They seem to know their stuff; experience of the ages and are absolute about what a NEW SME arm needs, starting with a rewire. 
Any thoughts from members who have bought from them, know them, experienced it first hand??? 
jahatl513
i had one restored by SME.  They do a great job... i think a bit pricey but no one else specializes in vintage SME.  It's a great arm if you are restoring an awesome vintage table.  I used mine on a Thorens TD125 perfect match! 
Purchased an SME IV from them last year. A friend of mine had his SME 3009 S2 refurbished there. In both cases everything went smoothly, Alfred is a nice guy to deal with; highly recommended.
Have you done a search? This topic has been posted and discussed before. Short answer; he does good work but on my vintage SME 3009 arm, when the problem with the cue lever could not be resolved, he stopped returning my messages and calls. He also hard-sold me on a forty year old NOS GAS moving magnet cartridge for $900 and refused to take no for an answer until I insisted he stop bringing it up. Overall, good and bad. 
Only buy from his eBay listings as they are listed as new sealed in box with full warranty. If they come in any other condition, you'll have PayPal and eBay to help you with the return process. You'll be 100% protected. Once you get the tonearm, verify serial number and warranty directly with SME. They respond promptly and have fantastic customer service. 309 is listed at $2000 and IV at $2800. These are excellent prices.
He is a crook.  I sent an arm to him years ago and he said he never got it.  Then ended up selling it to someone.  Its a small world.
There is a guy in the UK doing great pickup arm work---Johnnie at Audio Origami. He does rewires using either Cardas copper or two different brands of silver (one being Kondo)., and has nothing but satisfied clients.
I once used Flat Earth Audio (flatearthaudio.com). I got a new stub for a 3012's badly-sagging c'wt, and two grades of silicon, for a damping trough and cueing device — not easy to find. Super nice guy too, happy to talk tech with you — not a "time is money" guy at all.

The site says they went our of business — yet the site is still up and active, listing parts, rebuilt arms and other services. That’s really odd if they’re out of business, it costs money to keep a site up.

There’s a phone number and email-contact on the site, I’d check it out — maybe he’s still operating on a different basis.

Smetonearms’ prices seem extreme to me, capitalizing on scarcity, and Flat Earth had (maybe has) far more variety. Plus they’re not "foreign", so no issues there.

If you call, and he is still active in some form, please let us know. I hate to see a nice guy who does great work fail commercially — and I’ll definitely use him again, if it’s possible.
bimasta;
I called yesterday to Flat Earth Audio; this number is no longer in business. I'll try and email them but as far as I can tell they are the only ones listed as SME refurbishing in the USA, although I don't doubt there are many others; just not sure who and google comes up England, Germany..

bimasta
Plus they’re not "foreign

Canadians, were more like cousins that have that currently
great exchange rate!
As for Alfred he's a sales man when all is said and done.
Just bought a couple of months ago a refurbished 3009s2imp with his Cardas rewire from him. He was nice over the phone and had good comunication with him while the one month ordering period. The arm sounds great!, looks mint, but he forgot to put the cuing lever damping compund on it ( the lever goes down very fast), and to put a  Y terminal on the ground wire ( just stripped wire).  to be fair I didn,t even mentioned this back to him as I was not going to ship back the arm all the way from Mexico to Canada. 
How much better does a refurbed sme 3009 arm sound than the original? Im looking for first generation 3009 tonearm
No idea as this is my first SME 3009, but makes sense to me the single run of cable all the way to the RCA,s , you dont need an aditional phono cable.
Cardani: You bring up a good question about the act of running a single run of cable from Headshell/Cart to the RCA's. The Question for all is what do you think of this set up. Has anyone registered it a success? Are you happy with the sound?
Yes I,m very happy with the sound; before this I had a borrowed Micro Seiki 505 arm for a couple of months on a recenlty aquiered Technics Sp10 Mk2.  The Micro Seiki arm had its original  internal wire and  I was using a Audioquest amazon silver phono cable.  The Sme 3009 with the single run of cable from Headshell/Cart to the RCA's ( Cardas 33awg OFC ) is so much better in low level details and dynamics, and I have not even installed the SME Fd200 fluid damper kit on the arm. Same Headshell and Cartridge used int this comparasion.  I think is not the diifrence in the type of cable but just the fact that there is no joint or middle conector in the way of the signal.
So is Alfred still around?
@cardani so Alfred is still around
@vinny55 Yes I,m sure he is. I just corresponded by email with him a couple of weeks ago about the serial number of the arm I bought from him in January. I would just pick up the phone and give him a call, I spoke with him twice over the phone and had good conversations and advice from him.I think he also has an ebay store. Good luck!
When you call Alfred he is most likely to be the one answering,
from what I can tell he enjoy's the banter.


I would stay as far away from this guy as possible. His guarantee policy is only a ploy to make people think they are dealing with a reasonable person and part with their cash. A real "confidence man". The tonearm (3012) he sent me did not come with a serial number. $2,613 for a tonearm without a serial number does not seem like a fair deal at all. 
He rebuilt my 3009II (unimproved) and it works and sounds great. Service was good and fast but not cheap.
You decide about his SME 3009 rewire option....Alfred's Canadian Website says that he charges $350.00 for rewiring using top quality parts, includes any original SME parts to make the arm as good as new(bearings etc). Includes manuals, tools and templates and Top LIne Swiss made Neutrik 18k gold RCA connectors. Seems like a good deal. After emailing SMEtonearms Canada inquiring about this service, Alfred called me and said it was in USD as most of his work is with international clients...I said ok...but you should make it clear on your website...so i sent him my tonearm. He then received my tone arm and called me...said it was actually 400 usd...he said he hadn't gotten around to updating his website. I said absolutely not...I will only pay 350...he agreed, but then said parts would be extra....I was busy so I said email me a quote....He sent me a Paypal invoice to for 680.54 USD. 350 for rewiring, 35$for shipping, 295.00 for parts and taxes.  I emailed Alfred, included a "cut and paste" from his website with costs, told him it says these parts are all included in the 350.00 rewire charge on the website and to return my tonearm without doing the work.. Alfred emailed and said call me...your tonearm is in pieces in an acid bath. So I called him. I asked him why the extra charges....he again said he hasn't had time to update his website. He actually was getting angry with me for questioning his charges...i had to calm him down before things got out of hand...he told me all these excuses about how much NOS parts were worth now and that the price he quoted me was the best he could do...and that my tone arm was in pieces. It was in great shape when i sent it, I just wanted to upgrade the internal wiring. The only way for me to get my tonearm back was to pay the invoice. I figured I would file a complaint with PayPal after I received it. 
After 2 months from the day I shipped it to Alfred, I received it today. Alfred had charged me $35.00 usd for express shipping...he actually said he doesn't use Canada post as it takes too long....so he sent it Canada post parcel which cost him $19.35 CAD I unpacked it. The tone arm looks good, but the cable looks cheap...no name on the phono cable but very thin. Those Top Line Swiss 18k gold Neutrik connectors(made by WBT) he said would be put on are ones made in Europe, but not Top Line. The ones put on are made by Rean which can be bought online for $2.49 each. In the head shell, one of the connectors is broken off the wire which I will have to get resoldered. He did not upgrade the wiring in the head shell...still original. You would think as well, the ground wires would have a spade connector on them...they were clipped very short and i have to strip and get my own spades. The templates were included but no manuals. Original tone arm tools....i guess that is the very tiny hex key included. So...from the original time i read his website...that price of 350 plus shipping turned into 835.00 cad plus 42 cad shipping....sure hope it sounds good once i get the head shell clip resoldered...and it will sound a little better if Paypal give me a partial refund.
I had a similar experience several years ago with SME Canada and my arm. Arm works fine, just overpriced, I also got the Black Widow pitch which I turned down.
Yup I've heard the same stories and after speaking to Alfred 
a couple times I'm not surprised in the least.
I told you all he was a CROOK.  
Alfred does good work. He rewired and rebuilt my V just recently. Straight shooter IMO. To those that say he’s expensive. Try sending your arm to SME for a rebuild and rewire... 
I did send him something and he stole it from me.  He is a scammer.