DomT

To commit sacrilege or not with an SME t/t?

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23 hours ago, DomT said:

I am picking an SME model 10 tomorrow. It comes with an SME 309 arm (not the Model 10 version of 309). I have an Audio Note Arm 2/2.  The question is will the Audio Note work on the SME 10? Or is it best to stick with the 309?

Am asking because I will need to sell either arm quickly and sometimes you need time with an item to fully assess things. On a non-SME t/t there were plenty of people who sold SME Vs to buy the Audio Note arm but in this case it might not be such an easy decision.

The cartridge will be an Audio Note IO

Thanks

Dom

The obvious answer is to try both ( if possible.) Have to admit not heard of a AN arm on a SME T/T, however l have purchased a AN Arm 3v2 the dealer told me that they had fitted AN arms on a few LP12s lately.....

Any road good luck.:)

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Super Wammer
10 hours ago, DomT said:

Thanks for the comments everyone. It is clear that it is a subjective topic. 

On the subject of an SME/Rega adaptor I have noticed that there is an Origin Live one with small ‘feet’ and a totally flat one by someone else. Can’t think why I would need one with feet. Any thoughts please as keen to purchase ASAP. 

Thanks

I believe the 'feet' are to mimic the bolt location points on a std sme plate, and drop into the holes on the arm board for a more secure location and site the plate at the correct height. 

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Super Wammer

A quick question for those who are far more knowledgeable than me about cartridge set up. I am no expert. I can fit a cartridge, get arm level, use protractor, set tracking force using scales. But I strongly suspect that an expert would do it better regardless of tools or not. 

An SME arm, like a Graham, ensures that the cartridge is aligned perfectly in the headshell. It seems to me that this is critical. So my question is this: what is the sonic difference between a cartridge 95% correctly set up and 100% set up if we are talking high end like an AN IO? Will I hear a 5% difference or will it be even greater as the last 5% set up makes all of the difference?  What differences might I hear?

I would really appreciate understand this a little more. 

Thanks

D

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43 minutes ago, DomT said:

A quick question for those who are far more knowledgeable than me about cartridge set up. I am no expert. I can fit a cartridge, get arm level, use protractor, set tracking force using scales. But I strongly suspect that an expert would do it better regardless of tools or not. 

An SME arm, like a Graham, ensures that the cartridge is aligned perfectly in the headshell. It seems to me that this is critical. So my question is this: what is the sonic difference between a cartridge 95% correctly set up and 100% set up if we are talking high end like an AN IO? Will I hear a 5% difference or will it be even greater as the last 5% set up makes all of the difference?  What differences might I hear?

I would really appreciate understand this a little more. 

Thanks

D

Hi Dom

A lot depends on the stylus type. Shibata is more critical than most.

If your using the SME arm, it’s easy as the headshell is what it is and movement for correct alignment is done from the arm base. This only leaves you with the azimuth geometry and VTA

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1 hour ago, radiant red said:

Hi Dom

A lot depends on the stylus type. Shibata is more critical than most.

If your using the SME arm, it’s easy as the headshell is what it is and movement for correct alignment is done from the arm base. This only leaves you with the azimuth geometry and VTA

That’s the bit that I understand. What do you think are the sonic differences you might hear between 95% correct set up and 100% set up? Thanks 

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5 minutes ago, DomT said:

That’s the bit that I understand. What do you think are the sonic differences you might hear between 95% correct set up and 100% set up? Thanks 

I reckon Dom, some distortion and slight imagery issues but more so if the cartridge is slightly to far forward which is unlikely in your case 

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Super Wammer

Maybe then I am closer to or at 100% than I think. So the SME guaranteeing partial setup correctness may not be an advantage for me. Thanks!

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I own an audio note arm three v2 which is a very fine arm and obviously a good match for the IO, however can't comment on its suitability for the SME 10.  DDDs comment about zing for me comes across as an energetic treble, perfect for the slightly rolled off top end of my 401.

However long term I think you would be better off hanging onto the SME arm. The recent decision not to supply individual arms will i think see the prices of SME arms (and older decks) go silly over the next few years. And if you ever want to sell your SME 10, you have the perfect arm for it.

As suggested, perhaps try both and use the one you prefer but if it is the Audio Note, also hang on to the SME. It will be audio gold (dust) in 10 years time and worth a lot more than the AN.

Edited by graham67
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Super Wammer

Well I tried both and didn’t go with the SME. But it’s not what you think.....it’s not that I didn’t go with the 309 it’s that I didn’t go with the SME Model 10 and Bought Luxman PD171AL instead!

The SME dealer also happened to be a Luxman dealer. I have been thinking about the PD 171AL since it was launched but never got to see one let alone hear one. The dealer set up Luxman PD171A (with Jelco 250S arm worth £500) and Ortofon 2M Silver and the SME Model 10 with 309 and 2M Silver. Listen through Luxman phono stage and Griffin amp and (don’t know the brand) speakers c£40k don’t know details.

I listened to my own albums and it was obvious very quickly that the Luxman was ahead by quite a lot; it was more engaging and it wasn’t subtle or in doubt in any way. The SME was more detailed in some respects but then the arm cost 4x more and this can be addressed by putting a better arm on the Luxman.

Next up was a Linn LP12 Majic t/t with Project Carbon arm £1k and Linn Adikt cartridge £450. It was chosen as it was a similar price point.  The Linn sounded small and polite in comparison. I have heard the Linn sounding better with a different arm. Again it wasn’t subtle. 

The Luxman played funk, jazz and new wave like it should be played. It seemed to have the best elements from my Lenco (drive) SME (detail) and Linn (boogie). Each of these other t/ts is outright better in these specific areas but do not bring it all together like the Luxman. 

I used to have an AC Raven with Graham Phantom arm. I think that the Luxman plays music better. Music not hifi. This has been the easiest hifi purchase that I have made. Am seriously happy and I have not even mentioned how amazing it looks and the quality of the finish. Tempted to say a bargain. Will get a Jelco armboard for my Jelco 750D and one for Audio Note V2.

Edited by DomT
Typo and clarification
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Super Wammer

So have you not gone for the SME 10 but now the Luxman? I think that’s my understanding 

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Super Wammer
53 minutes ago, radiant red said:

So have you not gone for the SME 10 but now the Luxman? I think that’s my understanding 

Sorry if my writing style was a bit vague. Will edit my post. Yes bought the Luxman. 

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cool result dom😎 is there a bespoke luxman mounting for the 250s that prevents you from swapping the 250 & 750 arms without needing a new armboard?

However after experiencing the big improvement going from a jelco 750 to the audio note arm, i know which my money is on. 

really pleased you found a tt you love.  It's a lovely looking piece of kit.

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Super Wammer
2 minutes ago, graham67 said:

cool result dom😎 is there a bespoke luxman mounting for the 250s that prevents you from swapping the 250 & 750 arms without needing a new armboard?

However after experiencing the big improvement going from a jelco 750 to the audio note arm, i know which my money is on. 

really pleased you found a tt you love.  It's a lovely looking piece of kit.

The PD171A comes with Jelco 250 or armless as PD171AL. So I need to order armboards.

I am sure that you are right about the Audio Note being better but I have never been able to compare them and wish to do so out of curiosity. My 750 has had an IKEA’s internal re-wire and also has a decent Audio Note tonearm cable.

And yeah it looks amazing but I would have preferred it a bit smaller and lighter. 

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The Luxman looks well cool!:22:

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Very interesting to hear the Luxman beat the SME 10. My Gyro will probably be the last bit of kit I change but I'm a Luxman fan and the PD171 has certainly caught my attention. One of the things I like about it is that it's belt driven but with the sort of features you'd find on a Technics.

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