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Thread: SME 3012

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    Default SME 3012

    It's been a while since I felt like doing anything serious but for some reason I've renewed my interest in the old SME 3009. Nostalgia maybe as I had one of these years ago and there seems to be some renewed interest on various forums. Anyway I've ended up with a 3012 which is ok as I quite like twelve inch arms and the task is to strip it down, clean it up and reassemble it with maybe a subtle upgrade or two.

    On first inspection the arm looks fine. It's all original and complete but a bit grubby here and there. I think a rewire is on the cards but I'm in two minds whether to replace the original external arm cable. I'm not overly impressed with the latest craze for replacing the SME output socket for phonos though it does reduce the depth required in the plinth. I keep coming back to the conclusion that a fixed external arm lead might be a better solution.

    As soon as my camera batteries are charged I'll put some pictures on and if any of you 3012 owning dudes have any thoughts on the subject be my guest.
    Si.

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    Here she is


    And stripped down


    Everything appears to be in good order if a little grubby so the next job is to clean everything before I open up the pillar assembly and check and reset the bearings. There's a mark on the base plate but as the serial number is on it I'll leave that as it is. Just one of those things I suppose.


    I might even get around to rewiring the armtube this evening with a bit of luck
    Si.

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    Looks pretty clean from here.

    Bet that mark annoys you though....
    20 years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please God, don't take Kevin Bacon

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    Personally Si i would keep it as stock as possible, the arm will be worth more if/when you move it on, old SME arms are funny like that.

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    Yes that mark does annoy me a bit and I might just search out another bed plate. Transferring the serial number might not be so easy though and I wouldn't be happy without it

    I think you're right Paul. Personally I don't mind the SME plug and socket arrangement but I might try and find another plug so I can make up a better cable. A fixed cable soldered straight to the back of the socket pins with the arm wires would be ok as it can be removed and no harm done.

    The internal rewire is pretty much done and tbh I think this is a big points score with an SME. I only twist each pair of wires together, not all four like some do. This is how I've always done it and I've never had any issues

    Si.

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    I've finally found the time to finish the arm. The pillar was in poor shape and needed replacing but everything else came up well with a good clean. I decided to leave the original SME plug and socket in place for the time being anyway.



    The finished article






    I was going to mount it on a modified Lenco I've been building but I haven't had time to finish it so I dug out an old subchassis I built a while ago and with a few more holes drilled in it mounted the arm on that.



    Am I happy with it? Well yes I am tbh. It sounds very good though the bass could be a bit more muscular. I've heard a few modern arms that better it but that's not why I bought it. To me SME tonearms are a pinnacle of the art at their particular points in time and are still regarded as benchmarks to aspire to. This one will most likely stay in my collection until I turn my toes up
    Si.

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    Well Andy what did you think?
    Si.

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    As a fellow 3012 owner you are preaching to the converted Si.

    Great arm which worked really nicely with the Transfig Spirit mounted on it, I have not done the maths to check the resonant frequency of the pairing, but they certainly seemed like a good match.

    That home brew table is no slouch either, not got the drive of an idler but hey I could happily live with it. Enjoyed the new speakers too.

    I said it at the time your kit is very different to mine and clearly sounds very different, I could however happily live with either system.

    Andy
    Garrard 301 with SME 3012, Garrard 401 with PU7 both in slate plinths, Puresound P10, Highphonics SUT, Glasshouse TVC Passive Pre, Bel Canto Set 40 (845 power amp), Tannoy GRF Memory`s

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    It's funny Andy that I never bother with the maths. As a seat of pants engineer I just tend to go with my gut instinct and give it a go hence my acquisition of the early SME, an arm which I've fallen in love with all over again. This arm defies what I consider to be the essential requirements of a good tonearm and now I'm forced to re evaluate my thinking on the subject. Same with the idler versus belt drive discussion and I agree that idlers possess that certain vigour not present in many if any belt drive tts. If I could crack the decoupling issue I'd be back to an idler drive in a flash. Can direct drive be the culmination of the two technologies I wonder?
    Si.

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    Threw the 301 back together stuck the now SPU less 3012 back on with a 15 Stanton MM and it certainly seems to hold its own against the 401 and AT33PTG. Could do with you up here for a chat and a listen when that knees better.

    The maths does say a MM will be better on the SME than the SPU despite their classic pairing. I am enjoying it, they sound nice together
    Last edited by Andy831; 24th July 2014 at 21:21.
    Garrard 301 with SME 3012, Garrard 401 with PU7 both in slate plinths, Puresound P10, Highphonics SUT, Glasshouse TVC Passive Pre, Bel Canto Set 40 (845 power amp), Tannoy GRF Memory`s

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    I've recently finished another Lenco with 3012 and I'm using it with a 2M Red. It's surprisingly good and I reckon it's like cars where the Formula One technology eventually trickles down to even the lowest models. I don't think any of the big players actually makes a bad cartridge today.
    I'm back behind the wheel Andy but I'm only using Jean's car as and when it's available which is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday provided she doesn't want to go out. If you can go with that I'm happy to drive over.
    Si.

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    We could try for an hour or two next Friday Afternoon if that fits in with Jean, - weather permitting, you really do not want to be stuck here with these 845's on if its as warm as its been this week LOL.
    Garrard 301 with SME 3012, Garrard 401 with PU7 both in slate plinths, Puresound P10, Highphonics SUT, Glasshouse TVC Passive Pre, Bel Canto Set 40 (845 power amp), Tannoy GRF Memory`s

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    I think I can manage that Andy. We'll check the weather later on in the week lol. I'm really glad I fitted those ceiling fans. I can run the Jolidas all day and stay cool as a cucumber
    Si.

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    Yes it makes a big difference Si even though the fans are not doing any cooling the fact that they move the air seems to have a cooling effect.

    I bought a 2M black and its just arrived! hope it can beat this 15 Stanton
    Garrard 301 with SME 3012, Garrard 401 with PU7 both in slate plinths, Puresound P10, Highphonics SUT, Glasshouse TVC Passive Pre, Bel Canto Set 40 (845 power amp), Tannoy GRF Memory`s

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy831 View Post
    I bought a 2M black and its just arrived! hope it can beat this 15 Stanton
    If it doesn't, can i have it ?

    (I know that chances that it won't are pretty slim to none)

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    LOL consider yer'sel first in line LOL.
    Garrard 301 with SME 3012, Garrard 401 with PU7 both in slate plinths, Puresound P10, Highphonics SUT, Glasshouse TVC Passive Pre, Bel Canto Set 40 (845 power amp), Tannoy GRF Memory`s

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    A 2M Black Is there a moving magnet revival going on here ?
    Si.

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    Si it seems to fit the criteria for a good cartridge for the 3012, again the maths says its a pretty good fit. I have always has some hum from suts when used with the 3012 so I though bugger it try a MM. This black is a couple of weeks old has only done 20 hours and I bought it for less than half price so it seemed to be fate that I just had to buy it LOL
    Garrard 301 with SME 3012, Garrard 401 with PU7 both in slate plinths, Puresound P10, Highphonics SUT, Glasshouse TVC Passive Pre, Bel Canto Set 40 (845 power amp), Tannoy GRF Memory`s

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    That's a bloody good buy Andy. Probably sound better than the SPU too
    Si.

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    Thats what I am hoping for Si. Buy another stylus at some point and then pretty much fit and forget I hope.
    Garrard 301 with SME 3012, Garrard 401 with PU7 both in slate plinths, Puresound P10, Highphonics SUT, Glasshouse TVC Passive Pre, Bel Canto Set 40 (845 power amp), Tannoy GRF Memory`s

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