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SME M2-9R
p2 Conclusion & Verdict
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    My early ’90’s pressing of ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ has the beautiful guitar instrumental, ‘Embryonic Journey’ immediately followed by the building power of ‘White Rabbit’. The clarity of the finger work on the guitars was a joy to behold, yet a few minutes later I felt almost pinned back in my seat by the force of Grace Slick’s voice and the massed electric guitars, bass and drums as the ‘Airplane’s’ journey through Lewis Carroll’s writing came to a close.

    I first came across this arm when I reviewed the Timestep RA turntable (HFW January 2014 issue). In this case it was mounted on a modified Technics Direct Drive turntable and playing 78s. It was only a few minutes work to equip my spare SME headshell with the Ortofon 2M 78, crank the Funk Firm K Drive PSU up to speed and I settled down for an evening of classic jazz. 

    Fat’s Waller’s 1943 version of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’ was one of the last recordings he ever made and contains a scorching drum solo by Zutty Singleton that leads into Waller giving a superb display of stride piano in the closing bars. It sounded very vivid and vibrant, with a level of detail around the way the band were interacting with each other that I had not noticed before. The interpretation of the rhythm was also spot on, the snappy foxtrot beat proving impossible for my feet to ignore.

 

 

 

 

The new bearing housing contains the 10mm ball race bearings. The thread and

weight antiskate arrangement is carried over from the previous model.

 

I also explored classical sounds, finding Jaqueline du Pres’ classic performance of the Elgar ‘Cello Concerto’ awash with emotion. This combined with a well lit and spacious presentation of the sonic image that resulted in my being thoroughly engrossed.

 

CONCLUSION

I’ve fallen in love with this arm. It does everything I need it to in the way of accommodating a variety of cartridges. Adjustments are easy to do and to replicate. The build quality is first class, as you would expect of an SME product, and it has successfully married the flowing musical nature of the 3009 with the frequency range, extension and control that have earned both the 309/312 and Series V models such an enviable reputation. It isn’t cheap, but it is worth every penny!  It is a successful reinterpretation of the classic 3009 arm for the 21st Century and deserves as long a production run and all of the success of its predecessor.

 

 

SYSTEM USED

Linn Sondek. Benz Micro Ace L cartridge.

Luxman E200 phonostage

Townshend Allegri pre-amp

Quad 303 power amps

Kelly KT3 loudspeakers

 

 

MUSIC USED

Elgar. ‘Cello Concerto in E minor. Op.85’. Jaqueline du Pres, Cello. Sir John Barnerolli conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. EMI Records Ltd. ASD 655. 1965.

Fat’s Waller and His Rhythm.‘Ain’t Misbehavin’. The Gramophone Co. Ltd (HMV). C.3737. UK release 1946.

Jefferson Airplane. ‘Surrealistic Pillow’. RCA Records. NL83738. 1967 (1986 German reissue.)

Human Blue. ‘Electric Roundabout’. Spiral Trax Records. SPIT LP 010. 2002.

 

 

 

SME M2-9R arm £1391.00

 

 

OUTSTANDING - amongst the best 

 

VALUE - keenly priced

 

VERDICT

A successful updating of a classic design that marries the best aspects of SME designs both old and new.

 

FOR

- open, musical sound well developed frequency extremes

- build and finish

 

AGAINST

- nothing, not even price!

 

SME Ltd. 

+44 (0) 1903 814321

www.sme.ltd.uk



 

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