SME: 3009 Series III – what’s the truth?

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I have in the last couple of days acquired a Technics SL1210 MK2, with Paul Hynes external power supply, Funk mat and SME 3009 Series III tone arm, to which I have attached a brand new Shure M97XE cartridge.

I bought it basically on a whim, and because it seemed a decent price, to see what all the fuss was about and to see how it compared to my Systemdek II / Linn LVX which to be honest, I was very happy with.

Anyway, I have set it up and it sounds great. Not sure at this early stage whether I can say it’s any better than the Systemdek though. (I admit to being deaf to small differences in sound quality which is why the high end is wasted on me).

Anyway, what I wanted to know is where the SME arm stands in the grand scheme of things. It was a pig to set up (and I’ve still not properly completed it), quite fiddly in operation, doesn’t look too pretty and to be honest, doesn’t really inspire confidence! It just doesn’t seem as robust as, say, my modest LVX or the RB300 I had on my Rega.

Yet, it seems to have an excellent reputation. Values are all over the place on ebay, and in fact I notice it seems to go for les than the Series II which seems illogical.

Does anyone have any experience of it? Is it valued more for its place in history than its actual modern day performance? Would I be better off with something else on the Technics? (I’d even thought of replacing it with the more user friendly stock Technics arm).

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