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SME 3009 need cartridge rec

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
I have a SME 3009 improved fixed headshell tonearm on an old AR suspended chassis TT. Could someone who has had experience with this tonearm recommend me a cartridge that you personally found satisfying.

TIA
post #2 of 54
Don't know about the 3009 Improved but I have a 3009 Series II and the Benz Copper Reference is truly great with it. Articulate bass, lucious mids, and nicely extended treble are the hallmarks of that combo.

I have both a Ortofon Jubliee and Kontrapunkt a on order and am looking forward to trying those.

--Jerome
post #3 of 54

NU62

I have a AR ETL-1 turntable with a SME Series II Improved arm and am getting wonderful sound from a Denon 103. Strongly recommended.
post #4 of 54
I'm a little surprised that a DL103 would be a good match for a low mass arm like the SME 3009 Improved. I thought about buying one myself until I looked at the resonance evaluator and decided it would not be a good fit for my 3009 Series II. The Improved is even lower mass.

Denon DL103 Resonance Chart

Are you using weight plates on your headshell to add mass?

--Jerome
post #5 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
I'm a little surprised that a DL103 would be a good match for a low mass arm like the SME 3009 Improved. I thought about buying one myself until I looked at the resonance evaluator and decided it would not be a good fit for my 3009 Series II. The Improved is even lower mass.

Denon DL103 Resonance Chart

Are you using weight plates on your arm to add mass?

--Jerome
Denon (like Audio-Technica) states their compliance figures at a frequency of 100hz. Most cartridge makers use 10hz. The resonance evaluator is based on 10hz. Actual compliance will be higher at 10hz. The compliance of the DL103 has been guesstimated at 11 x 10-6 cm/Dyne at 10hz and this is what should be used in the resonance calculator. I've found that a multiplier of 2.2 gives you a fairly accurate approximation in converting the compliance from 100hz to 10hz. That being said, I'm also surprised that it works in the Improved arm. It didn't for me.

I've had the original SME 3009, the first 3009 mkII, and the SME 3009 mkII Improved. Keeping in mind that the listening experience is personal and completely subjective, I was never happy with moving coil cartriges in any of my 3009's. The Improved was too low in mass to match with low compliance moving coils. The mass of the 3009 and 3009 mkII were fine, but I found that the knife edge bearings and the detachable headshell reduced the dynamics and speed and softened the frequency extremes of the moving coil. This was in comparison to a Rega RB300 and a Linn Ittok. The mid range was lush and euphonic, however.
Noted audiophile Thorsten Loesch, on the other hand, loves his DL103 on the SME 3009 mkII.
It's been many years since I've had these arms and I've never had the experience of listening to newer model moving coils, such as yours Jerome, on these arms.

To the OP, the best match I ever found with the Improved was the vintage Shure V15 typeIII. This cartridge is discontinued, but readily available used on ebay, Audiogon, etc. A new replacement stylus is available from Jico and is said to be as good or better than the original. Other new cartridges which have received recommendations with your arm are:

Audio-Technica AT150 MLX (very balanced)
Grado Sonata (lush)
Audio-Technica AT440 mla (a little bright)
Shure M97xe (somewhat laid back)

I have read of more than one person who has successfully used the highish-compliance Audio-Technica AT OC9 moving coil with the Improved arm. You can find more impresions at Audiogon.com, TheVinylengine.com, Audiokarma.org and the Vintage forum and Vinyl forum at Audioasylum.com
post #6 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightOwl View Post
Denon (like Audio-Technica) states their compliance figures at a frequency of 100hz. Most cartridge makers use 10hz. The resonance evaluator is based on 10hz. Actual compliance will be higher at 10hz. The compliance of the DL103 has been guesstimated at 11 x 10-6 cm/Dyne at 10hz and this is what should be used in the resonance calculator. I've found that a multiplier of 2.2 gives you a fairly accurate approximation in converting the compliance from 100hz to 10hz. That being said, I'm also surprised that it works in the Improved arm. It didn't for me.
Thank you for the correction.

I have heard others express a preference for MM carts on the classic SME arms as well. When I sold my Rega P7 after I bought my SOTA Star Sapphire, a Benz Glider M2 was the only cartridge I had on hand. I thought it sounded better on the SOTA with SME 3009 Series II arm than it did on the Rega P7 with an RB700 arm. It wasn't until later that I upgraded to the more expensive Benz wood bodies. Someone else might think it's a waste of a good MC cart to put it on that arm. I am quite happy with the setup...but admittedly I have not tried many cartridges with it. I do have future plans for trying a few MM carts. But right now I have other priorities. The question I am wrestling with right now is whether or not to spring for a Zyx Fuji from SORAsound before their stock runs out and the price doubles. I'm seriously thinking about it even though I really don't need the cartridge.

--Jerome
post #7 of 54
I don't have a 3009, but wanted to chime in and say that I love the DL103, as well. If you go with one, give some thought to pairing it with the Cinemag step-up transformers. They do wonderful things with the DL103. So good, I think I'll stick with the combination for the long term.

There's a commercial version available, but you can also order direct from Cinemag and pull up Nikongod's writeup on how to wire them. I'm on the phone and don't have the URLs, but a Google search should bring them up.
post #8 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
Thank you for the correction.

I have heard others express a preference for MM carts on the classic SME arms as well. When I sold my Rega P7 after I bought my SOTA Star Sapphire, a Benz Glider M2 was the only cartridge I had on hand. I thought it sounded better on the SOTA with SME 3009 Series II arm than it did on the Rega P7 with an RB700 arm. It wasn't until later that I upgraded to the more expensive Benz wood bodies. Someone else might think it's a waste of a good MC cart to put it on that arm. I am quite happy with the setup...but admittedly I have not tried many cartridges with it. I do have future plans for trying a few MM carts. But right now I have other priorities. The question I am wrestling with right now is whether or not to spring for a Zyx Fuji from SORAsound before their stock runs out and the price doubles. I'm seriously thinking about it even though I really don't need the cartridge.

--Jerome
I've tried the Zyx R100 on my Alphason HR100MCS and Logic DM101 table. To me it was about as dead neutral a cartridge as I've heard. Everything was in balance, detailed, with an excellent soundstage. Unfortunately I also found it uninvolving. This could be attributed to the match with my arm and table since some users have termed these as neutral and sterile components also.
I preferred the Shelter and Audio-Technica mc cartridges I presently use and don't find these combinations uninvolving at all. I also have liked Dynavectors, Denons and the Audio-Technica AT 150ML in my setup. I've never tried a higher end Benz, but my curiousity has been piqued.

The good thing about the Zyx is that it is extremely popular and if you didn't like it you could move it on easily without incurring a loss.

EDIT: You may have preferred the Benz in the SME 3009 due to your table since I consider the SOTA far superior to the Rega.
post #9 of 54
Well, the Ortofon Kontrapunkt a arrived today and I have already mounted it in a headshell and dialed it in. I'm still waiting on the Jubilee.

Mind you, I am only listening to my first long player on it but one thing that struck me is the very low surface noise. This cart is much quieter than my Benz in that regard. Recommended tracking force is 2 to 2.5 grams. I have it set at 2.3 and it has tracked superbly across the first side of "Here Comes the Whistleman" by Roland Kirk.

I will credit Ortofon with giving you everything you need to mount the cartridge: tools, headshell wires, two sets of mounting screws (short with no weight plates and long for use with a weight plate).

I still have a lot of listening to do, but very early impressions are that the Kontrapunkt a is good match for the SME 3009 Series II, but probably is not a good match with the 3009 Improved unless you add about 4g to the arm due to its lower mass.

--Jerome
post #10 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
I still have a lot of listening to do, but very early impressions are that the Kontrapunkt A is good match for the SME 3009 Series II, but probably is not a good match with the 3009 Improved unless you add about 4g to the arm due to its lower mass.
I have a Kontrapunkt B in a SME 3009 Series 2 Improved. Albeit with a Sumiko HS-12 headshell that is a bit heavier than the stock SME one.

Works like a charm, at least to these ears.
post #11 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fido2 View Post
I have a SME 3009 improved fixed headshell tonearm on an old AR suspended chassis TT. Could someone who has had experience with this tonearm recommend me a cartridge that you personally found satisfying.

TIA
I found the Shure V15 VMR worked very well and this is the classic match but you would have a hard time tracking one of these down. You can get a V15 series III or IV on ebay and get a brand new stylus from JICO in Japan all of which will come to around the same price as a Denon.
MC carts with higher compliance were made by Denon back in the late '70s and '80s but these never worked so well on the low mass tonearms of the period like your SME.
The best compromise is probably a Moving Iron cart from the Soundsmith . These can get pricey but the basic 150USD SMMC 4 can be fitted into an SME head adaptor which you can find for about 10USD from B&O dealers on ebay. I liked the MMC20EN with a concord style head adaptor the most. As smooth as any MC but with the insight of the Shure.
Another option would be one of the high end Stanton MI carts or Ortofon Concord OM40 which KABUSA sells.
post #12 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies guys. Lots of excellent info here.
I have been thinking of sending my tonearm to SMEtonearms.com in Canada for a rewire. Has anyone else done this and did it really inprove the sound?
post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by InSides View Post
I have a Kontrapunkt B in a SME 3009 Series 2 Improved. Albeit with a Sumiko HS-12 headshell that is a bit heavier than the stock SME one.

Works like a charm, at least to these ears.
You must have an SME 3009 MKII. The Improved has a fixed, non-removable headshell.
post #14 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightOwl View Post
You must have an SME 3009 MKII. The Improved has a fixed, non-removable headshell.
SME 3009 S2 Improved





Mine is quite a bit cleaner than that, and has the brass bearing and a larger counterweight and rider weight [SME items], but that is the one.
post #15 of 54
Probably now would be a good time to reiterate that you can't really judge a cartridge in isolation from the rest of the system. Of course, everyone has their own notions of what is important. For me it would be as follows in decending order of importance: turntable --> tonearm --> cartridge --> phono preamp. Cable does not even make my list. Someone else might believe that the phono preamp is the most important, or what have you.

The point being is that when someone says they didn't much care for a cartridge, what they are really saying is that they didn't care for it in their system, with their turntable, tonearm, preamp, etc. That same individual might actually like the cart with a different tonearm on the same table or vice versa.

--Jerome
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