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SME 3009 need cartridge rec - Page 2

post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fido2 View Post
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?
I re-wired the original 3009 myself with Cardas 33 awg. This was due to an intermittent short in the arm so I figured I might as well upgrade the wire. I could only compare the sound to the original wiring from memory (not necessarily reliable). It seemed like it was an improvement, but not night and day. The next tonearm (not an SME) I re-wired in a continuous run to the rca's. This seemed to show more of a difference.
post #17 of 54
The 3009 Improved has a fixed headshell. The 3009 Series II Improved has a detachable headshell.

--Jerome
post #18 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
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
Agree with your entire post except that cable does make my list. More for low capacitance than exotic properties.
Everyone also has their own music, tone and sound preferences so definitely YMMV.
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
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.
Spot on. Carts all have there own character but you need to balance this within the context of your system. One of the strengths of carts with removable stylii (most MM MI. few MC) is that you can get a basic stylus first to see what flavour the cart is and then upgrade to a better stylus once you are satisfied, without changing carts. This holds for most Shure, Stanton, Goldring and Ortofon carts anyway. Nagaoka are another good one to check out from Lpgear.com.

There is the definite issue with mechanical matching though before you get to this stage and confusingly there are many varieties of SME 3009 as it was made for nearly 40 years. I'm pretty sure there is a difference between S2 and Series 2, and mass can vary here between 6-12 gms which is huge. Additonally, as has been mentioned, having a removable headshell allows you to vary the mass with different headshells. The SME 3009 I had was an S2 improved with a fixed headshell which of course is more rigid but doesn't allow this, so in my case a high compliance cart was a necessity.

Check the SME website or email them to identify your particular model.
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by InSides View Post
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.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
The 3009 Improved has a fixed headshell. The 3009 Series II Improved has a detachable headshell.

--Jerome
You are both correct. Apologies to InSides. I had the Improved and had forgotten about the S2 Improved.
post #21 of 54
Here's the Ortofon KA making some nice music...



--Jerome
post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsaliga View Post
Here's the Ortofon KA making some nice music...



--Jerome
Very nice. The last mc Ortofon I listened to was the Rohmann. I know it's too early to really tell since it hasn't broken in yet, but how do you find the tonal balance?
post #23 of 54
At this early stage I would say that the Ortofon is slightly on the cool side of neutral. Bass is a little thin but not terribly so. The Benz Copper Reference, by comparison, is a tad warm and has fatter tones in the midrange, which I actually find favor with when it comes to jazz -- my most listened to genere of music -- but it sounds so right for horns, especially alto and tenor sax. The Benz also has tighter, more articulate bass response in my setup. That said, I am very much enjoying the sound of the Ortofon even though I prefer the Benz Copper. The Ortofon really has it beat where surface noise is concerned. This is one quiet cartridge and it makes me wish the Benz was this quiet.

But price-wise the cartridges are worlds apart. The Benz retails for $2,500 and the Ortofon Kontrapunkt a sells for $999. So far I would have to say that the Ortofon is a very good value at its price point. More critical listening will be needed as the cartridge breaks-in to settle that question with complete certainty, however.

--Jerome
post #24 of 54
Technical comments notwithstanding, I stand by my previous post regarding the excellent sound created by the combination of the Denon 103 and the SME Improved tonearm. I use very efficient speakers (either Avantgarde Unos or Altec 601c's in custom cabinets) that reveal the shortcomings of everything in the audio chain upstream and the Denon 103 simply makes music! I would note that my AR turntable has been extensively modified by Eric at The Sound of the Wood, so the changes to the table are probably a major contributor to the synergy of this cartridge and arm in my system. In fact, when I bought the table and arm from Eric he specifically recommended use of the Denon 103.
post #25 of 54
You see! It's comments such as this that will just make me want to go buy a DL103 and try it on my arm.

Dang, I'm running out of headshells.

--Jerome
post #26 of 54
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NU62 View Post
Technical comments notwithstanding, I stand by my previous post regarding the excellent sound created by the combination of the Denon 103 and the SME Improved tonearm. I use very efficient speakers (either Avantgarde Unos or Altec 601c's in custom cabinets) that reveal the shortcomings of everything in the audio chain upstream and the Denon 103 simply makes music! I would note that my AR turntable has been extensively modified by Eric at The Sound of the Wood, so the changes to the table are probably a major contributor to the synergy of this cartridge and arm in my system. In fact, when I bought the table and arm from Eric he specifically recommended use of the Denon 103.
Nice Nu! In fact my AR is a Sound of the Wood table also. So THAT is very helpful info. I am using the Shelter 7000 right now. I have added a rider weight and it works well but I still need some work somewhere. I'm thinking old wiring or it could just be some of my records suck...lol. With well recorded jazz records this things is just superb, depth, imaging, tonality, bass ...check,check, checkcheck...do you guys have a few records that just sound mechanical or almost digital in the vocals? This HAS to be the recording right?
I am going to get the rewire if for nothing else so I can have a bit more substantial and durable wiring that can withstand some cart changes without breaking the cartridge tabs off. These stock SME wires are like hairs..lol.

I think maybe a tube phono stage might help me out also. Maybe the Manley Steelhead. Then I could adjust impedance and capacitance on the fly as sort of a tone control for different records....?

Here's another question: I added the extra weight to my SME arm so I have more mass now BUT, this is still a light arm I mean not really stiff like an Origin live or SME V or whatever. How does this translate into cart selection? is it a function of both cartridge stiffness and mass that relates to a carts compliance and how it will work or sound? Or is mass enough?
post #27 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fido2 View Post
I am using the Shelter 7000 right now.
An excellent cartridge by all accounts I have read.

Quote:
...do you guys have a few records that just sound mechanical or almost digital in the vocals? This HAS to be the recording right?
Yes and yes. I even have a few Columbia Digitally Mastered pressings from the 1980s of a number of Miles Davis albums (Porgy and Bess, Milestones, and Miles Smiles) that very much impart a digital character to the horns, and it doesn't agree with me at all. I also have original Columbia pressings of those albums and the tonal character is so much better.

That said, I also have some pressings that seem to trancend the character of the cartridge -- as strange as that might sound. For example, right now I am listening to a Universal Japan 200g pressing of Steely Dan's Aja, and it sounds just as rich and full bodied on this new Ortofon as it does on my Benz Copper Reference.

I intend to get my SME 3009 Series II rewired, but only because early next year I am going to send my turntable off to SOTA for some upgrades. My Star Sapphire is a Series II that is over 20 years old. And I would like to have it upgraded to Series V parts. One of the things I have talked to them about is to rewire the tonearm and replace the stock cable. I'm not a disciple of high end cables but I do understand that my tonearm is older than the hills and the cables do look the part. There's nothing wrong with the sound of my system at all. I love it. But since I am sending my table off for what will no doubt be some worthwhile upgrades why skimp?

--Jerome
post #28 of 54
In response to your questions, Fido2, I am not using any extra weight on the headshell of my SME arm and I am using a tube phono amp. The amp is a Wright Sound Company WPP 200 C; $895.00 plus shipping. Built like a tank and excellent match with the Denon 103 and the rest of my system. Also, my experience is that particularly with respect to vinyl, no matter how good your components are, they cannot compensate for inferior quality pressings, poor recording quality, surface imperfections, etc.

If you want to check out the Wright Sound phono amp, the website is
Wright Sound Company
post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fido2 View Post
Here's another question: I added the extra weight to my SME arm so I have more mass now BUT, this is still a light arm I mean not really stiff like an Origin live or SME V or whatever. How does this translate into cart selection? is it a function of both cartridge stiffness and mass that relates to a carts compliance and how it will work or sound? Or is mass enough?
The turntable plinth will interact with the arm in respect of the mounting, with more modern rigid arms like the Rega / SME IV / V dumping more energy into the plinth, which is why solid plinths are in vogue these days.

On suspended subchassis like your AR and other tables mentioned like the Logic DM101 or indeed the Thorens decks which are a very popular SME 3009 combo, then the physical weight of the arm itself is a factor in how much the decks suspension is excited. Moreover arms like the SME 3009 are well damped and don't transfer as much kinetic energy from the process of playing a record into the suspension either.

Generally medium mass and rigidy have been the state of the art since the '80s with SME and they explain their reason here. SME - Series V
Prior to this the SME Series III and Series 2 / S2 versions of SME 3009 experimented with lower mass in the '70s. The original '50s-'60s SME 3009 was more medium mass and generally considered optimal for classic MC's like the Ortofon SPU or on a budget / in professional applications the Denon 103 . To confuse matters further SME returned to this configuration with the SME 3009 in the '80s.

You can read up on mass and compliance issues here PHONO Cartridge Compliance, Tonearm Mass, System Resonance, Loading of MC and MM Capacitance, RIAA Characteristic
post #30 of 54
I bookmarked that link. Your posts never cease to be instructive.

Thanks.

--Jerome
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