Founded in 1946 in Steyning, southern England, SME enjoys a legendary reputation among turntable fans. Among the manufacturer's premium products, the Series V tonearm introduced in 1984 stands out in particular. Now, the British company presented a turntable of superlatives with the Model 60. The turntable is made of two aluminum panels, elaborately decoupled from each other and from the surface vertically as well as horizontally via polymer cylinders and belts. The high-precision platter bearing is hydraulically damped.
At the same time, SME presents a completely new version of the Series V tonearm. The tube of the „Series VA“ is not made of magnesium, but rather of a high-tech composite material, and also milled from solid blocks. The oval "Tri-Lobe" shape of the tube is supposed to deliver additional stability. The effective mass is said to be around 14 grams. The control device of the Model 60, which weighs around 64 kilograms, is located in a separate chassis, as is the transformer, which aims to rule out interference coming from electromagnetic waves, for example.
The presentation of the Model 60 took place in the listening room of SME founder Alastair Aikman, who died in 2006, famous among phono experts. There, the super turntable played with components from Nagra and Boulder as well as Rockport loudspeakers, as well as with Ortofon's new Verismo MC adjusted to the „Series VA“ tonearm. For STEREO, our editor Matthias Böde was there, enthusiastic about all sonic aspects of the turntable. Overview, dynamics, three-dimensionality – all superb. In particular, our turntable specialist was fascinated by the timing of the machine, which allowed him to rhythmically re-experience some of the records he had brought with him.
Well-off phono enthusiasts can look forward to listening experiences in a class of their own. The exact price of the SME Model 60, which is available in light silver, blue and natural aluminum, in addition to the usual black, has not yet been announced. For Germany, we expect the market launch in about two months with a price of about 70,000 euros including tonearm.