Award-Winning SME 309 Gives Analog Lovers Stellar Performance and the Ability to Effortlessly Change Cartridges: British-Made Tonearm Has Acoustically Inert Character
One-piece magnesium arm construction, extremely high rigidity, and the convenient ability to quickly exchange cartridges come together in the SME 309 tonearm. Handcrafted in Britain, 309 features a unique die-cast magnesium headshell that can be removed or interchanged without disturbing the cartridge or wiring. Its clamping architecture ensures a stiff junction with the tonearm, while internal constrained-layer damping defeats residual vibrations to make 309 acoustically inert. Additional resonance control comes in the form of an underslung weight housing that corrupts the center of gravity and provides non-reflective tonearm termination; a low-inertia, tungsten-alloy balance weight carried on two-point suspension that enables playback of even warped LPs; and a swiveling, damped output socket.
Built to the most exacting specifications with extremely high tolerances, 309 is as adjustment-friendly as it is seemingly indestructible. Its anti-skate control operates through a tension seeing and filament, while a dial corresponds with VTF and has a positive OFF position. A height-adjustable lowering/raising control contributes to its smooth operation, and a dual-lock base affords secure movement control. 309 also allows for easy VTA and HTA measurements.
Most importantly, 309 tracks vinyl LPs with an assuredness, stability, and accuracy that heightens the dynamics, tonality, focus, and instrumental bloom of anything you play. A recipient of The Absolute Sound's Editors' Choice Award for more than 15 years, and a Stereophile Class A Recommended Component for nearly as long, 309 remains a standard-setting device with no equal in its class.
"If there’s a better-made tonearm for [$3,000]...or one that even comes close, I've yet to encounter it."
– Michael Fremer, Stereophile, Class A Recommended Component
"A black, tapered titanium beauty, the 309 is a rarity in today's high-performance models – an arm with a removable headshell for easier cartridge swapping."
– The Absolute Sound, Editors' Choice Award
SME: More Than 70 Years of Precision-Based Manufacturing
SME was formed in 1946 as "The Scale Model Equipment Company" to manufacture scale models and parts for the model-engineering trade. During the 1950s, SME moved away from model making to precision engineering – principally, for parts for aircraft instruments and business machines. In 1959 Alastair Robertson-Aikman, the company's founder, required a tonearm for his own use and an experimental model was built. It received such an enthusiastic reception from friends in the audio industry that it went into commercial production, with the first model appearing in September 1959. At this time, the company's name was changed to SME Limited. Today, SME is a precision-engineering company based in Steyning, Sussex, England. It manufactures high-end, precision-made audio equipment and high-quality, precision-made components for aerospace, Formula 1, and medical industries. SME has alone sold more than 1,000,000 tonearms alone and is looked upon by many music enthusiasts as the world leader in tonearm design and manufacturing.
Unsurpassed Quality Control: In-House Milling, CNC Turning, and Anodizing
No-compromise quality control and assurance remain paramount to everything foe which SME stands and covers all aspects of the production process, from initial client enquiry to final inspection, delivery, and client acceptance. SME is accredited with an ISO 9001 2015 certification for quality management and enjoy an enviable reputation within the industry for uncompromising quality standards. SME has a coordinate measuring machine operated by highly experienced engineering inspectors to ensure every component produced conforms to exacting standards. SME specializes in CNC milling and has a wide range of Mori Seiki CNC milling machines that enable production of parts up to 750mm in length x 480mm in width x 450mm in height. In addition, SME boasts vast expertise in CNC turning. Its high-quality and complex Hardinge machines feature full mill and turn capabilities and a Y-axis that enables manufacture of parts in one operation. In addition, SME possesses in-house capability for anodizing, chrome plating, chemical blacking, gold plating, copper plating, nickel plating, and laser etching.