SME Model 30/12 review?

RichTeer -- Mon, 03/02/2009 - 16:27

Hi all,
I know it's early days, but can we take it as read that SME's new Model 30/12 turntable and arm will be reviewed one day?  If so, roughly when?

Cemil Gandur -- Tue, 03/03/2009 - 06:40

There's one out by Ken Kessler, taken from the latest HiFi News, on the Sumiko web site. He likes it ... a hell of a LOT.
The disappointing bit is that although he mentions having various SMEs on hand, including the 20/12A and the 30/2, he makes no attempt at comparisons between the 3 tables. Perhaps it is a bit unfair to ask a reviewer to do that, but I am sure many people are wondering about the differences between the 20/12 and the 30/2 seeing that their prices are pretty close (there seems to be substantial disagreement on which "is better"), and what would they get for the substantial extra that the 30/12 would cost.

RichTeer -- Tue, 03/03/2009 - 10:49

Hi Zeb,
I have a copy of KK's review (copied from Sumiko's site).  I don't think it's unfair to ask a reviewer to attempt comparison to products that they already have to hand--IMHO, it's part of their job!
As an aside, I sure wish SME would get their web site updated.  There's no mention of the Model 30/12 on it anywhere!

BMH -- Wed, 03/04/2009 - 10:09

i agree on the website update.  the seems to be a theem in high end audio.  kharma makes no mention that they sell an upgraded version of the Reference 1E Signature - i had to write to find out if it was real - even though i had auditioned them ;)  i think these guys need to realize we have an endless desire to read, research and prod these products.


BMH -- Wed, 03/04/2009 - 10:11

BTW - contacted SME to ask why the MSRP in US is more than $15k greater than in the UK ($50k in US vs. 22.5k pounds in the UK - or $34k in the UK) - they just stated it was currency fluctuation.  i still don't get it, if i am buying now why not get the value of the currency now?


RichTeer -- Wed, 03/04/2009 - 10:38

Agreed, but you'd be better off asking Sumiko Audio that question.  I too feel that the price of SME gear is over inflated (to be fair to Sumiko, I have no idea how inflated the wares of other British companies is, because I'm not that interested in them).  They'll do some handwaving about shipping and import duties which are true enough expenses.  But I don't think for one second that they're on the magnitude we see reflected in the retail prices.  I would imagine that shipping and import duties would add maybe a thousand or two to the price at most.  So yeah, I see no justification for the almost doubling in price.  Makes one tempted to directly import one from the UK...

Cemil Gandur -- Wed, 03/04/2009 - 17:15

Try asking them what would be the price if you paid in pounds - that would move the risk of currency fluctuations to you and therefore that particular excuse won't be valid.

Robert Harley -- Wed, 03/04/2009 - 17:24

We don't have a review scheduled of the 30/12 at the moment, but it certainly looks like a contender.

Paulo (not verified) -- Thu, 03/05/2009 - 13:18

Hi, i know this is off topic here but i'm hopping you'll read this and replay i would like to know if you have havy plans to test Chord's wonderful Cdplayer Chord Red Reference, CPA-5000 referecne preamp and SPM-14000 ultimate i own them and they give me much pleasure, so i'm curious what would be your thoughts about this.
Best regards,

Peter Ayer -- Tue, 09/28/2010 - 18:03

It's been a year and a half since your comment. Is there any chance you might be reviewing the SME 30/12 any time soon? This is the first significant upgrade in twenty or so years to one of the best tables out there. I think you owe it to your readers. Thanks.

paskinn -- Fri, 10/01/2010 - 09:32

   Well, I am no reviewer...but I used a model 30-2 for ten years.. Then I bought the 30-12, which I have been using for about one year. I have also compared both these decks with the 20-12 (which a neighbour owns). I would say KK is about right in his review in Hi Fi News.Compared with the normal model 30,  the  bigger 12inch deck is just a bit smoother and more 'rooted' in its sound.And, perhaps because of that, is also a touch more 'relaxing' to listen to. But both the 9inch and 12inch versions of the deck are very clearly brothers... I would estimate that the 12inch deck is maybe about 15% 'better'...if that makes any sense.
     Now, the standard Model 30 verses the 20-12.  In this you simply make your choice...the 30 majors on a stronger. slightly grippier bass. It just sounds bigger. The 20-12 is a touch smoother and more nimble.For me, it would be the 20-12. For others...who knows!  . As for SME pricing in the USA; you have my sympathies, although we in the UK suffer similar price inflation when buying US made gear.  Finally, a bigger, more butch standard model 20 is about to be launched , bringing the chassis thickness, platter etc into line with the 20-12. Should be rather the way, if you fancy a used SME deck make sure it has the later power supply. The later the better. It makes a real difference.

Peter Ayer -- Fri, 10/01/2010 - 11:06

Thank you for those comments, paskinn. They seem like a good summary of the various tables and this is the first I have read about a modified model 20. Do you have any experience with the 312 arm versus the V12? Also, may I ask what cartridges you have used with the SME arms? I have the SME model 10 with the V arm and am considering moving up the line. Thank you.

paskinn -- Sat, 10/02/2010 - 01:45

This is all highly subjective, but to be quite honest I think the differences between the pricier SME 12 arms are not so great. Heresy I know, but the big difference is between the 9inch range and the 12 inch range. Even the cheapest M12 sounds rather lovely. To my, (imperfect!) ears, something like a 312 sounds every bit as good (although not the same) as a standard 9inch Five. But, as always, opinions may vary! I use various Benz and Koetsu cartridges, mainly a new Urushi.
The new SME 20 is ready at the factory...I would expect it to be released by the end of the year. It should be rather special, and could offer a good upgrade . For me, if money was not the issue, the 20-12 would be the 'sweet spot' in the range. Very pricey, but a lifetime of pleasure could make it a sensible long-term purchase. Good luck.

Cemil Gandur -- Tue, 10/19/2010 - 05:00

 I'm using the V-12 on the 20/12. The table sounds fantastic. Whether the extra money I spent over the 312 is justifiable, I don't know. I was unable to audition the arms, but the comments I have received whilst doing my research on both pointed that the V-12 was the better performer. As paskinn says, that is an entirely subjective comment.
What I can tell you though is that the V-12 is quite a marvel of engineering. Built like a tank (that is also true of the 20-12), it is easy to setup, and performs beautifully. I've had my 20/12 for over a year and a half, and I am still amazed every time I put a record on.

TD160 -- Wed, 11/10/2010 - 00:03

Nice one Mate!
And one day I hope, SME will make a Turntable that will take more than one tonearm .

Peter Ayer -- Thu, 02/16/2012 - 17:09

 Will TAS review the SME 30/12 or SME V-12 arm anytime soon?

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