SME Introduces New Model 6 Turntable With M2-9 Arm

From the press release:

"The Model 6 brings the legendary SME engineering excellence and craftsmanship to a wider audience than ever before. The turntable chassis is CNC-machined from a high density polymer resin, providing high mass with a small footprint; the result is superb resonance absorption and the musical, dynamic sound quality for which SME is famous. The main bearing, spindle, and pulleys are built to the same exacting standards of precision as all SME turntables. Speed control is provided by a new, sophisticated electronic speed control, housed in a separate enclosure crafted from the same polymer as the chassis. Speed adjustment is provided over a wide range, set by a rotary control.

The Model 6’s integrated tonearm is an improved version of the highly-regarded SME M2-9, in a black chrome finish to match the turntable. Suitable for use with both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges over a wide range of weight, 2 to 12 grams, the arm has a removable headshell which simplifies both initial set-up and subsequent cartridge changes.

Price in The United States is $8995, $11,995 in Canada. Importer Bluebird Music says the Model 6 is in stock and now shipping to dealers.

volvic's picture

But once again ouch! the price. I own the 10 and do enjoy it. SME's after-sales service is stellar and the people are lovely and very accomodating. The PS looks interesting, always been a big fan of making minute speed changes. You will notice though that the arm does not use the SME mounting pattern but appears to be circular. So if you already own an SME arm you apparently cannot simply buy the table without the arm and put your own SME arm in. Be curious to hear more from the company about this.

Ortofan's picture

... mounting arrangement and the headshell has only mounting holes, rather than slots, then by what means is cartridge overhang adjustment accomplished?

volvic's picture

But if you look at other photos the sliding base is not there. Could they have it mounted beneath? I am curious as it is an M2-9 which I own but without the sliding base.

Boothroyd's picture

The reason SME refers to their Model 6 as an "Integrated Turntable" is most likely due to to the fact the arm is not meant to be swapped. Features include female chassis mount RCA receptacles and a chassis ground screw on the rear of the base/plinth.

The HTA overhang adjustment is still in play here with an "integrated" change of the typical HTA Bedplate of the Series M2 now being machined into the plinth.

garyalex's picture

But while $8995 isn't TechDas money it's still a stretch for many, myself included. I'd love to see what SME could do for about half of that price.

PAR's picture

Unfortunately the prices in North America reflect the margin added by the local distributor. In its home country of the UK and without tax it is 4799gbp or the equivalent of US $6369.

Frankly I find it quite ugly as if the mechanical engineers had been responsible for the entire result without any input from an industrial designer. Image the base in bright yellow and it will look like something from the Fisher Price catalogue.

As Ortofan mentions the method of overhang adjustment is mysterious given the round arm pillar mounting and lack of headshell slots. I have checked the SME website and they have not posted a user manual. The only review so far that I can find does not mention a problem in this regard . However they ( What Hi-Fi) say that it came already fitted with a cartridge (Ortofon Cadenza Black) so presulably they did not encounter the issue.

volvic's picture

They were the first ones to review it and it came as you said pre-installed with the Ortofon cartridge. It just occurred to me that in order to keep the table a closed SME "architecture" that they offer it fixed with an M2, no sliding base for overhang adjustment and just like a Naim Aro the overhang works with only a select few cartridge manufacturers.

PAR's picture

"the overhang works with only a select few cartridge manufacturers."

Yes, that idea had occurred to me. If it is correct (a bit like "P" mount cartridges) then IMO that is taking the idea of plug 'n play a bit to far and is also inconsistent with the rest of the design which still has provision for pretty accurate VTA/SRA adjustment as the arm pillar appears to be raised or lowered by a rotating collar and screw thread.

The other difficulty ( especially at this price level) is the question of the degree of alignment accuracy. To go for a fixed stylus to pivot arrangement you need to know exactly where the stylus is for all cartridges to be used. Not just from make to make but individual cartridge to cartridge of the same model due to tolerance differences in manufacture. Yes Ortofon ( for example) can make a cartridge accurately but even here I would imagine that acceptable tolerances must differ from, for example, the cheaper models to the hand assembled top of range models. And as for a sales proposition that I would always need to buy from limited range of cartridges....

volvic's picture

I don't mind the looks, it does have a resemblance to the 20/3 minus the suspension. It is something that is typical of a company run by machinists.

MhtLion's picture

A U.K. dealer sells it for $6,400, which means it buys it lower than $3,200 (40% margin & 20% VAT). So, when a U.S. customer pays $8,995, SME receives less than $3,200, but $5,800 goes to all the middlemen. The international shipping and the import tax are lower than $500 per unit. Clearly, it's not an efficient market, but this is not unique to SME but many high-end brands.

volvic's picture

You are probably correct, I try not to see the prices of similar gear in the UK, it makes me wish I lived across the pond. But I will state that the current owner of SME is doing more damage to the brand than anyone else. The crazy decision to halt retail sales of their tonearms to the public and their attempt to control the Garrard 301 market with their pricing model is in my modest opinion not helping their future. I am not sure the late and very great Mr. Aikman would have made these same decisions. Luckily Mr. Shirke has deep pockets.

dial's picture

No fingerlift, no standard headshell mount (the famous SME/Ortofon, born in the 50's), that's not fair.
Also all apologies to overseas customers for the prices asked.