SME M2 Series Tonearms

We’ve long admired SME’s turntable-and-tonearm combos, but often wondered if/when we’d be able to get any of the Sussex, England-based manufacturer’s fine M2 Series tonearms separately here in North America. Their management and distribution teams must have been tuned into our thought patterns here, seeing how SME and Bluebird Music distribution have just announced four M2 Series tonearms are now becoming standalone product offerings on this side of the Pond.

Here’s what’s what with the M2 Series solo quartet. The SME M2 Series includes the following four tonearms: the M2-9 (shown above), M2-9R, M2-12, and M2-12R. The 9 and 9R are both 9in tonearms, while the 12 and 12R are 12in models. All four of these M2 tonearms are said to include a lightweight stainless-steel armtube, detachable headshell with azimuth adjustment, tungsten balance weight, ball race gimbled bearings, and “a level of stiffness and rigidity” (their words) to match with all types of cartridges, including those of medium and low compliance.

The M2-9 and M2-12 tonearms utilize a single-element balance system that accommodates cartridges weighing 5g to 12g. After balancing, tracking force is applied by forward movement of the weight, which is said to ensure the “lowest” system inertia. The weight moves on a precision screw thread with backlash eliminator to allow an exact setting of vertical tracking force. The precision headshell is pressure die-cast in magnesium for lightness and rigidity. Finally, a collet-clamp design allows for “one-piece” rigidity and azimuth adjustment.


As noted above, two R-nomenclatured versions of the M2 tonearms are also offered. The M2-9R and M2-12R (shown above) are said to deliver “all” the performance of traditional J-shaped tonearms, and they also feature detachable aluminum headshells with azimuth adjustment, a two-stage tungsten counterbalance system with the tungsten balance weights housed in satin chromed brass sleeves, and vertical and horizontal tracking adjustment.

Additionally, height is adjusted by a thumb wheel that enables the arms to be used with a wide range of cartridges and turntables. The HTA-design base mount and standardized headshell collet J-shaped armtubes are also said to make the R versions “optimal” matches for vintage-style SPU phono cartridges.

The North American SRPs for each of these four SME M2 Series tonearms are as follows. The M2-9 has an SRP of $3,395 U.S. ($4,395 Canadian), while the M2-9R is $4,295 U.S. ($5,595 Canadian), the M2-12 is $3,695 U.S. ($4,795 Canadian), and the M2-12R is $4,695 U.S. ($6,095 Canadian).

Finally, the two 9in M2 Series tonearms — the M2-9 and M2-9R — are in stock via Bluebird Music, while the 12in variations — M2-12 and M2-12R — are available by special order. Follow the links directly below to further explore either of these obtainment options accordingly.

For more about SME, go here.
To find an authorized SME dealer, go here.


volvic's picture

Those prices are really high, a far cry from a few years ago when I got an M2-9 for $800 and an M2-9r for $1800, right when SME announced they would stop selling tonearms. Ever since the Indian billionaire bought the company, some of SME’S decisions have puzzled me, not selling tonearms to the public and other turntable manufacturers was and is a silly idea. Hopefully they see the light and offer the other arms as well.

CG's picture

I'm with you.

Billionaires don't get to be billionaires by not extracting completely non-linear rewards for their goods and services. Unless they inherited the money, of course.

I've been admiring these arms >> for a while, but haven't pulled the trigger yet. Not quite as shiny as SME, but maybe close.

(I have no connection to the company - just a lust for their arm...)

Glotz's picture

And I get their tolerances may have been tightened, but those prices... No F'ing Way.

I agree on their almost schizo-like backpedaling on their retail offerings as stand-alone tonearms.... It does not lend trust for me.

dial's picture

These are now very old designs...
My favorite will forever remain the Sony PSLX 300 H and yet I've had much more prestigious ones from Linn (Akito & Basik+), Rega RB 300, Magnepan, SME 3009 II & Delaleu (which I still have), Syrinx PU 2, Excel GST 1.

If you're on a tight budget, I recommend both S-shaped Pro-Ject 1944 191 320 (the one on the Genie Turntable), or OEM Technics with detachable headshell, sold without one.

They can be found for around $75 & $150 (not including shipping and customs). If applicable.

Trevor_Bartram's picture

While the prices of most high end gear shocks me, SME used to offer value for money but it seems no longer. I purchased an SME 3009 from a friend in the mid 70s for 30 pounds sterling and used it for ten years. I believe I still have it stored away in the basement, I wonder what it's worth now?

volvic's picture

I agree. They used to be reasonable and, frankly, a bargain considering how well they’re made and that includes the IV and V, which at some point were within reach for us mortals. But my beef is with Shirke; he bought the Garrard name, stopped supporting or repairing them, and now only offers the 301 at an exorbitant price. At first, I was sympathetic, given their expertise, quality level, limited market, etc. But the more I thought about it, the more it smacked of elitism, greed, and a turnoff to those who relied on Loricraft for repairs and service in the past. It’s a shame as I have spoken to them over the phone many times over the years as I purchase supplies and have had parts of my turntable serviced by them. They offer excellent service, and their products are tops in my book; the people are lovely and have invited me to come to the factory several times if I am in the hood. I have no qualms with them, but with how the company is managed. It is a shame Aikman’s kids didn’t want to keep it in the family. Depending on the year and condition, I figure your tonearm could fetch a minimum of $600 if you have the box and paperwork, then more.

JACK L's picture


30 Quids in 1970s worth 1,979 Quids today !!!!! Not cheap at all.

FYI, a used SME 3009R curved black arm is on eBay for USD2,800 just now.

I got the same model arm installed on my direct-drive TT/MC/factory matched headamp (all Japanese-made).

But so what? It only serves as my backup as I am that impressed with its sound.


Trevor_Bartram's picture

According to several sources on the interweb your inflation calculator is off, 30 quid in 1975 is about 300 quid today.
$2800?, I'm going to dig around in my basement for that 3009, thanks!

Wassent's picture

The features of four tonearms: M2-9, M2-9R, M2-12 and M2-12R merge fruit have been shown in this article. Lists the comparison so I can easily choose the tonearm I want.