SME Makes First High End Munich Appearance in 27 Years

SME made its first High End show appearance in 27 years. The company, founded in 1946 by the late Alistair Robertson-Aikman who passed away in 2006 was sold in 2016 to Cadence Group headed by Indian industrialist Ajay Shirke.

Mr. Shirke, who had previously purchased Spendor Audio Systems and is a shareholder in Siltech/Crystal Cables, attended the show along with recently named CEO Stuart McNellis. McNeilis comes from the aerospace industry, while Shirke is an audiophile more invested in saving and enhancing rather than exploiting legendary brands.

In the listening booth was a system consisting of YG Acoustics speakers, Nagra electronics and of course an SME 30/12 turntable fitted with an Ortofon A95.

I sat down with Mr. Shirke and we listened to a test pressing of the Analogue Productions reissue of Duke Ellington's musical and sonic spectacular Ellington Masterpieces. Despite the "pod" venue, the sound was among the best I heard at the show. Mr. McNellis is busy awakening the sleeping SME giant and while the first breaths of new life consist of color and chrome enhancements to long-existing designs plus some new accessories and a "one off" turntable stand also exhibited in the pod, SME fans can expect much more that's new in the upcoming year or two.

PAR's picture

What, a red SME 10? How dare they!

Actually I too looked in at the SME "pod" and rather liked the chrome or gold highlights added to the 20 and (I think) 30 on display.

Actually I think it is a great thing to add a little pizzazz to SME's previously dour 99% all black turntable range . The only downside being a slight lack of aesthetic interchangeabilty of arms if one buys a gold highlighted model and later a chrome accented turntable. Overall this takeover may be very positive. At least the company has stayed in genuine audiophile hands.

BTW, I saw you a few times either engaged in conversation or charging away over a bridge across an atrium. Just to let everyone know that you work very hard. It is highly appreciated.

volvic's picture

Glad to see they will be "blinging" up their products. Covet the 10! As someone who owns two IV's and an M2-9 their products just ooze quality and and great sonics. Thanks for sharing Mr. Fremer.

Audio 1's picture

I really like the improved aesthetics being offered on SME turntables. Should inject more interest into an already incredible product line.

alanng's picture

I was visiting Munich on business looking for things to do on the weekend and accidentally found out about the High End show from a poster. I used to be a big audio fan but lost it somewhere along the way. This is an amazing show and rekindled my love of hi fi.

To tell the truth I almost walked past the SME stand as it looked very dull. It was grey with an old fashioned display of tonearms at the front. I am so happy I went to listen as it was the best sound of the show for me even despite the strange man trying to explain the music to me. It felt like I was listening to live musicians and for me not many of the systems as the show managed that.

The turntables are so beautiful, and the engineering seems great. Not sure I like the gold and chrome but the red is good. The loudspeakers were also amazing in looks and how they sounds.

I have been away from hi fi for too long. I must start saving up, but unsure I'll ever afford this system.

Has anyone heard the smaller YG speakers? Are they as good?

Jay's picture

The surprise of seeing my familiar and much loved Model 10 and Series V in those colours is a bit like seeing The Queen cruising in a low rider!