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Thread: Please HELP TO CHOICE SME 20/12 OR SME 30/2

  1. #1

    Question Please HELP TO CHOICE SME 20/12 OR SME 30/2

    SME 30/2 is higher level than 20/12, but only use 9 inch arm ( like SME V). SME 20/12 can use 12' SME V-12 , please help to which one this better choice? just focus on sound quality. SME 30/2 with SME V arm or SME 20/12 with SME v-12 arm. many thanks!
    KHAMAR GR-CE-E-1.0
    Spectral 30SL
    vitus SM-102

  2. #2
    Addicted to Best! cjfrbw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Pleasanton, CA
    I think it really depends on how much you like the low compliance cartridge/ 12 inch arm sound. Between the two, I would generally think the 30/2 would sound better (heavier platter, dense aluminum plates vs. hard plastic plates in 20 series).

    I think the 12 inch arm/ low compliance cartridge sound is a bit more tape like. If that's what you want, the 20/12 is a no brainer.

    SME scales the sound quality of its turntables pretty proportionately with price, and that puts the 20/12 between the 20/2 and the 30/2, with the 30/12 being tops.
    SME 30/2 Turntable, Da Vinci Grandezza Tonearm, Benz MC-3 Cartridge, Allnic HT 3000 head amp, Allnic H-3000 Phono, Allnic L 5000 preamp, Accuphase F 25, Analysis Audio Epsilon Speaker/foil tweeters in four way active crossover Amplification: Sony TAN 8550 VFET amp (26 DHT preamp driver)350-7000hz, Yamaha B-2 VFET amplifier (26 DHT preamp driver)80-350hz , 45 SET tube amp 7000Hz to infinity Hz, Yamaha RX Z9 plus Yamaha Aventage CX-A5000 preamp processor 9.4 surround sound.

  3. #3
    [WBF Founding Member]
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    [Technical Expert] Bruce B's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Seattle, WA
    I have the 30/2 with Series V arm and Coralstone cart. I have no reason to upgrade and the vinyl rips I make are archival/tape quality!
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA

    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

  4. #4
    Addicted to Best!
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    SF Bay
    Silly, but don't underestimate the importance of the arm. The 12" V is often praised as the best of the current generation of sme arms. Perhaps a Graham on the 30/2 might be the best package if you want the more compact size. I was going to go for the 20/3 and phantom iii but I switched to the Spiral groove table with the Centroid arm. Both your options are good choices.
    Last edited by dan31; 12-08-2016 at 07:34 AM.

  5. #5
    Thank you all for your valuable advice!
    KHAMAR GR-CE-E-1.0
    Spectral 30SL
    vitus SM-102

  6. #6
    Once I went to a 12" arm, I cannot go back to a 9" arm. The reduction of tracking error and inner groove distortion made a profound change in my playback.
    My system:
    PBN 2!5s Horn Speakers. Lamm LL2.1 Deluxe Preamp. Lamm LP2.1 Deluxe Phono. Lamm ML1.2 Push/Pull Amps. Acoustic Signature Ascona Turntable. SME 3012R Tonearm. Various Cartridges including: AirTight, Ortofon SPU, Signet MM and Grace MM. Sonorus Modified Revox P99 Tape Deck. Custom Cables

  7. #7
    Addicted to Best! XV-1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Definately 30/2.

    If you then really want a true upgrade with no tracking error - you can then upgrade to a Thales Simplicity II. Thales makes a SME mount.
    Source:TW Raven AC-3 - Thales Simplicity II, Exclusive P3, Technics SP10mk3, Linn LP12 - Naim ARO
    Cartridges: Lyra Atlas SL, Etna SL, Delos, Dynavector XV-1s, Technics EPC100mk4, Ortofon A90, GM Royal, GM Classic, Denon DL-S1, ESC'd 103R, Audio Tech AT25, OC9II, Linn ESC'd Troika
    Phono Stage: TW Acustik/Thoress phono, Accuphase C-37 EQ: ​​DEQX HDP-4
    Preamp: cj GAT, Amps: cj teflon premier 8a's, D'Agostino Momentum Stereo, Speakers: Wilson Maxx3 -Townsend Supertweeters

  8. #8
    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    North Shore of Boston
    I have not heard a Model 20/12A. I like the idea of the longer arm, but I would lean toward the heavier, more solid Model 30/2A, given this choice. Have you considered a used Model 30/12A? They are hard to find, but there were a couple of used ones for sale on Audiogon a couple of years ago. I thought they were very well priced at around $20,000. They were also in great condition. If you can find another deal like one of those, I would buy it. You would then have the solidity and blackness, of the Model 30 and the incredible resolution, smoothness, and tracking ability of the 12" SME arm. Build quality and reliability are superb. There are other great tables, but a 30/12A sounds extremely good, and at that price, there is no table I'd rather own.
    My system link on WBF:
    Analog: SME 30/12, SME V-12, My Sonic Labs Signature Gold, AirTight Supreme, VDH Colibri Platinum, MINT LP protractor
    Electronics: Pass Labs XA160.5 amp, XP-22 preamp, XP-25 phono, Cables: Transparent REF XL MM2,
    Speakers: Magico Q3, Magico Mini II, Essentials: Jim Smith RoomPlay, 3 Vibraplanes, Dedicated circuits

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    uk south-east
    I went through SME 20 and 30, both mks 1 & 2. The 30 easily has it over the 20, though both of mine were wit the 9" arm..

  10. #10
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    May 2010
    I owned both - no comparison. The SME30 is a winner. Would not mind returning to it.
    DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack, Soundlab A1 Px's while waiting for the XLF successor, EMT927, SME3012R, ARC Phono 3, Lamm ML1.2 Ref, Lamm L2ref, Stealth Dream speaker , Crystal Dreamline ICs, TA XL digital, TA XL gen V power cables, CenterStage footers and Nordost Qkore8's!

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