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

simoncui

New Member
Apr 14, 2014
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#1
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!
 

cjfrbw

Active Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,145
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Pleasanton, CA
#2
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.
 

dan31

New Member
Jul 22, 2010
348
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SF Bay
#4
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.
 
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Jan 29, 2012
834
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#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.
 

XV-1

Active Member
May 24, 2010
1,559
8
38
Sydney
#7
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.
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,881
12
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North Shore of Boston
#8
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.
 
May 30, 2010
13,964
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Portugal
#10
I owned both - no comparison. The SME30 is a winner. Would not mind returning to it.
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,881
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North Shore of Boston
#11
I owned both - no comparison. The SME30 is a winner. Would not mind returning to it.
That is my sense too. However, the 20/12 is a much more substantial design than is the 20/2. The new 20/3 is based on the 20/12, having thicker platter, and plinths, and better suspension. I read one report in which the reviewer thinks the new 20/3 approaches the performance of the 30/2 for a lot less money. I think the newer 20 and 20/12 are significantly better than the older Model 20. Of course, that does not answer the question for the OP about the 20/12 or 30/2. There is some information about this comparison on the net. It might be worth searching for it.

Jfrech also has fond memories of his old SME.
 

jfrech

VIP/Donor
Sep 3, 2012
1,536
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Austin
#12
I owned both - no comparison. The SME30 is a winner. Would not mind returning to it.
I've have said, I loved my SME 20/2 & IV.Vi arm...one day I'll have a SME again...likely at 30....just something neat about SME....love what i have...and won't sell it..but a SME has a "rightness" that is often missed...
 

simoncui

New Member
Apr 14, 2014
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0
#13
Yes, this is back to my question: choice better tunetable or choice longer arm……
 

jfrech

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Sep 3, 2012
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#14
Yes, this is back to my question: choice better tunetable or choice longer arm……
Not sure their is a "better" choice. It's a preference choice. Longer arm or better table. Longer arm brings less distortion and more relaxed sound. Better table brings more foundation, lower noise and likely better resolution and weight to the notes. Both are good.
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,881
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North Shore of Boston
#15
Yes, this is back to my question: choice better tunetable or choice longer arm……
Try to find a used Model 30/12A. If you can, that is the clear choice because it combines the best qualities of each table. If you can't, contact a dealer who has both a 30/2 and a 20/12 and listen to each. Listen for detail retrieval, and particularly the attack, sustain and decay of notes, especially on piano, then blackness of background and solidity of images, base extension and overall clarity. That should tell you which table you prefer. It will come down to preference as jfrech writes. I've already stated which one I would lean toward and why. But, only you can know which you will prefer. It is your choice.

I'm glad to see some new discussion of SME turntables. With Kronos and TechDAS chat, SME and others have become a bit overlooked, IMO.

simoncui, have you considered other brands, and why are you focusing on SME?
 
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simoncui

New Member
Apr 14, 2014
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#16
Dear Peter and JF

Frankly, I am totally a newbee for vinyl,I know SME just read the TAS report, they said SME is the best choice…….

I am completely open for other brands, including second hands, someone told me, for my budget of within 8000USD, Kuzma maybe is another good choice, but I have no any listen experience for Kuzma or SME, in fact, all my friends just play CD system. I like classic music, especial piano music and some Jazz.

looking forward to any further advice, many thanks!
 
Jan 28, 2015
256
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Wales, UK
#17
I use a Kuzma XL DC + 4pt, I much prefer it to the sme 20/2a I had previously. It is great with piano and jazz. It will dig out the best in any vinyl recording, albums I did not find that interesting on the sme come to life on the Kuzma. I also have a 2nd 12"arm (kuzma ref 313). It is not quite as good as the 4pt which is 10", it (4pt) does not suffer from being shorter.
 

108CY

New Member
May 4, 2013
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#18
The Sme 20/12 is the hidden gem in the sme line up maybe because it shares the 20 designation, I suggested to Alistair Robertson Aikman it should be called the 25. In my honest opinion it is the connoisseurs choice when it comes to Sme. I personally have all models on hand and have owned a sme turntable since 1990, the 20/12 is less exciting than the 30/2 which is fantastic but for me lacks the musical flow of the 20/12 the 20/12 should not be mistaken for 20/3 a very different sound indeed. The 20/3 is rather exciting quite a fast bit of kit, the 20/12 has a more solid calm musical nature with a fuller midrange presence. My personal choice is for the unloved 20/12 as I have actually lived and listened to it. I still love the 30/2 but don't care so much for the drama the 30/12 again is a very different beast from the 30/12. I have listened to the 20/12 with both 9inch and 12inch arms and still like its rather calm nature. I actually set up both turntables today before wrote this to confirm my love for the rare gem in the sme line up. I also have the original 30/2 prototype which is different again from the production models as it has ball bearings in each suspension tower and a high viscosity damping fluid. This deck is much different again very dynamic and explosive but maintains a great deal of sweetness.
 

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,881
12
38
North Shore of Boston
#19
The Sme 20/12 is the hidden gem in the sme line up maybe because it shares the 20 designation, I suggested to Alistair Robertson Aikman it should be called the 25. In my honest opinion it is the connoisseurs choice when it comes to Sme. I personally have all models on hand and have owned a sme turntable since 1990, the 20/12 is less exciting than the 30/2 which is fantastic but for me lacks the musical flow of the 20/12 the 20/12 should not be mistaken for 20/3 a very different sound indeed. The 20/3 is rather exciting quite a fast bit of kit, the 20/12 has a more solid calm musical nature with a fuller midrange presence. My personal choice is for the unloved 20/12 as I have actually lived and listened to it. I still love the 30/2 but don't care so much for the drama the 30/12 again is a very different beast from the 30/12. I have listened to the 20/12 with both 9inch and 12inch arms and still like its rather calm nature. I actually set up both turntables today before wrote this to confirm my love for the rare gem in the sme line up. I also have the original 30/2 prototype which is different again from the production models as it has ball bearings in each suspension tower and a high viscosity damping fluid. This deck is much different again very dynamic and explosive but maintains a great deal of sweetness.
Thanks for these comments. Could you please clarify the sentence in BOLD. Also, how would you describe the sonic differences between the 20/12 and the 30/12 and then the 30/2 and the 30/12? I own the 30/12 and find that it has a very solid, calm, natural sound. The midrange has incredible presence, and it seems highly resolving. It just sounds right to me.
 

108CY

New Member
May 4, 2013
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#20
The 30/2 is far more dramatic and brighter sounding than the 30/12 which is far more calm and natural as is the 20/12. Many 30/2 owners do like the 30/12 or 20/12 with there much more calm presentation. The 30/12 and 20/12 are both lovely the 20/12 a little sweeter and laid back and can be really nice as its unusual for a Sme turntable but the 30/12 have a weight and scale that is rather impressive. The 20/12 offers excellent value for money.
 
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