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  • SME Under New Ownership

    SME Under New Ownership

    ... the first generation of UK audio pioneers has well and truly passed.

  • #2
    Thanks Tim! I saw that too and Roy kinda summed it up. This fellow Shirke had bought into those other brands and appears to trying to put together a consortium. So now they have two speaker brands, two electronics lines, two cable lines, a lifestyle line and now a turntable manufacturer under their roof. So all they are missing is a digital manufacturer. Who could be next?

    That said, and I know we have some SME owners (be interesting to get their feedback), the company just lost its panache over the years. Back in the '90s, their turntables did things others only dreamed up. The first time I heard the Sumiko table, I was amazed by just how quiet it sounded. I was never a huge fan of the arm (yes it was built well) but sales proved me wrong. Or maybe it just didn't match to the tables I heard it on.

    Rightly or wrong so. I also think losing Sumiko as a distributor hurt the US market (I guess Chad is the US distributor now?).
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

    Comment


    • #3
      Meridian & Linn still remain British, for now...

      david
      Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
      Distribution: NEODIO

      Special Sales: van den Hul
      Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

      Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
      http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
      http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

      Comment


      • MylesBAstor
        MylesBAstor commented
        Editing a comment
        I think NAIM is still British too.

      • david k
        david k commented
        Editing a comment
        French, owner is VerVent Audio Group who also own Focal.

        david
        Last edited by david k; 09-14-2016, 08:48 AM.

      • Metamatic
        Metamatic commented
        Editing a comment
        Doh

    • #4
      What is the country of origin of the new owners?
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

      Comment


      • cpp
        cpp commented
        Editing a comment
        I would think India

      • JCOConnell
        JCOConnell commented
        Editing a comment
        well, I guess they wont have to outsource their telephone support

    • #5
      I have a SME V on a Sota table on a second system I have had that arm forever never given any problems great arm I was not knocked out by their tables and I wanted them to be my big TT but they just did not do it for me.

      As to SME being sold it happens sometimes it is good sometimes not we will see.

      Comment


      • #6
        Originally posted by Garth View Post
        I have a SME V on a Sota table on a second system I have had that arm forever never given any problems great arm I was not knocked out by their tables and I wanted them to be my big TT but they just did not do it for me.

        As to SME being sold it happens sometimes it is good sometimes not we will see.
        Did you hear the SME 30 turntable? that one is pretty impressive.
        Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

        Comment


        • Garth
          Garth commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes I did several times a 3 different set ups it just did not move my hand toward my wallet .

      • #7
        I remember, many years ago when I was using an SME V, talking with Brian Laker of SME.
        To call during his hours, I remember finding a world map to get the time offset for translating GMT to CST.
        That would -6.

        My question: W
        ould you kindly say what sonic evidence under normal replay conditions may give indication of incorrect or non-functioning anti-skate?

        "Hi Brian, before we start, let me open this can of worms." Heh.

        Brian was polite and helpful.

        Years later I replaced the SME V with a Triplanar. I liked the Triplanar sonics but the SME build quality, materials and sense of micrometer-like precision still impresses.

        Comment


        • #8
          I had a SME Series III-S (star wars) arm for a while. Never could understand why it looked the way it did. Sold it for a profit.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

          Comment


          • #9
            I bought a Model 30/12A for my 50th birthday. It has given me nothing by great sound without hassle for four years. I add one drop of oil to the motor and change the drive belt once a year. I did improve the performance by placing my table on a preloaded, ballasted Vibraplane. It will be interesting to see in what direction the new owners will take the brand. SME was a conservative company which made changes very slowly and deliberately. Build quality and reliability are exemplary.

            Unlike many high end audio companies that rely on selling existing customers frequent upgraded components, SME believed their products would be kept and used by original owners for many years and possibly given to their heirs. They still sell parts for arms designed decades ago.

            SME did not advertise much and did not rely on samples being sent around for multiple reviews. Their products are not that popular in the US, but they are in demand in other parts of the world and production is high. I don't know the numbers, but they sell a lot and have trouble keeping up with orders, from what I have heard. I guess they don't need to advertise or have many reviews.

            There has been much discussion the last few years about mass loaded direct drive tables and the speed issues with belt drive and sonic compromises with suspended tables. Now the Kronos and TechDas brands seem to garner much of the discussions. They are suspended belt drive tables, just like those from SME.

            I was surprised by this announcement and look forward to seeing what the new owners will do.



            [ATTACH=CONFIG]n27514[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]n27515[/ATTACH] [ATTACH=CONFIG]n27516[/ATTACH]
            Attached Files
            System link: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threa...l-sound.32867/
            Micro Seiki SX8000 II, SME 3012R, vdH Colibri GC 0.25 mV
            Lamm LP2.1 Deluxe, Lamm LL1 Signature, Lamm ML2.
            Vitavox CN-191 corner horns, NOS cables, Ching Cheng power cords

            Comment


            • tom_hankins
              tom_hankins commented
              Editing a comment
              My dream table, gorgeous!

          • #10
            hopefully SME's the new owners act like the good stewards/custodians the brand deserves. Looking at other iconic makes like ARC, i'm not sure their new owners upheld the traditions Bill Johnson would have envisaged.
            TURNTABLE TechDAS Airforce III | TONEARM Graham Phantom III | CARTRIDGES ZYX Omega X SB2 + Lyra Etna SL | PHONO STAGE Boulder 1008 | DIGITAL Innuos MiniZen II + M2Tech Young + Palmer PS | LINE STAGE Boulder 810 | AMPLIFIERS Boulder 850 Monos | SPEAKERS Magico A5 | RACK Adona Eris 6DW | CABLES Mogami + Canare

            Comment


            • Guest's Avatar
              Guest commented
              Editing a comment
              Without putting too big a divot in this SME thread, I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts about the path ARC is on.

            • Rob
              Rob commented
              Editing a comment
              where to start? their PCBs now use solder mask which is a mass production technique so they can wave solder and minimize hand soldering/de-fluxing. You won't get any designer to tell you its for the sound, if anything its an insulator and the usual sonic compromises apply. The PCBs are also thinner like 3/32 vs. 3/16 and they completely eliminated litz wiring looms of yore, as litz requires pre-tinning with a soldering pot before it can be soldered to the 'board - a hugely laborious process. its clear the new owners were interested in streamlining (cost cutting) and the result is that ARC is more expensive than ever!

          • #11
            Originally posted by Rob View Post
            hopefully the new owners act like the custodians the brand deserves. Looking at other iconic makes like ARC, i'm not sure the new owners upheld the traditions Bill Johnson would have envisaged.
            Well I wonder if they will step into the 21st century with expanding their distribution (one wonders how much it has fallen off over the years) and perhaps with this new cash influx, introducing some new models and arms?
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

            Comment


            • #12
              Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

              Well I wonder if they will step into the 21st century with expanding their distribution (one wonders how much it has fallen off over the years) and perhaps with this new cash influx, introducing some new models and arms?
              Myles, the Model 15 is only a year or two old. And the Model 20/3 came just before that. I think almost all of their current products were introduced in the 21st century, the exceptions being the Model 30 turntable (1991) and V arm.
              System link: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threa...l-sound.32867/
              Micro Seiki SX8000 II, SME 3012R, vdH Colibri GC 0.25 mV
              Lamm LP2.1 Deluxe, Lamm LL1 Signature, Lamm ML2.
              Vitavox CN-191 corner horns, NOS cables, Ching Cheng power cords

              Comment


              • MylesBAstor
                MylesBAstor commented
                Editing a comment
                That was meant more for the business model. At one time SME could claim they had the best engineered and manufactured tables; machining capabilities and materials have advanced so that they are no longer unique in that regard.

            • #13
              SME build quality and materials may no longer be unique, but wondering if they will step into the 21st century implies something else. If you are referring only to their distribution, it does not seem inferior to that of say TechDas or Kronos, especially outside of the US. Within the US, they are distributed by Chad himself, one of the best advocates for analog anywhere. But I agree with you that the brand is not as discussed or visible as it once was in the US at least. Perhaps the new owners will change that.
              System link: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threa...l-sound.32867/
              Micro Seiki SX8000 II, SME 3012R, vdH Colibri GC 0.25 mV
              Lamm LP2.1 Deluxe, Lamm LL1 Signature, Lamm ML2.
              Vitavox CN-191 corner horns, NOS cables, Ching Cheng power cords

              Comment


              • #14
                I can't speculate on the reasons for the sale or SME's market share but I know that there were S2 3xxx-R customers and everything else customer and when they dropped the S2 they lost that customer too. The decision to drop a legacy product like that never made any sense to me and the so called replacement M series missed the mark completely. It's no different than Rolex dropping their Oyster models, LV their long lived brown and gold pattern and Porsche their 911, the S2 3xxx series arms were among such Classics I hope that the new owner will have the wisdom to revive this beautiful tonearm...

                david
                Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
                Distribution: NEODIO

                Special Sales: van den Hul
                Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

                Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
                http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
                http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

                Comment


                • #15
                  Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                  Well I wonder if they will step into the 21st century with expanding their distribution (one wonders how much it has fallen off over the years) and perhaps with this new cash influx, introducing some new models and arms?
                  To David's point, why screw with success and SME is a real engineering company and has been way ahead of the pack in no-nonsense SOTA playback gear. Who else makes an 'arm that's 35 years old and is still SOTA in the way its made and performs?

                  The Porsche analogy is a good one. They were on the ropes financially in the early '90s and consulted with Toyota on how to make a cheaper to build 911. The result was the 996 abomination. I know I owned one, it was more boxster than 911 and unless you had the Gt2, GT3 or Turbo it shared the same shitty engine block as the boxster. Look at the resale of 996's its dismal and will never be cherished by collectors. the 997 went some distance to save Porsche's face but the damage was already done.
                  TURNTABLE TechDAS Airforce III | TONEARM Graham Phantom III | CARTRIDGES ZYX Omega X SB2 + Lyra Etna SL | PHONO STAGE Boulder 1008 | DIGITAL Innuos MiniZen II + M2Tech Young + Palmer PS | LINE STAGE Boulder 810 | AMPLIFIERS Boulder 850 Monos | SPEAKERS Magico A5 | RACK Adona Eris 6DW | CABLES Mogami + Canare

                  Comment

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