Sme 3012 R

I know this old arm is good but I don’t know why David,Rockitman,Tang,Ron,Mike
Use or will use having top tonearm like Sat,EliteAxiom,Black Beauty,Durand

Why 3012 is so special?
I never had and I don’t understand
Only to know for my curiosity
Regards
Gian
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Comments

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,528
51
48
Utah
#41
I weighed both. The one I bought is 5 grams heavier. Useful for that mono spu setup. It's machined to the same quality, gasket and all. I bought the last one I believe.
Then he fixed the product because the one I got from him last year was the same weight as the original and didn’t even fit on the arm.
 
Oct 22, 2011
667
7
18
#42
Several years ago I purchased a custom made counterweight for a Denon turntable I have from this guy in the UK. He did a great job.

http://fosworld.wixsite.com/magna-audio

Here is the finished product:

WP_20141216_002.jpg
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,077
92
48
North Shore of Boston
#44
Actually that's not the case at all, as Awsmone pointed out the 3012-r and IV/V are contemporary to one another and the IV/V weren't SME's first fixed headshell arms. The ignorants in Western audio press were knocking the bayonet mount and knife edge bearing in favor of fixed headshell and tight bearing designs for years so to appease them SME made a fixed headshell version of 3XXX Series II arm which few bought and then there was the dreaded Series III prior to the IV/V arms. 3XXX-R series continued until early 2000's, lowest point of turntable sales, when they came up with the M series and then later with the M-R version which is basically the same arm tube/bayonet mount/headshell of the 3XXX-r series transplanted the M gimbal bearing because of demand. The 3xxx Series I/II and II Improved arms sold in hundreds of thousands when they killed it and now they only offer their arms with silver wiring :D! Even successful companies make bad choices when in trouble, remember Apple Performa?

david

(Edit) PS. Bruce, you're welcome to bring your V12 over for a side by side listening sessions, the two arms are very different and share no family DNA.
David, it would be fascinating to directly compare the V-12 to the 3012R using the same cartridge and turntable, but I do not think Bruce has a V-12 arm. He owns the SME Model 30 and I think uses the 9" SME V arm. I can assure you that the 12" SME V-12 sounds very different from the 9" SME V. I directly compared the two over a two week period on my SME 30/12 turntable. I do not know if the internal wiring was the same. I suppose that might have influenced the sound of each.

I appreciate you sharing you knowledge of the history of these arms. I have a few questions: why did SME discontinue the 3xxx Series I/II arms if they were selling in the hundreds of thousands? and do you have any idea why their Model 20/30 turntables with the suspension towers were not designed to accommodate the 3xxx series arms? The rear right suspension tower is too close to the platter to provide enough clearance for the 3xxx counter weight. Seems strange. Do you know if the 3012R counterweight can be modified by cutting the extension/support rod shorter and using a heavier weight. I think if one could shave just 3/8" off the length behind the pivot point, it would clear the suspension tower. We discussed this length issue before, but I have forgotten the exact distances required. Then one could do a proper comparison between the V-12 and 3012R on the bigger SME turntables.
 

Stacore

Industry Expert
Feb 23, 2017
431
11
18
Gdańsk, Poland
stacore.pl
#46
I know on paper it’s supposed to only affect very low frequencies but sonically it affects mids and highs too, the sound becomes slow and rolled off with steel tube.
david
Thanks David, got the point but will experiment anyway myself :) It actually does not have to physically affect higher freqs - I have this little theory of "audio spectrum entanglement" saying in brief that mods in whatever range affect the *perception* of all others.

Cheers,
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,077
92
48
North Shore of Boston
#47
Excuse my ignorance, but what is the function of the counter weight?
If I understand your question correctly, it is there to counter balance the weight of the arm tube and cartridge on the other side of the pivot/bearing. Otherwise there would be far too much vertical tracking force on the stylus suspension.
 

Hi-FiGuy

Member Sponsor
Feb 24, 2015
1,181
6
38
#48
If I understand your question correctly, it is there to counter balance the weight of the arm tube and cartridge on the other side of the pivot/bearing. Otherwise there would be far too much vertical tracking force on the stylus suspension.
Far to basic question, sorry, I am asking about the secondary counter weight, the little one on the arm next to the main counter weight.
is it just a micro adjustment to the main counterweight?
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,077
92
48
North Shore of Boston
#49
Far to basic question, sorry, I am asking about the secondary counter weight, the little one on the arm next to the main counter weight.
is it just a micro adjustment to the main counterweight?
I think David is more qualified to answer that one. I presume it is off set and hanging on the left to balance the shape of the arm wand and cartridge on the right, but I really don't know.
 
Last edited:
May 30, 2010
14,302
134
63
Portugal
#50
(...) it would be fascinating to directly compare the V-12 to the 3012R using the same cartridge and turntable (...)
Peter,

Why comparing two tonearms optimized for different turntables and cartridges in these specific conditions? I have tried the SME3012R in a Scheu Premier 80 mm thick platter and, although it had some very interesting aspects, mostly a very alive sound in transients, it was not a good match, as David later explained me privately. I keep this arm just thinking that someday I can find an EMT 927 for sale not farther than 500 km from me!
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,077
92
48
North Shore of Boston
#51
Peter,

Why comparing two tonearms optimized for different turntables and cartridges in these specific conditions? I have tried the SME3012R in a Scheu Premier 80 mm thick platter and, although it had some very interesting aspects, mostly a very alive sound in transients, it was not a good match, as David later explained me privately. I keep this arm just thinking that someday I can find an EMT 927 for sale not farther than 500 km from me!
Francisco, "alive sound in transients" is very similar to the way Al M. describes the sound of my V-12 arm/cartridge/turntable combination. This is also what I hear with the modern SME arm. That is very interesting that the 3012R has the same characteristic. I guess I do not understand for which specific turntables these two tonearms were designed. Perhaps they were designed for a general type of turntable, so could you be more specific about what you mean? Now that we all know these arms, or more specifically, the SME 3012R and the SME IV/V were in production around the same time, for what different types of turntables was each design optimized? Since the SME turntables followed the SME IV/V arm, I guess the turntable was designed for the specific traits of those arms.

And could you also talk a little bit about how and why each is optimized for different cartridges? Are the IV/V arms only for low/med compliance moving coil cartridges? Are you suggesting that my AirTight Supreme and MSL Sig. Gold cartridges are a bad match for the 3012R? I am considering a project to build an outboard arm pod to accommodate a 3012R to use on my SME 30/12, but if there is a consensus that that arm is not designed for use on an SME turntable nor for either of my main cartridges, perhaps I should scrap the idea. I just thought it might be kind of fun, but if those combinations are doomed for failure, I am more than happy to stick to my one arm (V-12) and one cartridge (MSL) combination and not bother with such a comparison. I love my current sound and only became curious to try something different because of all of the discussion about the 3012R.
 
Dec 18, 2013
223
1
18
San Diego area
#52
Far to basic question, sorry, I am asking about the secondary counter weight, the little one on the arm next to the main counter weight.
is it just a micro adjustment to the main counterweight?
The purpose of the side weight is to counter the tipping effect of the cartridge weight due to the tonearm J-shape, and thus to ensure that the knife edge is properly seated in the saddle and its weight is evenly balanced across the saddle.
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,380
163
63
Beverly Hills, CA
#54
Peter, This is speculation since I have not actually auditioned an Air Tight cartridge or an MSL cartridge on a SME 3012R, but I am extremely confident that there is no threshold issue with either part of that combination which would preclude them from being a great match.

As you know if for some reason the ZYX UNIverse Premium is too low in output for my future hatched system then I will not hesitate to switch to the Air Tight Opus (or the MSL Platinum Signature).
 
May 30, 2010
14,302
134
63
Portugal
#56
Francisco, "alive sound in transients" is very similar to the way Al M. describes the sound of my V-12 arm/cartridge/turntable combination. This is also what I hear with the modern SME arm. That is very interesting that the 3012R has the same characteristic. I guess I do not understand for which specific turntables these two tonearms were designed. Perhaps they were designed for a general type of turntable, so could you be more specific about what you mean? Now that we all know these arms, or more specifically, the SME 3012R and the SME IV/V were in production around the same time, for what different types of turntables was each design optimized? Since the SME turntables followed the SME IV/V arm, I guess the turntable was designed for the specific traits of those arms.

And could you also talk a little bit about how and why each is optimized for different cartridges? Are the IV/V arms only for low/med compliance moving coil cartridges? Are you suggesting that my AirTight Supreme and MSL Sig. Gold cartridges are a bad match for the 3012R? I am considering a project to build an outboard arm pod to accommodate a 3012R to use on my SME 30/12, but if there is a consensus that that arm is not designed for use on an SME turntable nor for either of my main cartridges, perhaps I should scrap the idea. I just thought it might be kind of fun, but if those combinations are doomed for failure, I am more than happy to stick to my one arm (V-12) and one cartridge (MSL) combination and not bother with such a comparison. I love my current sound and only became curious to try something different because of all of the discussion about the 3012R.
It is not only the tonearm - cartridge binomial. You must consider the whole system including turntable. There is a lot more concerning matching in analog than mass, compliance, resonance frequency or damping. The SME 3012R is a different tonearm not only by the mass of the steel wand but by the mechanical behavior of steel - as far as I see it, it was made on request for a specific market, not a inbred SME development. But as far as I remember SME advised against the use of high compliance cartridges in the SME V.

I think that it was John Nork that in his discussion about the performance of several tonearms (including the review of the SME V) in TheAbsoluteSound referred that it was not possible to evaluate a tonearm by itself. When I got the SME V first time I owned the Sumiko MDC800 and the Eminent Technology ETII - I found I preferred the SME V to both of them in my system. IMHO the main drawback of the V is that we can not adjust cartridge azimuth - the shell is locked in place!
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,077
92
48
North Shore of Boston
#57
It is not only the tonearm - cartridge binomial. You must consider the whole system including turntable. There is a lot more concerning matching in analog than mass, compliance, resonance frequency or damping. The SME 3012R is a different tonearm not only by the mass of the steel wand but by the mechanical behavior of steel - as far as I see it, it was made on request for a specific market, not a inbred SME development. But as far as I remember SME advised against the use of high compliance cartridges in the SME V.

I think that it was John Nork that in his discussion about the performance of several tonearms (including the review of the SME V) in TheAbsoluteSound referred that it was not possible to evaluate a tonearm by itself. When I got the SME V first time I owned the Sumiko MDC800 and the Eminent Technology ETII - I found I preferred the SME V to both of them in my system. IMHO the main drawback of the V is that we can not adjust cartridge azimuth - the shell is locked in place!
Francisco, this is precisely my point. I was planning on directly comparing the two tonearms within a specific system context with a particular turntable and cartridge combination and not by themselves. The only difference would be that the 3012R would be on a separate arm pod separated from the turntable itself and perhaps the would have different cables. Your earlier post asked why I would want to compare two arms that were optimized for different tables and cartridges. It is still not clear to me for which type of turntable and cartridge each was designed. It is obvious that the IV/V and 3012R were not designed for any SME turntables because none existed in the early '80s. The 30/12 and V-12 combination is a different matter.

What market was the 3012R arm designed for? I have not seen many in photos on turntables from that era. David must have some idea though. I've really only seen them on the large, inert tables in his collection. David mentioned that the IV/V arms were designed for the tables of the era, but I don't know what those were. And now you mentioned something similar about the 3012R, so I am really curious to know specifically what you mean. The IV/V and 3012R are from the same era, but for different types of turntables? Could you explain more about this?
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,077
92
48
North Shore of Boston
#58
Peter, This is technically speculation since I have not actually auditioned an Air Tight cartridge or an MSL cartridge on a SME 3012R, but I am extremely confident that there is no threshold issue with either part of that combination which would preclude them from being a great match.

As you know if for some reason the ZYX UNIverse Premium is too low in output for my future hatched system then I will not hesitate to switch to the Air Tight Opus (or the MSL Platinum Signature).
That is interesting Ron. I read a review once of the Air Tight Supreme which said that it was in part developed on an SME V or V-12 arm. I do not think the 3012R was used in its development. I don't know if that means anything, but Microstrip wrote that the two arms were optimized for different cartridges, so perhaps my cartridges would not be equally well suited for both arms. I really don't know. I do know that my cartridges sound great with the V-12. I am going to keep digging to see if I can learn more.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,528
51
48
Utah
#59
Far to basic question, sorry, I am asking about the secondary counter weight, the little one on the arm next to the main counter weight.
is it just a micro adjustment to the main counterweight?
It’s to set the tracking force. You first balance the tonearm with the cartridge using the large counterweight and once balanced you move the small weight on the side to the desired force. It’s really quite accurate and you don’t need a scale anymore.

david
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,528
51
48
Utah
#60

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