SME exits the tonearm business!

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
1,226
943
210
#1
sme-oracle.jpg

https://sme.co.uk/2019/12/03/sme-product-announcement/

03 DEC SME PRODUCT ANNOUNCEMENT
Posted at 14:44h in Uncategorized by Jake

SME will exit the tonearm retail and OEM business with immediate effect shifting our focus on our core turntable and tonearm combination business. The decision to leave the tonearm business was not taken lightly, especially as we have played a key role in the design and development of the world’s best tonearms. The growth of our turntable business and commitment to higher production levels means that we cannot continue both streams.

SME has designed, engineered and manufactured tonearms for retail and OEM sales since 1959 and achieved international recognition as makers of the best pick-up arms in the world. This tradition of tonearm manufacturing will continue with the manufacture of our highly accredited tonearms for the purpose of coupling with our comprehensive range of high-end precision turntables in which SME will be expanding in 2020.

Whilst no new orders for individual tonearms will be accepted from the issue date of this product announcement, all obligations of the warranty will be honoured. Factory service and spare parts support for tonearm owners will continue.

Stuart McNeilis
Chief Executive Officer
 
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ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
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Boston, MA
#2
FWIW, I think this is just nonsense
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
6,053
577
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#4
You mean fake news or a silly move?
Well, it's obviously not fake news. I think it's a desperate and silly move, to boost turntable sales.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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#5
Question is if they’ll continue to offer support and sell parts for the tens of thousands tonearms out there.

david
 

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
6,053
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#6
Covered in the last sentence of the announcement, I think.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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#7
May 30, 2010
16,469
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#8
Question is if they’ll continue to offer support and sell parts for the tens of thousands tonearms out there.

david
Probably as long as their current stock of spare parts last. Fortunately they sold tens of thousands of tonearms and we can get most spares for vintage tonearms from easily accessible sources such as eBay.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
7,152
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Metro DC
#9
Hopefully they will realize the error of their ways.
It is quite a gamble. My tonearms are in such demand people will buy our turnta bles. Frankly I don't see the up-side. You still have to make tonearms.
The market is crowded.
Good luck.
 

marmota

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2016
57
74
50
#11
Bold and silly move...

All we need now that they don't sell tonearms is some current owners "rediscovering" the "incredible performance" of these now "unobtanium" tonearms, and selling their SME V12's for 10-$15k in the used market to buy better tonearms at $5k and pocket the difference...price speculation is going to happen, I'm sure about it :(
 
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PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
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North Shore of Boston
#12
I don't understand the strategy. If they design and tool up new arms for new tables, why not get more scale and sell the arms separately? Volume is profitable. I just don't get it. I wonder if they sell many arms separate from tables. I thought they used to. I've been patiently waiting for something new and exciting from SME ever since the new owner took over. And now they have Garrard. Not much has happened considering the number of engineers and production capabilities they have. There were rumors about a super table, a table for two arms, a rack system, etc. etc.
 
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dan31

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2010
470
52
173
SF Bay
#13
My guess is SME have chosen exclusivity for their products. If you want the arm buy the package.

Making arms for all of the OEM contracts could put a pinch on producing the SME packages as well.
 
Jun 3, 2018
79
16
13
#14
I don‘t understand the business strategy, too. IMO it is much better to have two solid and independent business units which are working well. Once the turntable business fails to generate enough profit, SME is in trouble.

But over all their tonearm business is not really innovative and maybe they avoid the investments.

But I am optimistic with their parts because they need this parts also for their own arms.
 

BlueFox

Member Sponsor
Nov 8, 2013
1,400
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#15
Perhaps they realize the short turntable resurrection is over, and turntables are again becoming a niche market.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
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North Shore of Boston
#17
I love armchair quarterbacks on issues they have no idea about, such as retail tonearm profitability.
You are right Keith, we are all speculating. Glad you are enjoying the reading.
 
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IanG-UK

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2011
245
40
123
#18
I wonder if they are exiting the turntable market too and only marketing turntables and tonearms as single units.

They still have their non-hifi engineering business but what proportion of the overall SME offering that represents I do not know.

They are now in the same group as Garrard which, in its later former life, seemed to capture interest with the 401 and 501 turntables without arms. But appealing to quite a different market than the SME one.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
7,152
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Metro DC
#19
I don't know the business.I know audiophiles. They are going to buy the the deck and arm of their choice.
As far as the"best arm in the world" they may have overplayed their hand
 

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
1,098
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Denmark
#20
Maybe they where just not selling many separate new arms ?
Their current crop has been around for a while and many are available in the
used marked.
 

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