Question regarding setting up / tweaking of SME 3009/S2


Unregistered guest

I have this question regarding setting up my SME 3009 improved (removable headshell version).

When I got my Thorens 126 MkI / SME 3009 some twenty years ago (those were times without the Internet) I was told by some "guru" that SME headshell was not that good and that I should do the following tweak:


I stuffed it with a small amount of some sort of black modelling putty (feels like BluTack), filling all small holes. The cartridge at that time was MM Ortofon VMS30 MkII.

I kind of remember that after this tweak, sound got warmer with slightly deeper bass. After twenty years I'm not really sure about the difference, since I never removed the putty...

Question No 1: Is this tweak valid in your opinion?


Question No 2 (also related to Q No 1): I allways wondered what this really is for:


SME 3009 has this setting for cartridge weight. Why? On some other arms you only have VTF and anti-skating settings.

I used to set this to naked cartridge weight. I always checked the VTF with a small Ortofon Stylus Gauge.

Recently, I started wondering if the cartridge weight setting should also reflect added weight of spacers, screws and this putty? Should I also substract the weight of the finger lift thingy that I removed from the headshell?

The cartridge I'm using now is high output MC - Ortofon MC-1 turbo. It is only a temporay solution, since I'll receive my new Shure V15 V XMR in a few days :-)



Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 4031
Registered: May-04

The headshell modification has had mixed results over the years. Stiffening the headshell is a good idea, but adding any extra mass to the tip of the tonearm/headshell assembly is a bad idea. Considering the cartridges you have used and will use, the headshell is not in serious danger of being over modulated by energy from the cartridge. I would remove the putty if it were my arm.

The best way to set VTF is with a gauge. The Shure gauge has been the defacto standard for many years. Any company that sells good cartridges will have the Shure gauge in stock. The SME arm had the ability to compensate for different cartridge weight to keep the counterweight as close to the pivot bearings as possible.


Unregistered guest
Hello, I have reciently started using my sme imp.
fixed head. I have set it up---i think corectly. When i lower the arm--the effect of the bias guide
setting pulls the arm out--making it difficult to get the right track on the record.
Your advice is appreciated, regards chris

Peter from the Netherlands
Unregistered guest
Hi Nathan,

Just clean the rubber on the arm-lift and the point where the arm rests on that rubber.


the Netherlands

Unregistered guest
do you think the sme arm (3009 11 imp det) is better with or without the fluid damper
regards NATHAN
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