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SME’s M2 Series Tonearms Are Available Again With a Huge Price Increase

SME has finally decided to sell its highly coveted M2 Series tonearms again to consumers. Prepare for some sicker shock.

SME Tonearms

SME angered a lot of audiophiles when it stopped selling its tonearms to turntable owners looking for a high-end upgrade that actually made a huge difference on some tables. My restored Thorens TD-160 Super from Vinyl Nirvana was supposed to use the SME M2-9 but that came to a crashing halt when the British manufacturer pulled the plug.

Why?

SME made a strategic decision to only offer its tonearms on SME turntables and whilst that may have made sense at the top end of their range where audiophiles were spending between $13,000 and and $71,000 for the flagship Model 60 — it made zero sense to cut off the rest of the market.

Angry consumers took their ball and money elsewhere; Rega, VPI, Origin Live, and Michell benefitted from that decision.

Bluebird Music, North American distributor for SME let us know today that SME M2 Series tonearms are now available for sale. There was no explanation given for this reversal which only applies to the M2 models.

SME M2-9 Tonearm
SME M2-9

Before you get too excited, the M2 models are now available with a major price increase. The M2-9 that I was planning on installing on the Thorens was $1,795 USD before it was pulled from the market. The new price is substantially more for the same exact tonearm.

M2 Series

M2 Series tonearms are precision instruments that feature well-tried SME principles and the design and engineering excellence for which SME is renowned worldwide. By providing a superior platform for your favorite phono cartridges M2 tonearms contribute to a more authentic, sparkling and uncolored musical performance.

The SME M2 Series includes four different models: M2-9, M2-9R, M2-12 and M2-12R.

All four M2 tonearms offer meticulous build quality at a reasonable cost and all the most important features including: lightweight stainless steel armtube, detachable headshell with azimuth adjustment, tungsten balance weight, finest quality ball race gimbled bearings and a level of stiffness and rigidity to suit all types of cartridges including those of medium and low compliance.

The M2-9 and M2-12 tonearms utilize a unique single element balance system that accommodates cartridges weighing 5 to 12 grams. After balancing, tracking force is applied by forward movement of the weight ensuring the lowest system inertia.

The weight moves on a precision screw thread with backlash eliminator allowing exact setting of vertical tracking force. The precision headshell is pressure die-cast in magnesium for lightness and rigidity. A unique collet clamp design allows for ‘one-piece’ rigidity and azimuth adjustment.

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SME M2-12R Tonearm
SME M2-12R Tonearm

Two “R” version are also offered. In addition to their classic good looks, the M2-9R and M2-12R tonearms deliver all the performance of traditional ‘J’ shaped tonearms and feature detachable aluminum headshells with azimuth adjustment, a two stage tungsten counterbalance system with the tungsten balance weights housed in satin chromed brass sleeves, and vertical and horizontal tracking adjustment.

The height is adjusted by thumb wheel enabling the arms to be used with a wide range of both cartridges and turntables.

The unique HTA design base mount and standardized headshell collet J-Shaped armtubes make the “R” versions an optimal match for vintage-style SPU phono cartridges.

Pricing & Availability

US & CA retail prices are:

  • M2-9: $3,395 USD / $4,395 CAD
  • M2-9R: $4,295 USD / $5,595 CAD
  • M2-12: $3,695 USD / $4,795 CAD
  • M2-12R: $4,695 USD / $6,095 CAD

The 9” M2 Series tonearms are in stock at Bluebird Music and the 12” variations are available by special order.

For more information: sme.co.uk/tonearms/

Related reading: SME’s MK2 Turntables Offer Significant Upgrades

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