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SME’s MK2 Turntables Offer Significant Upgrades

There are 5 upgraded models in the SME MK2 Turntable lineup for 2023. You still can’t buy their tonearms separately.

SME MK2 Turntables 2023

Founded in 1946, and with over one million tonearms sold worldwide, SME Limited is one of the world’s most accomplished manufacturer of high quality turntables and tonearms. SME is well known for its no compromise passion for engineering perfection and extreme attention to detail.

SME’s decision to not sell its award-winning tonearms direct to consumers anymore and only make them available on their turntables was not a popular move within the audiophile community. That policy does not seem to be changing for 2023 in regard to the top models. However, there may be some daylight in regard to the M2 series tonearms based on some communication from Bluebird Music.

For 2023, SME have announced five new MK2 series turntables, which include the Model 12 MK2, Model 15 MK2, Model 20 MK2, Model 30 MK2 and Synergy MK2.

According to Jay Rein of Bluebird Music, the “SME MK2 prices range between $13,900 for the Model 12 MK2 with 309 tonearm, to $47,900 for the Model 30 MK2 with Series V tonearm. We also offer the Model 6 with M2-9 tonearm for $7,995 and the new flagship Model 60 with new Series VA tonearm which retails for $71,900. SME also now offers M2 Series tonearms, which can be purchased individually, at prices between $3,195 and $4,395.”

That does seem like a rather steep increase in the price for the M2-9 which was less than $2,000 but we are going to follow-up to see when we can expect to review one.

The new MK2 models have a number of new features.

The primary feature of the new MK2 models is a highly sophisticated new generation drive system comprising of an AC synchronous motor, independent transformer and speed control unit. The drive system features trickle-down technology perfected for SME’s flagship Model 60 turntable which was then specifically optimized (individually) for each of the new MK2 models.

SME MK2 Synergy Turntable

The new speed controller employs a microprocessor to generate two independent sine wave signals that are closely controlled in amplitude, frequency and phase. This provides total control over the way the custom AC synchronous motor behaves and enables precise tuning of the motor to obtain the best possible performance and speed control accuracy.

The new power transformer is separated from the speed control unit and housed in an independent case with a 2m interconnecting cable, creating an un-regulated DC supply which drives the main output gain stage as well as a highly advanced DSP frequency generator stage, both of which are housed within the speed control unit.

The transformer power unit and speed control unit cases are a new design which complement the turntables and are CNC machined from solid billet material.

The new MK2 models are in stock at Bluebird Music and available for immediate delivery.

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SME MK2 12 Turntable

The Model 12 MK2 is designed and precision engineered for pure audio reproduction. The Model 12 MK2 uses the unique styling of SME’s new Synergy turntable and comes complete with an SME Model 309 one-piece magnesium tonearm, one of the most rigid and acoustically inert tonearms on the market.

The Model 12 MK2 features a new highly advanced drive system which provides much improved speed control, accuracy and stability. The Model 12 MK2 features several important upgrades from the Model 6. It is a higher mass design with increased stability. Adjustable feet, taken from SME’s Synergy table, allow for easy levelling while providing superior isolation. A substantial 3/4” spindle improves mechanical integrity, upgraded electronics lower the noise floor, and the 309 tonearm internal wiring and audio lead now feature Crystal Cable. (Click link at the bottom of page for more details).

As with all SME turntables, the Model 12 MK2 is a stable high mass, minimal footprint, high performance engineered design benefitting from the finest materials and hand craftsmanship. Every component part has been precision crafted in-house to the strictest tolerances to contribute to an unparalleled musical performance and value.

The increase in mass and stability over the Model 6 reveals performance much closer to the model 15 with a lowering of noise and improved bottom octave bass performance. The Crystal Cable upgrade brings a significant increase in transparency.

SME MK2 15 Turntable

The Model 15 MK2 seeks to emulate the excellence of the Models 20/3 and 30/2 turntable while retaining the more compact footprint preferred by many enthusiasts. With its new highly advanced drive system the Model 15 MK2 delivers significantly improved speed control, accuracy and stability over the older Model 15.

The Model 15 MK2 has been designed with the same attention to detail combined with simplicity of operation that has come to be expected from all SME products. Its superb performance together with laid back styling make it a glamorous addition to your sound system that will astound and amaze listeners for many years to come.

The main spindle is 19 mm (3/4″) machined from high chrome tool steel, it is ground, super finished and supported in a sealed housing with individually fitted sintered bronze bearings of generous proportions needed to support the platter.

SME MK2 20 Turntable

A turntable should address the problems of extraneous vibrations. These emanate from numerous sources including air and structural vibration from loudspeakers, groove modulation, stray electrical fields and mechanical imperfections in moving parts. In the Model 20 MK2, superb instrument quality machining is allied with fundamental physics. The higher the mass and stiffness of a body the less it will flex and vibrate; the duration of a vibration can be shortened by suitable damping.

With its new highly advanced drive system, which provides a significant improvement to speed control, accuracy and stability, the new generation Model 20 MK2 delivers musicality far superior to the highly acclaimed original.

Model 20 MK2 weighs approximately 63lb, significant in relation to its size because it is density that matters. For example, the same weight of metal spread over a large enough area would be aluminum foil! The sub-chassis measures only 17 5/16” by 13 3/4″ but weighs 24lbs. Its thickness 5/8” resists flexing at low frequencies while high frequency resonance is attenuated by efficient extensional damping.

SME MK2 30 Turntable

The MK2 Model 30 is a unique precision turntable of uncompromising quality and engineering excellence. Once independently judged as ‘the best turntable of all time. Construction is heavy mass; dampening is extensional and non-vibration from moving parts ensures excellent dynamics and pitch stability. A new sophisticated drive system provides a significant advancement in speed control and accuracy, transforming the new generation Model 30 into a new league.

The moving parts of a fine turntable are of paramount importance. The spindle of the Model 30/2 is 170.5 mm long and 19 mm diameter. The massive sealed housing and individually fitted sintered bronze bearings in which the spindle runs are also of the generous proportions needed to ensure that the 330mm diameter platter weighing 7kg is adequately supported. The Model 30/2’s excellent dynamics and pitch stability are largely the result of the immense care taken in the design and execution of these components.

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The corresponding previous models are now discontinued. Older models cannot be upgraded to the MK2 standard due to the complexity of machining and non-compatibility of mechanical and electronic components.

For more information: Bluebird Music SME MK2 Models



  1. Sandro Ioia

    July 31, 2023 at 3:38 am

    A little disappointing that the owners of the older models are left with no upgrade path other than to sell their existing expensive turntable in order to buy an upgrade.

    • Ian White

      July 31, 2023 at 2:33 pm


      Seems par for the course with SME these days.

      I’m not entirely convinced you need to upgrade a current SME table considering the original prices and performance. Buy more vinyl or a better phono stage.


      Ian White

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