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SME Model 60 Turntable: Begun the Flagship Wars We Have

Ultra high-end audio: The SME Model 60 Turntable arrives in North America from $71,900 in a package weighing 190 pounds.

SME Model 60 Turntable Front Honeycomb Blue

If you are looking for the ultimate turntable and have $71,900 to spare, you might want to consider the new SME Model 60 turntable and send your ears to vinyl record music heaven. Your accountant and spouse might want to have a word with you if you’re willing to spend this kind of money on a turntable but SME has a very long track record of excellence in the category so there is reason to take a deeper look at it.

The Model 60 is being offered in the U.S. through Bluebird Music, a distributor of high-end audio equipment for the North American market. UK’s SME Audio is one of Bluebird’s source companies. SME products are handmade in Sussex, England.

SME claims that the Model 60 Turntable is the most advanced turntable ever made; VPI, Clearaudio, Vertere, and a few others will likely disagree rather strongly with that assertion but it is a formidable piece of audio engineering and industrial design.

The SME Model 60 does not come with a phono cartridge but consumers who are able to afford this turntable likely already have some cartridges in mind to use with it. Koetsu, Grado Statement, Hana, and Miyajima feel like obvious options here.

So what do you get for $71,000? Let’s take a look.

Key Features

SME Model 60 Turntable Front Diagram

New Drive System

The SME Model 60 custom-made bi-phase AC synchronous motor is controlled by an external speed control unit. The speed control unit  (33 ⅓ and 45 rpm) uses a dedicated DSP engine to generate two independent mathematical sine waves which provide control of frequency, phase relationship, and amplitude. 

These in turn are matched (tuned) to the motor for accuracy to obtain the best possible performance. The output driver stage is a 2-channel, class AB Bi-polar design with low distortion and relay coupled directly to the motor. The entire design has a high-quality surface mount technology on a gold-plated FR4 PCB.

The turntable and speed control units are powered by an external power supply.

New SME Series VA Tonearm

The Model 60 is equipped with the new Series VA tonearm. This tonearm is an advanced version of the famous Series V tonearm which has been extensively sonically improved by the use of a non-metallic tonearm CNC machined from an advanced polymer resin material with high density and high rigidity properties. 

The Series VA tonearm tube is acoustically inert with a reduced resonance signature, optimized effective mass, and a wide cartridge balance weight range.

SME Model 60 Turntable Rear Diagram

Turntable Specifications

Tonearm Specifications

  • Effective Mass: 10g – 11g
  • Cartridge Balance Range: 5g – 18g
  • Vertical Tracking Force: 0.0g – 3.0g (30mN)
  • Maximum Tracking Error: 0.0120/mm
  • Internal Wiring: Crystal Cable 0.1mm Mono X-Tal

Tip: Cartridge Not Included. 

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Dimensions 

Turntable

  • Height (To the top of the record clamp): 212mm/8.4 inches
  • Width: 557mm/21.93 inches
  • Depth: 417mm/16.4 inches

Platter Diameter: 330mm – 13-inches

Spindle to Arms Length: 215.35mm/8.48 inches 

Speed Control Unit

  • Height: 87mm/3.4 inches
  • Width: 170mm/6.7-inches
  • Depth: 295mm/11.6-inches

Power Unit

  • Height: 83mm/3.27-inches
  • Width: 190mm/7.5 -inches
  • Depth: 243mm/9.57 -inches

Weight

  • Turntable: 48kg/106 lbs
  • Speed Control Unit: 2kg/4lbs 7oz
  • Power Unit: 4.2kg 9lbs 4 oz
  • Boxed Shipping Weight: 86kg/190lbs

Finishes

  • Standard: Black, Silver
  • Premium: Honeycomb black, silver, and blue (+$7,000, pictured top of page)
  • Deluxe: 75th Anniversary Diamond silver (+$14,000)
SME Model 60 Turntable Standard Black
SME Model 60 Turntable Standard Black
SME Model 60 Turntable Standard Silver
SME Model 60 Turntable Standard Silver
SME Model 60 Turntable Diamond
SME Model 60 Turntable Diamond Series

Price & Availability

Price: $71,900 (U.S.) / $91,900 (Canadian) – Available through the Bluebird Music Dealer Network. The upgraded finish options add another $7,000 or $14,000.

Download the User Guide (English PDF)

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. ORT

    August 19, 2022 at 12:32 am

    Cool. I can still easily lift this and place in on a block of granite but my wallet cannot carry the load.

    I still prefer vintage….Affordable, vintage.

    ORT

    • Ian White

      August 19, 2022 at 5:25 pm

      ORT,

      SME doesn’t make junk. They really make great products but this table (IMHO) doesn’t make a lot of sense. There are already a dozen or more tables in this range appealing to the same customer and I want them to start selling their arms again.

      Best,

      Ian White

      • ORT

        August 20, 2022 at 12:22 am

        For me, this ‘table is ridiculously priced and being a frugal toad I would not buy one even if I were a wealthy toad. Because I do not much care for its looks.

        Like hearing differences in equipment and even wires, the subject of appealing looks is highly subjective and very personal. The main difference between these two critria is that looks are personal and hearing what cannot be heard can be quite farcical. Why not just state that you prefer a piece of audio equipment for its playback prowess and its looks. I do that all the time and if some one gets their feewings hurted because I said some ‘table or speaker was fugly, BFD. I have a look in women that I prefer and if some one says that a woman I find attractive is fugly I could give an airborne intercourse as it does not change my preferences in the least.

        This ‘table’s looks are definitely weird fugly. To me. Thank the Buddha, other wise I might be selling a kidney to buy one.

        As for their not selling Tonearms any more? I have never replaced a tonearm. Never. I doubt I ever will but that does not mean others can not. I admire those that purchase the desires of their heart or even their ego. In fact, I applaud them for doing so!

        Alas that I can not even figure out how to change out the headshell/cartridge on my Denon DP-300F for the Blueish ORTofon 2M Blue. I like ORTofon for obvious reasons and if they made an ORTofon 2M Green?! That would be soooooo bitchin’. But yeah, I do not trust my self to learn how to change out that shell and cartridge thing which is why I like P-Mount setups. Easy, affordable but I do not think they have an ORTofon P-Mounts…

        An Audio-Technica AT-LP3 (in black as white is no longer available, dammit!) arrived today. It is a fully automatic belt drive turntable and will be a gift for a family member. Why automatic?

        The family member is a very seasoned citizen and does not need to have to get up and put the tonearm back when the record reaches the Center of the Licorice Pizza. I love them and want them to enjoy their music with the time they have left.

        If it turns out I can upgrade this ‘tables headshell/cartridge to say…an ORTofon 2M Red? I will do so. Why? They like the color red a lot.

        “SIGH”…Yes, I can ramble but sometimes I make sense.

        ORT The Clumsy

  2. Metalhead

    August 19, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    I remember way back when SME was THE tonearm to have. Back then if you were serious and saved you could actually spring for one if you weren’t a day trader.
    I am sure it is a fantastic table and will enjoy reading the reviews on it even though I will never own it.
    Cannot even imagine SME putting out anything that is not at least excellent
    Congratulations to anyone lucky and privileged enough to score one

    • Ian White

      August 19, 2022 at 5:24 pm

      We’re sure it’s a great table as well but we’re still unhappy with SME for taking their tonearms off the market.

      I would have an SME arm on every table I own but they felt that screwing over consumers who were willing to spend the money on their arms was less important than selling their own tables that 1% of the population can afford.

      • Metalhead

        August 19, 2022 at 7:26 pm

        Yes, agree. They had a viable market and demand as best as I can tell.

        My vinyl days go back to the 60’s and I remember when overseas in the early 70’s the hot setup was a Thorens 125 and SME 3009 (think that was the number) and can’t remember the actual price, but I paid like 200 for my TD 125 and 250 for the TD 126. At that time the SME was probably right around the same. (Wish I could find my audio club price list for the actual number).

        I have a JVC direct drive with stock arm and SOTA Cosmos VI with a Graham Phantom III mounted so I am set. The only future purchase I envision is replacement styli for the JVC or maybe a new Ortofon moving coil for the SOTA.

        The new SME is a gorgeous looking deck and I would love to get in front of one for a few hours just to check it out.

        No matter as I love slumming with my JVC and SOTA.

        • Ian White

          August 19, 2022 at 7:50 pm

          Impossible to slum with a SOTA. Nice table.

          Best,

          Ian White

          • Metalhead

            August 21, 2022 at 9:22 pm

            Inexcusable and poor word choice

            The SOTA is an absolute and total delight and I cannot imagine vinyl playback getting much better.

            I would love to throw the SME in the system and play around and just see what a megabuck player does. I am biased but I envision the SOTA not being embarrassed at all.

            The SOTA is not going anywhere. Happy Spinning

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