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.
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.
- Turntable Speed Error: 33.33rpm (-0.005%)
- Time to Audible Stabilization: 5 – 6 seconds
- Peak Wow/Flutter (Peak wtd): 0.01% / 0.02%
- Rumble (silent groove, DIN B wtd): -75dB (-75.4 dB with Clamp)
- Rumble (through bearing, DIN B wtd): -76.5dB
- Hum & Noise (unwtd, rel to 5cm/sec): -62.5dB
- Power Consumption: 18w (1w standby)
- 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.
- 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
- Height: 83mm/3.27-inches
- Width: 190mm/7.5 -inches
- Depth: 243mm/9.57 -inches
- Turntable: 48kg/106 lbs
- Speed Control Unit: 2kg/4lbs 7oz
- Power Unit: 4.2kg 9lbs 4 oz
- Boxed Shipping Weight: 86kg/190lbs
- Standard: Black, Silver
- Premium: Honeycomb black, silver, and blue (+$7,000, pictured top of page)
- Deluxe: 75th Anniversary Diamond silver (+$14,000)
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.