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Thomo 11th November 2008 08:49 AM

SME Series III (3) Mods & Suggestions
I am fairly new to vinyl replay. I am just completing a DIY phono-stage, details here

Hopefully that should be up and running by the end of the day.

My TT is a Technics SL120, combined with an SME Series III. I have read pretty much nothing but bad things about this tonearm, but it's what I have and I'd like to run with it for a while. Oh and my cartridge is a Grade Prestige Gold.

Looking at the knife edge "bearing", I can see why this may rattle! Could I seal off the V and put some sort of fluid in the little troughs to damp vibration?

I have also been told that adding mass to the inside of the arm wand will also help, any suggestions on what to use?

Oh, I am just completing a rewire of the entire arm with some Pure Silver wire, just what I had handy and I thought I'd experiment.

Any suggestions welcome.

Regards, Lee.

Thomo 11th November 2008 11:12 AM

Oops, I forgot the pic!!

Regards, Lee.

YNWOAN 11th November 2008 01:21 PM

The most effective series 3 mod is to sell it - harsh, but honest.

R.E. arm wand....sand

Shaun 11th November 2008 02:11 PM


1. Do you have the lead ballast weights that come with the arm? I have a suspicion that people who don't like the arm possibly do not have the full compliment of accessories that comes with it. Those lead weights are meant for adjusting the arm's effective mass. Whatever the compliance of the cartridge, you should add or subtract mass to/from the arm so that the effective mass is right for the cartridge. Download the manual from There are many adjustments to be made to this arm (I can think of 6) but it is quite easy, surprisingly.

2. Does your arm actually rattle? Push/pull it gently back and forth to test (not up or down).

I have owned a Series III arm, and it had all accessories and original packaging. I don't share the vew that it is junk.

Thomo 11th November 2008 02:13 PM


Originally posted by YNWOAN
The most effective series 3 mod is to sell it - harsh, but honest.

LMAO. I had a bet with myself that at least one person would say this.


Thomo 11th November 2008 02:21 PM

I really don't know if I have all of the weights. My dad gave me the turntable and arm after having it in his attic for twenty years. The arm originally had a Shure V15 III, which I no longer have.

I do believe that the arm/cartridge came as a package, and that extra weights could be bought from SME.

The arm doesn't actually rattle when pushed back and forth.

Cheers, Lee.

Shaun 11th November 2008 02:25 PM

The Series III and other low mass arms were made for the likes of high compliance carts like Shure V15 series. More modern carts are medium to low compliance, so the arm will probably require added mass.

webby 11th November 2008 03:10 PM

I dont think its junk
Hi All / Thomo,
I have recently bought one of these arms, I must say I am impressed with it. I also have a Grado Gold cart. This doesn't work so well with the SME, it needs a higher compliance cart to get the best from it. I have an AT33PTG fitted and this works very well indeed, the best upgrade to my system by far.
The only problem I have is an intermittent connection from the arm tube wires;
Thomo, could you give me some tips on rewiring this arm? A mini HowTo would be much appreciated.
You might also be interested in this thread, reviews from people how have owned the SME111.
Hope this helps

Thomo 11th November 2008 03:13 PM

Cheers. have you any idea how to add more mass?

Would damping the arm help? or should I try and add extra weights? Where should I add the extra mass?

I guess it'll just be trial and error (as usual).

thanks for the help,


Thomo 11th November 2008 03:15 PM

Hi Ian, thanks for the link. Can I just ask what colour is the metal body of your Grado cart?

Rewiring is a bit of a pain, but with patience isn't too bad. I'll post some pics and info soon. Gotta rush out at the moment.

Cheers, Lee.

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