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Old 1st July 2012, 01:59 AM   #11
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Tonight I thought after several hours of listening to a blameless Meister Silver on the Schick arm it might be fun to put a better cartridge than the Shure in the SME 3012 clone.

The cartridge on hand is a Goldenote Boboli from Italy which is a heavy low compliance HOMC with a surprisingly low tracking force of 1.6gms.

I had to remove the supplemental weight on the counterweight as this cartridge is installed in an SME S2 head shell which is quite light. I was able to balance the arm and set the tracking weight to within 0.1gm using the onboard weight - verified with an inexpensive digital gauge.. Quite good actually.

While this cartridge is not in the league of any of the SPUs I have on hand it is not a bad cartridge on any level - moderate resolution, speed and imaging. Inoffensive - a decent cartridge of a rather laid back forgiving nature...

This arm in no way detracts from its performance, if anything it sounds better in this arm than in any of the others I have heard it in.. (An arm I can't disclose and my SME 3009 Series II) The arm seems a competent performer, and I can only imagine how good it would be with one of my SPUs and in a proper mounting arrangement. I am pleased..
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Old 1st July 2012, 03:31 AM   #12
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Happy to hear your "..utter leap of faith.." in buying the conversion kit is giving you enjoyment. You are leading the way and I have to say I need to follow suit. My SME 3009 with Shure V15 Type II is a great combo, but I can't help but think there is more to be had. I have a few MC carts waiting for a heavier arm. The conversion kit may be the ticket.
Did you use an "Anti-ring Lining" in your new arm tube? I've heard of others who has used various material such as balsa wood, expanding foam, and even fine sand,to dampen the arm tube. What do you think?
Regards,
David
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Old 1st July 2012, 04:07 AM   #13
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Default My SME 3012

Hi Kevin and fellow TD 124 enthusists,

Yes, I have the ability to put one together, but as for now, there is no reason

I do have some questions.

I am not sure I am using a 'correct' catridge, (A Stanton 681EEE.)

is there a list somewhere?


Also, I don't have the factory alignment gauge, I am using a Soundtraktor (sp) gauge, it seems to do a good job. What are your thoughts?
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Old 6th July 2012, 02:14 AM   #14
jervill is offline jervill  United Kingdom
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After considering the options of the arm lift 'dilemma' I mentioned before, I chanced upon the arm lift with the t bar on eBay going for cheaper than previous ones I've seen. It turns out that the mechanism needed topping up with damping fluid to smoothen the action. I got it anyway for the price and had a look inside when I got it. It looked dry so I cleaned it and got some 300000 cst silicone oil (for rc motors, cheaper than the audio brand which seem to be the same spec. anyway) and topped it up. I didn't know how much to put so had to fiddle about until I had the correct damping. The lift is now moving smoothly.
As far as getting enough height, I noticed that the t bar fits over the lift piston so I imagine this could be stuffed to get more height. This has been a fun project. I've learnt a lot about tonearms and it's cost me 1/2 than if I'd plonked and played an original 3012.
Anyway, I'm still a few weeks from completing the turntable this arm is going so until then I'll be following kevin's impressions of the arm to help me decide on a cartridge.
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Old 6th July 2012, 05:21 PM   #15
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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There really aren't a super large range of suitable cartridges for these arms..
I've listed a few I think would be most interesting for use on any 3012 or derivative. There are quite a few I have not tried, so caveat emptor but I have tried all of the listed SPU at one time or another and the DL-103 variants (except the R) listed below, in a variety of different arms.


ORTOFON
  • SPU Classic GM II
  • SPU Classic GM E II
  • SPU GT/E (Vintage)
  • Kontrapunkt series (discontinued)
  • Cadenza series
DENON
  • DL-103
  • DL-103R
  • DL-103SA
  • ZU DENON DL-103
The DL-103/R will benefit greatly from being rehoused


AUDIO TECHNICA
  • AT-33PTG II
  • AT-33EV
There are also several Koetsu models that have suitable compliance for this arm, but are hideously expensive. Consider the above a list of possibilities - I haven't tried them all and probably won't. So YMMV.

My 3012 clone is most likely to end up with a GM E II installed on it.
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Old 6th July 2012, 05:47 PM   #16
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pure enjoyment !

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Old 10th July 2012, 01:42 AM   #17
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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A close friend of mine is making me a standalone base so that I can move the 3012 clone between my two tables. This will be phenolic cylinder with a top plate to match the 3012 bedplate and the bottom of the base will be filled with copper coated lead shot to add some additional and needed mass.

I mounted the Boboli I've mentioned on an inexpensive rigid head shell made by Ortofon, it is definitely an improvement over the SME S2 head shell with this cartridge.
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Old 17th August 2012, 11:27 PM   #18
jervill is offline jervill  United Kingdom
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Default my clone build

Hi Kevin,

These are the photos of my build and impressions as you suggested I post.

This is the start of the build when I dismantled the original 3009 s2 Improved.
I checked the condition of the bearings and found the arm was in good condition.

Click the image to open in full size.


This is the clone with the original wand. The picture on the bottom shows the replacement knife edge bearing which came with the kit. I wasn't sure before of the quality of this item so I bought a brass bearing just in case. As is, the kit bearing seems to be of good quality build and is metal, not plastic. If I'd been certain I wouldn't have bought a different one.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.


The arm was re-wired with Cardas. On the above picture you can see some bamboo skewers. These were what I used for the earth post inside the tonearm. Just split the end a little and used this to hold the post (like clips) and line it up.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

The only issue I had was with the arm-lift. The original was not a t-bar lift. I could have used the original bearing with the track as seen but the brass bearing was installed already.

Click the image to open in full size.

The wand of the clone though had the holes underneath to fit a track like in earlier models. I looked for these tracks and wands that may have them still but no joy.

Click the image to open in full size.

I ended up buying a t-bar arm-lift which I refurbished for the arm. Fitted it and all is well.

Here it is on my DIY Lenco GL75 PTP:

Click the image to open in full size.


I have an Ortofon Arkiv MM on it. Initially because I had run low on funds after my various projects and was needing a cart that can pair up with the arm mass. Now, after hearing it, I actually like the combination. I might try one of those KAB mods...

All in all, this kit has been straight forward to assemble and well built I have never dis-assembled or assembled a tonearm in my life. With the help of the Net, forums and my Uncle's advise I managed to build it.

The project cost about 400 including the donor arm and re-wire. I think that's very good value compared to the original and or other 12" arms. It's not even inconceivable to build a bearing for it for the budding Schick amongst us. I'll make another post on my impressions using the arm later on.

Thanks All.
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Old 30th August 2012, 10:03 AM   #19
his047 is offline his047  United Kingdom
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A related question: I have an SME3012 series II (not r) that I use with my SPUs. To balance the SPU the counterweight has to be all the way to the end of the rear stub. I think it might be better to have a much heavier counter weightwhich would increase the loading on the bearings. Have any of you experimented with this? What would be the required weight for such a thing?
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Old 30th August 2012, 05:34 PM   #20
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I have additional weights that I sometimes use on the 3009 Series II, but the 3012 clone has sufficient counter weight mass that additional supplemental weights aren't necessary for use with an SPU.

There are a number of vendors on eBay that sell heavier counter weights for use with SPU cartridges. I vaguely recollect that SME actually may have also offered heavier weights at some point as well.
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