New turntables from SME are almost as scarce as solar eclipses, and even then you have to be on your toes to catch their arrival, but low there is now a Model 15. SME describe it as ‘the ultimate in recovery vehicle’ on the premise that it allows the cartridge to retrieve the last nth of recorded material from the vinyl disc. Inspiration comes from the Model 10 but the suspension is clearly derived from the Model 20/3, as is the power supply. The main difference is that it has three suspension towers rather than the four of the Model 20 and 30. Each has 10 moulded ‘O’ rings to provide suspension for the top plinth and 10lb platter, this is combined with a central fluid damper to control movement of the subchassis and provide a resistive ground path for acoustic signals. As usual for SME the Model 15 has a clamp to ensure the largest possible contact between vinyl and platter, the latter featuring a damped and a diamond turned top surface.
Drive is provided by a three phase, brushless outrunner inductance motor with eight pole neodymium magnets and integrated Hall position sensors. Power is supplied by a microprocessor driven electronic controller that can run the platter at 33, 45 and 78 rpm. The Model 15 accepts 9 and 10 inch SME arms and is available with a Series 309 arm in matching finish. Price is £5,373 without arm or £6,884 with SME 309 arm. www.sme.ltd.uk