With its many original design features the Model 30/2 is a unique turntable. There are no critical adjustments or setting up procedures. Its immaculate construction and finish stem from facilities and uncompromising quality control which have made SME a byword for engineering excellence. Judged by Germany’s AUDIO ‘the best turntable of all time’ the Model 30/2 can be for the fortunate owner of an analogue collection the key to lasting musical enjoyment.
SME have built pick-up arms for more than thirty-five years and the design and engineering experience gained has been applied in the Model 30/2, a precision turntable created to compliment the SME Series V regarded by many as: ‘the best pick-up arm in the world’. In common with this arm the design of the Model 30/2 takes special account of sonic considerations and with equipment of comparable quality can provide a listening experience that allows L.P. sound to be re-assessed. Detail, resolution, and neutrality are of a new order with a dynamic range that does justice to the original sound.
The laws of physics decree that the higher the mass and stiffness of a body the less it will flex and vibrate – and this is reflected throughout the Model 30/2. The sub-chassis is machined from 19mm thick aluminium alloy plate and weighs approximately 17kg while the base with its four supporting pillars adds a further 16kg. This offers the high mass and stiffness required for uncoloured reproduction further aided by efficient extensional damping of both components to reduce the amplitude and duration of their vibrational modes.
In conventional turntables metal supporting springs often contribute significantly to colouration. Sometimes even their size and nature can be identified by an experienced ear!
The unique suspension system of the Model 30/2, however has no sonic footprint, it hangs the sub-chassis on ninety-six strands of rubber in the form of forty-eight purpose moulded ‘O’ rings. An ingenious method of anchorage allows them to be removed or replaced instantly, should this ever be necessary, even while a record is playing!
This design also places the centre of gravity where it will give natural stability with minimal sensitivity to external influences, contrasted with a conventional arrangement. Sub-chassis motion is disciplined by four fluid dampers, one in each of the supporting columns. These eliminate overshoot and give almost zero ‘Q’ recovery, allowing the user to make record and arm placements with total confidence. The isolation needed to prevent acoustic feedback is bridged by the resistive coupling of the damping fluid through which unwanted reacted energy is conducted away to ‘ground’. This function is adjustable through trimmers which can be used in conjunction with a gauge to give recommended settings or varied to suit individual conditions.
Built-in locks one at each corner of the sub-chassis, enable the suspension to be secured and automatically sealed for transport.
The moving parts of a fine turntable are of paramount importance. The spindle of the Model 30/2 is 170,5mm long and 19mm diameter. The massive sealed housing and individually fitted sintered bronze bearings in which the spindle runs are also of the generous proportions needed to ensure that the 330mm diameter platter weighing 7kg is adequately supported. The Model 30/2’s excellent dynamics and pitch stability are largely the result of the immense care taken in the design and execution of these components.
The platter face is machined with a fine scroll found to interface better than a plain surface. A substantial reflex clamp ensures maximum contact with the platter even when severe record warp is present.
Dowels ensure positional accuracy so that if more than one arm is in use the arm mounting plinth can be quickly interchanged.The powerful electronically commutated motor is ‘cogging-effect’ free and virtually vibrationless by reason of its 2,5kg weight. It is isolated on urethane mounts and adjustable for accurate belt positioning.
It can be fairly claimed that the engineering of the Model 30/2 is unique in a turntable. In the quest for perfection even the stainless steel motor pulley has received detailed attention. It is crowned to ensure belt centrality, concentric within +/- 2,5 microns and secured to its precision ground tungsten steel shaft with twin grub screws to maintain rotational balance. From this the drive is transmitted via a ground rubber belt to a 209mm sub-platter weighing 2,3kg. This is extensionally damped and incorporates four captive transit screws allowing the main spindle’s vertical thrust bearing to be off loaded for safe transport.