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SME 3012 Version 1

Complete Restoration / Rewire

SME 3012 V1.jpg

The SME 3012 is a fantastic tonearm, and Version 1 with stainless steel armtube is highly sought after.    It projects much better contrast and dynamics than the later versions with aluminum armtube.

But it only performs if it is completely restored.

If you simply believe in what you read on various forums and treat it as gospel chance are you have not looked at the SME arm carefully.

If you simply purchase an old SME thinking it will perform like once did 50 years ago, you are mistaken.  In all cases, the grease they use back in the old days has dried up, combined with dust, dirt, and grime, the bearing is usually not turning smoothly.   Some have been reworked, albeit improperly with the wrong type of lubrication.   

This will affect the horizontal movement, which causes the arm to sound sluggish and dull.    The rough action will also affect azimuth and anti-skating.    This will cause one SME tonearm to sound different than the next.

The SME 3012 V1 should be completely restored and it involves:  

  1. Complete disassembly of the entire arm down to individual components

  2. Thorough cleaning and degreasing of the ball bearing using Watchmakers degreaser

  3. Relubrication of the ball bearing using Watchmakers synthetic lubricant

  4. Resetting of the bearing tension to property tightness within 0.01-inch lbs, and within 0.1mm tolerance on the bearing cup.

  5. Complete restoration of the tonearm cable or re-wiring the tonearm

  6. Optional direct wire replacement using a direct connection with no connections in between.

Please contact us to inquire:  EMAIL US


Disassembling the SME 3012 Version 1 down to compoments

SME Bearing.jpg

50 year old bearing with grime, dirt and old dried up grease.

Degrease Bearing SME.jpg

Thorough degreasing using Watchmaker's degreaser and cleaner.


The SME 3012 bearing has a very tight tolerance, just 0.2 mm a turn too tight and the bearing will have too much pressure.   0.2 mm a turn too loose will cause the bearing to rock in the bearing cup.   We reset the bearing with the proper tension.


After resetting the bearing this arm is ready for Rewire

Why Rewire an SME Tonearm ?

Most old SME 3012 tonearms come with the wrong tonearm wires.    And if it comes with the original wiring, the old factory wires are very low gauge, and with a jacket not made for tonearm application.  Not to mention, the copper is usually completely oxidized due to age.

Many people buy an SME arm and is even aware that the wire has been changed.    We have seen all sorts of horrors under the sun, and a speak under the hood are sometimes shockingly revealing.    This tonearm was sent in by a customer who thought he had "original" SME wires. 

SME Gold 1.jpg


Wiring aside,  the 90 degree bend at the bearing also causes the old PVC jacket to break at the turn.     The hardening of the old wire with a PVC jack hinders the horizontal movement of the armwand, reducing agility.  

Further improvements can be made to the tonearm by eliminating the 11 connections within the tonearm wire:

  1. Cartridge Wires to Pin (Solder Joint) 

  2. Cartridge Pinouts to Headshell Clip 

  3. Headshell Clips to Wire (Solder Joint)

  4. Wires to Clips again (Solder Joint)

  5. Clips to Pins on SME style Headshell

  6. Pin to Pin spring-loaded SME DIN connector

  7. Pin to Internal Wiring 

  8. Internal Wire to Din Pin (Solder joint) 

  9. Din Pin to Female Din of Phono Cable

  10. Female Din to Wires (solder joint)

  11. Phono Cable Wire to RCA Male Connector (Solder Joint)

No expensive Din to RCA cable will eliminate the 9 unnecessary extra connections.  By eliminating 2 to 10, signal integrity can be improved by having only 2 connections, direct from Headshell Clips to RCA output.  

We will rewire your SME using the tonearm wires of your choice or with the AnalogMagik Reference Silver or Copper tonearm wires.    Our Reference Tonearm Wires are custom made in-house, with specifications designed for Tonearm Wire usage. 

Direct Wire Clamp.jpg

SME 3012 V1 with direct wire connection, eliminating the SME / RCA connector.    A special tube is used to protect the wire, yet allowing free VTA adjustment as the center pivot column moves up and down.   

Once the SME 3012 V1 has been restored and rewired with a direction, expect a dramatic increase in clarity, resolution and dynamics. 

Please contact us to inquire:  EMAIL US

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