This finely engineered precision turntable is built to the same exacting standard and incorporates many design features originated for the SME Model 20/12. Massive construction, extensional damping of major surfaces and lack of vibration from moving parts ensures exceptional detail, resolution and uncoloured performance.
A turntable should address the problems of extraneous vibrations. These emanate from numerous sources including air and structural vibration from loudspeakers, groove modulation, stray electrical fields and mechanical imperfections in moving parts. In the Model 20/3, superb instrument quality machining is allied with fundamental physics. The higher the mass and stiffness of a body the less it will flex and vibrate; the duration of a vibration can be shortened by suitable damping.
Model 20/3 weighs approximately 28.6Kg (63lb), significant in relation to its size because it is density that matters. For example, the same weight of metal spread over a large enough area would be aluminium foil! The sub-chassis measures only 440mm (17 5/16”) by 350mm (13 ¾”) but weighs 11Kg (24lb). Its thickness 16mm (5/8”) resists flexing at low frequencies whilst high frequency resonance is attenuated by efficient extensional damping.
The Model 20/3 has no 'sonic footprint'. The subchassis is suspended on forty purpose moulded ‘O’ rings which ensure freedom from feedback. The method of anchorage allows the rings to be removed or replaced in a matter of moments, even whilst a record is playing. A large centrally placed damper disciplines sub-chassis movement.
In addition to a cartridge’s electrical output, mirror image acoustic signals reacted in the arm and record, will pass into the sub-chassis in the course of dissipation. However the usual closed loop design does not address the problem of their differing phase so in the Model 20/3 the structural interfaces concerned have received special attention to provide paths of the required impedance. This control of vibration is fundamental to the design of the player and goes much of the way to explaining the stunning tonal and dynamic neutrality that it exhibits.
The turntable is driven by a 3 phase, brushless outrunner inductance motor with 8-pole Neodymium magnets and 3 integrated Hall position sensors. The electronic controller uses a high performance microprocessor, optimised for motor control. Closed loop speed control is implemented using a proportional plus integral (PI) algorithm. Fine pitch speed adjustment allows increments/decrements of +/-0.01% of selected speed. Speed ranges: 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM.
The SME Model 20/3 is available in two formats
"I must admit: 'When I fall In Love' aptly describes the the first moment I heard the SME Model 20/3" - Hi-Fi news (March 2011). Read review here.