SME 30/2 Controller

Looking to get some questions answered regarding a 2004 30/2 turntable. The controller has the knob instead of push buttons and I believe it to be the 2nd generation as the box is longer format. Does the latest controller work with the existing motor?

 The O-Rings are original and the table has been in the box unused since 2009. Is a belt and new rings needed because of age?

 The platter is the mustard/green color but it seems that it was not a change other than color.

 If anyone knows pricing please enlighten me!

 Thanks for any help.


SME not getting back to me. Distributor has no number and so far no response. Cant find a SME dealer. Hoped some one would have an answer. Music Direct sell but has no knowledge either.

The latest controller works with your table.   I would recommend a new belt.  The o-rings can be moved around to other posts to help the suspension posts all get close to the same height.  I assume the o-rings are fine if the posts are not fully extended.

As long as it was put away properly, all the posts closed and locked, belt removed etc, they should be fine. The O-rings are very simple to remove and replace if necessary. Pretty sure you can find them out there if needed. I would definitely replace the drive belt though. Why do you want to change the control module? If it functions properly, there isn’t much reason to swap it, unless there are aesthetic issues. I’ve talked to SME directly a couple of times. I would call, they are usually very responsive. You should be able to order anything you need with a request.

Thanks for info. It was my understanding that the new controllers offered better speed control and sounded better. Is this not the case ?

 My Koetsu Rosewood sig is being rebuilt and will be back in 3-4 months. I now know it’s a low compliance cartridge. Will it be okay on the Series V arm?

 I have a Benz Cardas Heart but that to needs to be rebuilt. I am just getting back into vinyl. Any thoughts appreciated. 


O-rings are commodity items. As long as they are not all stretched out you should be able measure them and purchase new ones from a industrial supply house. Get a pair of calipers and measure the cross section of the cord stock and than see if you can get the inside diameter of the ring. Not sure where you are located but McMaster Carr in the States carries a large selection of them and list them by sizes. I do it all the time.



I suspect that SME might simply be closed for the whole Christmas/New Year period. They probably reopen on 10/1. 

The motor control unit which you have is the original one for the 30/2 (the first Model 30 is a different matter: it had a different motor and controller).

I have a relatvely early 30/2 (serial number 133) and some years ago changed the controller (of the type which you have) for the more recent one. I think I noticed a small drop in the overall noise floor, but I would not swear to it. I think you could happily start out with the unit you have. 

I agree that a new drive belt might be a good idea, but if we are talking about a new turntable that has never been used, I can quite imagine the supplied belt still being perfectly ok. 

The colour of the platter surface is the original; SME changed to black a few years ago because the supplier of this substance ('Isodamp', I think it is called) discontinued it in the green colour. 

Good luck with the turntable: it is thunderous noise sink that allows you to hear what is on your records (for better or worse). Note that, despite the elaborate suspension, it is sensitive to what it is placed on. 


Thanks for input. Everything is wrapped in plastic so maybe belt is fine. Table is 2004 model.  As to weather locked down properly not sure. I have not removed it yet. I’m waiting for cartridge. 
 I did notice a small amount of oil around top plate of the shaft hole/motor bearing. Very small amount in a circular shape. Do I need to order oil and if so how do you know how much to add? 

The motor should be oiled once a year - with one small drop of the supplied oil only. A syringe of this oil is included with a new turntable. If you do not have one, you will need to order it from SME or an SME dealer. 

SME warns against over-oiling: one small drop. 

I very much doubt that you need to worry about the small amount of oil that seems to have emerged from the motor shaft. It may in fact be left over from a clumsy attempt to apply the oil on the part of the previous owner. It is, in fact, not at all easy to stop too much oil coming out of the syringe. Best perhaps to apply it first to the blade of a small screwdriver and then transfer it to the duct leading to the motor shaft.  

Thanks Pete do you know the type of oil for the shaft or get that from SME ? Is there a way to gage if shaft needs oil ?

1 drop on motor even after no use since 2009?

One drop. You need the SME oil. There should be a parts kit in the box with all the goodies. Damping fluid, tools, oil etc. You’ll need the setup templates and tools to properly dial in your arm and cart. The V isn’t terribly hard to setup, but the proper setup tools really are a must. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the oil syringes and tools on Music Direct. You can order all of this through SME. Look at EBay too, sometimes you’ll see tools and what/not there.

The only guidance that SME give about when the motor needs oiling, apart from 'once a year',  is that it should be oiled if it makes a noise. Though exactly what that means is not clear. 

Your unit may well have been over-oiled in the past (this might explain why some oil has come out of the motor shaft, if this is what has happened). I would begin with one drop, and then see.

SME's insistence on not over-oiling suggests that they may have had problems in the past with people applying too much oil or doing so too frequently. 

As far as I know, the oil used must be the one sold by SME (it is apparently specially diluted for the narrow tolerances in the motor shaft),

Thanks everyone for your input. I am looking forward to listening to 30/2. The guidance you’ve all given me has helped ease my mind. I will use the existing controller as it seems buying a newer version yields few improvements. 
 Looks like all the tools etc are in the tonearm box. I will use the spare o-ring to get my measurements. The o-rings are offered in many materials, any input as to which is proper? 


So, I discovered a little bit of the hydraulic fluid at base of the pillar.  Is this a big issue and if so serviceable?
 No reply from SME.  I have now sent 4 inquires.  I have never had this poor of service from a company so, I’m at a loss of words. 

The sub chassis was not locked down in transport but the it was lowered all the way down. As a result hydraulic fluid present. Everything else is fine. Bearing dead quite with  stethoscope and motor no issues.
 Any guidance on fluid leak? Cleaned everything up and so far nothing more has has appeared. Is this a serious issue and what would be involved if needed attention?

Update on fluid leak. After studying and thinking long and hard,I think I know what happened. When sub chassis was raised to its limits and released quickly a little bit of oil due to the sudden pressure of the quick release was forced out. After 2 days no fluid present and the hydraulic feel of all 4 posts seems fine. 
 Since it was such a small amount of fluid it seems fine. I will assume at this point with no additional appearance of fluid all is well.

 Thanks everyone for your input. It really guided me through the process. 

Update : if you don’t lock the sub chassis down the suspension dashpot does not seal. As a result the dampening fluid leaked out and ran down the chassis onto the supporting feet.  I removed the sub chassis cleaned up all the mess.  
 The issue is I need to add more dampening fluid. SME provides no support as multiple emails go unanswered. Does anyone know fluid is used ?                    Thanks,



I recall there being a specific Model 30/2 service bulletin for filling the suspension towers that you may request. Viscosity (CST) & amount (ML) of damping fluid are provided. Prefilled syringes are available from SME as well. The Model 30 variants do not use a dashpot as their fluid is in the base of each suspension tower. 

Regarding the motor controllers, with the exception of the new AC Motor Model 6, all of the controllers are interchangeable. The original rotary style controllers feature a linear power supply whereas a Switched Mode Supply is what is now being supplied.

I understand the factory is operating in COVID mode with limited staff. I believe contacting them through their website is best:

Hope this helps.

SME did contact me and I got it straightened out. 
 They do call the suspension system dash pots.  I have the fluid on order and a diagram for fill height. 
 The power/controllers are not being sold as upgrades. I guess I am using the original. 
 It was a stressful situation, in the end there was no damage and fluid was all that was needed. I did order suspension bands from 3rd party. They are close but I’m going to order another set that is a tad different.

I bought a 30/2, S/N 0244, from Audiogon in 2020 and it was not locked down for transit correctly, and the oil in the towers was everywhere on receipt. Good news was there was no real damage, just a mess.

Brian Laker at SME was very helpful, he sent me Service Sheet 54 and I got the original seller to cough up for 4 vials of the tower fluid. I stripped the deck down, filled up the towers as per the instructions, doing every thing very slowly and taking umpteen photos, just in case. I still have them if you need any help.


Once all back together and cleaned up, the deck was superb. its the yellow platter and knob-style supply, I too was interested in the newer push-button style but I think its pricey (4000USD?).

I have a V and Dynavector 20X2L, sounds great to me, am listening to Gary Numan as I type. Best record spinner I have owned by far (LP12, rega P9, SME 20/2, 20/3).

You asked about pricing. I paid 12500 for the 30/2 with V. I had been looking online for years, and that was the best/lowest price I ever saw. There’s two on Agon now, one at 16, one at 22 (a lot newer it has to be said).

If you are anywhere near Seattle, let me know.

Thanks for the info Tobermorey. I got the fluid ordered only a small amount leaked from 1 dash pot and the instruction for proper level of fill. My serial # is older but I have grey platter. 
 I am waiting on my Rosewood Sig to be rebuilt.  I hope it works with  SME V tonearm. It’s a low compliance cartridge and I have been told it’s not going to be a correct match. 


Surprising you have the newer grey/black platter color on a unit with original power supply form. Maybe someone changed out the platter?

Even filling one tower will require the entire subchassis come off. You’ll see how clever the damping fluid design is, you have the inverted cup with a normally unseen inner part sitting in the fluid that is held by the upright cup, if you see what I mean. You can’t see any of this with an assembled unit. This is one nice side-effect of having to strip the unit down, I learned something in the process.

What I still don’t quite understand is how the manual states that raising the sub-chassis increases isolation. i would have thought with less material in the fluid, that would gives rise to less damping/isolation. Anyone enlighten me there?

I think Koetsu cartridges are of a height that requires a 1/4in shim between headshell and cartridge. I know Analogue Seduction in the UK sell it, 34 UKP I think. US dealers can likely get it too, Acoustic Sounds prob best bet.

I for one would be very interested in your experience with a Koetsu on the 30/V.  I have thought about getting one myself, but am now erring on the side of moving up the Dynavector range to an XX2.  I run the Dynavector 200 SUT, so staying with their carts makes sense to me.



I’ve run many Koetsu models on the 9” Magnesium SME tonearms with no issues or spacers required, although the heavier stone bodies prefer the heavier counterweight instead of the lighter original hanging way out away from the pivot. If a headshell spacer is required then its likely to be a case of the cueing cylinder not being set low enough at its lowered position. If the fluid damper is available (Series IV.Vi & Series V), some cases call for just a delicate “dip of the toe” of the paddle tip into the fluid for solidifying the image without over damping.

Dynavector, is also an excellent choice, especially when going above their first two models.

 I tend to agree with your turntable suspension damping thought about increasing the gap provides less suspension damping.

I have already taken the sub-chassis apart to see where the fluid came from. I think I can get enough gap with a syringe and a rubber hose end to add to my dash pot. 
Regarding height and isolation no clue! I’ll just set it to the spacer level. 
 The mystery for me is the effect a new controller would have presented.SME will not sell controllers so it’s a mute point. Personally not allowing end users updates or upgrades is insane.  
 It’s SME’s decision but giving up revenue stream seems to be a poor decision.  Not only does it cost them on bottom line but, I think end users will begin to jump ship. 

Fluid damper of the tonearms is of course different from the turntable suspension dashpots.

Reading the 30/2 manual makes it obvious that the turntable’s dashpot damping increases rigidity. Less damping by their “up to 2mm” recommendation will make the upper subchassis less rigid, providing for an increase in isolation for severe situations.

More critical thinking reveals that damping does not equate to isolation here.

It certainly used to be possible to buy the new controller: I bought one shortly after it came out. You were supposed to return the old one in part-exchange (I managed not to, so I have both). 

What you report suggests to me that maybe SME is about to replace the current controller with a new model - this might happen simply because they can no longer source some of the components used in the current one - and do not wish to have customers upgrading to it only to find shortly after that it has been superceded. 

Apart from this, I imagine SME must be willing to sell customers replacement controllers. What happens if a tank runs over yours (or it is stolen)? Are you supposed to buy a whole new turntable? 


I am not business savvy in any way, and couldn’t tell a revenue stream from a slap in the face, but I too find it odd that SME will, apparently, not sell items that customers patently want to buy.

Quite why the V arm (all arms??) were withdrawn from standalone sale is beyond my understanding. What do Michell, Avid, etc do now, go to Rega for arms? It appears that to buy a V arm now you have to purchase how high up the TT ladder? 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30?? A product well-loved, or at least respected, by most in this arena, and marketed as ’the best pick-up arm in the world’ is now essentially not for sale. Glad I have mine, and it’s not going anywhere near any tanks.

PG was there are noticeable difference between the 2 controllers? Is so what did the new controller add? 

I certainly remember hearing a slight lowering of the noise floor, giving the music just a little more presence. But it was some years ago, and I would not wish to make too strong a claim. In any case I remember it as being slight but worthwhile. I certainly did not think, 'I will pack this up and send it back'. 

With the new controller it is somewhat easier to adjust the speed (on the older one it was necessary to insert a special screwdriver). 

The tower gaps as set with the tool provided simply set the upper platform level with an optimal “stretch” on the elastomers of the system. All the fluid in the pots do is help damp any bounce that might occur. This is unlikely as the unit should be placed on a fairly substantial platform. The towers are not “shocks” where the internals are charged to provide rebound etc. the shock absorption comes from the elastomers. Overall, the height of the towers do not matter in the overall use of the table. However, they should not be able to bottom out the elastomers, nor should they be set so the elastomers don’t have much tension. Otherwise, they cannot do their job properly. Be sure to set the height with the table fully assembled platter installed and arm of choice installed to assure proper level on the upper plinth.

Regarding the damping of the V tonearm, that is entirely different and has nothing to do with the isolation of the platform. Some don’t run damping fluid in the tonearm reservoir at all, I’ve tried it both ways and prefer to damp the tonearm. It seems to give the arm more presence and body. YMMV.

The tower heights are set without the record clamp on, yes?  The manual implies this I think, but I did always wonder.

I don't have any damping fluid for my V, but had some on an earlier IV. I am intrigued to find that you say it improves the V. Most online comments suggest it isn't worth the hassle/expense. I imagine it depends on cartridge compliance (says he without quite understanding what that means).

The V damping fluid is a fairly viscus silicone gel stuff (for lack of a better description). It’s really not a big deal to use/install. I had a syringe of it anyway, so it wasn’t any additional cost for me. The only time it can be a pain is if you spill any, or maybe spill when moving the table/arm. It’s a b1tch to clean up for sure. In terms of preference overall to each their own. It certainly isn’t “required”.

Regarding the clamp on or off the table, I don’t really think it’s a big deal either way. The clamp is fairly heavy and it might change the level a bit but enough to make it an issue? Doubt it. When I set up mine I’m pretty sure the clamp was on, but I honestly don’t remember. I’m not sure where the manual mentioned anything about the clamp relative to the tower adjustment. I might have simply shined it at the time.

The second-hand SME 30/12 ibought recently also has the phenomenon fo oil leakage in the column. How to deal with?Thanks

The only way to deal with it is to order Topping Oil for the dash pots from SME. 
You will need to fill the pots to the required height (SME can provide drawing showing fill level). The upper section will need to be lifted off. This requires o-rings, platter, underside rubber counter pull belt and tower supports removed. 
 SME had procedure for all of this. They will email you pdf.  It’s actually very easy but requires 3 people or setting up a support to rest plinth on. 
 If it’s only a slight amount that leaked out don’t bother. 
 I had a lot that came out of 1 pot only. Don’t freak out if it’s just a small amount around the base of the pillar. 

Thanks very much. And I get new problem. When I adjust the column gap to meet the gauge A terminal, press the 33 button, the speed is accurate and stable, but the light continues to flash and cannot be locked, and the upper board has obvious swing. But when I lowered about 1mm, this phenomenon disappeared and everything was normal . This phenomenon has not appeared in two states in 45 and 78, they can be locked quickly.

What could be the reason for this? Thanks

akennadun33, did you get the 33 speed locking issue resolved? Unfortunately, I have the same issue? Thanks!