SME 3009 S2 Improved Tonearm problem...possibly

I’m struggling with my vintage turntable setup. I’ll give a run down of my setup and what all has been done and the problem I’m having.

Thorens TD125 MKII Turntable...New Walnut Plinth. Caps have been replaced. Strobe works as it is suppose to. It has a lexan tonearm board. It has been leveled and regulated. Still has original power cable. Original Thorens platter matt

SME 3009 S2 Improved tonearm with removeable headshell. Bronze knife-edge bearing properly installed. Aftermarket brass low hung weight. Original wiring in good condition. Upgraded to RCA connections. I have installed the SME fluid damper and using the recommended 200,000ct oil.

Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC * Cartridge with less than 50 hours just purchased new. This was spec’ed to me by Soundsmith.

Phone preamp is a Gold Note PH-10 with seperate power supply and is set to correct specs recommended by Soundsmith and tested by myself.

I just put a 3" walnut butcher block under my turntable. Put hockey pucks under the butcher block and installed spikes under my turntable.


I am experiencing midrange distortion. I’ve noticed today that piano is heavily distorted. The music isn’t as lively sounding with the Soundsmith cartridge as with the Shure Type III V15 I had on before. However, it should be a much improved sound.

I noticed today, as I’ve been tweaking the table constantly, while I was adjusting the tonearm height that with the table on and attaching the allen wrench to adjust height that I was getting a buzzing sound through the speaker. This would happen when the allen key touched the base of the tonearm or any point on the tonearm. Could this be the source of my distortion? If so, what is the possible fix?


This is driving me up the wall!!!



The Soundsmith cartridge does not mate well with the SME arm. It obviously mistracks on some recordings. Get a better arm! The SME 3009 is late- Fifties technology. A Fidelity Research arm would be a lot better. I have two. I had a 3009 44 years ago. Soon sold it and bought a JH Formula 4.

Thats feedback coming through the turntable/arm either airborne or through the floor. The fix is to move your turntable - is it near the bass speakers ? is it on a table thats passing vibration ? wobbly floor ?

That's what I deducted. It's not on the best of stands. it is placed in proximity of the left channel Khorn. I don't use a sub when playing vinyl. I put the turntable on top of a 26# solid walnut butcher block that is sitting on hockey pucks. The turntable is then sitting on spikes. The turntable itself is suspended by springs by design of Thorens. The lid is kept on when not in use, but when in use it is lifted off. It is not attached anywhere to the turntable.

A Fidelity Research arm would be a lot better.

I'm open to a different tonearm. However, I'd rather not spend more money if not necessary. I know I don't have a lot in my vinyl setup compared to a lot of others, but $8,000 into this venture.

One thing I've realized, I do not have the tonearm grounded to the chassis of the turntable. The chassis is grounded to the phono stage via an AudioQuest ground wire, but that is the only grounding I've done. Could this be the source of all my ills with this vinyl setup?