I'm thinking of buying one of these. Have never seen one and probably don't have a way to prior to purchase. How is VTA adjusted?
I've had my SME for 16 years, so I really can't compare it with any current offerings. It works beautifully (still) and with a wide range of cartridges. I had mine in for service (to England) two years ago and had them rewire it with the current best van den Hul internal silver wire, but other than that, it's as good as it was years ago.

The other thing I forgot to mention is that it's not possible to adjust azimuth, though that shouldn't be a problem with any of the better cartridges. If you have a short (in height) cartridge, you may need to use the headshell spacer so the back of the (fat) armtube doesn't hit the edge of the record It is basically easy to set up, but not to tinker around with once you have it the way you want it.

The van den Hul silver hybrid tonearm cables are crap IMO, and should be changed, if you can afford it, to Silver Breeze, Hoveland, Purist Venustas, or Siltech..

The truth is in the bearings, and SME's are the very best.
Thanks for the info Nsgarch. I have a Graham 2.2 but I'm considering a second arm to mount on my table. The Graham is so easy to setup and adjust, although I don't change VTA (SRA) often. I see SME V arms on Audiogon at times (there is one now) and I know the SME V is a good arm, so it seems like a good candidate. You have a very nice system so I'd be interested in your opinion of the arm and if you can compare it to others you've used.
You can't adjust VTA "on the fly" with an SME V. It's main failing IMO (and I own one).

The arm post is held in place vertically by the clamping action of two captive bolts that go thru the adjustable "sled" base (a really great mechanism that makes adjusting stylus overhang a snap).

There is a removable adjustment screw that you can insert to help you make small changes in the arm height, after loosening the clamping bolts, but you cannot do this while playing a record.

If you want to adjust VTA (really SRA) while playing a record, you should consider a Triplanar, or a Graham 2.2 or Phantom (the Grahams are unipivot design, the SME and Triplanar are bearing pivots)