What Does It Take To Surpass A SME V?

Thinking about the possibility of searching for a new tonearm. The table is a SOTA Cosmos Eclipse. Cartridge currently in use is a Transfiguration Audio Proteus, and it also looks like I will also have an Ortofon Verismo if a diamond replacement occurs without incident. 

The V is an early generation one but in good condition with no issues. Some folks never thought highly of the arm, others thought it quite capable. So it's a bit decisive. 

The replacement has to be 9 to 10.5 inches. I have wondered if Origin Live is worth exploring? Perhaps a generation old Triplanar from the pre owned market?

 Any thoughts on what are viable choices? 








Mulveling, What is there about the Korf tonearm that leads you to believe it might outperform an SME V?  What I see is that neither the pivot point nor the counterweight lie in the plane of the LP surface.  Nor does the CW appear to be decoupled from the pivot, although it may be.  All 3 of those design elements are now fairly well accepted to be optimal for a pivoted tonearm, at least according to theory.  Yes, there are many great vintage tonearms that don't meet these design criteria and still manage to sound excellent.

@pindac , wrong again pindac. The Sota has a 1" thick aluminum sub chassis to which the plater and tonearm are firmly bolted. It is as rigid as they come. If you mean the suspension that is a vital part of any turntable that claims to be high performance. It is isolating that rigid sub chassis from the rest of this very noisy world.

@neonknight , The one thing about the Cosmos that makes life a little difficult is the tonearm board is recessed into the plinth which limits your choice of arms. Arms that I know for a fact fit and work well are the Kuzma 4 Point 9, Your SME, The Schroder CB and Reference, Rega Arms and Origin live arms. The SME V is actually a very light arm and is more comfortable with compliant cartridges. The vast majority of high end cartridges are medium compliance and might do better with slightly heavier arms like the Kuzma and Schroder. I opted for the Schroder because it is an elegant design. The simple exterior hides very sophisticated underpinnings. It has adjustable tonearm mass with three different weight cartridge plates and accessory counterweights of various size. It has the best antiskating device I have ever used by a country mile. Lastly, it fits the Sota like a glove. The other advantage is Donna is now very familiar with the arm and knows what mass the tonearm board needs to have to keep the suspension in tune. They showed The Nova with a CB installed I believe. The SME V also fits the Sota beautifully. Will the Schroder outperform it. This probably depends on the cartridge. It would most likely be a sideways move. There is no tonearm made that is significantly better than the V. Is your Cosmos up to date? Vacuum? Eclipse? 

@lewm , there does not appear to be anything special about the Korf arm. As you've noticed it has some design deficiencies.

@mulveling , I think that would be a mistake. If you want a less expensive arm that rocks the Kuzma 4 Point 9 would be a great choice. I think like me you are always window shopping.

Fwiw, I visited the always lovely Albert Porter recently. If I recall, he was a fan of the SME V and is currently using a pair of the John Holmes version of the Kuzma 4 Pt. on his SP-10mkIII, installed on the Porter Panzerholz plinth of his design.  Albert is pretty meticulous about set up. We got to hear two very different cartridges mounted on identical arms- a Koetsu Blue Lace and an Airtight Opus. It was instructive. But for the purposes of this thread, I think it is safe to say that Albert liked the big daddy Kuzma arm over the SME. Whether that would fit on the table in question is not an answer I can provide. I do have the 9 inch version, which does not afford VTA on the fly- it is well constructed and pretty easy to set up (though I did buy a Mint protractor to do so). 

I miss his posts here. Maybe he can weigh in. @albertporter.

I had a great time "visiting" with Albert. 

When I have time, I'll address @mijostyn views on linear trackers and high mass turntables. Mijo said he is suffering from flu, so I don't want to burden him with unnecessary stress- which is not good for recovery of flu symptoms. 

Bill (whart) we all enjoyed your visit, wish you could attend every session. Short answer is yes, I liked the SME V12 very much, it was wired with Purist best and mounted on the same MK3 modified Technics.

I first auditioned the 14” Kuzma 4Point and loved what it did. Not only it’s performance but the ability to adjust everything. I now have two Kuzma 14” 4 point, the original with steel bearing and the new one with synthetic (ruby?).

I did a review for Positive Feedback, should still be out there on the web. I was NOT a dealer at the time but became one after living with the 14" for extended time. I compared the 14” to a number of other arms and it was my favorite,  so maybe my listening habits make me more sensitive to tracking error.

I have not read this entire thread but for anyone that does not know, SME tonearms are no longer available for purchase separately, only when buying a complete SME turntable. I for one would not want an SME table, there are others I would put above it .

Anyone wanting to see my turntable set up, it’s part of my virtual system: