Hi-Fi News Reviews SME Model 60 Turntable

 

Hearing the deck in full flow was an extraordinary experience, and a vinyl lover’s dream. Its presentation has an effortlessness and neutrality that is nothing short of enthralling, and completely free of unwanted ‘character’. This turntable also possesses one of the most eerily silent backgrounds I have ever (not) heard from vinyl – levels of groove noise were astonishingly low, and pops and clicks were only noticeable by their absence.
So while the Model 60 won’t transform your LPs into something brand new, I’ll wager it will introduce you to subtleties you’ve missed before. This clarity and resolving power comes courtesy of the turntable’s midband and lower treble talents. to call its detail retrieval abilities ‘formidable’ would be a gross understatement. No matter what sort of music I chose to pass under the stylus, the Model 60 lifted every element out of the groove and served them up in a way I have seldom encountered.
This astonishing, incredible level of detail never once left the Model 60 sounding like a surgical instrument heartlessly dissecting the music. Rather, its level of insight worked to knit the music together as a whole. Detail is definitely not the enemy: I’ve always found that more information equals more musical enjoyment, and the Model 60 showcased this theory exquisitely.
Across the lower registers, the Model 60 sounded impeccable. The deck’s bass delivery was extended fluid and taut, and when impact was required, it came to the detail and texture of bass instruments. The prominent bassline was fruity, deep and slick in its tunefulness.
With the Model 60, SME has taken the deck many already considered to be ‘the best’ and made it even better. Both turntable and arm are exquisitely engineered and finished, and combine to weave a musical spell that’s at once both compelling and exacting.
The Model 60 turned in a performance that was revelatory, playing familiar recordings in an almost unfamiliar fashion. It is no overstatement to rank the Model 60/Series VA as the new standard by which all high-end turntables should be judged, regardless of price.
Adam Smith, Hi-Fi News, July 2022, Outstanding Product Award
Without a doubt, the Model 60 is the most pitch-stable belt-driven deck we have tested, its ~0.005% absolute speed accuracy and mere 0.01% peak-wtd wow is comparable with the best of today’s direct-drive offerings. Furthermore, the sintered bronze bearing, with oil-damped ball, is so precisely machined and polished that both through-grove and through-belt rumble are at the limit of measurement at -75.5dB and -76.5dB respectively.
As with the Series V, the VA’s bearings are free of any perceptible play and, for our purposes, are essentially frictionless. The freedom from more complex resonances, and general clutter, is quite remarkable.
Paul Miller, Hi-Fi News, July 2022, Lab Report

Click here to download a PDF of the full review.

 

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