Stereo Magazine Compares SME Model 12A to Model 12 MK2

Being upgraded to the MK2 version involves replacing the entire drive system, from the power supply and the speed control unit – which is always separate – to the motor. This is not a more or less careful modification, but a radical reorientation.
That something has really changed in the Model 12 MK2 can be seen by the fact that it now comes with a third device: The new power supply unit, which is fed by a large toroidal transformer and sits in a rectangular housing. While designing the ultimate Model 60, the importance of an oversized power supply became evident and the Brits, always opposed to compromises, tackled this point as thoroughly as ever.
Those who had expected only a small step forward at best were faced with positive disappointment. In fact, the MK2 Model 12 effortlessly set itself apart from its predecessor. While we had mainly expected changes in timing, it was immediately noticeable how consistently the new model drew energy on the spot. This was particularly apparent with James Taylor’s powerful, contoured bass line in “Her Town Too”. In contrast, the portrayal of the MK1 seemed less focused, more diffuse and almost a bit mushy as a result. No matter what we put on it, the Model 12 MK2 easily displayed its advantages, appearing even more refined and sophisticated in every respect. 
While SME’s Model 12 already set standards in its class, they have succeeded with their elaborate “MK2” upgrade, through which its advantages and performance again significantly increased. This turntable offers soundstages that are fantastically well organized, dynamically concentrated while at the same time presented with the nonchalance of an expert. Reference class!
Mattias Bode, Stereo Magazine, January 2023

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