What Hi-Fi? Reviews SME Model 6

What Hi-Fi? ReviewIt’s clear the brand is about cutting edge precision engineering. SME’s most affordable deck is packed with fresh engineering. The Model 6 serves up a full dose of the brand’s sonic DNA at a more approachable price.
This deck is a breeze to set up. The arm comes attached, so simply find a level, low resonance platform to put the deck on, fit the belt, acrylic platter and cartridge, and off you go.
Despite the differences in design and material technology, the Model 6 sounds every inch an SME record player. Its sound has the unerring composure we’ve noticed in the company’s other decks, that ability to resolve lots of detail and present it in an impeccably organized way. It delivers an authoritative performance brimming with control and insight. It is easy to track individual instrumental strands due to the deck’s highly regimented approach to replay and its refusal to blur low-level information. The music’s fierce dynamic shifts are handled with calm and rendered with confidence. Its stereo imaging is nicely layered and focused, making it easy to pinpoint the position of instruments and sounds. Stability, in terms of both speed and sound staging, is excellent. This is a surefooted deck.
We love its taut, wonderfully precise bass performance and the way it sounds so consistent throughout the whole frequency range. Voices come through with impressive clarity, letting [Marley’s] distinctive and heartfelt vocals stir the soul. It’s this transparency that pushes the Model 6 into the class-leading group at this level.
Despite its controlled and composed character, this deck is more than happy to rock out. Nirvana’s Come As You Are charges along at full throttle – there’s plenty of attack here, combined with speed and drive. While the Model 6 is happy to lay each instrumental strand out for inspection, it doesn’t tear the music apart. We hear an insightful but measured sound that retains the passion and enthusiasm of the music.
Through the use of clever engineering, careful development and innovative materials it has produced a superbly-made and thoroughly capable record player that truly lives up to the brand’s heritage. If you’ve always wanted one of the company’s turntables but could never quite stretch to buying one, go for this. In all the important ways, you won’t be missing out.
What Hi-Fi?, Five Star Award Winner, September 2020