SME Model 12A Turntable



The Absolute Sound 2020 Turntable of the Year

The Model 12A has been designed for those who would prefer to select their own unique combination of phono stage and cartridge for a more personalised listening experience. This introductory model benefits from the finest materials and craftsmanship found throughout the entire SME turntable and tonearm range. Every component part has been precision engineered in-house to the strictest tolerances to contribute to an outstanding musical performance.

“I have seen and heard arm/table combinations costing multiples its price that come nowhere near its level of performance, to say nothing of the caliber of its build and construction. And then there is its sheer pleasure in use.” —Paul Seydor, The Absolute Sound – Click Here for Full Review

“This is a no-nonsense, compact, user-friendly package that will cut to the heart of the musical mix to reward with a sound that’s taut, precise and highly detailed. Add the superlative build quality and you have a package that punches far above its weight when it comes to value for money.” —David Price, Hi-Fi News, Outstanding Product review – Click Here for Full Review

“If, as the great Edgar Villchur once said, the job of the turntable is ‘to stay out of the picture,’ then SMEs are among the most discreet, unobtrusive, self-effacing, yet dependable stage managers in the theatre of vinyl.”
The Absolute Sound, 2020 Product of the Year Award

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This exciting entry level turntable uses the unique styling of Synergy and comes complete with the highly acclaimed SME 309 tonearm and internal Crystal Cable wiring as standard. The Model 12A is available in three paint finishes of traditional SME Black, Dark Grey and Dark Blue with contrasting detailing.

• Natural, Open and Dynamic Sound
• High Mass and Small Footprint
• Close Tolerance Precision Bearing
• Isolated Suspension
• Precision Magnesium Tonearm
• Crystal Cable Audio Lead and Internal Wiring
• Based on the award-winning Synergy


The electronic control unit uses a high-performance microprocessor, optimised for motor control. Closed loop speed control is implemented using a proportional plus integral (PI) algorithm. Speed ranges are 33.3, 45 & 78 rpm, with fine pitch speed adjustment allowing increments/decrements of +/-0.01% of the selected speed.

The electronic control circuitry and power supply unit are housed in an external one-piece CNC machined case. This new design offers complete isolation and support and is the perfect environment for the electronics.  Speed selection controls are mounted on the front facia panel with LED indicators.


The detachable magnesium headshell has a new style coupling, providing the convenience of rapid cartridge interchange without loss of rigidity.
Our designers can be justly proud of these models which offer a performance and manufacturing excellence unmatched by many more expensive models.

Series 300 Dimensions Model 309
A – Distance from pivot to stylus 232.32mm
B – Distance from pivot to turntable centre 215.35mm
C – Cartridge fixing centres 12.70mm
D – Offset angle 23.204°
E – Linear offset 91.54mm
F – Overhang 16.98mm
G – Height above mounting surface 87.90mm max
56.40mm min
H – Height of record surface above mounting surface 55.90mm max
24.40mm min
J – Depth below mounting surface 56.75mm
K – Radial clearance for balance weight 73.0mm
L – Clearance between cabinet lid and record surface, assuming cartridge height at 17.0mm 37.0mm
  • Unique pressure die-cast magnesium shell detachable and interchangeable without disturbing cartridge or wiring.
  • New design clamping arrangement ensures rigid junction with tone-arm.
  • Stainless steel cross shaft, ground and thread ground. Carried in massive yoke on 10mm precision ball races. Axis at record mean level to minimise warp-wow.
  • Unique assembly gives high rigidity and allows bearings to be critically adjusted before tone-arm is fitted.
  • Stainless steel vertical shaft, ground and thread ground, with integral 16mm diameter flange to couple shaft and yoke.
  • 23mm diameter steel pillar, heat treated, ground and honed, carries two 17mm precision ball races, widely spaced to resist tilt.
  • Internal wiring in silver litz.
  • Internal constrained layer damps minute residual vibrations making tone-arm acoustically inert.
  • Tungsten-alloy balance weight carried on damped two-point suspension. Extra-low inertia design assists warp riding.
  • Underslung weight housing corrects centre of gravity and provides non reflective tone-arm termination.
  • Swivelling, damped output socket minimises vibration transmission in sub-chassis use.
  • Anti-skate control operates through tension spring and filament. Dial corresponds with VTF and has positive OFF position.
  • Lowering/raising control gives smooth positive action. Height of lift can be adjusted.
  • Dual-lock base provides movement control with high rigidity.
  • Reference lines on tone-arm facilitate VTA setting.
  • Fine adjustment of horizontal tracking angle (HTA).

Effective mass: 9.5g

Cartridge balance: 6 – 17g

Vertical tracking force: 0 – 2.5g

Maximum tracking error: 0.013°/mm

Net weight: 717.0g

Pivot-stylus distance: 232.2mm

Pivot-sindle centre distance: 213.4mm

Audio lead: 1.2m


The Model 12A is equipped with a premium grade signal cable from Crystal Cable which is installed inside the tonearm, connected to phono stage and coupled with the cartridge. Pure mono-crystal silver conductors in miniature format. Providing precious metal in its most pure version, lifting the musical performance to a higher level.


Net weight: 25.9 kg (57 lbs)

Shipping weight: 31 kg (68 lbs)

Width 370.00 mm

Depth 350.00 mm

Height 178.00 mm


Data Sheet