SME B'stards

Looks like SME are raising their prices at the end of the month. 23 - 32% on arms and 15-25% on turntables.

This would sort of indicate that they are made somewhere like China.

Good for people like me who have a V, IV and a 312S, but shite if you want to buy one.

They have 60+ staff and manufacture in the UK. It’s
Not a fly by night company and the overheads are vast. They need to put the price up.


New owner, he’s obviously had a look at the books.


I don’t really think, even with these increases, that their products are OTT expensive in the scheme of things. Look at the prices of tonearms from Da Vinci, Triplanar, Ikeda et al.

Subjectively, you may prefer these to an SME, but you can’t tell me that they have better (or even as good) build quality.


Such a price rise will seriously hit sales in the UK, I assume some of the rise will be overcome by the exchange rate for the $ and Euro.

I would expect a fair downturn in volume.

Maybe more firms offering higher bracket luxury audio items should track the prices of their products with inflation as it happens. From what I’ve seen with Michell over the years they seem to take this approach & their business seems to remain a success. Certainly their prices have remained favourable against the Likes of Linn & the LP12 in particular, whose price has risen to silly levels, whilst offering little in terms of real SOTA product development.

Suddenly sticking on 20+% is always going to be more of a bitter pill to buyers.

I’m not comparing SME to either of these firms, as they are in a different place in the market really. I’m fairly sure they will continue to sell well though. Quality is never cheap, is it.

That’s very bad timing - I was hoping this year might (at last) see an SME sitting atop my Orbe.

I would have been looking to buy used, so assume the price rise will trickle down to the used market too.

Oh well.

I would expect a 20% used price rise by mid-year.

That might be enough to lead me to consider something else.

I know times are hard, but a 20% rise in the current climate suggests dire necessity. I hope it doesn’t backfire.

Had this email from Sound HiFi

  1. Huge SME price rise !
    We don’t often send out newsletters and rarely one of just a single topic. However SME are increasing some of their prices hugely. So if you want a SME arm or even a turntable now is the time. We just need a 50% deposit by the end of Monday January 30 to secure the old price. Increase are:
    Model 10 + 15%
    Model 15 + 15%
    Model 20/3 + 20%
    Model 20/12 + 20%
    Model 30/2 + 25%
    Model 30/12 + 25%

Across the range of tone-arms the price increase will be from 23% to 32%
Old prices here…

Translates as buy our old stock as we will be putting those prices up at end of Jan even though we bought them at the old price.

I’d be very surprised if they actually stock much of the above list.

So a 30/12 will be nearly £30k…ffs

23-32% on tonearms is baffling for a product made in the UK.

Has there been financial mismanagement? No way is that just material cost rises.

I know it’s a quality, luxury product, but there is competition - competition which will soon be quite considerably cheaper.

Hmmm - we’ll see…

Don’t get it. They have clearly assumed that prices are so inelastic that they can just pass on any and all costs, real or imagined, straight to the customer.

Wish I’d hung on to mine longer and sold it post price increase!

No way a 30 is worth £30K, absolutely no way. That is two fully kitted out Raven’s or La Granges (which include arms and carts), both of which are better in my view.

The V and IV and nice arms, but my Wheaton Tri-Planar arms bury it and that is the price they are heading to.

They were recently sold so the price increases will have fuck all to do with brexit costs and just the new owners wanting a higher profit margin.

Not much point buying of them then. Maybe SME should go direct sales, cut out the middle men and keep prices down, at least for the arms.

This is the second thing we’ve agreed on in as many weeks Bob…I’m starting to worry…

If you’re spending that sort of money, you’d also want pretty spectacular looks too like a Clearaudio, Avid or Kronos.

The SME looks are… meh

Clear audio, you are having a giraffe. Like a Mana table, more layers is better, bigly.

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