SME 3009 II Improved upgrade and Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference refurbishment part 3

Before you start any refurbishment I recommend to download user, service manual and schematics for your equipment. It’s much easier when you know what to do and how to adjust it properly.

In part 1 I’ve bought TT, brought it home and done thorough research; purchased all needed parts.
in part 2 I’ve rewired tonearm, upgrade it and clean turntable

Major objectives:

  • cartridge upgrade
  • tonearm rewire
  • reservoir refurbishment
  • exchange record clamp

I was quite happy with results of previous refurbishment, but I still didn’t reach as good sound as my MSB Platinum DAC III. Something was wrong…
So I have decided to replace phono stage Aqvox Phono for brand new Whest Audio PS30R. I’ve had quite serious problem with hum and Whest Audio absolutely solved my problem – it is dead quite. Also I have get the rid of Denon cartridge and purchased Benz Micro ACE SH.

As I find later, those el-cheapo silver wires were coursing a lot of trouble, they’ve been springing, therefore proper setup of tonearm was absolutely impossible. Therefore I rewired tonearm with silver litz cables Van den Hul MCS 150M Internal Rewire Cable.
Van den Hul MCS 150M is available to purchase in metre lengths from Analogue Seduction

Silver plated cartridge pins from eBay are used again. Soldering of VDH is very easy and isolation also works as flux (still I alway add some extra)
Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference with SME 3009 II Improved

Van den Hul MCS 150M is the finest tonearm cable. Great performance without bullshit (Not like overpriced Audio Note tonearm wire). It’s not cheap, but certainly worth every penny. For those who want cheaper solution I suggest Pro-Ject copper tonearm wire.
Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference with SME 3009 II Improved

The MCS – 150 M consists of 7 individually insulated very pure Matched Crystal Silver strands each 80 micron in diameter incl. insulation. It’s so fine, that it doesn’t influence tonearm performance in any way. VDH suggest it as the best possible interconnect if braided from 4 lengths litz wires together. It believe it must be good, but bloody hell – sooo expensive to be made!
Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference with SME 3009 II Improved

One day I was playing record it the sound was somehow weird and unsettled. After quick look It was noticed, that platter is rotating too fast, speed cound’t be adjusted. I took a platter off and find out, that hydraulic oil reservoir which adjusting speed come off – it was glued by double sided tape and after all those four decades full of abusement and grease environment basically come off.

I scraped tape off, sand it and degrease it with lighter fluid. Surface was ready for cheap eBay epoxy glue 🙂
Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference with SME 3009 II Improved

Epoxy glue gotta be hardening for at least few hour. What is better ballast weight than Reel to reels and bunch of CD’s? If you do it, do it in Audiophile way!!!
Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference with SME 3009 II Improved

It was cleaned, brushed and re-attached with epoxy glue. Hopefully forever now. Looks neat and will work than before.
Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference with SME 3009 II Improved

Another upgrade was new MC cartridge Benz Micro ACE SH, SME doesn’t really need Stevenson’s protractor, but it could still move a bit.
Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference with SME 3009 II Improved
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Trackability is very fine now and downforce was set to 1.9g. Just about on usable edge of 3009S2.
Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference with SME 3009 II Improved

Detail of MC cartridge Benz Micro ACE SH with 3009 S2 fixed headshell. It’s pretty pain in the ass to mount it with screws because of absence of stylus protector (cover). You wouldn’t believe how much I was sweating 🙂
MC cartridge Benz Micro ACE SH

Front view – blue acrylic looks great.
MC cartridge Benz Micro ACE SH

Boronium cantilever is very fine and groove noise is very low thanks to fine stylus shape. It somehow doesn’t click and pop as for example my Ortofon 2M black. Stylus holds at the very bottom of the groove and doesn’t plowing dust and mess.
MC cartridge Benz Micro ACE SH

Jelco stabilizer – record clamp / weight from Jelco company is truly a beautiful piece of engineering. Machined solid brass, gold plated. Fine felt at the bottom side
Weight: 328 g, Diameter: 80 mm, Height: 30 mm
Jelco stabilizer - record clamp weight puck

Important note:

Transcriptors Hydraulic ball bearing dimension is 1/4″ / 3.5mm in diameter.

After about hand an hour of fiddle adjustment the TT sounds amazing. Again, I had to adjust overhang, VTA, downforce and antiskate, but it was well worth it. I have past all test but two for the fist try with Hi-fi news test record. I forgot to mention, that this is amazing record and anyone who mean it seriously with vinyls should have on. It’s not cheap, but last forever. You can purchase it from Analogue Seduction.

And how new upgrades improve sound quality? I have to say, that I haven’t even expect so good sound. I’m not chasing shadows and I don’t believe in superiority of vinyl sound over CD. I would say, that some CD’s sound better, but also many LP’s sound better than digital. It’s pretty good result for 40 years old TT don’t you think? A bit of rumble in background, but nothing I wouldn’t be to live with. On the other side Hi-res tracks are different league. I suspecting that they sound so good, because they’ve been remastered that way.
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9 thoughts on “SME 3009 II Improved upgrade and Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference refurbishment part 3

  1. Hi, I’ve had a Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable-1972- from new.It needs a bit of a clean-up.I have managed to obtain some spares from Michell Engineering:-new motor,2 belts& platter pads. I have the same problem as you with the fluid well coming adrift from the bearing spindle.What thickness of washer did you use? I also need a new bearing.Can you give me any advice on that? The Isopad feet need replacing,I was thinking of using Sorbathane.Your finished turntable looks amazing.I’m also using the SME but I have not got the expertise to do what you have done.I hope that you can be of some help to me. Regards Howard Taylor.

    • Hi Howard, thanks for your comment. I have used epoxy to glue the fluid well to spindle. No washers, just proper cleaning with sand paper and lighter fluid. I think the best website is – site owner is Michael Gammon, son of David Gammon – designer of original TT. He can provide you with original spares you need. I’m happy to help with you other questions.

      • Hi Teti,Thank you for your prompt reply.I am aware of Michael Gammon.I have e-mailed him on several occasions,on one reply he asked for my phone number which I sent to him.I do,however, live in Perth Western Australia.This makes things a bit difficult.I tried phoning Transcriptor Ltd. with no success.I do have a mobile number which I will try but even this has been removed from their website now.I have even had a friend who was in Nottingham call at his business address in Daysbrook and the place was padlocked.I have been on the website and now it appears to be only online shopping.So far my experience with them does not inspire a great deal of confidence.I have somehow over the last 40 years lost the bearing.Will I just need a new ball bearing ( what size) or a complete bearing unit.I cannot separate the bearing housing from the plate which holds it onto the plinth.Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you Howard

  2. You are quite right, I was actually trying to contact him a few times as well. He promised to make alu feet and stylus brush for me, but then he termitate contact. I recommend eBay or contact Michell, they might help. I might take it off and measure a ball if you need it desperately. Transcriptors if well worth refurbishing. Reed my other articles about refurbishing – it is fairly easy.

    • Hi Teti, Thanks once again for the reply.I think that I have found the correct bearing from a local supplier. However, it would be wonderful if at sometime that is convenient to you if you could measure your bearing & let me know the correct size. Thanks for your help. I don’t know where you live but if you ever visit OZ let me know. Howard

      • Hi howard, I fin a information that it might me 3.5 mm, but obviously it is not 100%. I have write an e-mail to Michell, so hopefully they reply. I’m from Kent, UK

  3. Pingback: Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference vintage turntable wallpapers | Audio Tweak

  4. Pingback: Transcriptors Hydraulic Reference vintage turntable wallpapers | Audiophile Vintage

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