SME FINDS SYNERGY WITH ORTOFON AND NAGRA
The Synergy with its semi-circular plinth matched by a postmodern looking power supply with curved sides is a stylistic new direction for SME.
So is the addition of Ortofon’s exclusive series, MC Windfeld cartridge. Turning further afield SME engaged the ultra-hi end audio brand Nagra, for a phono stage to complete the Synergy turntable package.
Nagra, you should recall makes exquisite pre and power amps and reel-to-reel tape decks.
The tonearm for the Synergy comes, as you’d expect, from SME. It’s based on the SME IV, a model positioned between the entry-level 309 and the flagship SME V tonearms.
SME calls the new Synergy an integrated model. But don’t mistake the Synergy for anything other than a high-end turntable carrying a true high-end separate cartridge, tonearm and phono stage.
The Synergy’s main chassis is precision machined from a solid billet of premium grade aerospace aluminium to provide an inert and stable base for the Synergy’s suspension and sub-chassis to rest on.
On either side of the SME logo on this main chassis are the power on/off button and a low voltage indicator. The front of the external, matching power supply carries buttons for changing the Synergy’s speed.
User selectable speeds are 33.3, 45 and 78 rpm with fine pitch speed adjustments allowing increments/decrements of +/-0.01per cent of the selected speeds.
For damping, SME supports the turntable on four large polymer isolators built into user adjustable feet.
The trilateral sub-chassis is also machined from a single billet of aluminium. Here’s where the close tolerance bearing is situated.
Three suspension columns that SME says provide impressive isolation support the SME IV tonearm.
SME fit and set Ortofon’s MC Windfeld Ti moving coil cartridge at the factory.
As for Nagra’s phono stage, this was specially made for SME and is built-into the Synergy’s main chassis and is ultra compact. It’s battery powered to afford it complete isolation from other power sources.
Nagra’s phono stage can be user adjusted so different resistance values can be chosen if the Synergy’s owner gets a different cartridge.
The Synergy’s platter is machined from aluminium alloy and weighs more than 4.6 kg. It's heavily dampened using an ultra-specialist space grade isodamp material unique to SME.
The platter’s top surface is diamond-tuned with a fine scroll meticulously calculated to firmly engage records to the platter.
The Synergy’s record clamp is a heavy logo engraved reflex clamp used to ensure a vinyl record gets the largest possible platter contact, even when the record has a warp.
The new Synergy drives its heavy platter using a 3-phase, brushless out runner motor that has 8-pole Neodymium magnets and three integrated Hall effect sensors.
This motor sits in a precision-machined housing and SME says the total motor assembly is virtually free of vibrations as its 2.5 kg weight is isolated from the sub-chassis by urethane mounts and spikes.
The new Synergy shows that new ownership at SME is yielding positive results.
SME still retains its soul, but the company started by the late, great Alastair Robertson-Aikman in 1946 is now reinvigorated and re-energised.
This has to be applauded by all audiophiles who value SME’s long contribution to great sound and audio history.
The SME Synergy turntable sells for $26,800 RRP and is available now.
For more information visit SME.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, Peter was formerly the Audio-Video Editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades. One of the most-respected audio journalists in Australia, Peter brings his unparalleled experience and a unique story-telling ability to StereoNET.