SME LAUNCHES SYNERGY INTEGRATED TURNTABLE

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by Jay Garrett

11th May, 2018

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SME LAUNCHES SYNERGY INTEGRATED TURNTABLE

This week's High End Show in Munich sees SME launch an integrated turntable known as Synergy which features a magnesium tonearm, moving coil cartridge and built-in phono stage. 

Synergy represents the first time that SME has offered an integrated turntable solution. The system comprises a completely new turntable design combined with the highly acclaimed SME Series IV tonearm, Ortofon’s ‘exclusive series’ MC Windfeld Ti cartridge and a specially designed phono stage by NAGRA.

This is all coupled with mono crystal silver wire by Crystal Cable. Synergy is a fully integrated turntable arrives factory configured and requires minimal user set-up.

SME Synergy construction

With a compact footprint, the main chassis is precision machined from a solid billet of premium grade aerospace aluminium, thus ensuring an inert and stable base for the suspension and sub-chassis to reside on.  

After ten CNC machining processes, it then goes through multiple and extensive finishing processes, which includes significant hand finishing to reach the standards the company is famous for. Only then will it receive its unique black SME paint finish.

Mounted on the main chassis either side of the SME logo is the main on/off button and a Low Voltage Indicator.

The turntable is supported on four large polymer isolators inside adjustable feet, which allow for quick and easy levelling. Machined from another single billet of aluminium, the trilateral sub-chassis, which firmly holds the close tolerance main bearing and tonearm, is mounted on three suspension columns, providing impressive isolation.

The main spindle is 19 mm (3/4-inch) machined from high chrome tool steel.  It is machine ground, super finished and supported in a sealed housing with individually matched sintered bronze bearings of generous proportions needed to support the platter.

The platter is machined from aluminium alloy and weighs over 4.6 kg (10 lbs). It is dampened with an ultra-specialist space grade isodamp material unique to SME.

The top surface is diamond-turned with a fine scroll carefully calculated for firmly engaging records to the platter. The substantial chrome-plated and logo engraved reflex clamp ensures the largest possible platter contact, even when an appreciable record warp is present.

Phono stage

Perhaps one of the most intriguing elements of this new SME turntable is the integrated phono stage.

This ultra-compact phono stage has been specially developed for Synergy, as mentioned, by NAGRA.

It is battery powered, offering complete isolation from other power sources.  The amplification is provided by individually selected and matched bipolar transistors combined with audiophile-quality capacitors and precision MELF (Metal Electrode Leadless Face) resistors.

The MC input transformers are designed and wound in-house by NAGRA, benefitting from the company’s unique experience in this precision field.  

Connected to the tonearm by Crystal Cable, this reduces the risk of any interference to the sensitive signal. The built-in phono stage resistor values are fully adjustable should the user want to change the cartridge in the future.

Motor and control

The turntable is driven by a 3 phase, brushless out runner motor with 8-pole Neodymium magnets and three integrated hall effect sensors.  

Contained within a precision-machined housing, the total motor assembly is virtually vibration-less, as its 2.5 kg (5.5lbs) weight is isolated from the sub-chassis by urethane mounts and spikes.

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 further fine 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.

Tonearm

Based on the renowned SME Series IV, Synergy’s tonearm uses the same unique one-piece pressure die-cast magnesium arm tube.

Internally damped to be acoustically inert, it is mounted on a precision yoke housing with 10mm ABEC 3 ball bearing races. This unique SME assembly gives high rigidity and allows the bearings to be critically adjusted before the tonearm is installed to the turntable.  

The yoke is mounted to the 23mm diameter heat treated, ground and honed steel pillar, with a pair of 17mm ABEC 7 ball bearing races that are widely spaced to resist tilt.  

The cartridge head-shell mounting is precision machined and enamel free to avoid interference resonance.  Internal wiring is also Crystal Cable.

Cartridge

Fitted and factory set for immediate use, Synergy comes complete with Ortofon’s ‘exclusive series’ MC Windfeld Ti moving coil cartridge.

Utilising the company’s SLM (Selective Laser Melting) technology, whereby fine particles of titanium are welded together to create a body-core optimised for overall rigidity and cartridge weight, the MC Windfeld Ti is fitted with Aucurum coils of gold-plated 6NX oxygen free copper.  

A specially designed cantilever, which holds the company’s Replicant 100 diamond, known for its thin and light profile and an extraordinarily large vertical contact surface, completes the package.

A low output impedance of 7 ohms and a medium output voltage of 0.2 mV makes this high calibre cartridge the perfect partner for Synergy’s integrated phono pre-amp.

Synergy will be available from authorised SME retailers from September 2018, with an estimated UK retail price of £14,950.00 (inc. VAT).

For more information visit SME.

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Written by:

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Tags: sme  highend2018  padood 

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