Tour the SME Factory With Recently Appointed CEO Stuart McNeilis

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Last year, Cadence Group purchased from the Robertson-Aikman family venerable SME, Ltd., appointing as its new CEO Stuart McNeilis. Mr. McNeilis, a veteran of the the aerospace industry, is attempting to maintain SME’s exceptional traditional manufacturing quality while moving the company (gently) into the 21st century. SME has long manufactured turntables and tonearms as well as high-tech parts for the aerospace, automotive and medical industries. McNeilis’s goal is a 50/50 mix of hi-fi and high-tech. He’s already re-structured the company’s worldwide audio distribution and he’s busy planning for the company’s future. You can read more about that in a future issue of Stereophile. AnalogPlanet toured the factory in 2014 using a GoPro camera. This tour looks and sounds better.


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27 thoughts on “Tour the SME Factory With Recently Appointed CEO Stuart McNeilis

  1. When you see the huge amount of work involved in the manufacturing process you start to understand the prices of the items! Fascinating stuff.

  2. Brings back my time with ARA fifty years ago working with him on the steel frame for ELS. Good old England

  3. The new Synergy design look like a toy and i hate it ! i want the SME 20/30 outstanding design , it's the coolest turntable there is, don't change it' please. i'll be reach some day and buy it, for me it's a life dream.

  4. No wonder the SME arms and turntables are so good. The precision and craftsmanship and attention to detail is fantastic. The amazing quality is intrinsic to every piece. I am surprised that they can produce their equipment at the prices they do. Brilliant.

  5. Fascinating as Spoke would say
    A classic British old school office and small factory still turning out Quality..🇬🇧

  6. Thanks for this Michael. I have a first generation Linn Sondek with the SME 3009 improved arm. I bought the Linn because of this arm as I find it a beautiful pieces of engineering and was just lucky that it woks well too. It’s been really enjoyable to learn about SME and without your video it wouldn’t have happened so I really appreciate your efforts. Grazias Amigo 🤙🏼.
    Should mention that even though my tone arm is probably 50 yrs old SME were still happy to help me with the setup!

  7. Very cool look into SME.
    I bought the Series 3 when it came out, very nice arm for my high compliance mm cartridges.

  8. Interesting video. I visited SME in 1975 and purchased a tone arm from them as very few shops (esp those in the tottenham court road) had any in stock.
    Prior to that, I worked for a Toolmakers in Billingshurst that did some work for SME.
    Nice to see the place is still producing good stuff on what you might consider today as old machines. Hand finishing always costs.

  9. The Chief Inspector of SME pointed out that in the 1970s the company was producing 700 tonearms a week to keep up with demand but it took a big dip in the 1980s when the CD came along. Mike couldn't resist saying that was also a "big dip for sound quality". Well, maybe so. I have two turntables both with SME 3009 II tonearms and I wouldn't part with them. But the sound of a favorite symphonic work of mine reproduced on a digital CD put an end to my buying any more LP recordings with their many shortcomings. To those who deride digital audio recording: Do we want to give up our flatscreen tvs and digital HD video and return to our good old CRT analog television system? I think not. The system of audio reproduction by dragging a needle through a groove molded in plastic is but a refinement of the principles of audio reproduction of the early 20th century and has been replaced by a far superior system that provides nearly perfect audio reproduction.

  10. I like this kind of videos: to make top quality products, it takes a lot of time, effort, expertise and smart people at work. I don't like contemporary, 10 minutes videos on how to build an airplane.

  11. Thanks for the adventure through the SME factory, the brand name many of us grown up with. it's really nice to see how my favorite tonearm is/was made. I appreciate my SME any more now. It's a legend within Hi-Fi in many, many years and gave us a lot of precious moments of listening music.

  12. Proof that Britain can still hold it's head up on the world stage along with Japan and Germany, i hope the USA gets it sense of pride back as well.

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