SME Price Increases

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Satrus, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. Satrus

    Satrus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    I just discovered yesterday that SME in the U.K. is increasing its prices by 20% or so on turntables etc. from the 6th February next? o_O This is a staggering price increase by any measure. I know of somebody who was mulling over an upgrade from an SME 20/2 to a 20/3 but I think he'll stick with what he has when he hears this. The U.K. retail price was something like £7,120 late last year and it has now increased to £8,550! I would like to know what justifies such a big price increase. Shame really.
     
    33na3rd likes this.
  2. patrickd

    patrickd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin TX USA
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  3. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    I ordered an arm last week, wasn't planning to for several months, but the price increase forced my hand, my dealer phoned SME up and was told that they hadn't yet decided what percentage some of the arms, M2s for example were going up, so 10 days before the price rise they hadn't decided what the price rise is for some models which suggests it's down to nothing but greed and not based on increases in materials or any other genuine additional costs.

    I like SME, I have a IV and now have a 12" arm on order, I may well have bought a V in future, but that is now extremely unlikely, I think this increase is primarily motivated by greed and I won't forget that, yet another good company prices themselves out of my business.
     
    VinylSoul likes this.
  4. Satrus

    Satrus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    Very disappointed to read that. Seems like the end of an era.
    I'm with you on that. While I really like SME, I cannot see myself purchasing anything made by SME in the future if that is the shape of things to come. In all honesty, their turntables, arms etc. were already very pricey but a 20% increase just leaves a sour taste. Added to that, with the United Kingdom about to exit the European Union I can only guess what prices will be, eventually, for non U.K. purchasers?? An SME dealer in Germany told me a few years ago that nobody bought SME turntables in Germany because the prices were too high. Converting Sterling to Euro was already bad enough and now this!

    I think with the Aikman Robertsons gone from the company that kind of finishes it for me! :shake:
     
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  5. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    On a positive note there are several more recently established arm manufacturers bringing out new products and getting very good reviews, I see this as something that will make the competition stronger and lead to more choice at fairer prices, I'll still miss the old SME though.
     
    Satrus likes this.
  6. ThorensSme

    ThorensSme Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Too bad, SME is one of those pillars of the industry I think. Their intense engineering and manufacturing quality are some of the best out there. Wonder what they will become...
     
    Satrus likes this.
  7. triple

    triple Forum Resident

    Location:
    Zagreb, Croatia
    An arm will now cost an arm and a leg.
     
  8. Satrus

    Satrus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    I wonder if it was ever about volume sales with SME, though? I remember taking note of the unit number on a model SME 20/2 some years ago (circa 2009 maybe) and comparing it with my own and quite honestly there was only about one hundred in the difference and my unit had been purchased in 2005! That is pure guesswork on my part though. I don't know if these unit numbers have any real significance. From a build quality perspective and the fit and finish, I don't think anybody out there manufacturing turntables can touch SME? I hope the new owner does not 'mess with' SME's existing designs which have always seemed just perfect to me.
     
    Tullman likes this.
  9. ddarch

    ddarch Forum Resident

    Location:
    NH
    I spoke with my dealer, and he says in speaking with SME this is about Brexit. The Pound is taking a beating...and they get a lot of their raw materials from other countries...other British companies may NOT be raising prices because they don't use resources from outside the country. So, the price is what it is...and I do not think it's solely related to new ownership.

    D
     
    Byrdsmaniac likes this.
  10. patrickd

    patrickd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin TX USA
    Yes, I had an SME 20.2 for several years and the serial numbers of newer and older ones were never that far apart, if that means anything. I loved the table and always dreamed of moving up to a 30/12. The prices seemed a little volatile over the years, especially if bought new here in the US. UK dealers seemed more than willing to ship direct for better savings. Am sure currency fluctuations aren't helping either. I sold my 20.2 last year with a V arm for less than $5k, which seemed a screaming bargain to me but it still took a while to sell. I suppose we should just be grateful the tables will be continued, they're top class products.
     
  11. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Ordered an SME 309 3 weeks ago because of this impending price rise even though haven't got a deck to put it on yet. It appears they are introducing a UK distributor.
     
  12. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    As I said my dealer phoned them last week and for several models they hadn't even decided what the price rise would be, I think that although there may be an element of currency devaluation it provides a convenient smokescreen to jack up prices by the new owner and to provide a margin for the new UK distributor, metals are commodities and their prices fluctuate regardless of currency changes, five years ago magnesium was trading above $3 per Kilo, today it is just above $2, price rises are between 23% and 32%, just how much material is in a tone arm?
     
  13. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Nice arm, I ordered a M2-12R even though my Garrard 301 is in need of total restoration and a plinth, the way I see it what I save on the arm will almost cover it's restoration and if I change my mind I should at least get my money back on an unused SME arm six months down the road.:righton:

    I suspect that SME are the busiest they've been for years as people like us try and beat the price rise.
     
  14. Linto

    Linto Mayor of Simpleton

    Amazing turntables and arms, I love the 20 and 30. Everyone should try
    to hear one at least once.
     
  15. Ctiger2

    Ctiger2 Forum Resident

    Location:
    MT, USA
    Currency debasement. Better get used to it, cause it'll be coming in spades in the near future...
     
    ddarch likes this.
  16. TommyTunes

    TommyTunes Senior Member

    Glad I finally got a 20/3 in Nov. I understand that Avid is having a price increase also.
     
  17. Satrus

    Satrus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    That sounds plausible but I'd like to know what they actually have to get from overseas to build the turntables? As somebody else has said, Brexit is a very convenient 'smokescreen' as is the Pound's devaluation. I don't understand how they actually sold anything overseas considering the value of the Pound before the EU Referendum in June 2016? I would speculate that these increases have more to do with appointing a U.K. distributor and creating a margin for the distributor out of the end sale price, more than having to source materials from overseas. I feel pretty 'deflated' having learned today that SME has changed ownership.
     
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  18. back2vinyl

    back2vinyl Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    Exactly. For UK-based manufacturers, a weakened pound means soaring profits on overseas sales if prices stay the same. If they put prices up 20 per cent on top of that - well, someone is getting very rich, and it's not the customers.
     
    bootbox, Dubmart and Satrus like this.
  19. krlpuretone

    krlpuretone Forum Resident

    Location:
    Grantham, NH
    Or the other way around, if you are buying raw materials from another country.
     
  20. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    The fall in the price of metals over the last few years is actually much greater than the fall in the value of the Pound and just how much magnesium and steel is there in an arm, much less than a Kilo so even with wastage material costs are tiny compared with the existing retail price point, if the staff have all just been given a 20% pay rise I'll buy "increased costs", but somehow I doubt they have been given that, it's just a typical Hi-Fi squeeze on the customer, no wonder the Hi-Fi industry is in such a perilous state.
     
    Micke Lindahl, bootbox and back2vinyl like this.
  21. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    The arm tubes are the only arm component they import possibly from Denmark or Euro Zone. I believe they make everything else themselves. I checked and pound is about average it has been against Euro over last decade. Problem is only bad when buying materials that trade internationally in dollars. I estimate that overall manufacturing costs are likely up around 5%.
     
    bootbox likes this.
  22. Satrus

    Satrus Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Cork, Ireland
    Yes, that is along with my thinking too. I always believed that SME made everything in house. When you actually ordered a turntable you had a waiting time of 3 weeks or so while they made it. I bought my SME V tonearm in the mid 1990s and it is still going strong. I sent it back on a few occasions to SME for re-wiring and general maintenance and I always found them to be top class, a cut above the rest in terms of professionalism and quality of product. I don't think I would use any other turntable at this stage but they are really putting ownership beyond ordinary mortals with this level of price increase.
     
  23. Just Walking

    Just Walking Forum Resident

    Location:
    Abingdon UK
    Late to this forum - but the magnesium arm tubes come from Chicago White Metal apparently. So that is one key part to the arms that is substantially higher in price as a result of the post Brexit exchange rate.
     
  24. Dubmart

    Dubmart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    Interesting to know, but that doesn't explain a £700 increase on a steel tubed arm does it.:yikes:
     
  25. Just Walking

    Just Walking Forum Resident

    Location:
    Abingdon UK
    Prices have been going up ever since the SII non improved, which was £27 in the mid 60's. Which is £430 in today's money.

    But in 1966 the average weekly income was £18 a week - so an SME arm was two week's wages to an average earner. At that point of course SME made only one arm.

    Today the average salary is £530 a week so two weeks wages still gets you the entry level M2/9, which is very close to the SII in concept and build, but with vertical bearings rather than knife edges.
     

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