Panasonic SP-10 Turntable, SME 3009
tonearm, and ADC XLM cartridge

Click Photo to enlarge.

High end phono setup circa 1975, rebuilt 5/2007.


This turntable/arm/cartridge was very highly regarded in the mid-seventies, when I was first getting interested in audio, but of course couldn't afford top-notch equipment.  I've collected the components over the years and recently rebuilt/assembled this vintage system. 

The turntable is the original model by Panasonic, later called Technics, of their direct drive turntable.  It was manufactured from 1971 to 1975, and it was replaced with the far more popular (and more widely available) SP-10 MkII in 1976.  This version includes an integral power supply, where the more sophisticated MkII had the power supply in a separate chassis.  The SP-10 was sold without a base or tonearm, as shown in the ad photo below.

Above: Panasonic advertising photos showing the SP-10.


Above: a 1971 advertisement for the SP-10 turntable.  Note the selling price in 1971 was $300, the optional base was an additional $35, and the optional dust cover was $15. 

I purchased this table used many years ago, but just recently refurbished it.  Work included replacing all the 30+ year old electrolytic caps (the originals were all Panasonic brand, no surprise there), and general cleanup and lubrication.  These turntables were sold without bases, and this particular unit was mounted in a custom cabinet.  I built a new base using the factory original as a guide for dimensions (but not an exact copy) using cherry, bird's eye maple and wenge.  I built some isolation into the base using the spring mechanism from an old Netronics Acousti-Mount from around 1977, based on an article in The Absolute Sound in 1977 (Volume 3, No. 9).   I also managed to find a New Old Stock original cover for this unit on ebay.  The cover is Panasonic model number SH-10B2, and the factory base is model SH-10B1.  My table still has the original rubber mat that came with the unit - no clamps or vacuums here!

I added a very popular tonearm from the same mid-1970s period, the SME Series II Improved, with non-removable headshell.  The tonearm was in pretty good shape, but needed some work to repair the cartridge leads and the wiring.  The SME RCA's had been replaced with some cheap replacements, which I replaced with some locking gold RCAs from

Above: SME 3009 Series II Improved tonearm, before mounting on the table.  Click photo to enlarge.

For the cartridge, I also selected a popular unit form the same mid-seventies period that I had in my spares box - an Audio Dynamics Corporation (ADC) XLM MkII.  I worked at ADC for a while in the seventies (building loudspeakers), and this cartridge was selected for me by one of the engineers as being a particularly good sample (30 years ago!), and has seen little use over its life.

Above: Audio Dynamics Corp. (ADC) model XLM Mk II cartridge.  Click photo to enlarge.

All of these components were very highly regarded when new, and regularly showed up on The Absolute Sound's Editor's Choice list of recommended components from 1975 thru 1978.  In the Volume 2, Number 6 issue from 1975, the SP-10, the SME 3009 II Improved (non detachable shell) and ADC XLM Mk II were all included in the Class I listing.


Above: Bottom view of my SP-10 with access covers removed.  Upper right is the transformer and DC power supply (located farthest from the cartridge), lower right is power and speed selector switches, lower left is the neon strobe mechanism (the strobe itself is on the bottom of the platter), and center and upper left are the direct drive motor and control boards. 


Above: This photo shows the oil port near the spindle, and shows the alignment marks on the main platter which are the optimum alignment for minimum wow and flutter.  In an August 1971 test, AUDIO magazine noted that flutter increased noticably when the marks were misaligned by 180 degrees (there's a link below to a PDF copy of the review).  The aluminum platter weighs 6 pounds.

 Above: SP-10 speed strobe light in operation, note fine speed controls on the top of the table.  There are also course adjustments on the motor PCB under the chassis.  Click photo to enlarge.


Above: The completed SP-10, SME, and XLM setup, playing an LP.  Click photo to enlarge.


Reference Materials

Above:SP-10 Schematic, click to enlarge.


Above: SP-10 Circuit Board layouts, click to enlarge


SP- 10 Review from Audio magazine August 1971 - note this is a PDF file

ADC XLM Instructions - Note this is a PDF file

Links to other related web resources:

Panasonic SP-10 info (lots of it) at, however it all relates to the Mk2 version, not the first version like mine.

SME 3009 tonearm info at

SME 3009 manual at

A guide to various SME tonearms from

ADC XLM cartridge info and manual at


Click here to send me an email

Click to return to my homepage