Early this year I decided to get an entry-level turntable in the $400-600 range. After considering the usual audiophile-approved entry-level belt drive suspects, and reading as much as I could find here and elsewhere on the 'net, I bought a Technics SL1210 M5G ... at (ta-da) ... Guitar Center!
I chose the M5G over the standard model for its upgraded tonearm wiring and interconnects, and really attractive metallic black plinth.
I never regretted or second-guessed my decision as I have derived great musical pleasure from this rig from the moment I started listening to it, though careful listening and tweaking kept improving its performance.
Ten months later, I have tweaked/upgraded to screw-in brass cone feet, a sorbothane+mesh combination mat, Sumiko headshell and Denon DL-160 cart, and the KAB fluid damper and record clamp.
Lemme tell you, this rig does not sound "entry-level" now. Compelling and musically involving would be a more apt description.