SME release new Garrard 301

Price is 12,500GBP (c.$16500)
No AF tables. 2 AudioGrail 401s - an early twin spark in slate and a later one in walnut/maple+brich ply.

See my system in details.

I see. I love the 401, it is a no fuss awesome sounding table when it is correctly sorted. I prefer it to my former GAE primarily because I can easily change arms and there is no SMPS to deal with. The first order of business with these tables is to get a modern bearing into it. Focus will snap into place, the noise floor will plummet but the power delivered by the idler drive is still on tap and present. I did a lot of back and forth comparing the stock bearing with the newer more modern bearings. At the minimum get a Kokomo mk 2 (I think the latest is a Mk 2) but if you can swing it go for the higher end bearings offered by some of the restorers out there. Mine is slated to eventially receive the AF inverted statement bearing/platter.

My SP10 MK3 is my Grail turn table. I listened to the Techdas AF1 recently and that was nice.
If I ever do a new bearing housing, it'll be in a CTC 301 with 401 motor.
I do have an AF idler and CTC platter which raise the performance by an order. Does the kokomo still indent the base of the shaft?

Concerning the Kokomo, the answer is no. It has been redesigned and now has a polymer fly-disc that sits between the ceramic ball and spindle face. It is so far beyond the stock old style bearing with its mandatory flat-spot :) that its impossible to miss the step up in sound across the board.

You’ll notice that the platter will spin more freely thus faster when going from the stock bearing to a Kokomo or any other better bearing. If everything else is mechanically up to spec, you will most likely need to turn the breaking power up (slow the platter down) a little.