The Thorens 124
I just had to post a few words about how good these things are. I'm pretty stunned right now. I bought one here earlier this year with an SME 3009 arm for about $1300. Table in very good mechanic condition. No plinth. I bought a pretty basic baltic birch plinth on eBay for about $400 and got a couple Shure V15 carts. This weekend I finally re-lubed it with a kit I bought from a gent in Europe who sells this stuff and soldered an IC directly to the 3009. WOW - what a table.
Everybody knows what idlers are known for - that drive and dynamics. That's why so many like the old Lencos, Garrards, and Thorens idlers and spend so much time & money on restoration and massive plinths. But the thing about this table is it doesn't seem to need a massive plinth. This birch plinth weighs all of ten pounds - it's not huge and ugly at all (sorry, but the massive wood plinths are ugly). Apparently this is because the 124 (this is a 124 II) decouples the idler wheel with a belt - in a sense it could be called a hybrid approach but it has what makes idlers idlers - a heck of a strong motor and an idler wheel driving the platter.
You have to marvel at the Swiss precision engineering visible with the platter off. It's gorgeous. After the spindle bearing was cleaned and re-lubed, I re-inserted the heavy platter and gave it a slight spin with my finger - I think it might have not stopped for three months so nonexistent is the apparent friction.
The table, with the plinth on its small rubber feet sitting on the top 2" shelf of my Mapleshade rack, is extremely quiet. Footfalls near the table are no problem. The "cheap" (< $150) Shure cart (with a replacement tip - eBay) is an amazing tracker, neutral, extended, and detailed.
This whole setup is under $2K. I previously owned a restored Lenco 75 in a massive, 80 lb slate plinth. That setup might (I am not sure) have been slightly superior - I'm not sure due to the time lapsed since I had it - but this one is surely in the same league.