Or it really does come down to audition with your own ears because not only can you not know what another prefers, they may or may not be honest in their own right?
Help me out here?
Bingo! We have a winner!
And it has ALWAYS been this way!
There's an art to reading reviews. A big part of it is you need to develop your own internal hierarchy of veracity. Like, reviewer says turntable has 4 feet, great, it probably has 4 feet. Reviewer says they are rubber, okay maybe. Reviewer starts jabbering about how they isolate vi-, I have tuned so far out my eyes are already scanning to see if there's anything left worth reading at all. Because at that point all the reviewer is telling me is a) they can regurgitate ad copy and b) they think they can mislead me with technobabble.
Let that last bit sink in. Lotta guys fall for the technobabble. Most, even, far as I can tell.
But I feel for you. 25 years ago I was right there. Trying to choose between a Basis with a Graham arm and a VPI. Reviews helped me narrow it down but I just couldn't find one to audition- and I KNOW you MUST audition so.... wrote Michael Fremer and... dude called me back. So yeah even I who knows better had to rely on a reviewer.
(Which Mikey to his credit did NOT recommend one or the other to me but even more valuable helped me to clear up a lot of what I was already thinking, enabling me to make the right decision myself- what a reviewer SHOULD be doing!)
Another bit to let sink in, this was 25 years ago. Which means, among other things, no internet. There was no Stereophile On-Line there was only Stereophile On-Dead-Tree. Which in case you forgot (or ever knew) meant there were editorial standards. In order to get published you had to get past an editor. Not like today. Today you hit Post Your Response, you're published!
No wonder there are "reviewers" like this one clown I know, who after 30 years still can't build an interconnect. But he's got one serious audiophile Jones, and there's dudes with crap to sell willing to send him some for free if he'll shovel some drivel their way.
The good news however is you are looking at turntables. Skip the Bose crap like VPI, focus on specialty makers like Kuzma and Origin Live that have been around a long time. (Because if you can survive without advertising, reviews, and a big dealer network it can only be because your product is your advertising.) And budget yourself into a realm where success is virtually guaranteed. $2500 is barely getting there- too much of the purchase price is going into packaging, shipping, and handling. Seriously. That's just reality. $2500 each for table and arm, now you're talking. New, that is.