The SOTA Cosmos mk4 turntable has a pitch control adjustment in the rear of the table right next to the vacuum hose. It is a tiny little knob that has a very loose feel - not very precise control to begin with. It has a little bit of 'play' to it. You adjust your pitch, you have to buy a strobe and record with visual pitch indicator. I purchased the Clearaudio one myself for the SOTA. The SOTA ships with a cheap paper version that is no larger than a record label on your record. This is kind of a joke, since the diameter of the indicator is the size of a record label, you have more room for error, so the Clearaudio version is much more accurate - the pitch indicator is at the edge of the record, by basic geometry, you will get far better results in setting your pitch. So once you buy a decent pitch indicator, you have to reach around to the rear of the table to make very minute adjustments. You will find the pitch control to be very cheap - thus having 'play' in the control itself. So now you have to make *very* minor adjustments with a cheap control - not very confidence inspiring. I could never get the pitch 'spot on' the Clearaudio pitch measuring record would always shift either up or down in pitch. On occasion, I would get it spot on, only to have it shift of me as time goes by. So setting pitch of the Cosmos is very basic - almost an after thought in design.
Now listening is a completely different story with the Cosmos, on certain records. After spending time getting the pitch as close as I could, I could hear the pitch drift on different records - some more than others. This is what drew the Cosmos out to my attention.
The Technics employs a Quartz lock for pitch stability. There is nothing to it, always rock steady by looking at the strobe indicator on the side of the platter. No drift period. Nothing to set or worry about. My records play with rock solid pitch stability - you would be amazed at how much of a difference this makes in sound.
Now keep in mind, if you go down the Technics path, there is work to be done to get the turntable sounding good. Out of the box, it's pretty bad, but if you are willing to do some work, you can get a very good sounding turntable for a fraction of what other turntables cost. KAB Electro Acoustics has the major modifications available as kits that take 10 minutes to install. The KAB PS-1200 external power supply is the big one, it basically bypasses the internal transformer to supply power. By taking the transformer out of the loop, you are getting rid of all the bad vibrations it adds to the turntable. This is a big step towards getting good sound out of the Technics 12xx. Followed by a good record mat for the platter, and future vibration dampening you can get 'there' pretty quickly. The Symposium line of products really get you 'there' easily.
Ease of use, the Technics by far is the easiest to use day in and day out. If you go down the SOTA path, you will have to invest is pitch measuring tools, along with setting your pitch every time you turn it on. If you get a vacuum platter, you will have to make sure you get a good seal every time you play a record, along with making sure the SOTA record clamp is applied correctly (evenly/level clamp on the record).
With the Technics, I just turn it on, put on a record and cue up the arm.
Both tables will require 'work'. With the Technics, the work is getting the turntable modified and setup properly, once you are done there, you just enjoy the table. So the work/effort is up front.
With the SOTA, you have to make sure the pitch is set properly every time you turn it on, then you have to make sure every record you put on the table has a good seal with the vacuum platter seal (the lip around the platter) and then make sure the SOTA record clamp is even and level with the record when applied. Once these steps are done, you are still not guaranteed that the record will play at a stable pitch.
I'm not saying the Technics is the end all to turntables, by no means. But if you want to spend a fraction of what other tables cost, and you are willing to do some work to get it modified and setup properly, you will have good sound and ease of use.
If you want to go into the 'high end' turntable market, I would suggest you look at the many turntables that are available. Brinkman has a direct drive turntable available. I'm sure there are some excellent belt drive turntables out there. There are the idler drivers too which have quite a following. Many to choose from for sure.
Hope this helps...