I have two Star Sapphires and am very happy with them. One has a Clearaudio TQ-1 arm and the other has an ET II. I have no intentions of replacing them anytime soon. Depending on the costs involved and your specific budget, i would not hesitate to take the step.
Having said that and in response to Twl's comments above, there are some "drawbacks" to such a set-up. It is best if you can put the vacuum pump in another room from the one that you are listening in. Much like how Ernie ( Subaruguru ) has his monoblocks mounted under the floor in has basement ceiling joists, i have my vacuum pumps mounted in the same manner.
As far as vacuum pulses go, so long as the "lip" is kept clean and the seal between the record and "suction lip" is adequate, this should not be a problem. Once their is an adequate seal, the pump should only operate if there is a loss of vacuum, etc... This would require something breaking the seal between the suction lip and the LP or a leak within the vacuum system itself. Obviously, the first one would require major jarring of the LP and the second situation means that you need to repair the problem.
As far as "grit" being ground into the LP, the solution is simple. Keep the platter clean ( that should be obvious ) and thorougly clean your records. With the irreplaceable investment that one has in vinyl and a rig of this nature and expense, it would only seem natural to try and take care of such things as best possible.
For the "record", i recently picked up a Star that i'll be giving to my brother. Hopefully, i'll have it back before Christmas. It is currently at Sota being inspected and having an arm mounted. Sean
PS... Did you see the comments in the November 2002 Stereophile regarding the Sota's ? John Atkinson commented that "the Sota is the turntable that Newton would have designed". Given what he had to say about the other competing tables involved, i think that this was QUITE the compliment. It was also the first one that he commented on, making me think that it was first and foremost in his mind in terms of sonics and design. I might be reading a bit into that, but hey, what the hell... : )