What quality are Empire 598 turntables?

I'm hoping that some of you audiophiles can offer some opinions on the relative quality of Empire 598 (version III I believe) turntables. After years of concentrating on the cd format, my interest in vinyl has been renewed. The Empire table I bought in the latter 70's is still in excellent shape. How does this compare to moderately priced offerings in contemporary tables? To put in context, it is being used with Maggie 1.6qr's, Belles 150A Hot Rod amp, Cambridge Audio C500 preamp (to be upgraded to something like a Rogue 66 or Blue Circle BC21.)
I've owned one of these and think it's a great "workhorse" turntable. Sure the new designs are better but this will work fine for casual listening. I'd use a Shure V-15 class of cartridge (my Grado almost wiggled itself out of the grooves). Good Luck!
I also owned one of these and they are good turntables. Try and get a few extra belts for the platter. Clean it every now and then with light dish soap. The V15 recommended is a goood fit. I used it and also an Audio Technica AT160ML. The specs for these were very good and it is very quiet. Besides they look like a million $$$
By the way, check this link out. http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?MfcISAPICommand=GetResult&query=empire&categoryid=&ht=1&st=0&category3=3283&maxRecordsPerPage=100&SortProperty=MetaEndSort
My opinion...Empire turntables...fair table, lousy arm..
If you can buy it cheap...under $100...good starter, but
you could do better. I remember audible rumble with mine
and an arm that didn't track cartridges well...But, if
it is cheap and you can return it if it doesn't work, it
might be a fair buy...
I have owned a 598 for over twenty years, it is a good table if you are on a budget. mine is very quiet, I recently A/B 'd it with a Pink triangle/rb300 with identical Dynavector 10xmk 2's(well his was nuded). the triangle was more focused a bit more air and low level detail, the empire was a bit bloated in the bass( I like it )maybe some what sluggish, but MUSICAL nontheless. by the way the triangle motor was noisy compared to the 598. Also the triangle was being very fussy,the speed was changing. I use triflon on the bearing. I think these tables are an unsung hero. 3 point suspension and they play 78's. be careful to get the cartridge mount with. easy to setup easy to use.