Originally Posted by LFF
Depends on who you ask. I think the SME 30/2 will best the Technics. A properly restored Garrad 301/401, Thorens TD-124, 126 or Lenco L75 will beat out a Technics. However, these turntable require much more maintenance than the Technics. Just my honest opinion but YMMV.
I doubt any of these decks will comprehensively "beat" a fully modified Technics.
I've heard a Technics with a Rega derived arm and I own a Thorens TD125 with a fully modded Origin Live 1 arm and Lenco L-75/Linn LVV so I have some idea of how well vintage idlers and belt drives can perform.
I have yet to hear an SME 30 but I am pretty sure, having heard other similar state of the art belt drives, that this is the kind of outlay you are talking about to get close to "beating" a properly set up vintage deck with an equivalent tonearm.
Certainly the Technics is a pretty difficult deck to beat on timing within the music and my Thorens or other belt drives don't come close to this although they better it in terms of soundstage and sense of involvement. Similarly the idler drives like my Lenco time better than a belt drive but are more subtle somehow than a direct drive also giving a weightier presentation as though more powerful somehow.
In my experience belt drives certainly seem to gain more solidity and speed accuracy with a heavier platter. All in all unless you spend pretty serious money on a brand new deck then modding these old warhorses with new tonearms and replinthing takes you pretty close often for a fraction of the money. You are not really talking about outright "beatings" more differeing presentations which have strengths and weakenesses which some of us will prefer and others won't.