Modern TT's may be better at the high end, but I firmly believe, from direct experience, that for under about $600 or so, your money buys you a MUCH better vintage TT than you can get from any modern TT in that price range. I paid $550 for a Denon DP-59L which is only very slightly eclipsed by my VPI Scoutmaster, and the Denon absolutely SMOKES entry level Music Hall, Pro-Ject, and Rega TT's (by direct comparison, but of course IMO).
Definitely true. You all must not forget what is now vintage $500 table was TOTL or very close to that level back in the day, costing then great amounts of money. Factor in inflation over the decades and it should be clear even to the non expert why this is so.
Modern day entry level TTs enjoy one great advantage over even TOTL of TOTL vintage designs - finally, low resonance non ringing solutions for the platter start appearing, often at the most basic level possible; manufacturers afraid of getting taken serious if some industry "leftovers" are pressed into shape and machined into TT platter - regardless of the instantly audible improvement over metal forever ringing bells of the past ? But these basic but well implemented designs can not compete with the technicall excellence at every imaginable point of good vintage designs - Denon DP-59L certainly does qualify as such.