How good are vintage turntables really?

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This is really aimed at Markus, but I'm interested in anyone that has owned both modern and vintage decks (good ones) and can comment on the differences.

I know Markus, that you had a Platine Verdier and now have a Garrard 401, so I'm interested to know how you would describe the differences. There are lots of reason to own either over the other I'm sure, but I'm thinking of sound/music quality primarily.

Since I now have a Garrard 301, a Thorens 124 II and a EMT 927 and it's been while since I owned a top spec (at the time) LP12, I'm wondering how delusional I am in thinking that these old decks are really up there. I've heard SMEs, Avids etc in good systems and they sound good, but it's so hard to judge unless you live with them for a while. Would a TW or a Brinkmann knock them all into a cocked hat?

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