If you are in the market for a mid-range machine that you will love and will love looking at, buy it.
Positive Product Points
Easy to use, group head has consistent heat. Good Burr Grinder (see note). Overall a great value.
Negative Product Points
The grinder came with two bars installed that caused the grinder to jam and continuously re-grind the coffee until it was so fine it was unusable. Finally figured out how to remove the bars and now the grinder is awesome! I found out later the bars had to be installed by order of the US Product Safety Commission so you couldn't stick your fingers inside (saving us from our own stupidity?)...I posted instructions on how to remove them in the forums. http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/grinders/412845
I did a lot of research before buying this machine - looked at the silvia, looked at twin boiler machines...looked at the La Pavoni that is the same exact machine as this (with a $200 price difference!)
This is my first machine and I am very pleased with it. I make a double shot latte every morning 5 days a week, and two double-shot lattes on the weekends...still going strong. I use a local fresh roasted coffee (Graffeo Dark Roast) and I am very pleased with the espresso shots so far...creamy and yummy...
This machine seems to be sold all over with different names and configurations with the same innards. I was drawn to it since it has a brass boiler and brass tubing inside...the pump is high quality. The stainless is a bit thin, but it is reasonable for the price. Very good looking machine with a compact footprint (to keep the wife happy).
Overall a great machine for me.
Used StudioLX online through Yahoo shopping. They were $200 cheaper than anyone else - the unit itself was shipped direct from the US Distributor in NY. Shipping was on-time, tracking info was provided...aside from the initial grinder issue, everything was great...
I would buy from them again...
Three Month Followup
It has been three months since I bought this machine, and I am very pleased with the performance. The steaming wand leaves a little to be desired, but I am not concerned as it is still a great value. I would still highly recommend this machine as a lower-cost option to anyone considering a Sylvia.
One Year Followup
One year later and I still love the machine - sure, I have been tempted by higher-end machines, but this one has provided me with a daily double latte with only one issue over the past year. The issue was with an o-ring being vibrated out of its seat off the end of the vibratory pump - it only needed to be cleaned and re-seated and the issue was fixed with no problem. I did it myself, but Italian Casa was going to let me take it for service wherever I liked - excellent customer service. So, still recommended.