Caught your comment on my Sew Whats New newsletter. recently got me a new machine. Seems I like about the same things as you. I was fortunate enough to receive an inheritance from my stepmother. She knew how much I liked sewing, and I am sure she was not upset when I decided to looke for a new machine. My old one was good, but---what they have out there now is fabulous. I looked into Pfaff, and Babylock and purely by accident went to a store that sold Brother machines. I had 2 Brothers both still fine. Always getting a better one. But this one I got is fantastic. It is comprable to the Babylock Symphony with all the same features. It is digital and I have so many options for sewing and quilting. I have had it for little over a year and sttill have not mastered all its features. It is a Laura Ashely novis 2000. It cuts the thread, automatic presser foot feature that lifts when you stop sewing, great in sewing and piecing of quilts. It came with lots of feet and a table that attaches to extend the bed and othere optiona lfeatures.It also ha a great manual. It was about $1800 when I got it. As I said it compares to the Babylock Symphony . And Later I found out that Brother actually manufactures theBabylock, in Japan; for Babylock.
All I can say it was a good choice and thanks to my MOM I was able to get it. Good luck on your search.