Greetings from Arizona. I just joined this site this morning. I started quilting about 8 years ago mostly as a fluke (I'm a man), but I really liked it. I liken quilting to wood working with cloth. A sewing machine just makes less noise and dust than a table saw. I've made only 4 quilts, but that was mostly the first ~3 years. I like doing embroidery in quilting. There was a phase that it was hard to make the time for quilting, but I have more time again now and want to get back into it. My wife is also getting into quilting more and she has a background of a garment making, so she knows a lot about sewing.
We have a Designer I and are thinking of upgrading to a newer machine as we've been havings issues with it which is so frustrating and making me/us not want to use it. We looked at the newer Vikings (again...) and Bernina machines. Then I found info on Babylock and we went to look at those. Then I saw an add for Brother and went to look at the Quattro 2 and found the machine I want! A Janome 12000. Lol. That is well built machine.
Looking at message boards for machine reviews is helpful, but few people have multiple top of the line machines, so getting a good comparison can be difficult. Also, we all want what we get to be the right decision, so it's human nature to like it; especially when we spend the $$ the top machines cost.
Oh, I've also looked at servers which are fun. I made a bag several years ago in a class and it was great. A friend of my wife has a 2007 Evolve that she hardly ever used and offered to sell it for $800 - that is a great deal!
Any input on sewing machine brands would be helpful. We want something we can sew with and embroider (without needing to get out my old PC with a floppy drive). It's hard to justify the cost of the top machines, but it's also great tobe able to do things you couldn't do otherwise. Having a really good machine makes using it more enjoyable and I think it gets used a lot more.