If you have the money and want the very best, La Marzocco GS/3 is your machine.
Positive Product Points
I've owned La Pasquini Livia, Elektra Micro Casa. This La Marzocco GS/3 is the Rolls Royce of machines, built from commercial parts, hand made in Florence, Italy!
Negative Product Points
Aesthetics of the machine don't necessarily reflect fine lines of typical Italian design, but are more than made up by functionality and incredible engineering. I've witnessed a group head rebuild. The mechanical engineering design and precision tooling of the parts is out of this world.
The machine is quiet and works flawlessly. Superb consistent shots. You have to be an artist to pull great shots and this machine is so sensitive that it allows you to be the best you can be -- just work with it!
I have the paddle version which allows a pre-infusion. I'm not sure how effective this functionality is, but I don't really care. It's great shots that matter. Of course, you have to back-flush frequently -- I wasn't at first and learned to do weekly at least, preferably daily. I also learned to pay attention to the hardness of the water. It should be soft water. So, I installed a soft water filter under the sink. One day I will plumb the machine.
Chris' Coffee is the only place to buy this from. Service is white glove. Buying experience is the best. Shipping on a pallet!, door to door.
Three Month Followup
The GS/3 continues to perform well making incredible cappuccinos daily. A regular backflushing regimen is required as with all espresso machines.