The Vivaldi II rocks, it is the best machine out there at its price point. Buy it now or move up to it later.
Positive Product Points
The La Spaziale S1 is a great machine. The improvements that were requested by Chris' Coffee to create the Vivaldi II make it better than anything else out there up to twice the price. It has the quality, power, and control to pull great shots and steam great microfoam, as good or better than even the best espresso shops. The machine is easy to operate but still lets you develop your barista skills to get the best results. It doesn't need an extra PID kit. The 53mm portafilter is heavy and solid and works great, you won't miss not having a 58mm E-61 group. The warming tray gets quite hot. And, once you go plumbed, you'll never go back.
Negative Product Points
The plastic "fence" around the warming tray is often broken in transit (mine was) and the dual manometer gauge is often crooked (mine was fine.) Chris' Coffee replaced the plastic piece in no time.
I had been researching for a new espresso machine for over 2 years and could not find the "perfect" machine that I was looking for. I knew that I wanted a prosumer level of machine capable of brewing espresso and steaming milk at the same time. I also wanted it to be reliable and not make me yearn for an even better machine. I looked at numerous web sites, and when my wife said she was finally ready for a new espresso machine, I now started cramming. From all of my research, the only thing that stood out was to buy from Chris' Coffee. I talked to Mary at Chris' and she told about the Vivaldi II and I had finally found what I was looking for. It has everything that I wanted, a long list, and also met my needs when she constantly kept asking, "Is this the last machine you'll ever buy?" Just make sure that you pair it up with a good grinder, I got the Macap M4 Stepless Doser.
Everything you hear about Chris' Coffee is true. They are incredible to deal with, truly service oriented. When you talk to Mary, she's not just answering the phone and taking your order, she can answer all of your questions. They are there for you when you just want some information, are ready to buy, have a problem, or need service. They have people to help with setup, service issues, or even training. And Chris is involved with all of the aspects of his business and answers all of his emails.
Three Month Followup
The Vivaldi II has been just wonderful to own and use. I have no regrets at all about choosing this machine or buying it from Chris' Coffee. There have been no problems or issues with it during these last few months. It still performs like a champ with speed and power, but will not cover up for sloppy barista technique. If you do it right, the shots are fabulous.