I have a Kenmore Ergo 2 (I believe) that's about 5 years old that is "okay" it is a little fidgety and picky on things but I like that it has a see thru cover over the bobbin and clear bobbins so I can see my thread level. I wish it had a "needle down" stop position like most Janomes seem to (I believe it is a Janome with a Kenmore badge, Sears doesn't make them anymore).
I also have a Juki TL-98Q on a little gracie II frame for quilting, it is a great work horse but has no bells or whistles other than an auto thread cutter, needle down, an extension and some feet. No stitches other than straight and one thing I *don't* like about it is the bobbin goes in the front of the throat and is completely covered (and metal) so I can't see my thread level without taking it completely out. That said, it sews thru almost anything, I did the binding on the blue jeans quilt in my photos with no issues at all. While joining the blocks I thought the Kenmore was going to vibrate across the table.
I've heard great things about other Janomes, I bought my Kenmore before I knew much about sewing machines at all and wish I'd gotten one with less embroidery features and more quilter friendly things, then I may have not needed the Juki with a deeper throat.
I had a Janome Memory Craft 4800 QC for years and I did great with it, until I started to learn free motion quilting. I found the screw that holds the foot to the shank created visibility problems. I also had no end of trouble with tension. It didn't like fine threads much. With the YLI silk, even with the tension on 0, the thread was constantly breaking by getting caught up in the tension disks. I had the machine serviced repeatedly, but I think I was just asking it to do something it wasn't capable of doing.
Lucky for me, I came into some extra "found" money and I purchased a Bernina Aurora 440 QE (more than I would have ever expected to spend on a sewing machine). It does free motion beautifully as well as accurate piecing and anything else I have asked it to do so far. Though as others have posted, it isn't as quiet as the Janome, and I find that if I sew at certain speeds, it actually shakes my whole sewing table! So far that hasn't been an issue, just an observation.
I see you are looking for a new machine. Well I love my Jenome. It is the quilter's addition, and it sews great. I'ts so quite and it has all the bells and whistels that I need. I love the way it handles. I don't know what kind you're looking for but the one I have works great for me. Now since I've got mine several laddies has joined our group and they also have a Jenome but there are several Berineas and a couple of Brothers. So ask around and see if you can vist a store and sew on them and see which one that you thinks fills the best. I am one that if I like something at once I'll always like it but if it's something that doesen't say take me home now I'll never will like it. But after I walk out of the store and I still want it I know that"s the one for me. Plus I think the price is right on the Jenomes. Debbie
I just purchased a Janome 5200 QDC, so far so good very user friendly. I am going back to the shop tomorrow for a little lesson. I have a few problems but it is probably operator generated. My bobbin thread keeps sewing into my seam and a few time I have to rethread. They sound simple enough. Its part of the purchase so I am going