Ok- so lets talk roaster differences. I know these topics have been beaten to death online in this forum and in others but for the sake of my sanity, lets see if someone with more experience can help me sort this all out. You all seem to have a vast amount of knowledge and experience that I've enjoyed reading thru for many years and hopefully everyone can help me clear this up. We've been roasting on an Ambex YM-5 for a little over 2 years now and have really learned a lot. The machine has been a work horse and service from Amer and his crew has been great. Ambex is also the closest manufacturer to our location. The machine itself is simple and that's the way we like it. All manual. We're to the point now where we've got to upgrade roasters as we've hit our diminishing rate of return on our ym5. A 12-15 kilo roaster is our next move but I just cant decide what brand to purchase. As we've searched we keep coming back to Older Probat L12's Diedrich ir12's and also the San Franciscans. The three machines listed are machines that we know are tried and true and have a wealth of experienced roasters endorsing them. We are trying to stay on budge and don't mind used gear. We're tinkerers so a little repair here and there is kind of fun. It lets us understand our equipment better and we don't mind an occasional project. But with all that said. We've had great success with our Ambex and could purchase a brand new machine for less than any of the roasters listed used. I know that the Ambex drum is stainless steel and maybe other roasters have nicer face plates, etc but is there really that big of a difference in heat retention and performance. Plus the direct flame setup seems superior to other heat systems imho. They all run off of the same Baldwin motors, Watlow pids and all have steel bases and so on. I guess my question is...is there really that big of a difference between roasters at a certain point or it is all who's behind it? I play guitar and for years I thought if only I could get that 1965 Les Paul then I'd be awesome. Well guess what, once I got it I still didn't sound like Jimmy Page. Obviously all the popular guys are running the old school probats, diedrich and now the San Fraciscans and so there's also the factor of industry credibility. We sell in a stores up next many of the big guys and sometime I just feel like we would get a little more professional cred if we roasted on one of the big cool brands. I know that seems sophomoric but lets be honest, perception is huge part of what builds your brand and success. Is perception worth shelling out the extra bucks? Our roastery is off site, so chances of anyone knowing what we roast on are slim. All that to say...I'm confused and would appreciate any help. I feel like I can already predict the answers and judgment to this post but I'm hoping I can maybe grab a little bit of light from the conversation that helps clear things up. Thanks again everyone, please go gentle on me.