Seeking opinions on Clearaudio vs. SOTA tables

Looking for opinions and experiences on the SOTA Cosmos vs. Clearaudio Innovation Compact, or thereabouts in each line.

Someday it will be time to upgrade my beloved (never refurbished/upgraded) SOTA Star III. Though it reliably continues making beautiful music, the bearing/springs/etc show signs of being past their prime. The silicon lip was dried out when I acquired the table on consignment 6 years ago, so I've never experienced a working vacuum hold down (I cut the lip off so that records would lay flat).

Based on the Star III, I'd almost certainly love a Cosmos, either new or refurbished (new bearing/platter/vacuum). The question is how much improvement would be gained. Unfortunately, my friendly local dealer doesn't carry SOTA. However they do carry Clearaudio. The Innovation Compact looks rather stunning in design and build -- a work of art. On the other hand, some things about Clearaudio turn me off:
* Very high pricing
* Not a fan of some of their magnetic bearing tonearm implementations; one unit in particular would jump a groove at the *slightest* in-room vibration
* Their screw-on clamp is a huge WTF; that damn screw-cap has no business being able to fully twist off so easily (and the resultant juggling of the damn thing next to a $$$$ cartridge pisses me off like you wouldn't believe) without a stopper!
* Sometimes I feel like they're experts at over-engineering certain elements, but then other elements show neglect and complete lack of thought (see above).
* I've read recently that there may be some dispute as to the effective mass of their Universal tonearm (i.e. their spec may be wrong) -- not confidence inspiring

I got to audition an Ovation Wood (below the Compact) with an Ortofon Cadenza Bronze (I do have a decent grasp of how this cart sounds); it has some very nice attributes but ultimately I preferred my SOTA w/ Koetsu Platinum. Not a fair comparison sure, but ultimately it had me doubting whether the Ovation would provide a worthwhile upgrade. The Innovation Compact on the other hand...
Thanks for the input so far. I should've mentioned in my initial post that I'm also very interested in the opinions of those who have moved up within either line.

Talked to a trusted friend and he's also leaning me towards the SOTA upgrade route, though he's looking at eventually getting a VPI Aries 3 for himself.

I'll contact SOTA to see what the options are as far as bringing my Star as close as possible to a Cosmos (I love my Star's Koa wood, and I don't think I'll be able to get that again) -- vs. just getting a refurb'd or new Cosmos.

If I go the SOTA upgrade/rebuild route, then I've also have to cobble together something listenable for a few months :)
Koa is still available. Basically, you can choose any veneer they can find, or you can supply.
Both tables are absolutely amazing.

As Clearaudio owner I can advice you about the good flutter / wow meditions and s/n ratio of these pieces of gear. In the Innovation you also have rpm adjust. I still didn't check values in Sota tables but the vacuum absorption system is much better solution against the outer Clearaudio's ring clamp...

Your decission!!! Good luck
Thanks again -- the more opinions, the better! I have to agree that the vacuum system makes me a lot less nervous than the ring clamp. I already tempt fate as it is just queueing the cartridge with a few drinks in me!

I should add that I plan to stick with a Koetsu cart paired to a rather heavy Dynamic Balance arm (LOVE the combo). To start with, I'd transplant my current 10" Fidelity Research FR64fx to the new table; may try to source the 10" Ikeda as the final solution (the chrome version would certainly be eye-catching on the Compact :)).

So if the Innovation Compact is chosen, it would definitely be purchased without tonearm.
Clearaudio is famous for clean, detailed, and lively sound with good pace and rhythm. I think a Koetsu cart will do well with the Innovation Compact.