Two part question about modern and good looking

Firstly, I want to know what constitutes a modern table? Many of the so called modern tables seem to have a design that is very similar to many of the vintage tables. Is the arm design better now, then say a dynavector 501? And in this does the modern design take hold, or is there more to the tables being different.

Secondly I am looking for another table, one that is less fussy than my Linn, and one that looks good. I like the look of the Oracle's, as well as some of the Sota's I have seen, other recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I am looking for something less expensive than the Linn if that is possible, and leaning towards the oracle premiere advertised on here. Any ideas and help are needed.
Table designs tend to fall into about 3 or 4 categories:

- industrial (i.e. Oracle)
- wood/old fashioned (SOTA)
- eye candy (Clearaudio)
- form following function (VPI)

All have their good and bad design points, and a certain way of approaching the same problems in the medium. Whichever you like depends on the preferences of your own "eye".

I think it's less about "modern" and more about the art form within the design and how that appeals to you. I say this because all of the above styles are still being produced and improved upon by manufacturers. Modern is probably more about true improvements in the medium that improve performance, than the cosmetics.

There could not be fundamental changes because the turntable's working principle remains unchanged - the equably spinning platter, cartridge bearing tonearm, cartridge with cantilever and needle (which converts mechanical vibrations into electrical current). Since I follow the development of the turntables it has gone (and it is still ongoing) in two areas - the changes that (should) improve the sound, and aesthetic changes (design).
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of the so called modern tables seem to have a design that is very similar to many of the vintage tables. Is the arm design better now, then say a dynavector 501?
I am afraid, there is no simple "yes" or "no"
From my experience most of today is based on marketing (not all, but most). Dealers will say, that the technology today is much more advanced but for what is it good, when the brain "behind" is not existing. High end is a real special chapter. Even the magazines (specially TAS) are not writing for the customer, they look for ads.
In the 80+'s a few units were made which still surpass most of today (Micro Seiki turntable, Fidelity Research, Cotter, the original ML-gear etc.) but on the other side, even today lots of people think, that the Linn LP12 is a great Turntable.
Most from today is overhyped average stuff. When I remember JV when he gave the PC-1 cartridge the "TAS Award for the Product of the Year" when it wasn't available" (and that's a real cruel sounding cartridge), his Nordost Cable "story" then you know how it "works" today....
we can be happy that Internet is available and that the discriminated Audiophile can select some info froms users. After a while he is able to select the info being helpful fom him or not.
On the other side, I met Audiophiles with super expensive Systems which are not able to create a holographic picture from the life recording. And the owners are not interested in that. They love their Altar and that's enough. All other info confuses them.

Design is helpful for selling. Good, but ugly has no advantage to average but good looking.
You see, each his own :)
I own an Oracle and it's a great 'table. It's been in continuous service for 10 years without complaint. Just be careful in arm (and phono cable) matching since it is sprung - as a Linn owner you know the deal.

OTOH, I also own an Acoustic Solid. This has been my second 'table over the last 3 years and it, too, has worked out well - good sound, reliable performance. I use the large plinth/large platter "Wood" model with speed controller. I mention it as an alternative because:

a) It looks great in gloss black (and sufficiently different from the Oracle that you might prefer it)
b) It's a mass loaded 'table - if you want to go that way this time
c) It's a (relative) screaming bargain (or was when I bought it). It's shipped with an RB300 and Ortofon HOMC and is built way beyond its price point.

Good Luck