Panasonic Technics' direct-drive (no belt) turntables have been DJ favorites since the 1970s. The blogs are abuzz with the news that Panasonic will cease Technics production this year. If it's true that Panasonic is completely out of the turntable business, that would be a shame.
That said, direct-drive turntables never really caught on with the audiophile crowd; we prefer belt-drive models. You see, the direct-drive motor's high torque instantly gets the platter up to speed from a dead stop, which is why Technics 'tables were prized by DJs.
But the powerful motors transmit whatever noise and vibration they make directly to the record, which in turn is picked up by the stylus. Belt-drive motors are decoupled from the platter by the belt, which virtually eliminates the transmission of motor noise. That's why companies like Linn, , and VPI make nothing but belt-drive turntables.