Just before getting the 12000 Diane was asked to evaluate a Brother 6700D, the top of line model for Brother. It required our entire dining room table to set up. We will do a comparison in the Spring issue, but for those of you "on the fence" I can give you a thumbnail summary. If your main interest is embroidery, and you have the space, the Brother is the way to go. It's not that Janome has bad embroidery, not at all, but the 6700D is better. Not hugely better, but if you look at them side by side, it's better. It's also got more bells and whistles, including the best alignment system I've seen so far.
That said, if you love to sew as well as embroidery, the Brother will make you crazy. It does not sew as well as Janome, not even close. It's also got lots of annoying quirks that you will quickly come to hate. It's as if the sewing functions were just thrown in as an afterthought.
Quality is another area where they differ. Although Janome has had a few missteps in the past, they continue to rise above all others in quality of product. The Brother has a vague feeling of cheapness to it, and the "street" price is below that of the 12000. We only did a few embroideries on it, but the noise level was higher on the last one than it was on the first one. Not loud - probably no louder than the 11000, but noticeably louder than when it came out of the box.
Yes, this is a JANOME list. Yes, I am an ex-Janome dealer, but I'm also looking out for you, the potential customers. I still think the 12000 is the better machine, but I'm also seeing that some long-time Janome dealers are now selling more Brothers than Janome. Brother is more dealer-friendly than Janome, which is probably a big factor.
And that's all I'm going to say about that until the article in Online Sewing.