Dont overlook the Expobar Brewtus 3 (or Minore, I can never quite remember which its called here and in the US). Its a double boiler and fits in your price range.
Ill comment on the VBM DS as Ive had one for about six months now after upgrading from Silvia.
Build quality on my unit is good. Ive heard rumour that others have found some sharpness on the less exposed edges, but I havent had that problem.
My steam wand stopped working, and I havent really had the time to investigate fully so simply swapped the valve with the hot water - worked a treat. Chris from TalkCoffee has suggested its a $2 washer/o-ring causing the problem and Ill be looking into it sometime soon.
Boiler pressure and OPV are easy enough to adjust, and I like the large reservoir and drip tray on the unit. Coffee is (to my taste) quite good, and the sometimes criticised low headspace doesnt cause me much grief at all. Of course, my palate is not as refined as some of the senior members on this site, so it could be that Im missing out on something.
The irony of these machines is of course that the subtle nuances between them arent easy to pick until youve had a lot of experience. In order to get the experience you need a good grinder and machine to train your taste buds.... and the circle continues.
Take your time with your purchase so that you make the right decision for you. Try all the machines you can and then sleep on it - for a week or so :P Come back, and try them again. If the person helping you is kind enough, get them to prepare two shots (or coffees if espresso isnt your thing) on different machines while you arent watching. This will take away any $$$ bias that might make you think one machine prepares better coffee than another.
Hope that helps