I was pretty into espresso for a while and accumulated some modestly priced gear. I started with a Gaggia Coffee Deluxe Semi Automatic and Gaggia MDF Burr Grinder. Then, I couldn't get the tamp just right so I bought a tamper with a pressure sensor in it that clicks at that ideal pressure point. But even so, that elusive crema was forthcoming. Finally, I started buying a European Espresso blend from a local roaster and heating my cup with water in it in the microwave just prior to pulling a shot. If I did all of this, I could get that perfect shot.
After a while, it was just too much work. The equipment sat.
One night, I picked up some preground espresso roast coffee at our local grocery store. I took it home, put in the cheater "perfect crema" rubber disc under the portafilter, let the machine warm up, and pulled a great looking shot.
A week later, I sold the grinder on ebay and put the money toward the new brew stand (beer). I next bought a gaggia pressurized filter basket.
Now the purists will tell you that the pressurized filter basket really isn't crema and blah blah blah. Well it looks like crema to me, tastes great, and I don't have to stand on one leg and hum the happy coffee song to make it work, nor do I have to drive out of the way for just roasted coffee or use/clean the expensive grinder that was taking up counter space. I tried it this weekend with a $4 can of Cafe Bustelo Espresso Roast and it worked great. Short of throwing down the cash for a fully automatic (which a friend of mine has and it's absolutely fantastic), the pressurized filter basket is the way to go.
As for the Billeti, well, we have one. But it just doesn't taste the same to me. YMMV.