Please forgive the length of this, I'd appreciate your attention even though its so long. If you want to skip all this, just go to the end questions (Its probably a little confusing without the explaination though! ).
Thank you.

I recently went shopping in both Birmingham and Leicester in Britain for a new amp - my first serious gigging amp - and I have come across a rather perculiar situation.
Two lovely lads in a shop called Fair Deal Music, near New Street Train Station, have told me that the best amps are not Valve amps but transistor (solid state) amps!
This was quite a shock to me as I have been spending the last six months researching different amps and their respective catagories, and have narrowed my choice of amps down to the ENGL Powerball head, and either the V60 ENGL cabinet, or the Framus Dragon V30 4x12 cabinet; the Hughes&Kettner Trilogy head with respective V30 cab; and finally, the Framus Dragon with Dragon cabinet, all tube amps!
I have, with a little good fortune, found an ENGL Powerball and appropriate ENGL V60 4x12 in the new Reverb retailer in Leicester - taken over from the recent downfall of Sound Control - I absolutely loved the clean, it had that spank, spark, quack, smack, bark, smash to it that I always wanted. The Crunch was good, as was the other two channels, just good. There are endless possibilities for scoping the sound with many different buttons and options availible, so I'm not giving up on it at all. It was a very good amp, as good as I thought it would be.
Now I have yet to find the other two amps, which incidentally have very similar specifications to each other and are all priced alike. I hoping to fly out to Bristol soon where they deal with Framus, which will hopefull lend me another standing, and I will then be able to distinguish what I am looking for more specifically. I don't know how and where I can find a Hughes&Kettner Trilogy head on the other hand.

Now after all that explaining, the most important factor to understand here is when I tried out a Line 6 digital amp in Fair Deal Music. The guys in the shop mentioned the name, which I can't remember, but they explained how this amp used to be a Line 6 .... 1, and now its been upgraded to a Line 6 ..... 2 and its therefore better. the standard new models - already equipped with the ugrade - is retailed at around 2000 pounds and it basically duplicates every single quality amp ever created. Its simulations are far better than the Spider III digital amps, but they still sounded fake to my ears. That is until they slapped a BBE pedal into the line out (it has to go through the amp, not the guitar). I also don't know the name of this awesome pedal, but basically it drastically improved the tone by making it more raw and earthly, whilst adding more gritty distortion. It only cost 99 pounds as well.
These lads explained how Line 6 have created some of the best amps because of their cheap prices and amazing variety of heavy as hell distorted tones. BTW, the Line 6 they were selling was a number 1 that had been upgraded by a computer to a number 2 and was second hand for that reason. It also had a few scratches on it. It was 799 pounds, far cheaper than the RRP.
They also tried to convince me that Transistor amps (Solid State, I think thats what they are) have far better tones because you don't have to crank them to reach their desired and programed sounds and have the options of onboard effects and more than a variety of different tones. Valve's on the other hand, according to them, turn into mush at louder volumes and are not as driven when quiet, so therefore they are not very appropriate or situational.

This was all very hard to believe as just about everyone else would disagree, particularly on here. The next day I ventured to Leicester and received very different advice, even though the nice guy understood why a Line 6 amp would be more apt for practise sessions or creating musical variations and tonal scapes. More importantly though he reminded me that a Valve amp will sound real and is almost a perfect depiction of the original tone of a guitar.
After hearing the ENGL, I agreed.

Now the questions, what the hell is going on?! Who is correct? Is that Line 6 amp a truely awesome amp, and at £799 should if be neglected or should it be pounced upon with a bunch of notes and a gleeful smile? Does ENGL become better after more tweaking? Should I try out the other Framus and Hughes&Kettner amps or are they basically exactly the same? Can anyone help?
line 6 amps are fantastic. (with the obvious exception of the spiders.. but even those are fine if you're just practicing with the little 15 watters..)

but are they better than valve amps?

thats pretty much depends on what you want, what you're using it for, and how loud you're cranking it.

line6 amps such as the flextone and the vetta are very high quality SS modelling amps. and can certainly hold their own up against some tube amps.
Grammar and spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.
Well basically I am asking the question, should I go for something along the lines of an ENGL Tube head, or a top end Line 6 modelling amp like the Vetta and the Flextone (thanks Kivarenn, I'm sure it was one of those two amps that you mentioned that I found and played through)?
sounds like the Line 6 Vetta I and II, good amps from what ive heard, but i certainly wouldnt say they were better or worse than tube amps, just a bit "different" i guess - at the end of the day its irrelevent what the shop guys tell you, its your amp and your ears - go for what sounds best to YOU, not what people claim is better
Vettas = Sex
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If you want versatility, then go for the Line6, however, it will never be quite as real as a tube amp (lets face it, it's not!). Plus would be an absolute pain in the .... to get repaired easily, as it's very technical inside those beasts.

I'd go for the tube, but that's mainly because after a while i got sick of all the versatility of my flex. I just wanted 1 or 2 awesome tones, rather than loads of presets. Just seems easier and better to me.

Try them out side by side if you can. But, basically just trust your ears....
most engls dont have to be cranked to get an amazing tone....a lot of them also have master volumes which certainly doesnt hurt
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High end modelers such as those line 6s or even Guitar rig can replicate the tone of a tube amp quite well. What they fail to do is replicate the dynamics of playing through a tube amp. Sure, those modelers have some dynamics, but not to the extent of a tube amp.

In the end you just have to let your ears and your hands decide what's best.

I'll also make a note on the framus. I've heard that they are pretty poorly built though they are supposed to sound very good.
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was the pedal a BBE sonic maximiser? look for some vids on youtube, that thing really improves your tone

and i would go with a tubeamp, i rather have a really nice tone than versatility, unless you want it for small practices
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transistor amps are different. Not necessarily better. But in most cases, the sound valves produce when cranked is nicer to listen to than the corresponding cranked transistor. They are a bit more temperamental, and with electronics as good as it is nowadays, it can be cost effective and still sound great if you get a SS amp with, say, a great pedal.
on paper, transistor are way better than tubes in every conceivable way. (except, of course, tone).
there was a time when ALL consumer electronics used vacuum tubes, and for good reasons it hasnt been that way since at the 60s. i beleive the US Navy had many tube powered stuff into the 80s though.
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Quote by litus
was the pedal a BBE sonic maximiser? look for some vids on youtube, that thing really improves your tone

That was my guess, too. It's a very popular pedal with tube amps, as well. Put it in your FX loop and go. The only knock on it is that after a while you start to notice an artificial/digital quality to your sound.

Which I suspect would also occur after an extended period of time with any modeler.

But I'm a tube snob, so I probably can't be entirely trusted to offer an unbiased opinion.

My feeling would be to stick with valves unless you really feel you need all that modeling. If you're in a cover band and want to emulate a lot of different specific sounds, something like the Vetta could be your best friend ever. If you're just looking for your own, ballsy, hard rock tone (I'm guessing based on the amps you're considering), then valves are really going to be best.
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I believe I can safely say that your own opinion should matter far more to you than the opinions of other people.....at least when regarding the tonal qualities of something.
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Generally speaking (obviously not always the case)

Solid state amps = punchier, cleaner

Valve amps = warmer, more dynamic

I wouldn't say one is better than the other. They each serve their purposes.
Quote by AngryGoldfish
Valve's on the other hand, according to them, turn into mush at louder volumes

Tell that to Clapton or Hendrix.
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That's it :|
where i work we get a lot of live bands, so naturally i get to hear a lot of equipment....from all ranges of the monetary spectrum.

i've seen MGs that people have made sound half-decent, and i've seen Diezel's that people have made sound mediocre...

For me, the Vetta sits somewhere in the middle...tone-wise.
For what it is, and the versatility that it brings, it's not half-bad...but it is noticeably digital sounding when it comes to being mic'ed up at a gig.

Incidentally, some of the best sounding live amps I've heard were a multitude of ENGLs, a Laney GH50L and a Marshall JCM900.
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sorry if i browesd your thread...but

budget? (2000 pounds?)
home or gig?
current gear?
favorite band?

ps....again, sorry i did not read your text wall all the way thru...

- around 2000 euro idealy, including 4x12 cabinet

- Both home and gigging, although I do own a VOX AD30VT I can use for practise.

- I play everything, literally everything. I need an amp that suits my band mostly though, a three piece: It needs to be very powerful and has to cut through with a very ballsy attacking type of sound as we only have one guitarist. I don't perceive serious high gain will be appropriate for my band - although I do love to play Death Metal and Hardcore in my own time. Our band plays underground weird alternative heavy, hard as hell rock. There are bands that are like us but they are not very well known or popular.
Think, Biffy Clyro/Deftones/Interpol/The Doors/Million Dead/Yourcodenameis: Milo/The Fall of Troy/Faith No More/anything country/anything bluesy/anything psychedelic/anything classical/and most importantly, anything wacky, werid and original/etc.

- I currently own a Maverick F-1 and an Epiphone Les Paul Custom, they are the two
main guitars I use. I have a VOX AD30VT as my amp for everything.

- Favourite bands are Deftones, Placebo, Eels, System of a Down, Biffy Clyro, The Strokes, Mastodon, Korn, The Doors and I'm not sure what number ten would be, maybe Muse, maybe The Smashing Pumpkins, maybe Faith No More, maybe Metallica, maybe Radiohead, maybe Tool, maybe Million Dead, maybe Interpol.

- Favourite tones from other bands would be System of a Down, Mudvayne, Deftones, Korn, Interpol, Meshuggah, Placebo, etc.

Don't worry about not reading it all, I said it didn't matter, mate.

Thanks for all the comments folks, I didn't think I would receive as much feedback as this, its been very helpful.

I totally agree about amps being a very personal thing, but sometimes I feel I don't entirely know what I want until I actually here it first hand. I can sense a certain tone in my head but I have never heard an amp or band that has that particular tone. Theres no point worrying too much about it though.
I just want an amp that sounds real, that sounds like an amp should do, the perfect depiction of a real guitars tone.
I'm more convinced that the ENGL amp or any tube amp would be better for myself.