Fascinating post, and some really great comments. I'm not sure where I fit in, as I see a need for both. I currently have a Swart AST Master, and that definately falls into the boutique catgory, but it also falls into the vintage sound category. It's not a hi-fi sounding amp like Two Rock, or Carol Anne. And I also have a stock, "vintage" Fender 75 SFPR, which gives a decidely different sound.
I've never had the chance to play a vintage 18 watt Marshall, or a vintage VOX AC15, and if I was to find one, and it fit the bill, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. That being said, if I was to find a boutique amp that also fit the bill, and nailed the vintage sound, I wouldn't hesitate for a minut. Marshall, and VOX, were just names at point, just like Swart, and all the rest. To us, the limited who care, we know these names, but the vast majority of musicians have never heard of them. But, give it time, just like Fender, Marshall and VOX had. Granted things have changed a bit, being that there are a lot more players and builders out there.
If I couldn't find a Fender BFDR that met my needs, (and I'm still looking) I wouldn't hesitate to check out a Vintage Sounds DR clone.
Does this really sound hi-fi to you ?? This is an OD2-50 played by me (PRS) and a Tucana played by our other guitar player. Unlike many I'm not afraid to put myself out there.
You know....I love Marshalls.....love love love them, I've owned over 60. I've owned around 20 Fenders. I've worked on countless of both so I'm not the enemy here. Just reading the cliches like 'hi-fi' gets a little annoying.
It doesn't sound like a Dumble either does it...SUPRISE !!!!!
I jest around, but seriously the labels that get put on things are often not true.