I am considering getting my first true valve amp. I love the sound of great valve amps that I've heard on recordings and demos. However, I've never experienced true cranked valve amps - either played by myself or played live by others. I know of NO players personally who truly crank their amps and their power sections. I know a few who crank their pres, but most rely on pedals for dirt. I play at church and other small gigs - PA normally available, but volume constraints are always going to be issues for me. There are a number of solutions to volume control (low wattage amps, iso cabs/boxes, attenuators/load boxes, speaker simulators, etc)... but this seems like a LOT of work and a LOT of gear for something that I've never truly experienced or even witnessed live as 'worth it'. Alternatively, there are amp sims like the Tech 21 character series for a hundred dollars or so - I use the California and am quite happy with ease of use reliability (particularly as a pedal platform and direct solution). So, my question to you guys is: are valve amps worth the effort? I'd be looking at a low wattage amp anyway, but what advice do any of you in similar situations have for me? Disclaimer: I'm not looking to start a fight about simulators and valve amps. I like both, but I am not a seasoned valve amp user and would like some input from valve amp players.