Plenty of "great" sounding amps out there, but only a Mcintosh sounds like a Mcintosh, period! Save your money and get one, or get one of the other great amps, and then save your money and then get a Mcintosh. An Mc50 is rare, but an mc250 costs about the same and is 2 mc50's in 1 amp. A little more expensive, but the exact same thing, is the mc2505 with the blue meters. All of these are conservatively rated for 50 watts and will be sufficient until you want to upgrade to the mc100/mc2100/mc2105 which is the 100 watt version. If you don't have the cash, the time to save or the back for a Mcintosh, you are making a compromise! However, if you do make that compromise know that you do not have to use only a Carvin, Rocktron, or Mosvalve. These are just amps some have chosen as their compromise and posted their opinions to "inform" others about how great these amps are. Only some of these guys who have posted these informative opinions have ended up buying, you guessed it, a Mcintosh! The choice is ultimately yours to make, but know this, regardless if you play like, sound exactly like or sound nothing like Jerry Garcia, Nothing sounds like a Mcintosh! Anyone who plays one will tell you exactly that and i am not saying that as an opinion, i am stating that as a fact!