As to Peavey, they've never gotten the recognition they deserved for multiple technical advancements. People can't get out of their mindset that Peavey makes amps for country and western guitarists.
I had sour experience with Peavey guitar amps. Even though I was never a loud player I had to replace the output transformers once a year. And they had a midrange honk that I could not dial out. After replacing one too many $300 output transformers I had written off Peavey.
It's not just their preconceived association with country western music. Most musicians I know consider them student gear. Peavey did very well at filling a market niche with gear aimed at struggling musicians - guitar/bass amps, mixers, PA gear. When you're starting out you gotta have something, and once you have progressed and have heard better gear you move on from Peavey. Yes Peavey made leaps and strides with their technological advances but musicians never shook the "student gear" mindset.
If you kept the stock speakers, I understand. Hartley was sort of working against himself, 2 of the finest guitar amp speakers I've ever used are the Peavey Scorpion 10" and the Peavey Scorpion Plus 12". I've had them in Mesa (I've owned 9 Mesa amps and the Black Shadow speakers are "barky" and "slow" sounding compared to the above Peavey speakers), Red Plate, Allen Accomplice, all sorts of things including - Peavey amps.
The Vypyr VIP 1 is a completely different sounding amp with a Scorpion 10" in it, so was a Mesa Express 5:25, Subway Blues and the Red Plate sounded better in a 1-10" Mesa cab with a Scorpion 10" than it did in the stock cab with the stock 12" by far.
And yes, I've played through a mess of Celestions, Jensens, this that and the other thing. I have a JBL G125-8 that JBL made specifically for guitar and that's a great sounding speaker but the highs can be a bit much. I used to love the tone of the EVM12L and 12S but I never loved moving them around. Certain models of the Peavey Black Widow speakers sound great on guitar, others not so much. To me, Celestions sound harsh and barky until they are broken in, then they are pretty OK until they start to fatigue and get a bit of a low end rattle. Then you can start over. Meh...
A friend and a good solid player came up to me a couple of years ago and asked me how I got more and better tones out of a Peavey Red Stripe Studio Pro, one channel switch and a TC Electronic Flashback X4 than he could get with a Fender Deluxe Reverb Re-Issue and a pedal board with $700 worth of fancy boutique pedals on it. I handed him my extra heavy pick (he pummels away with a medium instead of finessing an x-heavy) and told him to turn his amp up until it scares him and learn to control the pick. He scowled, handed the pick back and I said "By the way, your stock speaker doesn't sound very good." Well, he DID ask me! He still sounds the same, all really good gear but a better speaker and some technique would make a world of difference.
I find a perverse joy in using inexpensive and under-rated gear and finding a way to make it sound great. A better speaker is my favorite upgrade and my secret weapon.
I will agree that there are quite a few Peavey amps that don't sound bad but they don't really sound good either, I've had a few of them. But I never got a tone I liked out of my Rivera Era Fender Concert either and lots of players rave about them.
None of this matters to me in the slightest by the way. I rarely play electric plugged in at home, it's usually something impossible to zip around on like a 12 string or a nylon string and just fingers.
And I'm with Craig on not trying to get any particular sound except the one that I like. So far the only "modeling" amps I've really liked had all analog circuitry for the amp circuit - Peavey TransTube and Tech 21 Sansamp.
I don't mind digital for effects, some of that stuff sounds absolutely transcendent.
In the end, I only care about if I felt like I performed well and sounded good. Which this and that I used or anybody used is just stuff.