I had to look twice to see if I posted this topic and had forgotten - I had the EXACT same experience with the Route 66! Man, it sounded good when cranked but jeez, who could stand it?
I just got a Stangray head last week based on what I had read about the great tone at lower volumes. I'm happy to say that it's very true, it's nice and fat when the volume knob is at 1. As you increase in volume the tone stays about the same it just gets louder. At about 4 or 5 it starts to breakup nicely. Past that on the volume knob does not get much louder (it does just not incredibly) it just gets fatter and more compressed.
I'm, admittedly still getting to know the amp and toying with different speakers but it is a fantastic head.