When it comes to being "quiet" and have variety of sounds, clean or otherwise, I've found modeling amps are hard to beat. VOX ToneLab ST into a small powered speaker is a pretty good alternative. One can even use a pair of computer speakers or an iPod dock works really well. It even has a tube in it for those must-have-tube crowd, too. :)
I usually use whatever that sounds good and appropriate for the situation calls for. It doesn't matter amps are SS or tube to sound good.