I get HEAPS of gain from the TSL, essentially I have the gain knob at about 3'oclock and push the volume up to about 11 or 12 oclock, depending where we're playing. It is a high gain amp, but I've used amps with higher gain, but found that there is a point that it becomes "too much" and there's no definition, that's to my ear anyway. I don't use an overdrive either... just straight amp gain.
I've recently had it re-tubed with some KT-77's and it sounds great, essentially, I tried going for 6550's/kt88's but found that the marshalls power trans wouldn't be able to handle it (I found out the hard way and it blew up on me... so I got another one) so went with the kt 77's and it gives me a tighter bottom end, less mids in general and a crisper top end, so I guess that's why I turn the mids up otherwise it's just too cutty for me I guess.
As for not worrying too much about gear, I agree, it is about having fun and the gear is just a means, so find something that sounds good and works for your budget and settle with it...
Engl's are good, but I've had reliability issues with them in the past (they still sound killer though), Peavey is definately a mainstay amongst the forum regulars here especially a 5150 or 6505, but for me they were too glassy/too much high end, Mesa's are good, but they only really do "that one sound" well. In Aus, most of these amps are far too expensive, so i didn't even bother.
Good luck with it man