Ember is more spacious sounding to my ears. It also seemed less warm with the particular tube I was using at the time (default 6N1P). Ember also offers tube rolling, gain adjustment, output resistance adjustment, input capacitor bypass (optional), and the ability to power the HE-6. Soundwise, with just the HE-4 and the tube I was using when I did the comparison, the Vali is unquestionably a better deal. The Ember just brings a lot more to the table and is more 'endgame' in my mind because of that. Also, you may have issues on the Vali if you have a really quite recording without all the power overhead. Oh, and microphonics. Don't be the guy who buys the Vali and complains because it rings every time you turn it on. Still though, if it puts it in perspective, purrin has noted how much he enjoys listening to the Gungnir>Vali>Abyss. When you think about that in terms of price tags ($750>$120>$5000), it speaks volumes about how great this little amp is.