We've all heard a beginner playing away on an out of tune guitar, thinking it sounds good. 'if it sounds good' is just lollipo', in practice it just means as good as your ear, whioh should always be improving.
I guess I need to make clear if it sounds good to you IF YOU'RE IN TUNE, then it is good. I also made the caveat that if no one is listening to you and you want them to, then you may need to reassess. More to the point, it doesn't matter how you get your "sound", if you find one that suits you, that's good enough. With an amp, with an amp sim, plugging a distortion pedal directly into a mixing board, using the mixing boards mic preamp for distortion, using a Rockman module (Tom Scholz wasn't the only person doing that), taking a razor blade to your speaker, placing the mic across the room from the amp, playing a cassette recording of a guitar performance through a distorted guitar amp (all of which have been done in popular rock songs).
I used to hate AC/DC's distorted guitar sound. And I mean hate. Now I love it. If they had listened to me back in the day (like that would've even been possible) we wouldn't have the AC/DC sound we love so much.
Ignore people like the above. He says your ear should always be improving. Many musicians from the '40's would tell you the ears of a lot of the musicians from the '60's and beyond never improved and in fact got worse. I would say your ear should not so much be always improving but always changing and exploring. Like me, that AC/DC sound you were so sure was one of the worst, may turn out to be one of the best. Try to shut down your prejudices (like whether you see an amp, or you don't see an amp) and just listen. If an amp is the only way you can get that great, but be your own judge. Finding people that don't like what you're doing and want to limit you are easy to find and will pretty much go out of their way to let you know. BUT, to restate, if you're completely convinced that what you're doing is right AND nobody is listening you may want to reconsider. I've certainly run across plenty of musicians in that situation and they are very poor, sad and angry that no one "understands" their vision. Be careful of that trap as well.