I don't get why people think they need to go out and spend a small fortune for studio lighting. Especially when they can't afford to. I mean how many threads I have read where someone goes out and buys "A" strobe because they don't have the money to buy what they really need to do the job. Don't get me wrong... I know that some products are built better than others, hence the bigger price tag... But I have to say that there is also something to be said for not throwing your gear around like a bag of laundry.
I have been using my JTL J-160's now for 4 years now. They are CHEAP!! but they have the same (roughly) specs as the AB B400.
I've used Alienbees (in fact I used to own an ABR800). They are a decent enough product, but the only thing they really have over the JTL's that I own are the removable reflectors... but I do a LOT of on location work, so my kit is portable and all fits into a pretty small bag.
I fire mine through umbrellas 80% of the time anyway, and the other 20% of the time is split between a 20 degree honeycomb grid or a 24x24 softbox, so it's not a huge deal. But what the JTL J-160 has over the AB is price. For the price of ONE B400, I was able to purchase enough strobes to light this entire shot. 3 strobes.... Key, Fill, and background. ($69.95 x3). And like I said... I've been using these same lights for 4 years now... I've replaced the modeling lights a few times, but the strobes just keep on working. They can't be built too poorly.