i was thinking of upgrading and curious about these. I know one channel is clean, then the two are distortion, but one is usually a lead channel. Typically which one has the effects and higher gain? the distortion lead channel, or the distoriton rythem channel thanks
Well usually it is clean->crunch->overdrive/distortion/lead

edit: oh...rhythm is crunch I guess...
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lead normally has higher gain, it takes more gain to noticeably overdrive when you are playing single notes than chords. You'll notice that yourself, you get very much quiter and less distorted when you switch from rhythm to lead.
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On more complex amps, you can set up the channels the way you want - the general setup is indeed clean/crunch/gain, though personally I prefer a crunch/heavy crunch/lead sort of set up.
my splawn is a 3 channel amp its clean, od 1 (plexi) od 2 (jcm 800)

to be honest id like it much more if it was a 2 channel amp or even a single channel amp and just boost it with pedals

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Yeh the SICK! bit sounds a bit stupid.

Amps that have more than two channels, unless you pay quite a bit of money, won't sound as untainted as single, or two channel amps. Which is one of the reasons as to why boutique amp makes rarely develop two channel amps; because they realise it contorts, and slightly controls the original tone.

Examples of three channel amps that still sound great:
Framus Dragon
Brunetti XLR-Evo
Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier
Diezel VH4
Koch Multitone II
Hughes&Kettner Trilogy
Soldano Decatone
Marshall JVM401

Neither of those amps have effects, though. Typically, the third channel has the highest gain, but only because it is designated as a lead channel and thus generally requires that extra push. That's not to say you can't dime the second channels gain up max and have that as your dirtiest tone. The higher grade amps are best for that.
yeah, like angrygoldfish said, amps that are three channels and cheaper usually have one sh*t chandont sound as good, or have a horrible channel. kinda like the xxx, the ultra channel is absolutely terrible.
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typically what amp companies do is they develop a decent twin channel amp and then tack a Fender Twin preamp on it (only adds 1 tube) and call it a 3 channel amp.
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To be honest, I'd recommend avoiding multi channel amps. Adding pedals to the mix will give you a far more diverse and discerning tone.
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yeah, like angrygoldfish said, amps that are three channels and cheaper usually have one sh*t chandont sound as good, or have a horrible channel. kinda like the xxx, the ultra channel is absolutely terrible.

I agree kinda, the Ultra is okay but compared to the crunch channel it lacks depth, fullness, and charter and I cannot seem to EQ around it either, its not bad but when I use it I like "why am I messing with this when the other channel sounds better", then I switch to the other channel. I would have been more happy with two crunch channels than the ultra channel personally.
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2, 3 and 4 channel amps don't sound worse than single channel amps. Most of it is in the design of the amp and if the amp sounds lesser, it's because of the components used and the design layout of it.

My 6100 sounds great on all 3 channels and pretty accurately replicates the single channel amps it was made to sound like. My Road King sounded awesome on all 4 channels as well. The Randall RM4, though a bit different, is another great multi-channel amp.

Single channel amps with pedals simply can't compete with a good 2 or 3 channel amp in versatility imo.
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From the experience I've had with multi-channel amps, the majority of them go to waste. I predict it's because some were not as useful as others, or the character of the amp itself seemed lost within them. It might be the fact that I had no demand for them. And pretty much every amp I've owned (Framus, ENGL, Line 6, Mesa) the first two channels were the only ones I really utilized.
I think a twin channel amp has far more diversity in it because adding pedals to the mix seems more applicable and worthwhile.

I certainly see that everyone has different tastes, and because of owning different amplifiers, it's a pretty standard thing to say that not all hear a tone the same way.