Well at first i was in love with my 100w marshall dsl, but i'm starting to feel its not quite right for me. I just feel like the amount of volume it takes for the amp to start sounding what i would consider good is just way too loud, and i feel like the distortion is just to gainy/fuzzy and the tone doesn't have the clarity i like.

Should I try changing the tubes first? I've had the amp for about 8 months but haven't got to play it too much really. The guy i bought it from said he changed them before selling it, but i really don't trust anyone's word who is trying to sell me something.

Do you have any recommendations guys? I feel like i could sell the head for at least 500 and I could probably come up with around 700-800 more (total budget of 1300ish. If you have any good suggestions that aren't 5000 bucks i'll consider them and maybe just save up.

Primarily I'm going to use the amp for recording. My roommate used to work at a major studio and has a lot of high end recording equipment, and were pretty serious about the sound quality. I'll probably end up playing some shows with this amp but i don't think a 100watts is really necessary. In fact I'd really prefer a tube amp that can sound more driven at volume that don't make my ears bleed

As far as style, I'm going to be playing prog metal and i'm going to need some good distortion, but I really want some good clarity and good bass response.

So the tldr: possible amp head suggestions
budget: 1300 but will save up if something really nice
Style: prog metal (protest the hero, human abstract) some more intense stuff (new black dahlia murder, BTBAM)
Wants: not super loud to get that really good tube tone, FX loop, good low end but works well with shred guitar playing without the cheese factor.

Thanks guys
A lot of amplifiers now have a variable power switch that will cut the power in half. Carvin's V3 is one of them - 100 watts or 50 watts. It's a great amplifier. Also look at the various offerings from Mesa that have the same feature. The Stiletto Ace does it, as does the Electra Dyne. You'd probably have to find one used to hit within your budget mark.
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