#1
Good afternoon guys. I'm looking for some opinions/ advice/ thoughts on a mid-life gear crisis. Bear with me...

I've pretty much always been a Marshall man, using master volume heads in the 70's and 80's, a JMP1 pre amp based rack in the 90's and latterly a TSL122 combo.

I play using a number of different styles but mainly alternative/ shoegazey rock. Plenty of clean chiming chords, powerful riffs and solos too. I love timebased and modulation effects and though I often play with a very 'clean' guitar signal, I do like to pile on the effects for some 'otherworldly' noises too.

One thing that has been consistent down the years is my desire to get my driven sounds directly from my amp- sometimes assisted with a booster of some sort, but never a dirt pedal. I suppose I had become a little snobbish and if the distortion wasn't created by glowing tubes, then I didn't want to know.

But here's the rub: I'm not happy with my current set up. I know the TSL has plenty of critics, but I've always loved the raw clean and crunch tones and the recording out. However, I've never been happy with the noise floor, the slight delay in switching channels and the effects loop, which sucks tone and doesn't make my pedals shine and shimmer as they should.

I've been searching for a 2-4 channel tube amp with transparent effects loop, recording output and with a good core tone at non-boutique prices. But recently I've thought 'Am I missing out on something here?' Would I be better with an amp with just a fantastic clean tone and obtain my driven tones by using dirt pedals? Do I really need an effects loop?- would I be better putting everything through the front end of an outstanding '1 sound' amp, rather than looking for one with so much versatility, but inevitable compromise?

So, I suppose what I'm asking for is not necessarily recommendations for specific gear (though feel free) but more your opinion on what you feel is the best approach- ie a multi-channel amp with tube driven tones and an effects loop, or a great sounding simple amp with distortion and overdrive supplied by pedals?

Sorry for being so wordy and thanks in advance for any advice.
#2
i prefer tube distortion its sounds so pretty over distortion pedals
but i would use a boost to help get that overdriven tube sound
a two channel tube amp with a boost is enough for me to get the sound i want(and a wah but thats just for funsies)