#1
Ok, so my biggest dilemna is getting a nice tone at high volumes, and recording.

I play with people on occasion, I probably won't be gigging with huge gigs, but rather small to medium sized ones once I find some more people who are serious about playing in a band.

My current rig:
Epi SG special (Beat to crap)
Cube 60
First Act cheap Acoustic

What I'm planning on doing:
Upgrading to an Ibanez SZ520 or PRS SE Custom (Guitar upgrade is necessary, I played an Ibanez at a local guitar shop, and it owns my Epi)

After the guitar upgrade, I have some room for options.

The Cube has a decent distortion channel, and the cleans are nice. The clean channel is louder than the distortion channel, and doesn't really lose its nice tone when you crank it like the lead channel does.

I was thinking after the guitar upgrade... Perhaps I could upgrade to a tube combo. Thinking either a YCV50 Blue or a used JCM800.

However.. I'm going off to college soon, so the tube combo would be tough to put to good use. Then I ran into some video clips of the GT-8. I want to know if the GT-8 can deliver clear, non muddy distortion at small-medium gig levels as long as it's played through a good clean amp. (Taking recommendations on that as well)

Distortion is important to me, but so are cleans. I play such a wide range of music, I don't think the 800 will be able to nail all the tones I'm looking for. How much better is a low priced tube amp than the GT-8? Are the tones in the same general league? Would the GT-8 sound better through a tube amp than a solid state? (I hear the JC-120s have cleans that can match or surpass Fender tube amp cleans depending on taste).

Should I go with Guitar -> GT-8 -> JC120 (Or other amp)

Or Guitar -> JCM

Keep in mind, I'm mainly a hobbyist. I will use a few of the effects, and probably a lot of the distortions. I'm kind of a perfectionist, I like having tones that are extremely close to the thing I'm trying to play. I range from acoustic/clean tunes to modern rock, some classic rock, all the way up to lighter metal like Alter Bridge (I don't think the JCM can pull off the Recto tone). However, whilst being a hobbyist, I'm also looking to possibly gig with this gear, so I want a nice sound at higher volumes as well. The Cube 60 is just too muddy for me.

What do you guys think? (And please, need recommendations on those clean amps so I can try to figure out how much money I'm gonna need).