Well, when it comes to clean, there will usually be a little compromise involved, no matter what you do.

    When you're recording in a studio, I'd say the most common approach is to use your high gain beast for the distortion parts. You may even have one amp for the rhythm parts, and another for the lead parts, depending on how crazy you want to get.

    But for any clean parts, in the studio a lot of guys will get out a Fender Twin (if you want warmth) or a Roland JC-120 (if you want super clean, like Operating Room sterile).

    Of course, lots of pros today are using a Fractal Axe-FX modeling setup for EVERYTHING at home or in the studio, and with good reason. Some even use it live, but most pros record with the Axe FX and then use their favorite tube rig on the road. But modeling gets into another topic entirely.

    My experience is that a good Mesa or Marshall will give you a great gain, and fairly good clean, at least good enough for most gigs. I mean, if anyone is going to praise your live tone, they'll be talking about crushing high gain before even thinking about the clarity of clean passages.

    Among high gain heads, some are better than others for a good clean channel, but in reality none of them are that bad, as long as they have a tube clean channel. Besides, you can always add a little shimmer with chorus, delay, reverb, whatever else, and that might distract from your clean channel not being anything to write home about.