Now, I've never actually played a 5150 for any real length of time, so I don't know too much firsthand how different it is from the II, though I've read a lot about the differences. one of my bands is a Prog Death outfit, and the other is post-rock/noise/indie.
The main complaint I see regarding the originals is that you can't really get a good clean tone out of one, and I want to know what that really means... is it referring to that the clean tone just sucks, or that you can't get a pristine sparkling clean like you can out of a Roadster or something.
I'm a junkie for gain and I know that the 5150 is said to have more gain than the II, though I don't know if the loss in cleans is drastic enough to hamper my post-rocking out if I end up dropping the II for an original.
With that said, would it also be a viable option to get something like a tubescreamer or similar overdrive pedal and toss it in front of the II to crank it a little more? If so, what OD/Distortion pedals should I look at?
(I'm also using an EHX Holy Grail and a Boss Super Chorus in my rig, if that really affects anything)
ALSO THE IMPORTANT QUESTION:
Think I could trade my II for a I if I decide to do that?
Clean really isn't there on a 5150. The first channel is called crunch, and it describes it, also, shared EQ.
However, the crunch is cool, and the lead has gobs of gain. You would want to bioas mod it as it adds a bit more clean capability, but it really isn't great at all...
Never played a 5150II so can't comment beyond that!