I've been running a rack rig for a while now, about a full year since I got my E530, and I finally, after going through 3 or 4 power amps, have been keeping a Mesa 50/50 since about early April. A few months ago, we started to play a buncha shows, and I've been running it opposite a Triple Recto with bass going through it, and a 5150II for the other guitar. It doesn't sound bad by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm kinda wishing I had a litttttle more bass in my sound. My speakers are already pretty bassy when compared to the other mass-market offerings (G12K-85s), so I don't think a swap there is in order. I've already dispensed with the EMG 81s in bridge positions, I've been using Blackout Necks, 707s, 85s, and now a SD Livewire HMET (Not a bassy pickup, I know that. It's quite snarly.)
At any rate, it's 4 AM, and of course, in my sleep-deprived state, I've been thinking about swapping it out for a head, but I'm not entirely sold on the idea yet, it's been a long while since I owned one. I'm also considering a few different preamp ideas, among them the Mesa Studio Pre, the Perfect Connection GP-1000 (One's for sale here locally, very reasonable) and the Carvin Quad-X. Stuff like the Triaxis, Recto Recording Pre and SE Preamp are a shade (wayyyyy) too expensive for my tastes. The Studio Pre is still a bit pricey, used prices on them are still hovering around $750-800
Power amp switching is probably out of the question, anything that I think would be a significant improvement over the 50/50 is also beaucoup bucks, like the VHT 2/50/2 and the Mesa 2:Ninety and Recto 2:One Hundred, and I feel something like the Carvin T-100 or TS-100 would be a downgrade of sorts.
I don't really want a Recto, fwiw, as the other guitarist in my band uses his for guitar sometimes, and the 5150 other times, and I can use the triple if he's running the 5150, but I think I might want a slightly different sound. If I were to go with the head route, I'd probably be able to get 1100 or so for my rack minus the G-major, so I'd be limiting myself to about $1500. Things like the fireball 100, a used 5150III, or maybe even a used Triamp (Still kicking myself for passing up a beat-to-shit Triamp MK II with cab for $800 3 years ago.), but I'm really out of the loop, I think.
Any ideas? I'm not exactly sold on any avenue quite yet, as I still really like the sound of my setup, but I figure it can't hurt to at least familiarize myself with everything I don't quite love about the setup I've got now and how to fix that, especially because I'm at the point where I don't think I'll be buying any more guitars for quite some time (unless something's a super-steal).
The cheapest solution would probably be to poke a pencil into each and every speaker cone in your bandmate's rigs. It'll ruin their ability to produce clean bass and make you seem like the fucking James Earl Jones of guitar tones.