If its for recording, why not consider a smaller combo? Something in the 5-15 watt range that you can crank to get the tubes to distort, without going deaf or getting evicted.
I'd bet money that the main culprit is the 6" speaker. Check out some 1X12 or 2X12 combos. If you dont find anything the head option is always available but personally I think a low wattage combo would suit your needs betterIt's funny you mention that, I am currently using a Fender Champ 600 with a Metal Muff, I think the tone is pretty descent.
However the small speaker distorted badly with palm mutes you can hear it in this clip: http://soundclick.com/share?songid=6813151
You can hear the weird farty distortion at 0:05 and 0:06 - I am pretty sure it's the tiny 6" speaker trying to push all that bass, and messing with the tone stack doesn't help.