1 X 250DR stereo or 2 X 200DR biamp?

I’m looking for some fast and grippy amps to power two JBL SCL4s front L&Rs as part of my home cinema. I’m currently using an Arcam P429 in biamp config which is lovely and open but I really need more snap.
I’m wondering whether it’s best to obtain 2 X 200DRs and continue to biamp the SCLs or put the links back in place and use one 250DR.

Alas 2 X 250DRs would be beyond my budget!

The DR on the 200 is only for the preamp power supply, so I recently serviced 200 would be just as good. As for which option is best in your system I am unsure but my feeling is that a 250DR would be better.

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I take it you mean passive biamping, as opposed to active? Whilst active would be likely to be a distinct improvement that is far less certain with passive.

But you could at least try 200 standard and passive biamped for yourself, even if that doesn’t campare with 250. A bit fiddly, but not difficult: choose one of the two speakers to use - doesn’t matter which, but let’s say Right for ease of description, then:-

  • Select mono on the preamp.
  • Leave the R speaker connected as usual, and re-route the L cable to run to, the R speaker, but don’t connect and take care no possibility of shorting.
  • Turn on and listen to a range of music
  • remove the jumpers on the speaker and connect the L channel to the other pair of connectors. (If wiring was crossed with red on one +ve and black on other -ve then need to reconnect so each amp is just to a bass or just to treble.)
  • Listen again to the same music
  • Repeat

Of course if you can borrow a 250 you could similarly compare that against passive biamped 200 (but stick to the same speaker, not switch between one on 250 other on biamped 200).

Naim doesn’t recommend bi amping. Not sure about it however, but I feel a 250 dr would be better than 2X 200.

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First, what preamp are you using, and if it’s a Naim, how are you powering it? Matching pre and power amps in a Naim system properly is important.

While you may get more power from two 200s that from one 250, there are other considerations. They have quite a different character, and you really need to listen to them and see which you prefer.
Personally I like to keep things simple, so I wouldn’t be too keen on and extra box, along with the expense and clutter of another shelf on the rack, an extra mains lead, and additional speaker cabling. You may be one of those people who like lots of ‘stuff’, in which case, why not go all the way and get a Naim active system, which will sound sublime, and allow you to add as many upgrade boxes as you like.

While biamping is certainly beneficial with trickier speakers to drive, the SCL4 is not a difficult speaker. In this case, a single 250dr will almost certainly outperform the biamped 200dr configuration.

As mentioned in a roundabout way already, with Naim, bi/triamping is really only beneficial if the speakers are difficult to drive. When one amp is sufficient, one amp will do.

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Many thanks for all the advice. Seems a 250 is the way to go. I guess I would always wonder what I was missing if I went the 200 route.

Just to clarify the point made about using a 250 pre DR, wasn’t there a change to non matched statement transistors etc. at that time that changed the character? Clearly a pre DR would save a fair amount.

I’m using a high end processor with Dirac Bass Control as a pre amp so no chance to obtain real synergy between those two components but hopefully adding Naim power amps should still improve the timing, speed and dynamics.

The ‘pre-DR’ 250,2 had a bit of a reputation for being a little warm - the DR version is a little more lively and dynamic…

As Svetty says, the 250.2 was widely considered to have a ‘mid-bass hump’ which some didn’t like, but system matching is always key here, and as you’re using Dirac you may want to make adjustments to better integrate any new amp into your system.
If you go older still, the Olive and Chrome Bumper 250, while still being a similar regulated design, are a bit less capable of driving demanding speakers than the later black versions, although they are still great amps.