250DR not quite doing it for me

I picked up a second hand 250DR from a reputable dealer about a month ago, the idea being to upgrade the SN2 that I’ve been using as a power amp. I like it, it’s certainly clearer at high volume, and it does present more detail. But… it feels a bit restrained and is not quite as engaging overall as the SN2, particularly at low volume. It’s difficult to describe in words, but the soundstage doesn’t seem quite there, the bass is a bit lacking and instruments don’t sound quite as realistic. I’ve found after swapping the two around a few times, that I’m much more looking forward to listening to the SN2, and the 250DR is therefore currently in its box. The system is on a dedicated mains spur, not on Fraim (Quadraspire E4 Evo) and I’ve tried to take care with how the cables are dressed.

My plan is to wait for dealers to open again and try out some other speakers to see if that allows it to sparkle. Has anyone else experienced this with a 250DR upgrade, and if so does the speaker pairing sound like the right aspect to focus on ?

What’s the preamp since you are using the SN2 and 250DR as power amps?

NAC282 (love it)

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282/hc/250DR Is a cracking combination. Very surprised that an SN2 doing power amp duties is more engaging than the 250. Engagement would be one of the stengths of that set up if you ask me, at least that’s what I found. I’m not familiar with the speakers so that would be my first guess.

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I have bought two different (both rather battered) ex dem 250DRs, and I had to return both of them.

Both of them were chunkier and beefier and smoother than my 150x at higher volumes, but both 250s sounded worse than the 150x at the low and very low volumes I mainly listen to.

Overall the 250s added too much energy to the room at the lowest volumes.

That’s with Arivas and now SL2s.

(I’m not really sure how to upgrade my power amp as I won’t be able to get a 300 in the near future.)

I also once took my 150x to a dealership to test some Harbeths.

Again, the 250DR sounded better there too in many ways, but not £4K better.

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That is interesting.
Low level listening is one of the major enhancements of the bigger power amps as you go up the ladder, so it’s odd that you are finding it the other way.
Something is definitely not right for you not to have a noticeable big improvement. Especially in control and scale of your speakers with the addition of the 250.

It’s not what I was epecting to be sure. I’m using a SNAIC 5 pin to the HiCap (always), and the provided 4pin DIN - XLR to the 250 (or a SNAIC4 when using the SN2)

Certainly weird. Is it a Hicap DR? Cable dressing in order?

Would it be worth trying a NAP200DR with your speakers?

Yes, a DR. I’ve done my best for the cable dressing but it is a little awkward to get to. If that was inadequate would it have a bigger imapct on a 250 rather than the SN2 ?

Hadn’t considered TBH that since it would mean yet more selling and buying. I was thinking of changing the speakers anyway as part of the lockdown upgrade

I can’t imagine the 200 will do better than the 250DR in these areas. Perhaps a mismatch in speakers or something else. I presume a lack of bass means a bass that doesn’t sound as full and has less definition, punch and detail. Also, instruments sound more realistic on the 250DR than 200.

Less definition is the most accurate term I can think of. But the lack of reality and overall excitement is what I’m noticing more than the bass

I don’t have experience with your speakers but something seems off.

I’m extremely happy with my 250DR, and spend a lot of time listening at levels between 20-36 on my 272 pre amp.

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This isn’t a huge surprise. I had a 250.2 that I chose with a pair of speakers. Then later I did the DR upgrade and it broke the spell. The 250dr was better in many areas but it didn’t have the same bottom end.

What I learned was that a 250dr is a totally different amplifier. Dropping it in, even in place of a 250.2 is exactly the same as buying a new power amp on a punt. You’re effectively changing one amp for one you (presumably) matched with your speakers for one you haven’t.

Recognising it’s a better amp, you have two choices: go back to the SN2; or audition speakers that work well with the 250dr. I confess I did the latter.

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About half my listening was at 14-20 when I had a 272.

Yes, breaks the spell is a good description. That’s reassuring. Changing the speakers is something I can do in due course. If the 250DR itself is faulty (and I have no reason at all to think that it is) then that would be a different matter of course. Thanks

Did you have any problems at those levels? I occasionally might listen below 20 and still didn’t feel I was missing anything.

Sorry, not familiar with the termnology - what do you mean by 20-36 ? On the NAC282 I do a lot of listening below 9 o’clock, is that similar ?