250DR vs 300DR w/ Wilson SabrinaX

I last week I took delivery on a used 300DR built in 2017, in great shape. I’ve been looking for over a year for this amp @ the right price and condition and finally it showed up last month. Currently I have a 250DR, circa 2016. I love the 250DR and but always wondered what “more” can a 300DR offer? Now I know. Although I was told I should be fine with a 250DR, I wasn’t convinced I was taking full advantage of my Wilson’s. The 250DR is a great amp, I’ve had no issues with the performance other than at higher volumes it can run out of steam a little bit with my Wilsons (both Sabrina and SabrinaX). My SabrinaX’s are rated with a 87db sensitivity with a power recommendation of 50-200 amps.

I have medium sized room.

My system…

Linn LP12

Linn Radical

NAC 272

XPS

300DR

Wilson Audio SabrinaX

SuperLuma speaker cable

Quadraspire SVT Black Bamboo Rack (waiting on my extra shelf for the 300DR PS)

I listened to some of my usual favorites with my new 300DR and was very impressed. Then I switched back to the 250DR so I could listen to the differences more closely. Tunes included…

Daf Punk Random Access Memories Give Life Back to Music, Lose Yourself to Dance, Get Lucky

Aphex Twins Cheetaht2 (Lt Spectrum)

Ulrich Schnauss A Long Way to Fall A Forgotten Birthday

David Bowie The Man Who Sold The World The Width of a Circle

Elton John Tumbleweed Connection Ballad of a Well-Known Gun

REM Document Oddfellows Local 151

Dire Straits On Every Street Heavy Fuel

KebMo’ Blues America The Worse is Yet to Come

KebMo’ Just Like You That’s Not Love

What I noticed with the 300DR compared to the 250DR (no surprise really)…

Slightly more detail at lower volume @30. For example, I could hear the handclapping on Lose yourself to dance more clearly. The difference wasn’t huge w/my system, room & ears.

Once I got up to a medium/high volume @40 I noticed an overall smother, cleaner, there was no feeling of taxing my Sabrina. @45 it was still quite enjoyable to listen to. Fatigue free listening @45. On the other hand, with the 250DR it sounds strained @45.

I feel the 300DR has a smoother upper midrange overall compared to the 250DR, this is especially noticeable a higher volumes.

The 3000DR bass was tighter with greater extension and less distortion compared to the 250DR. Both were tight, but the 300DR was lock tight. With the 300DR at 40 or 45 I could physical feel the bass waves from my SabrinaX. Thrilling!

Overall the 300DR is a much better companion with my Wilsons. I don’t feel it twice as good as the 250DR, but with my speakers the 300DR a substantial improvement in sound quality. Most notably at mid-high volumes.

Happy listening!

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thanks for this review, I’ve been wondering the same for a very long time

As I listen on low volumes never above 9 o’clock though… ?

I agree with @blownaway 's findings, an excellent summary.

Whilst I find the 300DR better in every way low level listening was a major gain for me. The extra depth of bass (not more bass as such) makes the system so much more enjoyable at lower volumes than before giving more insight and even when quiet dynamics can surprise you. Also as the OP has found, when you turn it up it just becomes louder whereas the 250DR’s character does change a little when the going gets tough.

It’s interesting to see the comments about the smoother upper midrange too. My Kudos S20’s can be accused as being a bit ‘hot’ in this area, something that the 250DR could expose, especially when paired with the exuberant 282. When the 300DR appeared this all but disappeared, something which was completed when the 252 arrived. Kudos do actually use a 300DR to ‘voice’ their speakers so this could be a reason for this.

Great to see a forum member with Wilson’s! I always though that Wilson and Naim would make a strong pairing. Bravo!

I really enjoy Wilson mids and highs. They seem to have scored a bit of an own goal with the Sabrina X upgrade as it has taken away many of the reasons one might otherwise have considered Yvette over the Sabrina.

Your welcome, fwiw I’m a boomer have hearing loss and wear hearing aids (punk rock drummer:). I can imagine some of my perception @ low volume levels are shewed because of this.

Thank-you

“Better at lower volume” is THE common theme when people compare 250 and 300 (search forum for “250 300 volume” without the quotes)

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They do! I’ve heard that at the Wilson headquarters lobby they are running a Supernait system (one of many systems I’m’ sure ). I first fell in love with the Wilson Sabrina when I heard it with a modest Rega integrated system, then I was lead to Naim offerings.

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Thank-you!

I’ve always loved the look of the Wilson Sabrina speakers.

Thank-you


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Nice to see a futuristic design rather than the usual boxes.

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Were you in a band we’d know?

Sweeet!

I am not surprised that ANY Wilson speaker would perform much better with the bigger amp. I see that like my Magico A3’s, it is nominally rated at 4 ohms. I suspect that it’s not particularly easy to drive, and while it might sound ‘good enough’ with a smaller amp, the benefits of more current should be significant. Enjoy!

(My Magicos seemed happy enough with a 300DR but the 500DR brought something else entirely.)

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I’ve had both 250DR and 300DR (currently).

The 300Dr is NOT a 250DR + 50. It is not just an upgrade. The 300DR is a whole ‘nother beast. The 250DR is not in its league. I have Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers. I ‘thought’ the 250DR was very capable driving them. It wasn’t bad at all, but when I changed to a 300DR not only did I get a new amp, I essentially got new speakers out of it too. Seriously, it was like getting a major speaker upgrade, in every way imaginable. And the bonus is they sound so much better at low/med volumes too.

The 300DR is some damn serious kit. The 250DR is classic and great, but it’s nothing like the 300DR.

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I completely agree about the 300. I have a 500DR now and still miss the 300. The low level, tube like sound is magical. If Naim made a 600 based on the 300 topology but comparable to the 500 in power, I would buy it over the 500 all day long. The intonation and finesse of the 300 is second to nothing I have heard. It sounds like the apotheosis of the tube amp, only with none of the tube shortcomings.

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Now not so much. The bands I played in never broke the local scene. It was during the early 80’s. I’ve played with some now famous musicians :slight_smile:

Agree!