I would tend to agree with the latter.
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I don't agree with respect to SS evolvement. 20 years ago, semiconductors could not handle as much power as the ones made today; more were needed for a given power output. Today these devices can handle more power so, at least on paper, less devices for the same power rating should yield better performance. I'll be willing to bet that if the Belles 250 had today's semis, it would sound even better IMO.