Sam Telllig/Stereophile said the 5350SE was better. Since it was not much more money, my guess that is one reason it is much more popular.
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Based on the Creek Audio website, the main differences of the two are:
1. 5350R: 75x2 wpc into 8 ohms
5350SE: 85x2 wpc into 8 ohms
2. 5350R: Maximum Current > 20 amps
5350SE: Maximum Current > 30 amps
And, 5350SE consumes more watts. Both use the same design.
The difference in list price is $250. I would like to save the $250 if I can. :)
BTW, Are the words of Sam Tellig credible? What's his rating at A'gon? 8-)
That was somewhat tounge in cheek. However, credibility on Agon or not, ST's remarks probably helped boost the image of the SE versus the R. I personally do not know which is better not having compared the two.
Actually, it seems like a relatively clever marketing ploy on Creek's part. Side by side the R or the SE, the SE having a little more power, a little more pizazz, and, of course, the "SE" for just "a little" more money. How could you not buy the one with more stuff for such a low price differce. Sort of like what Detroit does with cars - there is a base model but not many of the stripped down versions sell. Usually you go for one of the packages (the "SE" maybe?) but maybe not all of the options (like the Creek's phono pre-amp).
You hit the nail on the head. Every company, in my opinion, does just that, offers a little more for a little more. Drives me crazy. Unfortunately, it is the way of the world; cars, hotels, PC's, anything. One more bell or whistle, for just a few more cents. Oh well. Have to live with it I guess.
It does extend the upgrade path quite a bit though...:>)