Synthesis Amplifiers: One of High End's Best Kept Secrets?

Just stopping by to share my enthusiasm for my new Synthesis A100 Titan integrated amplifier. For the past few years, I have been on the hunt for the best integrated amp I could find in my price range. I've had a Line Magnetic 508ia, a Devialet, a Lyngdorf TDAI-3400, a Boulder 866, a Vitus RI-101 mk2, and a Vitus SIA-025 mk2 in the past four or five years. I enjoyed aspects of each of these amps, some related to sonics, some to functionality, and some to build quality. 

And yet, in each case, after several months, I found that I wasn't quite getting the sound I wanted--rich, three-dimensional. engaging, and dynamic without being fatiguing. Too often, I found myself picking the sonic picture apart, assessing this or that at the expense of pure musical enjoyment.

I finally decided to give up on my hunt for the "perfect" solid state solution and go back to tubes, which led me to audition the Synthesis A100 Titan, an amp that features an octet of KT66 tubes, a pair of 12AX7, a pair of 12BH7, and even an onboard DAC. I was intrigued by this amp, but found very, very little written about it in the audio forums (here and elsewhere), except the praise of a couple of folks.

I've had it about a month now, so while I cannot give a guarantee that it is my "lifetime amp" in light of my history of amp promiscuity, I can say with absolute assurance that I find this amp far more satisfying and exciting than any of the amps I've had through here over the past few years.

In short, I am just astonished by it. I had assumed that at the very least, the onboard DAC would be inferior to my Lampizator Baltic 3, which is just wonderful in every respect, but as I spend more time comparing, I am not even sure of that anymore. The onboard DAC is so good that I am now planning to try some different USB cables to see how much performance can be squeezed out of it. Very possibly, my excellent Lampi may soon be up for sale.

Just to be clear, this is no ad, and I have no affiliation whatsoever with any dealer or distributor. I just can't believe how good this amp is, and how relatively unheralded it is. So I am heralding. The Titan is a pure pleasure to listen through every night, and a magical match with my Fyne speakers. The presentation is utterly immersive, and spellbinding. I am no longer picking the sound apart. There's no need.

If you are in the market, I highly recommend an audition.




Thanks very much, Bill. It really has been somewhat of an odyssey, but I had some fun along the way and got to sample a wide swath of great-sounding amps, while at the same time coming to terms with exactly the kind of sound I was looking for. I forgot to mention a dalliance with the Linear Tube Audio Ultralinear+, another very fine amp indeed but, once again, not exactly right for me.

I would love to get together sometime and hear the Synthesis and Circle Labs in the same system. That would be great fun I'm sure.

I have an audition this weekend of an Infigo USB cable and also have a Network Acoustics Muon USB cable on the way to compare. If that goes as well as I hope it will and think it may, my DAC will soon be for sale.

The Synthesis has changed my paradigm on how good an onboard DAC can be. It has been quite a ride rebuilding my system around the Fynes, but I think at last I am almost there.



The Muon USB cable will be very good. Looking forward to hearing which one you keep. I own the Network Acoustics Muon Pro streaming cables and streaming filter.They are outstanding. I have also owned their USB cable.

Don’t forget to try an SR Purple fuse in your amplifier. The uptick in sound quality will please you Chris.

It is great to hear about someone satisfied by a purchase, particularly one that I personally like as well.  I know someone who traded in some quite new $70k+ electronics for the new Synthesis separate power amp and linestage which are a step up from the A100, but, not that big a step up.  This gear is that good.  

Of course it doesn't end here.  There is always the Fyne F1 series of speakers.  I quite like the F1-12S that I heard.  It has the kind of lively sound that I look for with less of the sibilant peak in the upper midrange that I hear with their closest competitor (Tannoy).  


The F1-12s are on my radar. A very good deal on a used pair tempted me a few months back, but the timing wasn't good. My wife isn't crazy about their looks either, so there is that to overcome since the system is in our primary living area.

At some point down the line, I might consider Synthesis separates, but I expect I'll be enamored with the A100 for quite some time, and I love the simplicity of it. I may take the proceeds from selling my DAC and cables and have some fun exploring some different cartridges. It really never ends.

I had a very interesting afternoon at the Synthesis dealer in my area.  He is someone who believes that amps make a huge difference such that systems with “modest” speakers can sound spectacular with the right amplifier.  To prove his point, he had tiny ProAc Tablettes being powered by a Synthesis NYC (part of the Metropolitan series; 4 KT 120’s per channel).  It was quite shocking how good was the sound coming from these tiny speakers—rich, powerful, room filling, and punchy.  While no one would actually go with such a match, it certainly proved that most speakers will deliver far more than one can imagine when given the chance.