Synthesis Metropolis NYC 200i Integrated Amplifier Review

August 9, 2022 Comments Off on Synthesis Metropolis NYC 200i Integrated Amplifier Review

Enter Frank Zappa. ‘Peaches En Regalia’ from The Mothers 1971 [Zappa ZR20038] provided an alternative in that it was recorded at the Fillmore East, so it has a live rather than studio acoustic, while the music is loaded with cacophonous notes. Though far removed from the highly disciplined, note-perfect Sinatra performances, the Zappa recordings share a demand for the convincing recreation of space. Zappa’s guitar floated just right of centre, while the frantic percussion dominated the left. What stood out among the NYC 200i’s primary strengths, though, was the incredible stage depth.

I long ago stopped being a soundstage fetishist, cognisant of how many mono recordings I played, but the antics of Zappa and Co throughout the concert involved enough left-right movement to remind me of early stereo LPs and tapes. What this did for the listening experience, as a challenge for the NYC 200i’s abilities, was to spread out the audience noises – even in stereo, not 5.1 surround – with an effect that reminded me of early Cinerama. This wasn’t a wide but flat, 2D soundstage; I’ve already praised its depth. Rather, with the Fillmore recordings, it reproduced an arc, the sound extending beyond the speakers’ edges.

Why is that so important? Just as the vivid, lifelike warmth and textures of the Frank Sinatra recordings added to the sense of ‘being there’, so did the NYC 200i’s near-enveloping soundstage increase a sense of involvement. No, I wasn’t present 51 years ago when the Mothers performed at the Fillmore. But, hot damn! This amplifier did a remarkable job of transporting me there.


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