Focal Arche Headphone Amplifier with Stand

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Focal unveils Arche, a DAC and amplifier to use without moderation with your headphones (headphones not included)

In less than three years, Focal has established itself as a key player in the high-end headphones market. International recognition from the press as well as users is testament to that. Today, the manufacturer continues to develop ultra high-performance solutions in the headphones sector with the launch of Arche, an audiophile DAC and amplifier that is entirely designed and manufactured in France.

An all-in one solution for headphones

Arche is a unique electronic solution developed by Micromega for Focal. It combines a digital-analog converter as well as two pure class A amplification modes (voltage, hybrid) designed especially for headphones. Arche also offers presets for every set of Focal headphones to make sure you get the absolute best from this ultimate combination. Where Micromega brings its expertise in manufacturing high-end electronics, Focal’s acoustic knowledge shines through in the remarkable performance it delivers. Music lovers therefore get an all-in-one solution for their headphones, whilst benefiting from the performance delivered by the converter to drive their home hi-fi system.

The ultimate in high-fidelity

Upon entry of the digital signal, Arche offers a resolutely audiophile design through its uncompromising dual mono construction, from signal processing to amplification.
This way, the design reduces crosstalk to an absolute minimum. The two Premium digital-analog balanced AK 4490 converters take care of the left and right-hand channels respectively.

Each converter has a dedicated regulated power supply. Used frequently in high-end electronics, these converters have an extended operating range of 768kHz - 32bits specially designed to ensure the pure and perfect reproduction of high-resolution audio formats: Arche thus processes PCM format signals, 384kHz, as well as DSD 256. As for power, the dual mono design continues with two amplification channels equipped with a dedicated power supply.

Each amplifier operates at pure class A, the ultimate in High-Fidelity, regardless of the impedance of the headphones used. With 2 x 1W, Arche powers the headphones easily, providing extremely high impedances. And in addition to the extremely low distortion, this choice means it is also outstanding in terms of transient signals.

Electronics and acoustics:  A carefully considered combination from the outset 

There is the option to select two amplifier types using the multifunctional rotary potentiometer located on the front panel. A pure current amplifier is available in the “Amplifier” section under the designation “Voltage”. This mode provides an output impedance of just 0.1 Ohm, which results in major listening dynamics. The second “Hybrid” integrated amplifier is similar to a power amplifier as it benefits from a higher output impedance. Here, the tonal balance slightly favours the bass, midrange and extreme treble registers.

By housing these two amplifiers within a single electronic component, every user gets amplification to suit their headphones and their favorite tonal balance. Focal has also built in solutions dedicated to each of its headphones via presets with the products’ name on. Owners of Focal headphones can therefore be sure they are enjoying a combination of electronics and acoustics that is carefully thought out and specially developed from the very outset. What about the future and potential new Focal headphones? Arche will be updated by downloading new firmware onto a USB stick and inserting it into the USB port at the back of the product to automatically upload it.

Product highlights:

  • metal housing protects against signal interference and vibration
  • built-in class A headphone amplifier
    • customized presets for each of Focal High End Headphones
    • compatible with headphones from all brands
    • requires impedance between 16-600 ohms
  • preamp mode with balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs for connection to an outboard power amp or self-amplified speakers
  • engineered in conjunction with fellow French audio company Micromega
Audio Features:
  • balanced circuitry throughout reduces noise and distortion for maximum sound quality
  • high-performance AKM VERITA AK4490 digital-to-analog converter for precise playback of digital music files
    • plays PCM digital audio files up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD files up to 12.3 MHz
  • selectable amplification modes
    • "voltage" mode uses a pure current amplifier that enhances dynamics
    • "hybrid" mode increases impedance and slightly emphasizes bass
  • sound presets for Focal Utopia, Elear, Clear, and Stellia headphones
    • presets for future Focal headphone releases will be available via firmware update
  • digital audio inputs: one optical (Toslink) and one coaxial
  • USB (Type B) input for connecting a computer
  • 1 pair unbalanced RCA inputs
Preamp Outputs:
  • 1 pair balanced stereo XLR audio output
  • 1 pair of RCA stereo outputs
Headphone outputs:
  • 1 balanced 4-pin XLR output
  • 1 unbalanced 1/4" headphone jack
File compatibility:
  • Type B USB input supports up to 32-bit/384kHz resolution for PCM; DSD files up to 12.3 MHZ
  • Toslink optical digital input supports up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution for PCM-based files
  • digital coaxial input supports up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution for PCM
Other specifications:
  • dedicated Windows® USB Windows driver required for playback on a PC
  • no driver required for MacOS (latest version recommended)
  • includes detachable solid aluminum headphone stand
  • detachable AC power cord
  • THD: less than 0.001%
  • frequency response: 10 to 100,000 Hz
  • 7-15/16" wide x 2" height x 12-5/8" depth
  • weight: 10.25 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years

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