New York, NY – Focal – a recognized leader on the global stage for high fidelity products – is announcing its first foray into the DAC and amplifier market with the launch of Arche, an audiophile DAC and amplifier that is entirely designed and manufactured in France. In less than three years, Focal has established itself as a key player in the high-end headphones market with international recognition from the press as well as users and with Arche, it is redefining yet another ultra-high-end experience for audiophiles and amateurs alike.
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 and hybrid) designed especially for headphones. Arche also offers presets for every set of Focal headphones to make sure you get the absolute best from the 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 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
With Arche, 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 favors 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’ branding. 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 with new firmware for every new Focal launch.
Performance, Versatility and Aesthetics
Arche comes with a solid aluminum headphone mount, inspired by the brand’s logo. Accessing and storing the headphones is therefore quick and easy, as well as looking incredible and saving on space! The rear panel is dedicated to the connection of sources via an analog input (RCA) and three digital inputs (USB, toslink and coaxial). Arche can also be used as a digital-analog converter to drive the signal towards a power amplifier used for powering a pair of headphones or high-fidelity loudspeakers. To do this, Focal has once again focused on performance with an XLR format balanced output, doubled up with two RCAs for amplifiers with more traditional connectivity.
Arche’s front panel lets you connect up to two pairs of headphones via 1/4” (6.35mm) unbalanced stereo jack outputs and a balanced 4-point XLR. The multifunctional rotary potentiometer enables total control of the system. As well as the selection of inputs and volume control, the output level can also be optimized in relation to the impedance of the headphones connected.
Arche will be available in March on Focal.com/US or Amazon.com, starting at $2500.
For more than 35 years, Focal has been recognized as a leader on the global stage for its high-fidelity products. This French company based in Saint-Étienne (Loire department) manufactures speaker drivers, home audio and multimedia loudspeakers, car audio systems, monitoring loudspeakers and audiophile headphones. Some of our loudspeakers and technologies have become world-renowned references in the Hi-Fi industry.
All Focal products are designed and developed in France: they benefit from 35 years of innovation in exclusive and patented acoustic technologies. We have chosen to continue manufacturing products ‘Made in France’, where the quality and high standards of French craftmanship place the brand above its competitors. A market leader in France, Focal exports more than 80% of its production, mainly to Europe, North America and Southeast Asia.
In 2017, Focal merged with Naim Audio Limited, the leader of high-end electronics in the U.K. Vervent Audio Group, the resulting holding company, has a turnover of over €92-million.