Focal has entered the DAC and amplifier market with the launch of Arche, an audiophile DAC and amplifier that is entirely designed and manufactured in France. Arche 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.
Upon entry of the digital signal, Arche offers a resolutely audiophile design through its 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 768 kHz - 32bits.
Arche processes PCM format signals, 384 kHz, 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 regardless of the impedance of the headphones used.
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. 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.
Arche comes with a solid aluminum headphone mount, inspired by the brand’s logo. 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 will be available in March on Focal.com/US or Amazon.com, starting at $2500.