Arche and Stellia promise high-end heaven

French marque Focal has added a top-class headphone amp/DAC to its product line-up, and also announced the release of its second closed-back headphone.

The Arche headphone amp/DAC is built by Micromega, and has been specifically designed to partner Focal’s burgeoning headphone line-up, which now consists of five models with the unveiling of the new, closed-back Stellia.

The Arche employs a dual-mono, fully balanced construction featuring an AK4490 DAC chip for each channel, linked to pure Class A amplification. There is a choice of two amplifier modes: a low-impedance ‘voltage’ setting, and a higher-impedance mode dubbed ‘hybrid’.

Also included are headphone specific presets for Focal’s Elear, Elegia, Clear, Utopia and Stellia headphone models. The DAC can cope with high-res PCM up to 384 kHz, as well as a DSD up to DSD256.

The Arche amp/DAC should be a perfect partner for the new Stellia closed-back headphones. The high-end cans are the second closed-back design from Focal (after the Elegia) and employ new electrodynamic drivers promising an extended 5 Hz – 40 kHz frequency response.

High-tech features include a frameless pure copper voice coil, and beryllium dome diaphragms.

The Stellia headphones have an amp-friendly 35 ohm impedance, making them easy to drive, even by mobile sources – although, given their size, they might be better off used at home, with equally high-end sources.