French luxury audio company Focal are well and truly asserting themselves as kings of high end personal audio with the announcement of the Stellia closed back headphones and Arche integrated headphone amplifier.
Arche is Focals first foray into making a headphone amplifier to compliment their massively exciting range of high-end headphones. Made from a collaboration between Focal and Micromega Arche features all the spec you would expect from a high-end amplifier such as decoding signals up to 768khz. The AKM4490 is somewhat of a staple DAC chip to use in Arche and plenty of DACs use this chip to great effect. I’m sure that focals integration will be up there with the best.
The cool and unique design of the Arche has a built in headphone stand mounted to it’s roof. This should be suitable for the entire range of Focal headphones and even headphones from other brands, however I’m not sure the Empyrean will work atop it with its head support.
The big announcement comes from the Stellia headphone, that in my mind goes right up against the Sennheiser HD820 headphone. Bringing the Utopia M dome Beryllium tweeter inside a circumaural closed back design creates another flagship product from Focal.
Paired with the awesome design of the Utopia means that they offer incredible comfort regardless of the users head shape. Ideal for prolonged listening enjoyment.
The only strange decision that Focal have made was to include a short 3.5mm cable and an adapter and then a longer “home use” XLR4 for attaching to their Arche. So anyone wanting to use their Stellia at home with a full size socket will have a 1.2m cable and an adapter. In my opinion not the best choice.