Focal has just announced Stellia, a new set of high-end closed-back headphones, as well as its first foray into the DAC/amplifier arena with the launch of Arche.
FOCAL ARCHE DAC/AMP
Arche is a unique electronic solution developed by Micromega for Focal. It combines a digital-analogue converter, as well as two pure class-A amplification modes (voltage and hybrid) designed especially for headphones. Furthermore, Arche offers presets for every set of Focal headphones currently available ensuring that you get the very best from the French connection.
The pair of premium digital-analogue balanced AK 4490 converters, each with its own dedicated regulated power supply, boast an extended operating range of 768kHz – 32bits. Arche processes PCM format signals, 384kHz, as well as DSD 256.
Additionally, the dual mono design has 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 2 x 1W, Arche powers any headphones easily, providing extremely high impedances.
Arche features the option between 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 superior 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.
Arche’s solid aluminium headphone mount is a nice touch too, especially as it mimics the brand’s logo.
The rear panel is home to an analogue input (RCA) and three digital inputs (USB, Toslink and coaxial). Arche can also be used as a digital-analogue converter connected to power amplifier via XLR balanced output. Alternatively, Focal has also doubled up with a pair of RCAs for amps with more traditional connectivity.
FOCAL STELLIA HEADPHONES
Stellia joins the open-backed Elear, Clear and flagship Utopia models in the enviable list of ear-pleasers. Stellia has been designed as a personal at-home experience that also allows you to enjoy them on the go without annoying your fellow commuters.
The Stellia, high-end, closed-back headphones integrate a new generation of exclusive speaker drivers, capable of working at low sound levels while offering an impressive frequency response range of 5Hz- 40kHz. Naturally, the new headphones feature top-end Focal technologies within the speaker drivers such as the frameless 100% copper voice coil, ‘M’-shaped Beryllium domes and more.
Vents are integrated to extend the speaker driver’s frequency response; an EVA foam positioned behind the speaker driver absorbs high frequencies; acoustic diffusers break up standing waves to achieve sound reproduction free of interference.
Stellia uses the headband and yoke mechanical features as seen on the Utopias. Comfort is enhanced further by the high-resilience memory foam used for the high-isolation full-grain leather earpads.
To protect Stellia’s beautiful cognac and mocha finishes the headphones are cosseted in an imitation leather pack, with a matching cognac and mocha colour scheme. The storage case also houses two high-quality cables with the same materials and finish.
The first cable measures 10 1/8 feet (3 meters) and is ideal for use at home on a high-end amplifier. The second is designed to be portable: measuring 3 3/8 feet (1.2m) with a 1/8″ (3.5mm) stereo jack.
Arche will be available from March for £2499 and Stellia is available now at £2799.