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Arcam rHead Class-A Analogue Headphone Amplifier

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  1. Arcam-Voice
    UPDATE - NOW IN UK RETAIL 6/07/2016 - USA Soon at $600 USD
    Designed by legendary amplifier designer John Dawson, the founder of Arcam of Cambridge, the rHead is Arcam's first dedicated headphone amplifier. A
     discrete true-linear Class-A analogue amplifier, designed 
    for the highest possible performance at an affordable price of £400 GBP (USA TBA)
    ​Arcam have been building sophisticated headphone stages into their amplifiers for over 40 years, a far cry from the afterthought implemented by most manufacturers. The most recent $6000+ A49 has an integrated high-end headphone amp and that module has been successfully used in the irDAC-II USB DAC/Headphone amp. 
    To go one huge step better, the rHead started as a clean-sheet design and this small, solid, beautifully built product
     delivers enough power to drive small speakers, let alone the least-efficient headphones. It is the epitome of ultra-low noise, ultra low-distortion refinement, rather than a brute force brawler.
    REVIEW TOUR USA AND UK IS FULL - please comment to reserve a place in Round Two
    Outline Features and Base Specs
    - Class A design delivers absolutely no crossover distortion for absolute audio purity. 
    - Extensively optimised PCB layout for cleanest sound
    - Multiple, ultra-low noise power supplies eliminate cross-interference
    - Fully direct coupled signal path for cleanest bass
    - Ultra-linear resistive-ladder analogue volume control, eliminates L/R volume tracking errors (taken from Arcam’s flagship A49 amplifier)
    - Enough power to drive the least-efficient headphones

    - Phono and XLR inputs
    - 3.5mm and 6.25mm headphone outputs 
    - Built like a tank with a design life of decades 

    Frequency response - 10Hz - 20kHz 
    Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise - 0.001% at 2V output, 32Ω load 
    Signal-to-noise ratio (A-weighted) - 109dB at 2V output, 32Ω load 
    Output impedance <0.5Ω 
    Headphone output power 
    - 2.0W, 16Ω load 
    - 1.1W, 32Ω load 
    - 0.13W, 300Ω load 

    ABOUT: Arcam of Cambridge - 40th Anniversary Year 2016
    One of the pioneers of the Hi-Fi industry, Arcam have been building world-class products for over 40 years. Noted as one of the world’s most prestigious AV engineering companies and an authority on Digital Audio, Hi-Fi and Home Cinema, Arcam is headquartered in Cambridge UK.

    MUSICAL above all
    Arcam don't build equipment to impress on one quick listen. Arcam gear is musical and enjoyable over years and years of listening. Many competing products are very 'Hi-Fi' but don't play music in an enjoyable fashion. Arcam sound gets more involving and musical the longer you listen


  2. Oink1 Contributor
    Ah! Memories of my Alpha 3 integerated and later 170 transport, that thing was fantastic!

    *EDIT* Would love a place on the UK tour :cool:
  3. bclark8923
    Would like to get on the review list!
  4. raybone0566
    Interested in getting on the tour as well, thanks
  5. Arcam-Voice
    i will be logging tour requests and be in touch in a few weeks - thanks - Cheers Robert
  6. Army-Firedawg
    Oh wow, awesome looking amp!!! I would love to be added to the American tour (I'm in Charlotte, NC)
  7. bclark8923
    How do you all think this amp will fare for IEMs?
  8. Arcam-Voice

    Ultra-quiet and ultra-low-distortion, so better than most - Cheers Robert
    bclark8923 likes this.
  9. vkvedam
    Interested in the tour programme (UK). Please put me on the list. I could put my less efficient Hifiman HE-5LE through it's paces and compare.
  10. Arcam-Voice
    Will do - Thanks - Cheers Robert
  11. Arcam-Voice
    Here are some notes from John Dawson the designer of the rHead
    "I planned the rHead as a “one size fits all” amplifier without the need for the preset attenuators which are found on the back of many high end headphones amplifiers. These are fitted to try to optimise the usable dynamic range of both highly efficient earbuds (especially moving armature types like Etymotics) and very insensitive headphones such as planar magnetics."
    "The wide dynamic range of the rHead’s electronic volume control (from memory we use an 80dB range including both attenuation and gain) allows us to drive/cope with headphones of widely differing sensitivity without the added complication of such presets."
  12. oneguy
    Sign me up for the tour list!
  13. glassmonkey
    Hello, I'm game. I've been on a number of these tours and they are always fun.
    I imagine that you will need to have some selection criteria for your candidates and a history of reviewing would be helpful.
    I suggest telling people to reply with the following information (I've filled in mine), and stipulate that a review is expected on HeadFi in the Headgear forum:
    HeadFi username: glassmonkey
    Location: United Kingdom
    Previous Reviews: 
    I have more reviews, and by the time this starts I should have even more.
    I hope I get to participate in this tour. [​IMG] 
  14. Takeanidea
    Hi Robert,
    I'd like to be considered too - I have a couple of headphone amps - one small and one huge - which should put this Arcam through it's paces
  15. ejong7
    Hey Robert I would be more than happy to help you organize the UK part of the tour if you like.
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