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Arcam rHEAD

Headphone amplifier

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Item # 410RHEAD

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Overview

Our take on the Arcam rHEAD

Most high-quality headphones need a hefty dose of power to sound their best. Especially those less-efficient, tough-to-drive headphones from brands like Audeze and Focal. I love the no-nonsense approach of Arcam's rHead. It's designed to do just one thing: provide your headphones with plenty of clean power. That's it.

Clean power for your headphones, and plenty of it

Most high-quality headphones need a hefty dose of power to sound their best. Especially those less-efficient, tough-to-drive headphones from brands like Audeze and Focal. I love the no-nonsense approach of Arcam's rHead. It's designed to do just one thing: provide your headphones with plenty of clean power. That's it.

The rHead doesn't mess with the audio signal flowing from your source to your headphones. It simply gives that signal the boost it needs to make your headphone drivers dance the way they're supposed to. That's why the rHead uses a pure-analog, Class-A design. No bells, no whistles, no shortcuts.

Arcam's audiophile bona fides are legit, so it's no surprise they took care in designing this amp for minimal signal degradation. Design features like direct signal flow and an accurate analog resistive ladder volume controller (yowza!) might sound like complex engineering feats, but they're exactly what I would expect from this venerable British audio company.

Bonus ins and outs

I was perhaps unusually excited to see Arcam put miniplug and full-size headphone jacks on the rHead. Such a simple thing, but so wonderful for those of us who have ever spent 15 minutes scrounging around for an adapter. The addition of balanced inputs to more standard RCAs is a blessing for those of us with a high-end source that has XLR outputs.

Product Highlights:

  • Class A discrete analog headphone amplifier
  • 3.5mm and 1/4" headphone outputs
  • stereo RCA inputs
  • balanced XLR inputs for connecting high-end audio source
  • linear analog volume controller
  • aluminum chassis
  • recommended headphone impedance: 16 - 600 ohms
  • frequency response: 10-20,000 Hz
  • total harmonic distortion: 0.002% (32-ohm load)
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 98dB (32-ohm load)
  • 7-5/8"W x 1-3/4"H x 5-3/8"D
  • weight: 1.6 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Headphone amplifier
  • AC power adapter (attached 59" DC cord)
  • 4 AC plugs (US/EU/AU/UK)
  • 42" Stereo RCA cable
  • Connections and Quickstart Guide
  • "Thank You" Letter
Reviews

Arcam rHEAD Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(1 Review)

A fantastic Headphone amp

SC from Wayne, NJ on 1/1/2019

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've been waiting for a headphone amp like the Arcam rHEAD for a while. What was available was too pricey or basically a DAC with a headphone amp. The rHEAD is a class A amplifier with balanced and unbalanced audio inputs, perfect for my A&K player! (Crutchfield, you should carry balanced 2.5mm TRRS to Dual XLR 3 Pin Male for portable players that have an option for a balanced output).

Pros: Everything said in my review.

Cons: Two minor misses, no 4 pin balanced XLR headphone connection. It would have been nice if the volume control was stepped, there's a fine line when raising the volume at listening level.

Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Features

Linear Class A Design Headphone Amplifier: The ARCAM rHEAD is a true linear Class-A design, resulting in absolutely no crossover distortion for the purest sound. Extensive care has been taken to optimize the layout and design, like multiple ultra-low noise power supplies and a fully direct coupled signal path. The rHEAD sounds amazingly natural and completely engaging and reveals the true character of any music that is played through it. 

Ultra-Linear Analog Volume Control: The rHEAD's volume control is an ultra-linear analog resistive ladder device, as used in ARCAM's flagship A49 integrated amplifier, which eliminates tracking errors which can be found in normal potentiometer-based volume controls.

Balanced XLR & Unbalanced RCA Inputs: The ARCAM rHEAD is equipped with balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA inputs on the rear-panel. These inputs are gold-plated for excellent audio signal transfer. Balanced XLR connections guard against induced noise and allow long cable runs without compromising sound quality.

Note: Make sure the switch on the rear-panel is set to the appropriate input - XLR or RCA.

1/8" and 1/4" Headphone Jacks: The rHEAD is more than capable of driving the most demanding of headphones from 16 to 600. It features both 1/8" (3.5mm) and 1/4" (6.35mm) headphone jacks on the front-panel, allowing for ultimate headphone listening flexibility. 

Protection Circuitry: Comprehensive protection circuitry prevents damage to the rHEAD while not interfering in any way with the ultimate reproduction of the sound.

Power Requirements: The included AC power adapter (w/ attached 59" DC cord) plugs into the ARCAM rHEAD and into an AC power outlet or surge protector (sold separately).

Compact Aluminum Chassis: The ARCAM rHEAD comes housed in a stylish, yet rugged cast aluminum case that is compact.

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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Just what I need!" [ SALVATORE  Dec 07, 2018 ]
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