Totem Acoustic sent me some information about a very interesting new hifi amplifier they’re launching on Kickstarter. Based out of Montreal, they’re an established brand making hifi speakers optimized for desktop and streaming applications, and are coming out with a new PC- and device-centric power amplifier to complete the line-up – the ARC Digital HD Amplifier.
I’m really attracted to the minimalist design and small form factor. My current home theater receiver is only ever used with a stereo pair of speakers and a computer audio source anyway. This is the future!
The ARC Digital HD Amplifier has no external controls and only a USB input or Bluetooth connection on the rear (along with power, speaker outputs, and subwoofer line outputs.) Volume is controlled by your source and the amplifiers enters and leaves stand-by based on whether there’s a source connected, and you can apply equalizer curves via Bluetooth with a free controller app for Android and iOS.
That sleek little package hides an interesting Class D amplifier pushing 2x60W with <0.05% THD @ 1 kHz (20 Hz-20 kHz AES17 measurement bandwidth, the real deal) and integral 24-Bit/192 kHz USB DAC and aptX Bluetooth DAC. At 60W per channel, it’s got plenty of power for most decently efficient speakers in normal sized rooms. It’s going to go great with my Klipsch KG4s, at 94 dB 1W/1m efficiency, and have plenty of headroom to spare.
This looks like a really worthwhile product, and a great first step into the realm of high-end audio if you’re interested in such things. Especially if, like me, you primarily listen to digital audio at home.
Check it out on Kickstarter, it looks like a worthwhile power amplifier if you’re looking for something with clean, understated aesthetics to pair primarily with a PC or stream from mobile devices. I’ve backed this project and if it’s successful, I’ll follow up with an unboxing in the summer of 2016!
Totem Acoustic full press release below:
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 11, 2015 –
Totem Acoustic from Montreal, Canada, just launched its first Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the first series of its new ARC amplifier. Since Totem is known primarily in the HiFi technology scene for its quality high-end speakers, the ARC represents a new adventure into the realm of amplifiers.
The ARC is a game-changer in the well established HiFi world, altering every perspective by supplanting the need for equipment typically used today. Adjusting to the modern taste prevalent in the compact and digital world, the ARC delivers high performance for a moderate price. As a state-of-the-art Class D amplifier, the ARC operates silently without the need of a noisy cooling fan. All you hear is music.
The ARC is ultra-compact and space-friendly. Being the size of a book, it can be placed anywhere. It has no buttons or knobs and turns on automatically when connected. With a total power of 120W, it runs at high efficiency thereby providing large amounts of audio output power.
The ARC is a fully-integrated amplifier system. Amplification is provided by the latest in Class-D amplifier technology. It is designed using digital inputs: USB Audio 2.0 and Bluetooth aptX Audio. The USB audio connection delivers professional audio quality sound, with 24-bit resolution and sampling rates up to 192 kHz. The Bluetooth connection can provide a “CD-quality” connection via aptX. The free and optional ARC App allows for optimal sound control.
“Today most of the music we listen to is digital; it’s on our phones, our laptops or streamed from the web. But, being passionate about music, we feel a level of authenticity is missing. There is a disconnect, a real gap, between high quality audio systems and digital music, and that is why we’ve created the ARC. The ARC was made to bridge the gap between fine sound and the world of digital music” explains Robert Valtierra, inventor of the ARC amplifier.
About Totem Acoustic
Created in 1987 by sound sage Vince Bruzzese, Totem’s mission is to develop loudspeakers capable of reproducing a truly musical and moving performance. The goal is to constantly provide designs that are both affordable and real “soul movers” for all music lovers.
For more information:
Director of Technologies at Totem Acoustic
Should I be concerned that it’s a “class D” amp?
Not really. Class D amplifiers weren’t good for much other than subwoofers when they first came out, sure, but that was a few decades ago and the technology has significantly improved since then. Between a vastly increased switching frequency, far beyond audio, and more precise and powerful controller chips they produce crisp and transparent high fidelity audio today. (At least when properly designed, which I suspect Totem knows a thing or two about!)
Full range Class D amps do still run at considerably lower power, though, so they’re really only appropriate for high efficiency speakers.