The Arête


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–noun Physical Geography, Geology

a sharp rugged mountain ridge, produced by glaciation.



For those that find tube amps a little too... tubey? -  we present the Arête.  Sharing it's DNA and output stage, the Arête can be viewed as the solid-state brother of the Peak.

The Arête uses a single-ended discrete JFET gain stage (whose gain is stabilized by a modest amount of local feedback), followed by the same single-ended MOSFET output stage used in the Peak.  The result is an amplifier with lower distortion than the Peak, while retaining some "harmonic richness" that a typical class-AB solid-state headphone amp does not have.

Three inputs, selected by a front panel switch, and a line output (which is automatically muted when you plug in your headphones) are provided, so you can use the Arête both as a headphone amplifier and a pre-amp for a loudspeaker system.  Relays are used to keep the signal path short and direct.

The standard Arête is powered by an external switching power supply.  For ultimate fidelity, the Volcano, an optional linear power supply is available that matches the amplifier in appearance and performance.  The Volcano uses a low-noise toroidal transformer and a massive bank of filter capacitors to provide high peak currents without significant voltage drop.

Unique design and quality parts combine to give the Arête optimum sound at an affordable price.  Unlike many so-called "high-end" audio components, the Peak is not just a prettied-up marginal design implemented with poor-quality parts from third-world nations.  It is proudly hand-built in the USA.



Click on the photos for a full resolution version



A quick look at Inner Fidelity 


Measurements and Specifications

NOTE:  Please read the page about headphone & amp specs!

Values are typical.  Measured using the standard switching power supply.

Max output level into 150 ohms @ 1kHz: 7.4V RMS / 21V P-P / 360mW

Max output level into 33 ohms @ 1kHz:  4.7V RMS / 13V P-P / 670mW

Peak output current: 220mA

Input impedance: 50k ohms

Output impedance: 1.0 ohm

THD+N 1V 1kHz 150 ohms: 0.08%

THD+N 1V 1kHz 33 ohms: 0.06%

FR: 20-20kHz +/- 1dB

FR: -3dB 15Hz – 45kHz

Noise 400Hz-30kHz: 70uV

Max gain (Headphone out) 1kHz: 21dB

Max gain (line out) 1kHz: 15dB

DC Offset: +/- 10mV


Power:  120 or 240 VAC, 50-60Hz, 45 watts max.

Dimensions:  8.3" W x 10.3" D x 2" tall




FFT: 1V RMS @ 1kHz into 33 ohms:



FFT: 1V RMS @ 1kHz into 150 ohms:




Frequency response:




THD+N vs. frequency



THD+N vs. output voltage (1kHz into 33 ohms):


THD+N vs. output voltage (1kHz into 150 ohms):