The ARCHT Audio offers serious sound — at a serious price

Until now my favorite speaker to use with my iMac has been Harman Kardon’s Aura, which offered serious sound for a one-piece system — albeit at a serious price of $399.99. Now I’ve tested an even better one-piece speaker — the ARCHT One — which sports an even more serious price tag ($599).

Should you fork out 600 smackers for this all-in-one, wireless 360-degree speaker system that looks like a rocket about to blast off? Not if you’ll only use it with your Mac or iOS device occasionally (the iMac’s built-in speakers are surprisingly good). However, if, like me, you’re on your Apple device hours a day, constantly playing music, and occasionally watching a movie or playing a game, the ARCHT One is devilishly tempting.

The folks at ARCHT Audio say their patented Sound Array transforms speakers from directional to multi-directional, dispersing sound evenly in all directions. Their patented technology and the ARCHT One’s built-in 120mm 4.7-inch subwoofer, 50W amplifier, three-inch full-range driver, six-inch 150mm passive radiator, and built-in digital sound processor deliver room-filling sound. You can also use your iPhone and a free ARCHT app (available at the Apple App Store) to optimize thespeaker system’s sound based on the space in which it’s being used. 

The app did help slightly, but the ARCHT One sounds incredible right-of-the-box without any tweaking. Highs and lows come through clearly. Bass is deep and impressive (Pentatonix’s Misbehavin’ positively thumps, for instance). 

Speaking of connectivity, the ARCHT One is as convenient as you could wish. It connects via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay or directly through USB, and takes just seconds to start. Once it starts, it pumps out rich, full bodied (24bit/192kHz) audio that’s distortion fee. If you’ve really got money to burn, you can pair ARCHT Ones (or send me some of that extra moolah).

Input source, playback and volume can be controlled via capacitive touch controls on the top ring of the system. However, I found them to be a little temperamental. Sometimes I had to press them more-than-firmly to make ‘em work.

Three things you should note. One: the ARCHT One doesn't have a microphone so can’t function as a speakerphone for incoming calls over Bluetooth. Two: the17-inch, eight-pound has to be plugged into an outlet so isn’t portable. Three: as sweet as it is, the patented Sound Array won’t let you recreate a true 5.1 surround sound from their solo speaker. None of these caveats were deal breakers for me, but you have been alerted.

Also, I’ve heard some complaints that the ARCHT One’s plastic body isn’t as impressive as that of a $599 speaker system should be. Once I got used to its appearance — and it is a funky-looking beast — this didn’t bother me. Plus, I really like the thick, rubber feet that elevate the speaker and provide a stable base. 

If you need a top-of-the-line speaker system for use with your Mac or iOS device, the ARCHT One certainly fulfills the need. Once you hear one up close and personal, be prepared to put a dent in your bank account or your credit card.