[Focal Clear / Hifiman Ed. XS] Upgrades suggestions


My system currently is : Audio GD r2r-11 => JDS Labs Atom => Focal Elex.

I am in the process of buying a Focal Clear, and will most certainly get a Hifiman edition XS in the near future.

As my knowledge is limited in terms of gear, I would like some suggestions in upgrading the DAC + AMP stack that pair wells with those headphones. Listening mostly to classic, pop, rock, metal. I do not have a fixed budget as I am looking at the used market too, but would like to purchase good value products. Would prefer MQA support / balanced system.

So far I have been mostly looking at schiit products, topping (although quite confused by the diversity of their products – has anyone reviewed the L70 + E70 yet?), rebelAmp…

I am in Europe if that can make a difference.

Not a damn thing wrong with your current Atom. I run Edition XS, Audeze LCD-X 2021 and HD 6XX from it, and it sounds terrific.

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I really enjoy the XS on my burson Soloist and singxer SA1. Really though your DAC is decent and the atom is adequate. If you really are itching to upgrade I would only upgrade the amp.

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I think you are just fine, both in term of DAC and amp
But if you got the “itch” for an upgrade and you want to go “bigger and better”, Topping A90D is a personal and crowd favorite. And you can upgrade to decent balanced DAC down the line (I use mine with the S.M.S.L SU-9n and its pretty great)

Thanks for the answers.

I confirm that I am very happy with my current setup, I love the Elex.
I am looking for another setup because :

  • I will be using it in another location
  • Curiosity of uupgrading, as this is my first stack. I would agree that it is very much a luxury indeed. I cannot really grasp the actual difference that changing an amp would imply.
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Do you have a budget in mind for us to stick to?

Well it is not set in stone as I am on the lookout for a good deal on the used market. Base budget would be a few hundreds €, but I am open to suggestions. Actually getting a good deal on the Clear so that leaves some margin.

Things I notice when changing amps is stage can open up or close, bass and treble can change. The clears have the resolution to show this off but keep in mind use a system for a few days then switch, the differences will show much more.

For the clear the g111 would be a good amp you could get for a decent price in Europe if you’re willing to buy used :wink:

Classic Clear pairing is BF2 + RNHP.
That said, the RNHP will be the best amp for HFM XS in its range.

True, I read a lot of great reviews of these amps. How do they compare to the rebelAmp (I can it used now for a decent price) ?
I can also get Lyr + Bifrost for 150€ each (but I guess it is the first version since they were bought in 2012). Would it be a good deal ?

Hm for that price it certainly is a og bf maybe even the DS version :thinking: but I have no experience with that combo :sweat_smile:
Otherwise if you could get a rebel for a good price it should be an awesome amp if you can live with the form factor and it’s warmth :hot_face: