Upgrade advice for amping Arya/Clear

Hey all I’m new here,

So I’ve been using HE-400i for about 6 years as my daily driver, with DT770 used rarely and HD598 occasionally for gaming. These are driven by a modi 2/magni 2 schiit stack.
I’ve already sprung for considerable upgrades in a pair of used Focal Clears and an open box HifiMan Arya. After a bit of research I bought a matrix audio mini I 3 pro because of its crazy feature set and supposedly very good DAC. I am a bit worried though that the amp included in the mini I 3 pro will not have the power drive my headphones properly, specifically the Arya.
I have yet to receive any of this new gear but I am curious what others think.
I have seen the violectric v280 recommended for by m0n for both these headphones, so I may have to save for that. Also have seen the liquid platinum recommended for the Arya but how would that pair with the Clear?

Thanks for any input and late Merry Christmas!


Welcome to HFGF, and congrats on the new gear! I don’t have the Arya or Clear, so can’t speak to the specific pairing, but do have the V280 (for sale since I upgraded to a V281) and did have the Liquid Plat. I also had the Elex, and have Elegias as well. I do think Focals play nicely with Violectric more so than the Liquid Plat, if for no other reason than the V280 has gain control through the pre-gain dip switches on the back. The Liquid Plat does not, and because of how efficient Focals are, you don’t get much play in the volume control as a result. That combined with some of the unit variance in volume pot quality in the lower volume ranges means that unless you have a variable output on your DAC, you could run into some channel imbalance or jumps in volume that make it hard to find the right listening zone. Aside from that, the Liquid Plat is a great amp, and multiple members here have thought enough of it to recently start modding by upgrading caps and such besides just tube rolling.

Aside from gain control, both amps are impactful, slightly leaning warm and smooth. The V280 a little narrower staging, but more depth, and on pretty even footing for organic/natural timbre. Some of that will vary depending on the DAC pairing, and I haven’t heard the Matrix. The Vio likes a more analytical DAC like Soekris (mine’s paired with a 1541), while the MLP might be a bit more forgiving.


Wow, thank you for the in depth answer from experience!

So it looks like I could be happy with either choice, but the violectric may be the better option for pairing with both cans. That has been the consensus I’ve found in my research as well.

I’m really hoping that this matrix mini is as good as the reviews make it out to be, but the Arya will undoubtedly want more power I think.

Nice new 'phones!
I have the Elex’s and they are excellent on the Liquid Platinum. I also run my Sundara’s off of it.
I also have a Violectric V220 which works with anything, from 32 to 600 Ohm.

If I had to pick one I would go with a V280. I love my LP but it has very high gain which you might find annoying with IEM’s or very efficient headphones.

Also, the dip switches on the Vio gives it tons of flexibility. The Vio will cost MUCH more than the LP though.


So it seems like either way I will be happy but the violectric will be happiest lol. MLP is nice but kind of inconvenient for easy to drive headphones, and the v280 can drive anything and sounds great with everything? I haven’t seen anyone say a negative thing about these violectric amps lol.

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Massdrop will soon bring out the Thx but only with Se connection, so a downgrade from the 789 thx.
I think for 200 dollars.
Would possibly still be an option until you reach for the Violectric.

The Singxer here I also find interesting.

The Dac/Amps Sda C is already a fantasitsches thing from them.

Sure is in the end again a matter of taste, as always.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Arya = Geshelli Erish or Topping A90. The Erish is bass light and needs a better PSU (iFI power series) to really get the most from it but that total is less than the A90. The A90 though is just perfect for the Arya. I have the Arya, Erish and A90.

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Welcome to HFGF!

I’ll toss this in for the Big Planar aka Arya. My Hifiman Edition X V2’s work well with my Asgard 3, Jotunheim 2, and Liquid Platinum. My favorite personally is the Liquid Platinum. I have never heard the Focal Clear but I have a baby sibling, the Elegia, and it also works well with my three amps. It is a tossup between the Liquid Platinum and the Jotunheim 2 being my fav amp for Elegia.

I’ve never heard a Violectric amp but, from what others report and also have much higher tier phones than I - that is one heck of an amp and if you are leaning in that direction you probably are going the right way.

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Both the liquid platinum and violectric amps have been highly recommended and I think I’m set on the V280. If I can’t secure one of those I will more than likely pick up a liquid platinum though. Thanks for the recommendation!


I’m admittedly jelly, I would love to try a v280. Perhaps someday…

Enjoy the Music!

I have the Clears and Geshelli Erish. With a good DAC like the JNOG I think the Erish is the most transparent setup I’ve heard. The jnog definitely brought out the bass CBT said it was missing above.

The clears are super efficient and could be played off of phone. So power shouldn’t be a concern with them. The quality of the signal sent to them is WAY more important. Also clears are picky, they almost always sound good but with some amps they are FREAKING AMAZING!! The Erish,and RNHP to list 2 amazing combos… but I don’t think the RNHP might be light on power for hungry planar

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I was able to purchase a used violectric v280 for a decent price, so I will be using that to drive the Arya and Clear at my desk. The amp inside the mini i 3 has ample power to drive the Clear and sounded good to many reviewers so when when I move the matrix for listening in another room I will hopefully find that amp enjoyable! The Geshelli Erish looks very promising and I may have to pick one up for another setup.


This may be a less popular opinion here, but for my Clears the schiituis stack sounds great. That’s the Modius/magnius stack. I don’t have anymore open back planars but when I had them the Diana V2s seemed to like the stack as well. I had the V280 and it definitely wasn’t as clean as the magnius. It isn’t supposed to be as that’s not really the point of that amp, but just something to consider. Do you want clean amplification or do you prefer some nice distortion? It’s really a matter of taste.

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I didn’t mention it, because I don’t plan on using it myself, but I did also purchase a Monolith THX dac/amp that is very clean and similar to the schitius stack. I was at first convinced that I needed an ultra clean sound, but decided that it mostly hype. Nonetheless I got that Monolith at a great price, and I will be able to compare the differences when available.
Honestly, I purchased the V280 based on many forum users across multiple forums recommending the pairing with Arya mostly to open the soundstage and really let the bass out, but also I do prefer a warmer sound rather than a clean but more analytical sound. Distortion can be great!
Thanks for bringing a new perspective.

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You’ll have to post your thoughts on the V280.
I don’t notice any distortion at all on my Violectric or LP. Now the tube amp is a whole different game.
Keep in mind that the “high measuring” amps tend to brag about lacking noise that most people can’t even hear anyway.

I had an SP200 amp and did not enjoy it all. I actually went through Many unimpressive headphone amps over the last two years and got rid of all them with one exception, the Liquid Spark. That now sits in my office chain.

I will definitely update this thread with my impressions. I didn’t mean distortion in the bad sense, but in the sense that it’s not the absolute clean and I guess pure sound you would get from a THX amp or the schitius stack. I have not heard these amps yet, so I will have to judge for myself, but that seems to be the general consensus. Please educate me otherwise if this is not the case, I’m always willing to learn!