by Kevin OBrien on May 15th, 2014

We somehow got our hands on the Kora linear power supply manufactured by Core Audio Technology. We wanted to take one of their modified Mac Mini's mated with their Kora power supply and compare it to our latest YFS Mac Mini and PS-12m linear power supply combination. That's exactly what we did and you can read about it in the article below. We want to thank one of our great YFS customers for his kindness and his huge heart. Thanks for letting us borrow your personal digital front end for this review. Thanks again Joe!

First of all, let's talk about what a lot of folks have been telling us for the past few years. Most folks see our YFS modified Mac Mini and they say, "All computers sound the same, why would I pay for that?" That's a great statement and a great question. Let us explain our thoughts and give you a thoughtful answer.

We've noticed each and every computer sounds different when hooked up to the same DAC. The same goes for CD transports. If you're not a believer in transports sounding different from one another then this is where you'll most likely stop reading. That's fine with us. If you feel digital is digital and all digital sources sound the same, we cannot convince you of anything we'll be touching on in this review. That's okay. If you've done the listening and comparisons as we have, you know each digital source is not created equal. 0's and 1's do depend on how they are 'extracted' from each source and streamed to your DAC. The USB cable, the digital coax cable, SPDIF converter (if you choose to go that route), as well as the transport, all come into play and contribute to how your DAC, and ultimately, your entire system will sound.

We like to ask the question, "If all digital transports sound the same, why are there so many CD / computer transport manufacturers?" If they're all the same, each transport should sound identical and there would be no reason to shell out big bucks on a transport. The user would just buy the cheapest unit and be done with it. We know folks have been spending big bucks on transports and DAC's for years and it's obvious to us and our customers that digital isn't that simple and straight forward. All 0's and 1's are not created equal.

We decided to prove this concept to a few folks local to us in the Boulder area. We set up a comparison of the Core Audio Mini / Kora PS and the YFS Mini / PS-12m and let them decide which source sounded better. We placed both units on our rack and attached two identical V-Link 192 SPDIF converters to each Mini using our YFS 'Split' Reference USB cable. We then used our Reference 75 Ohm coax cable to go from the V-Link 192's to our EMM Labs DAC2X. This was the only way we could level the playing field and actually compare transports and not some other piece of gear in the chain.

Once both units were set up and allowed to play for 8 hours, we began to switch back and forth between the two. We told the few folks that were in attendance to listen to both inputs on the DAC2X and tell us which input they liked better. We didn't tell the listeners which input was which. This way we could truly find out which source sounded better without letting any personal bias come into the equation. The blind A-B listening test is the only fair comparison in our eyes. Otherwise, you know which source you're switching to and you already have a predetermined bias in your head.

The Core Audio setup consisted of a 2010 Mach2Music Mac Mini with Ryan's internal filter replacing Apple's internal switching PS. The Kora linear power supply hooked up directly to the rear of the Mini via an umbilical. The digital playback suite consisted of Audirvana Plus (latest version) and FLAC / WAV files were streamed to the V-Link 192 via USB and from there streamed via coax cable to the DAC2X.

The YFS setup consisted of our 2012 Mac Mini with our YFS version of the internal filter which replaced the stock Apple switcher. Both Mini's were armed with SSD's for their respective OS X. Our YFS PS-12m linear power supply hooked to the rear of the Mini using our YFS umbilical. The YFS unit was also implementing the Audirvana Plus digital suite (latest version) and all the settings were matched on both units to make things fair. iTunes was disabled in both cases and FLAC and WAV files were auditioned. No DSD was played as we do not have two DAC2X's.

 

The first thing we'd like to note is that after testing each source, we realized they both sounded REALLY good! They should for the money. But, there was a clear winner every time and it was universal which unit was better. Please contact us for the results of our testing. We don't want to make enemies or hurt anyone's feelings and that's not our intention here. This test was done due to popular demand from our customers.

We strive to create the best components we can, by hand, here in the USA. We also aim to make all YFS products as robust and well thought-out as possible. It seems to be working. We have received plenty of feedback from YFS Mini customers and we can get you in touch with actual clients if you'd like to hear their opinions.

There's never any reason to over-hype things as the proof is in the pudding. Once you get your YFS source component home and you hear it for yourself, we don't want to deal with having to explain why things aren't sounding the way we hyped them up to sound. If we just tell the truth, there are no stories to remember and no lies to live up to. We're not businessmen, we're engineers and that shows in everything we do.

Feel free to contact us and we will privately lay out the major differences between our YFS PS-12m, the Core Audio Kora, the Mojo Audio Joule III, and any other PS we've got our hands on. We are engineers during the day and we are YFS creators at night. We are more than happy to show you where that extra coin is going when you purchase our YFS linear PS over the competition's power supply. Drop us a line and we can talk.

THANKS for reading and let us know if we can answer any questions you may have about our YFS Mini / PS-12m combo. We're here to help, serve, and spread great sounding digital gear to those who appreciate paying a little more and waiting a little bit longer for 'state of the art' performance.

Until next time...

-YFS Design Team

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