by Kevin O'Brien on 05/14/2017

 

 

I want to thank Marcin from JPLAY for sending out his latest updated PCI-e USB 3.0 card, the 'FEMTO', to YFS for a test drive. He assured me this card would outperform all other 'Audiophile USB Cards' currently on the market. Let's take a look at the latest JCAT computer audio accessory and see how it stacks up to the rest of the field.

The first thing I noticed when I received the USB card was that there was a set of instructions inside the box for reference and set-up. Letting the user know how to set up the USB card is of the utmost importance and it seems this very crucial first step gets missed all too often. A simple search for the manual can be found online but it's nice to have a physical sheet of paper in your hands so you don't need to stop your install to check the manual online. See the instructions I received in the box below for reference.

 

Setting up the card was straight forward. I moved the factory positioned jumpers to the appropriate updated settings to match my system. I arranged the jumpers to use the internal Molex power connector utilizing the included filtration on the card. My 5.0 Volt 1 Amp YFS linear power supply was used to power the card. Marcin recommends using a high quality linear power supply to get the best performance out of the FEMTO. After seating the card into an open PCI-e slot inside my YFS Ref-3 music server, I was off to the races. Drivers were not needed as my Windows 10 operating system automatically detected the NEC USB controller. This is the first time I have had a computer peripheral just work without any hiccups. My hat goes off to JCAT for a making a high quality product that works the first time minimizing the need to pull my hair out during set up.

The FEMTO was played for 3 weeks continuously to make sure the new card had time to "settle in" before any impressions were made. I have used every single 'Audiophile USB Card' on the computer audio scene and the FEMTO is the only solution that did not develop some sort of issue after initial set up. Other cards I have tried would not seat themselves properly within the PCI slot and would suddenly be unrecognized by my OS. Trying yet another set of cards from an alternate manufacturer would yield more function-less hardware based on software configuration changes / Windows updates, etc. Maybe this is just plain and simple bad luck on my part? Speaking to our customers and other users, it seems I am not alone with my experiences though. I experienced none of these issues with the FEMTO and that was the greatest challenge to overcome for me personally: how do I find a USB audio output card that will be a reliable performer and sound great to recommend to my customers.

I am confident the FEMTO will work, stay reliable, and sound great for any customer I recommend it to. That's hard to come by these days it seems when dealing with the small niche of computer audiophile manufacturers. This is the main hurdle users cite when reasoning their way out of getting into computer audio.

As far as sound quality is concerned, the FEMTO can hang with any USB output card available. It can also surpass the sound quality of any USB card currently on the market if implemented with a quality linear power supply. We are excited that we now have a legitimate USB 3.0 output card solution for our Ref-3 Windows-based servers. If you want a high quality USB card and you're willing to pay slightly more than the competition, the FEMTO will deliver.

A big thank you goes out to Marcin at JPLAY for turning YFS onto the JCAT line of products for PC audio applications.

If you are interested in finding out what a FEMTO USB card can do for your system, feel free to contact us. We would love nothing more than to get a FEMTO into your hands. YFS is now an authorized JPLAY and JCAT dealer so your purchase through YFS is supported and backed by the manufacturer.

Thanks for reading...

 - YFS Review Team

 

Associated Equipment for this Review:

  • YFS Computer Music Server - HD-Ref-3
  • EMM Labs DA2 DSD DAC
  • McIntosh C2300 Preamp with Siemens NOS Tubes
  • McIntosh MC202 Monoblocks (1 Pair)
  • Von Schweikert Unifield II Mk3 Speakers
  • YFS Custom Room Treatment
  • YFS Custom Interconnects and Cables

 

 

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