YFS Music Servers

by Kevin OBrien on October 15, 2021


When will we see an update to the latest 2018 Mac Mini? We have been patiently waiting for Apple to release another model since the 2018 variant. Why have we been waiting so patiently? The 2018 version of Apple's Mini demands the largest power draw of any Mini made to date. That means we would need to totally revamp our YFS PS-12m linear power supply to output even more power, mainly in the current delivery department. This was something we really didn't want to take on as we've already squeezed every last drop of power from our original design. We were dreading having to start from scratch with a new LPS as we just do not have the time.

So, we were stuck, until now... Apple has recently unveiled their M1 chip in the latest Mac Mini form factor for 2020! This is exciting stuff. The 2020 M1 version of the Mac Mini requires the least amount of power of any Mini produced thus far. By placing most of the critical components on the motherboard itself, including RAM and the super efficient M1 processor, the 2020 Mac Mini uses minimal power and draws very little current. Apple placed the same switching power supply inside the M1 Mini as the 2018 Mini, but the extra power is not needed (The 2018 Mini stock switching power supply is rated at ~150 Watts!).

This is the perfect scenario to allow our current YFS PS-12m linear power supply to be integrated into the latest Mini form factor. We came up with an entirely re-designed YFS internal power filter just for this purpose.

So what do we mean when we say "modify" exactly? The modification consists of three steps. First, we take apart the Mini and remove the stock Apple switching power supply. Second, we place our YFS M1 Internal Power Filter in its place (pictured below) and put the Mini back together. Third, we simply hook the PS-12m umbilical up to the rear of the Mini. DONE! Now you're off to the races. 

There's a considerable difference in sound quality between the Late 2012 Mini of old and this latest 2020 M1 version. You don't have to strain to hear it either. It's obvious. Our soundstage grew wider, taller, and deeper. Small nuances in the music suddenly appeared and called attention to themselves like never before. There appeared to be a sense of air and space that was missing previously. This was all brought to our attention while streaming lossy Pandora from our web browser! Just wait until we put on some local Hi-Res files.

We did just that after our initial Pandora session. We fired up some SRV Texas Flood in DSD128 using Audirvana 3.5. WOW!  (Here is a link to the AV 3.5 download as AV Studio is the latest version). We recently found ourselves on a SACD-ripping kick with our Sony BDP-S5100. This has opened up an entirely new world as far as available DSD to feed our DACs. Anyway, back on track. Let's try some Dire Straits. Next we listened to our Brothers In Arms MOFI SACD rip and came away with a similar conclusion as above. WOW!

We are confident in our assessment here.  The new YFS M1 Mini is our favorite digital source for the money!  There's simply just not that much $$$ going into this transport and what we're getting out of it is incredible. A 2020 M1 Mini can be had for ~ $1000. Our YFS modification will run you $700. Most of our Mac Mini customers already have our YFS PS-12m linear power supply in their racks. If not, there are plenty of options out there if our PS-12m price tag is too high ($1800 MSRP). Luckily, there are plenty of manufacturers making 'affordable' 12V power supplies these days.

Finally, great sounding digital can be had for minimal expense, all things considered. Not only that, you can still control your own digital destiny. We don't like 'streamers' as there's no way to fix them when they go wonky or need to be updated. With a Mac Mini, you have a way to update, add music easily, and repair without being out of commission for very long (almost all of us have an Apple repair center close by). OS X software updates and music playback software updates become elementary and the user is in control. This allows us to pivot and change when new software is released (and new hardware for that matter as DACs change quickly). We like this... We like this A LOT.  Apparently, so do our customers as this modification is our best selling product!

If you've been waiting to get into that latest digital source component and you have a 12 Volt power supply laying around (that can deliver at least 4.5 Amps), why not give it a shot? Feel free to drop us a line and we can help with any questions you may have.

* The YFS M1 Internal Power Filter is available on its own. Send us $375 if you want to do the modification at home *


Thanks for reading.

- YFS Design Team


by Kevin OBrien on August 8, 2013


Since we already make custom linear DC power supplies, we figured we'd try our luck at a Mac Mini linear power supply. We feel the other Mini power supplies on the market are not quite up to par. When we find a PS that is up to the task, the price is daunting! So, let's try and change all that with our YFS PS-12m.

We have been busy designing and building our prototype PS-12m and I think we really nailed it. We offer a 12V/ 7.5Amp DC linear power supply with an 18" umbilical which attaches to the rear of the Mac Mini via a 2.5mm DC barrel jack. We remove the internal switching power supply and replace it with high quality silver leads straight from the Mini motherboard fed into a high quality internal power filter, then to a 2.5mm x 5.5mm DC power jack on the Mini rear panel. We can make the umbilical connector anywhere from 12" to 36". We've tested both extremes and found no difference in performance. Please specify umbilical length when ordering the YFS PS-12m.

We offer a stand-alone Mac Mini modification which involves adding an SSD for your OS (supplied by you or us)/ extra RAM (supplied by you or us), adding the silver leads to the circuit board and jack, adding an internal power filter, as well as adding the 2.5mm DC barrel jack. We can do the Mini mod for our customers and they can use our competition's power supply if they wish.

Our customers can also buy a DIY kit for their Mini if they choose. This allows foreign customers and/ or folks who have a good handle on soldering/ electronics work to save some cash. We are not responsible for broken Mini's after installing our YFS Mini Mod Kit. Modify at your own risk. We think this is a nice option. We can also do the Mini Mod and provide our linear DC power supply as a package and give our customers a break on the Modification/ PS combo pricing. It's totally up to you. You can buy them separately or as a pair. Versatility is key. 

Potential customers may ask what differentiates our PS from the other guys? Well, we actually supply more current than the stock Mini switching PS which is rated at 7.1 Amps. Looking at our competitors, we don't see how it's even remotely possible to supply anywhere close to 7 Amps without heat sinks or a perforated top cover. Why do we need a perforated cover or heat sinks? We have to get rid of the heat generated by the 7.5 Amps. There's just no way to break the laws of physics. Next time you look at a linear Mini PS, look at it closely and ask yourself which method the designer is using to dump heat. If you don't see any way to efficiently transfer the heat, then the PS is most likely putting out closer to 3 to 4 Amps, not 7.5.             

The main question you may have is, "How does it sound?" Well, we get better bass response, more detail, better slam, a wider and taller sound stage, and more dynamics.

Our power supplies are built from scratch, by hand, in Upstate NY and carry a 1 year warranty. We don't source our products from distant off-shore locations and then assemble them in the USA. We're not saying there's anything wrong with that but we feel our customers deserve much better quality than that. Again, our products are entirely hand crafted in the USA. We stand behind our products and each and every PS-12m is made to order. You may ask yourself, "Is it worth the wait?" We think so. Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for completion and two weeks for delivery. We know it's a long wait, but it may not take that long depending on our current work load.

Contact us for pricing, availability, and lead times.

THANKS for reading!

-YFS Design Team


by Kevin OBrien on August 30th, 2012


We'd like to tell our readers about a recent trip we took to the Von Schweikert Audio factory in Southern California. We were lucky enough to have some of the greatest guys in the audiophile industry (Albert and Damon Von Schweikert) allow us to take a factory tour in their beautiful new facility in Riverside, CA. Our goal was to demo our HD Ref-3 SE for Albert and Damon as well as the head of Acquisitions for the VSA team. As it turns out, the trip morphed into much more than that. What a fun and exciting experience for us!

We'd like to show some pics of the gear we were allowed to demo our Ref-3 with. The list below sums up the equipment that we integrated our HD Ref-3 SE with:

DAC:  Audio Research DAC8 ($4,995 MSRP)

Preamp:  Coincident Statement Line Stage ($5,000 MSRP)

Amplification:  Jolida Music Envoy Monoblocks ($8,750 MSRP)

Speakers:  VSA VR-35 Export Deluxe ($7,995 MSRP)

Cables:  VSA Master-Built speaker cables and interconnects

Our first impression of the VR-35's was WOW! We then hooked up our Ref-3 and our jaws dropped. HOLY TOLEDO! I think we may have surprised ourselves when we reached the conclusion that this is the best we've ever heard our Ref-3 perform. We tried several DAC's including the Jolida Glass FX Tube DAC, the Lindemann USB-DAC 24/192, and finally the Audio Research DAC8. They all sounded REALLY good but the surprise for us was the Jolida Glass FX. It really did sound good and it was the cheapest out of the three. Nice work Jolida. The Lindemann USB-DAC 24/192 sounded great but we felt it favored the high end of the frequency response and was a little too forward in its presentation. Overall, it sounded great but it didn't seem to fit in with the rest of the demo system like the Jolida did. Lastly, the Audio Research DAC8, which was the clear winner, sounded wonderful. It gave us all the detail of the Lindemann with the perfect laid back sound of the tubed Jolida Glass FX. What else can we say, the DAC8 impressed us to say the very least!

Now on to the point of the trip, the HD Ref-3. Several of Albert's and Damon's favorite discs (Redbook) were ripped and a plethora of Hi-Res FLAC's were played to evaluate the Ref-3. After many hours of listening and tweaking, we at YFS felt the Ref-3 was a great addition to the VSA listening room. Apparently so did Albert and Damon. They decided to keep the Ref-3 and they weren't going to look back! n as well as the head of VSA Acquisitions for allowing us to take time out of their day to show them our latest computer music server. It means a lot to us and we feel very grateful to be a part of such a special group. And by the way Damon, lunch was awesome!  THANKS VSA!



by Brad Easton and Kevin OBrien on 06/24/2012


We wanted to let our readers in on some major work we've undertaken lately. We love our HD Ref-2 music server transport but we knew we wanted to beef up our processing power while maintaining near silent operation. We figured there had to be a way to get our Ref-2 practically silent. It's been a long road but we've made it, finally.

The older Ref-2 designs were based on 6-core processing, a 1 TB disc drive, 16 GB of RAM, a Blu-Ray ROM, and a basic DVI/ HDMI/ D-SUB PCI video card.  We housed the Ref-2 in an industrial, rack-mountable, lockable steel chassis. We added the SOtM USB PCI card option for the Special Edition and the SSD models.

The NEW Ref-3 model employs 6-core processing, a  512 GB SSD drive, 32 GB of RAM,  the same video card, the same chassis as the Ref-2, the SOtM USB PCI card, and an external power supply for the SOtM card. We also offer a RAID option that can bring the SSD storage up to 1 TB if desired. The major benefit of the Ref-3 over our previous models is the nearly inaudible operation as well as more RAM, more SSD storage, and an external power supply for the SOtM USB card.

We decided to come up with two models for the Ref-3 and discontinue our Ref-2. We now offer a YFS HD Ref-3 Base Model and a YFS HD Ref-3 Special Edition. The 'Base Model' and the 'Special Edition' are exactly the same server but the 'Base Model' is missing the SOtM USB PCI card as well as the external power supply for the SOtM USB card. It also only employs 16 GB of RAM instead of 32 GB. The 'Special Edition' contains the SOtM USB PCI Card as well as the power supply to go with it. Both units offer the same 512 GB SSD storage drive. Remember, our servers are completely custom so you can get as much SSD storage as you want. We'll charge you accordingly for the extra storage space.

Our server is the only currently available dedicated music server transport on the market that packs all of the above options in a semi-affordable package. We haven't been able to find an external power supply option for the SOtM card let alone a server that could easily integrate one so we decided to do it ourselves and push the computer audio envelope. Just plug our non-switching power supply into the rear of the unit in order to separately power the SOtM USB card. You don't have to take the cover off to unplug the power supply when you want to move both units. VERY HANDY. We have accomplished all of this at under $13,000. Simply AMAZING!!!

We do use fans in our latest design because with all the processing power we provide, there's no way to cool our servers without them. Don't worry, they're not audible during normal operation. Don't get caught up in the mini-ATX motherboard craze to get a fan-less server. If that's your goal, just buy a high-end SSD laptop and you'll get better performance than the competition's currently available music servers.

The other guys claim their designs are "silent" and "fan-less". You CAN achieve one without the other. We don't think many folks realize this. Our competitors' "silent" designs are not truly silent. Why don't these server manufacturers tell you what SPL their products are running at? Because if they did, you'd realize they're not really silent at all. We aren't afraid to test our operating SPL's. In fact, you can see into our design with the cover on as we have implemented an open top and we're not hiding anything from anybody. We don't have to.

We implement Windows 7 Professional for an operating system along with Foobar 2000, JRiver Media Center, or Album Player for a digital playback suite. We prefer Album Player based on its playback abilities. The Ref-3 is fully compatible with the latest standard-res and hi-res file formats (16, 24, and 32  bit word lengths and 44.1/ 48/ 88.2/ 176.4/ 192/ 352.8/ 384 kHz sampling rates). The Ref-3 also plays DSD64 and DSD128 files! (with compatible playback software)

Our control options for the Ref-3 are the same as the Ref-2. The Ref-1 needed a keyboard, monitor, and mouse to operate. The Ref-3 is fully operational with ONLY A TABLET/ LAPTOP/ PHONE! The user doesn't need to plug anything in to the Ref-3 to get it up and running and fully operational except an ethernet cable. Choose your favorite tablet/ laptop, power on the Ref-3, wait 45 seconds, and then start controlling your new Ref-3 server anywhere your local network allows. VERY COOL!

We think you'll enjoy using the most powerful, user friendly music server the audiophile world has to offer. It's only a matter of time until the other guys are scrambling to catch up. 

Contact us with questions.  We're here to help!

Remember, the Ref-3 is totally custom designed to your specs. If you want some features taken away or added, it's your call!  We can make it exactly the way you want it. No problem! We offer a full in-home install for an additional fee. Contact us for details. The entire install is done in under 2 hours. This service is only available in the contiguous United States. We can provide install support over the phone/ e-mail for any other location. Our products are available in 110V-120V as well as 220V-240V. Just let us know where you need your YFS server to operate and we'll take care of it!

We can now ship a fully functional Ref-3 via UPS to the lower 48 (contiguous United States)!!!

We offer package deals on our YFS USB cables if you plan on buying a server too.

Contact us for more details.

THANKS for your interest in YFS products!

- YFS Design Team


by Brad Easton and Kevin OBrien on 04/06/2012


So we wanted to let our readers in on some major work we've been doing lately. We were pretty excited about our HD Ref-1 music server. After all, it's the most powerful music server available, ANYWHERE. Well, we decided that wasn't good enough so we started designing its more mature, more refined sibling, the HD Ref-2. We believe we have made the world's best digital source even better.

The older Ref-1 design was based on quad-core processing, a 1 TB drive, 4 GB of RAM, a DVD ROM, and a basic DVI/ HDMI/ D-SUB PCI video card.  We housed the Ref-1 in an industrial, rack-mountable, lockable steel chassis.

The NEW Ref-2 base model employs 6-core processing, a 2 TB hard disc, 8 GB of RAM,  the same video card, and the same chassis as the Ref-1. The user can upgrade the RAM to 16 GB, the DVD ROM drive to Blu-Ray,  and the hard drive space to 3 TB if desired. That upgrade option is referred to as the Ref-2 SE or Special Edition. This upgraded model also employs a PCI digital audio output card of the user's choice. The standard audio output option is the SOtM USB 2.0 card. The Lynx AES 16 is also available with digital XLR output for $500 over our SE listed price. We can also add analog L and R outputs if the user prefers not to use a DAC. (We don't recommend this based on grounding issues) We have also included our newest spin on the original YFS HD Ref-2 that we call the Ref-2 SSD. It employs a solid state drive and we omit the standard hard disc all together. This keeps our operating SPL's even lower than the Ref-2 SE! It has all the same specs as the Special Edition model but the HDD has been removed and a 480 GB SSD has been installed in its place. We like options and we assume you do too.

One of the major areas we've improved upon is the operating noise levels of our original server. The Ref-1 was acceptable but we went even further and we can guarantee operation at normal conditions from 3 feet away at under 20 dB!  No server is truly silent. Even with a fan-less design, the server still has to deal with added noise from the hard disc unless the design implements a solid state drive ONLY. Put your ear to a hard disc when you get a chance and tell us if it's truly silent. We think you'll be quite surprised at what you hear.

Last time we checked, there are no affordable SSD's over 512 GB yet. You could pay ~ $2500 for a 1 TB SSD but we doubt ANY customers will be willing to shell out that kind of cash for a storage drive. So, for the foreseeable future, SSD's are not the answer. Did we mention the failure rate of SSD's as well? We feel they're not reliable enough or cheap enough to implement in all our designs just yet. We have implemented them in our Ref-2 SSD model based on popular demand. We didn't want to do it but apparently there's enough demand that we decided to offer it as an option. We use our own redundant hard drive system which allows the user to plug in a standard HDD that is already set up and mounted in the server in the event the SSD dies. The user must plug the power into the HDD after they remove their faulty SSD to RMA. The operating system is already installed along with all the programs and drivers your original SSD contained. You'll still have to personalize your back-up drive/ system and reload your music but it's only until we can get your SSD back up and running. We don't want our users to be without their servers while their SSD is being replaced. It's a perfect plan in case the SSD permanently goes south. We've thought it all out so you can sit back and enjoy your music.

The other guys claim their designs are "silent" and "fan-less". You CAN achieve one without the other. We don't think many folks realize this. A "silent" design is not truly silent. Why don't these server manufacturers tell you what SPL their products are running at? Because if they did, you'd realize they're not really silent at all. We aren't afraid to test our operating SPL's and PUBLISH them because we've got nothing to hide. In fact, you can see into our design with the cover on as we have implemented a perforated metal top cover and we're not hiding anything from anybody. We don't have to.

Another area we've improved upon is our control options for our new server. The Ref-1 needed a keyboard, monitor, and mouse to operate. The Ref-2 is fully operational with ONLY A TABLET! The user doesn't need to plug anything in to the Ref-2 to get it up and running and fully operational. Choose your favorite tablet, power on the Ref-2, wait a couple minutes, and then start controlling your new Ref-2 server anywhere your local network allows. VERY COOL!

We think you'll enjoy using the most powerful, user friendly music server the audiophile world has to offer. It's only a matter of time until the other guys are scrambling to catch up. 

Contact us with questions.  We're here to help!

Unfortunately, we no longer offer the Ref-2 / Ref-2 SE / Ref-2 SSD. We are currently shipping the new Ref-3 replacement for the Ref-2. 

We offer package deals on our YFS USB cables if you plan on buying a server too. Contact us for more details.

THANKS for your interest in YFS products!

- YFS Design Team


Welcome to the Machine

After trying to find the best digital source to drive our 2 channel systems over the past year, we realized the possible potential and more importantly, the limitations of all the 'music servers' that are currently available.  We have built a true high definition digital source that's on par with recording studio servers that record the music we listen to everyday.  Why not use a recording studio server to drive your high end 2 channel system?  Isn't that what we are all after; the closest thing to live, non-reproduced music we can get?

What does every audiophile want in the perfect music server?  I know we want the most capable, high powered computer acting as our digital music source as possible.  This is something you will learn quickly when you start testing different laptops and desktops.  Most of these make-shift 'music servers' are pretty much equivalent specs-wise and don't separate themselves from the pack. 

What if someone came up with a truly breakthrough server that put the competition to shame?  How about a server that could hold all of our uncompressed music?  How about a server that doesn't require us to move our songs over to a Solid State Hard Drive before listening?  Could someone make a server we could rip CD/ DVD-Audio discs with while listening to our favorite music with absolutely NO audio drop-outs OR loss in sound quality?  How about surfing the web while we're listening?  Could someone build a server that isn't obsolete in 6 months because the hardware is out-dated?  How about a remote desktop application that could control our server from our favorite listening position without a monitor, keyboard, or mouse?  Can we find a product to do all of the above while simultaneously remaining quieter than a laptop?

We feel at YFS that we have answered all of the above questions. Our first experience with our HD-Ref-1 server can be comparable to going from standard def TV to HDTV.  With the HD-Ref-1 you can hear EVERY subtle detail and nuance of your music in a deep, wide soundstage that completely envelopes you.  You can truly hear the musicians playing their instruments as if they were right there in front of you.  The PRaT you feel from the percussion on some of your favorite tracks is absolutely, toe-tappingly PERFECT! 

Imagine not fighting over the sweet spot on the couch.  Imagine hearing that same perfect sound projected throughout your listening room following you as you walk around. This experience is truly unique.  After a short time with the HD-Ref-1, it sounded like we made major upgrades in ALL our system components.  Who would have thought just a source component could make such a drastic improvement in our system?  We certainly didn't until now.

Why buy a music server from the other guys that needs to be upgraded from the base model to sound its best?  We give you the features you really need all in one model that doesn't require any upgrades to meet your needs.  We do offer a Lynx Digital Out card option but that's it!  Obviously, we can create the HD-Ref-1 to your personal specifications but we feel we really won't have to worry about that.  It's that good!

Did we mention our server is housed in a heavy-duty, industrial STEEL, rack-mountable chassis that effectively shields critical components from EMI and other noise?  Our final product weighs in at approximately 50 lbs!

We're almost finished testing our final iteration of the HD-Ref-1 and we feel we're close to having it completely dialed in.  Feel free to contact us about anything you may have on your mind regarding our latest offering.

THANKS for reading and we look forward to hearing from you about this breakthrough digital source product.

Contact us for availability and special pricing on our truly revolutionary computer audio music servers.

Best regards from the YFS design team!



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