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