by Kevin O'Brien on May 14th, 2015.

 

YFS 'CUSTOM' REF USB CABLE

 

We stepped up our USB cable game over the past 6 months. Requests keep pouring in to make pure copper and silver USB cables in our 'Split' and 'Data-Only' configurations. We are giving you what you want with our latest 'Custom' Ref USB cable line.

Performance has been elevated by using pure copper / silver conductors of your choice for data + and - leads. Silver conductors use the blue outer sheath and the copper conductors use the red outer sheath. This way it's very simple to figure out what cable you have in your hands if you have both available to you at the same time.

Our standard Ref USB is a great option for those who don't want to spend a small fortune on a USB cable. For those who want to voice their system and give themselves an edge over the rest of the competition, the 'Custom' Ref USB is THE solution. Is your system giving you a little too much high frequency information and you feel you need a little more warmth? The copper conductors will be a perfect fit. Does your system convey a little too much low frequency information and mid range warmth? The silver conductors are the answer.

Are you looking for a 'Split' USB but with only 2 heads? We've got you covered there too. We can make any configuration you desire with our latest conductor material and hand-twisted designs. Simply contact us and we'd be glad to discuss various options and lengths depending upon your specific application. We are excited to finally offer some custom tweaking in the USB cable department. Let us know if you have any other requests or suggestions for cable designs and we'll do our best to bring them to market.

Our 'Custom' Ref USB comes standard in a 1 meter length. Other lengths are available upon request.

Thank you for reading and we hope to hear from all of you in the future about your cable needs.

- YFS Design Team

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by Kevin O'Brien on May 12th, 2015.

 

YFS 'SUPER 30' PURE COPPER LITZ HEADPHONE CABLE

 

YFS is branching out into the headphone arena with our very first aftermarket headphone cable, the 'Super 30'. This particular cable is appropriately named as it utilizes a pure copper Litz conductor design. Each conductor is built up out of 30 individual insulated strands of pure copper magnet wire. These 30 strands comprise a single conductor in our 'Super 30' cable. 4 total conductors are used per cable. Our 'Super 30' cable comes standard in a 7ft length. Please ask for custom lengths if needed. Custom terminations are also available. We use Neutrik 4-pin connectors for balanced configurations and Viablue 1/4" stereo connectors for single ended configurations. Those are what come standard on our balanced and single ended 'Super 30' cables. These various options are priced accordingly. Remember, at YFS, you're the boss and you get what you want. Just let us know what you need and we will do our best to accommodate you.

We came up with our YFS Litz cable out of necessity. Our Sennheiser HD800's did not sound good out of the box. We have heard of all sorts of fixes for the HD800 to take them to the next level, including and not limited to modifications to the inner ear cups, mods to the amplification and sources, as well as cable mods and replacements. We chose to do the latter as this is by far the most universal and most effective mod to the HD800. Everybody has a headphone amp they prefer as well as a favorite source which are usually nearly impossible to let go of. A cable change on the other hand isn't quite as painful of an upgrade and is universally thought of as a simple fix and part of the process of purchasing a high end headphone. We couldn't agree more.

The 'Super 30' cable has found its way into several audiophile's hands that we trust for initial evaluations prior to its release. The verdict is unanimous: this thing rocks! This time around we wanted to be absolutely sure we had something before bringing it to market. There's really no point in making waves about a cable that's just merely mediocre. That's not our style so we wanted to get it right the very first time and we feel we absolutely nailed it.

Drop us a line and we can chat about custom terminations and lengths, as well as good amp matches for different headphones. The YFS 'Super 30' is quite the match for any planar headphone but especially the HiFiMAN models with their 'sharper' treble region. This cable mates very well with our HiFiMAN HE-1000 (pure silver also sounds amazing) demo phones and is the statement HE-1000 aftermarket cable. The Audeze phones mate well with the 'Super 30' too. The HD800 especially benefits from a Litz cable with its 'sharp' treble and intense HF information.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to check out our new flagship aftermarket headphone cable.

Feel free to contact us for lead times and pricing.

Until next time...

- YFS Design Team

 

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by Kevin O'Brien on February 1, 2015

 

YFS CUSTOM HEADPHONE CABLES

 

Since we're not busy enough with 2 channel custom HiFi gear, we figured why not give the headphone market a shot? Well, we're kidding of course but seriously, YFS is now in the custom headphone cable market. I recently moved into a new residence here in Boulder. That means I have neighbors all around me. Neighbors do not mix with loud music. Especially when that loud music never seems to fully go away but rather have its output level slightly altered depending on the time of day. This isn't going to work out...

 

 

That is how the concept of using headphones even came about for me. At first I did not want to admit that I needed to use headphones or that I even had a "noise level problem" with my new neighbors. I put so much time, effort, and more importantly, money, into my 2 channel system that it seemed counterintuitive to even think about something like that. Reality finally set in and I had to find a solution fast or get evicted at some point down the road. My solution is to now use headphones during those sensitive times of the day and night. I mainly play my 2 channel rig on Saturday and Sunday during the day and stick to cans during the week. This has solved my current problem and opened my ears and my mind up to other ways to enjoy my favorite thing to do: listen to HiFi.

After buying a few pair of headphones, I realized quickly that each set of phones had a different sound and an associated set of properties unique to that particular set of phones. I am specifically referring to properties such as output impedance, sensitivity, weight and fit, driver type, etc. All these factors come into play and need to be addressed when making a decision on what amp to match with what headphone. With each set of phones comes a need for a different headphone amp. At first I figured I could get away with using the headphone output on a McIntosh C2300 preamp and that would be sufficient. I quickly realized this was not the case. All it took was one listen to a friend's headphone amp and I was sold right then and there. Unfortunately for me, that required a new set of gear specifically focused on making my headphones sound better which required more spending than I wanted to do. Such is the life of an audiophile I suppose? Nothing we can do really...

So, I bought a pair of Audeze LCD-2's and a pair of Sennheiser HD800's as well as a pair of Sennheiser HD650's and HD700's. I then picked up a Schiit Vahlhalla 2, Lyr 2, Asgard 2, and a Mjolnir Balanced amp to pair with the different phones. This is what ultimately led me to making a cable for each set of phones and testing them out with each amp. Looking at the stock cables that came with each set of phones, clearly there was room for improvement. That is how we got into this 'headphone mess' and I am so excited we did.

There are some basic things I've learned in a short time that should be mentioned about pairing amps and cans. A cool site to check out, Audiobot9000, helps the user with amp and headphone matching. Select your headphone and your amp from the drop-down menus and it will tell you if the combination will work. It provides invaluable information on amplifier impedance as well as headphone sensitivity and headphone impedance. Unfortunately, it cannot tell you how things will sound when paired or if there will be good synergy between components. The site tells you whether or not the amp has enough power to power the headphones sufficiently based on calculations from product specs. It can also tell you if you've tried to pair a flat out mismatch. It will suggest to "try a headphone with a higher impedance" if your phones you've chosen are a blatant mismatch with the amp you want which is nice. The above statement is just one of several examples.

That's where the spending comes in again and things can get painful. Let us do the spending and hopefully our readers can do more reading and less spending. That is the ultimate goal of this article. I hope we can help make things a little less confusing and make that purchase a little easier for somebody looking to purchase things once or twice, not ten times.

Cables can have a drastic effect on sound quality and they are never something to ignore or pass over, just as in 2 channel audio. The stock headphone cables, in some instances, are not satisfactory in terms of quality and should be replaced. Others are better but we still feel that replacing the headphone cable, equivalent to replacing speaker cable in 2 channel audio, is paramount to getting the last bit of performance out of those expensive headphones.

 

 

Replacing the stock cable also allows you to personalize the sound signature of your phones. Silver coated copper, pure silver, and copper Litz are available for our custom headphone cable conductors. You get to decide what length and what type of conductor you want based on the sound you tell us you are looking for. Each cable material has an effect on how the headphone will sound. It reminds me of voicing a 2 channel rig by using different interconnects and speaker cables. The finishing touches can be made to take your system to the next level if you so desire.

Now let's talk about headphone impedance and amp impedance matching. I have heard it said that the output impedance of your amp should be at minimum 1/8 the impedance of your headphones. This will help ensure a proper match for your amp and phones. Here's another cool site, Headphone & Amp Impedance, that goes deeper into this subject if you're interested. (We're not in entire agreement with all of the author's statements but it is a great reference none the less)

 

 

So, as an example, the Audeze LCD-2 has an impedance of 50 Ohms. The Schiit Valhalla 2 has an output impedance of 3.5 Ohms and 14 Ohms in low and high gain mode respectively. That means if we match the LCD-2 with the Valhalla 2, we're looking at (1/8)*(50 Ohms) which equals 6.25 Ohms. This is the highest impedance value we want to see when pairing these two by this rule of thumb above. This tells us that in low gain mode (3.5 Ohms) the Valhalla 2 will be able to mate with the LCD-2 but in high gain mode, the LCD-2 will most likely not match up with the Valhalla 2 and create good synergy. I indeed tried this second scenario and it did not pair well in my opinion. In fact, even though the Audiobot9000 site told me the Valhalla 2 could power the LCD-2, it did not sound 'right' to me compared to the Asgard 2, Lyr 2, or Mjolnir. Those 3 amps are a much better match and have better synergy together. Sound is a matter of taste so one listener's 'bright' is another listener's 'detailed' and so on and so forth. Without hearing for yourself, there is no way to know for sure if your gear will mate well together but at least we can get somewhat close.

 

 

The sensitivity (or commonly referred to as efficiency) of the headphone must be taken into account in the above scenario as well. Just because your impedance rules of thumb are followed, does not guarantee a good match. A very sensitive headphone may not work well with a very powerful amp and vice versa. In the case above, the Valhalla 2 is not a great match for the relatively power hungry LCD-2 (~90 db efficiency) no matter which gain setting is selected. I feel the Schiit Lyr 2 sounds the best and is the most versatile sounding with planar magnetics such as the LCD-2, LCD-3, and LCD-X / XC. On the contrary, the Audeze LCD-XC and Sennheiser HD800 are too sensitive for amps such as the Schiit Mjolnir which is very powerful and is designed for use with low efficiency headphones. The Mjolnir / LCD-XC combination still works but does not provide great synergy.

Other factors such as damping, driver type (planar magnetic vs. dynamic for example) and amplifier topology (solid state vs. tubes) also come into play when matching gear. Tubes always give the listener a chance to change the sonic signature of the headphone amp simply by rolling tubes. I prefer tubes myself just for this reason. Check with the amp manufacturer if different variants of the stock tubes will be compatible with that amp's topology. It is inadvisable to drop in replacement tubes blindly and hope for the best.

Unfortunately, sometimes there is no way to know if two components will work well after doing your homework without hearing them for yourself. That's where we come in handy to help you make those important decisions. We have experience with the Schiit line of amplifiers as well as the Sennheiser and Audeze lines. Drop us a line and we'll try to answer any synergy questions you have as far as matching components, etc. Don't hesitate to ask about different cable combinations with different headphone models. As always, let us know what you have in mind for a headphone cable and we're sure we can make it happen. Or at least we'll die trying... Thanks for reading and enjoy that music (but make sure your neighbors don't hate you for it).

- YFS Design Team

 

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by Kevin O'Brien on March 23, 2013

 

YFS 'SPLIT' REF USB

 


Our latest iteration of our YFS Ref USB cable, the Dual-Headed Reference USB 2.0 Interconnect, takes USB performance to the next level. In our case, that means more of what you want which is the most analog sound you can get from digital. Yes, even more analog than vinyl.

We've completely isolated the power and ground leads from the data + and - leads to allow for the most involving musical experience we've heard. This new design allows us to integrate the YFS 5 Volt linear DC power supply, the PS-5, into the mix and get even more performance out of our HD.Ref-3 SE music server transport.

Why rely on compromised USB power for your expensive DAC's USB input chip? We don't think it's the best idea especially if you're trying to achieve the highest level of music playback possible. A lot of DAC's are using the XMOS USB input chip which in most cases takes power from your computer's USB bus to run. We've substituted 5 volts of audiophile-grade linear DC power where you'd normally see 5 volts of computer USB bus power. The results are in the music. With the YFS power supply in the chain, you can rest assured you're getting the high quality power your USB enabled DAC deserves and the playback performance you demand.

Our dual-headed design can be used without the 5 volt linear power supply. The inherent isolation in the cable design gives you greater performance. You don't need to add the power supply.

Our attention to detail in our hand crafted cable designs is implemented in each and every YFS custom USB 2.0 interconnect and our new dual-headed design is no exception. We guarantee our new YFS Ref USB cable will be compatible with EVERY USB DAC or device.

We make a standard 1.0 meter length for our new dual-headed USB design but we may be able to accommodate different lengths if you ask nicely.

Unfortunately M2Tech USB input products such as the W4S DAC2 and the Off-Ramp SPDIF converters use the M2Tech USB input solution and do not use USB power so our cable isn't effective in these cases. This isn't the case for the M2Tech Hi-Face MkII which uses the XMOS chip but all other M2Tech USB products will not benefit from this cable technology.

Check out our 'Data-Only USB' article here for a [incomplete] list of compatible DAC's to use with our "Split" YFS Ref USB interconnects.

Check out a Stereomojo review of our YFS 'Split' Ref USB and our YFS PS-5 here.

Contact us for pricing and availability.

-YFS Design Team

 

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by Kevin O'Brien on June 10th, 2012

 

YFS REF USB

 

 

We have been working our butts off lately on an audiophile USB 2.0 interconnect that could deliver more to our customers than our current USB V4 model. You may ask, why are we continuously redeveloping our YFS products? We have to be honest here. We were perfectly happy and content with our V4 design until one of our customers asked us to come up with the best possible USB cable design we could build. It took us a few weeks but we have finally come up with THE statement USB 2.0 interconnect from YFS.

We call it the YFS USB Reference. It truly is our reference USB interconnect to measure all other USB cables we design by. We think it's that good! We have been absolutely thrilled at the responses we've been getting from our customers thus far. We took what we learned from our V4 design and then went the extra mile to ensure even better performance.

Our conductors are made from pure OFC copper and pure silver. We then implement our proprietary YFS 'DD' data leads configuration and totally separate power leads to isolate the data from the power. We top it off with our proprietary shielding technique for the finishing touch. Give one a shot and be blown away by what our competitors are currently charging $500 to $1,000 for.

Our Reference USB 2.0 interconnect only comes in a 1-meter length. This is based on the tedious work involved and the extra materials used to make the Reference design. It's not as easy as it looks. Contact us if you have a need for a length longer than 1 meter and we MAY be able to accommodate you. We aren't making any promises but we'll see what we can do. We provide our customers with a standard cable option as well as a Data-Only option for those of you who use data-only compatible equipment. See our data-only USB FAQ here.

Here's an excerpt from a recent review from one of our customers regarding the YFS USB Reference interconnect:

 

"Your YFS USB Reference is crisp, clear, and detailed. It conveys a DEEP sound-stage of instruments. It makes my listening room sound like a concert hall! It conveys a truly unique 3D depth to the music. It will only get better with more playing time I'm sure..."  JMTP

 

We are currently shipping the YFS USB Reference interconnect so drop us a line and hear one for yourself. 

Here's a YFS Ref USB review by Stereomojo!

THANKS for reading!

 -KOB

 

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by Kevin O'Brien on April 28th, 2012

 

YFS V4 USB

 

We decided it was about time to let our readers in on our latest custom USB 2.0 offering, the YFS USB V4. We went back to the drawing board and completely re-designed our V3 from the ground up! We're positive this V4 can outperform some of the stiffest USB competition out there.

The YFS design team employed the finest materials and craftsmanship in our current V4 design. We used a combination of copper and silver in our conductors as well as our new proprietary shielding technique. With our latest digital design techniques and our current space-age materials, there's no way the competition stands a chance.

We aren't afraid of the other guys anymore. We don't have to be. It's that simple.

We put the YFS USB V4 up against the Silnote Audio Poseidon Silver USB and we are confident the V4 is the winner. We're getting more detail, a better sound stage, and a KILLER bass response with our new V4 design. Our midrange response has at least equaled the silky smooth Poseidon's as well. There's no doubt in our minds that we've accomplished what we set out to do.

Our V4 USB 2.0 interconnect only comes in a 1-meter length. This is based on the tedious work involved and the extra materials used to make the V4 design. It's not as easy as it looks. Contact us if you have a need for a length longer than 1 meter and we MAY be able to accommodate you. We aren't making any promises but we'll see what we can do.

Find out what we're getting all excited about and send us an e-mail if you'd like to give one a shot.

 

Check out our YFS online store here. This is where you'll find our YFS music servers and various YFS USB 2.0 cable offerings.

If you're looking for even more performance from a YFS USB cable, check out our YFS USB Reference USB 2.0 cable here!

The YFS USB V4 is a true giant killer but don't let the price fool you.

It's performance is for real!

THANKS for your interest.

 -YFS Design Team

 

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 by Kevin O'Brien and Brad Easton on April 15, 2012.


We designed our latest YFS USB V2 to stand up to the competition. We feel it can hold its own quite well. We wanted a little more from our USB cable so we went ahead and made some improvements to our USB V2 design. We call it the YFS USB V3. We know it's not the most creative naming scheme so please forgive us.

We put our V2 design up against the Silnote Audio Poseidon silver conductor audiophile USB cable. In our listening tests the V2 was close but it didn't pack quite enough punch to hang with the Poseidon. The difference was slight but it was there. Alternatively, we feel the V3 updated design does pack enough performance to hang with the Poseidon. How do we know? We put them head to head and the V3 was still standing proud when we were done.

Most readers will want to know the main differences between the V2 and the V3 designs. We have spent considerable time with both and we can confidently say the V3 is just a little more refined than the V2. This rings true mainly in the detail and sound stage departments. We noticed a more open sound stage and more detail especially in the high end of the frequency response. Obviously, your mileage may vary but we're confident you'll notice a difference. Our V3 cable's performance and quality craftsmanship is guaranteed. Something tells us you'll be pretty excited when you see how much the competition is charging for the same performance point in their USB cable lines. ($450 to over $1000 for 1.0 meter)

If you're interested in the SCIENCE that goes into our USB cable designs, read our cable design FAQ here. We're pretty sure you'll get the basic idea behind what we're taking into account during our USB cable design process. If you've got any specific questions, just drop us an e-mail. Our contact info is located here. We'd be glad to help!

We're not firm believers in spending thousands of dollars on a single interconnect. It's just not feasible especially in today's economy. Do yourself a favor and give our USB V3 cable a try. If you're looking to get the most bang for your buck, you'll be glad you did. We guarantee it!

THANKS for reading!

***UNFORTUNATELY OUR YFS V3 USB CABLE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. PLEASE SEE OUR YFS V4 AND YFS Ref FOR OUR LATEST USB 2.0 INTERCONNECT OFFERINGS!!!***

CHECK OUT OUR ONLINE STORE HERE!!!

 -KOB, BJE

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 by Kevin O'Brien and Brad Easton on February 2012

We here at YFS are proud to offer our very first USB digital interconnect. We call it the YFS USB-V2. Are you wondering which USB 2.0 cable to use in your computer audiophile system? We have the perfect solution. First, ask yourself a few quick questions. Would you hook up your CD transport with a cheap Chinese digital cable? Would you skimp on performance to save 50 bucks? I don't think so. It's the same idea when it comes to hooking your computer up to your DAC. Don't compromise performance by using a cheap Chinese USB cable between your music server and your DAC.

Many folks in the audiophile world claim USB cables do not make a difference. Have they tried various cables or are they just assuming there's no difference? We HAVE tried various cables and we GUARANTEE the YFS USB-V2 will beat ANY cheap Chinese USB cable out there! We don't feel our claim is wild or unjustified.


I want to touch on some factors we used to come up with our USB cable. The following is from our F.A.Q. section. Go there to read the entire article. Here is an excerpt:

 

The digital cable affects data transmission by distorting the square wave pulse, reducing the amplitude, causing phase (time) delay, and coupling noise into the data stream.  This ultimately leads to detection threshold errors on the peripheral side of things which translates into lost or incorrect bits.  So our goal is to maintain signal integrity at high frequency (Fast edges translate into high frequencies, remember our old friend Fourier).   The first step is to optimize cable physical geometry, including placement of conductors, shielding, and grounding.  Transmit/receive termination admittance, cable distributed capacitance/inductance, and EMI/EMC are considered in the data channel optimization.  Power channel wiring employs shielded oversized conductors to reduce loses in longer cables.  Both channels have 93% silver plated copper braided shields.  One version also includes a 100% coverage metalized Mylar shield in addition to the braided shield (helps with EMI/EMC requirements but didn’t affect sound in our tests).  Separate shield for data and power channels reduces BER by decoupling power supply noise from the data channel.   A very important aspect of any cable design is the material choice, both conductor and dielectric.  Our material selection is based on years of experience in the aerospace industry where signal integrity and low noise are paramount.  Employing the proper dielectric (optimized dielectric constant /dielectric absorption) makes a huge difference in waveform integrity. (and it’s NOT Teflon like most people think!)

-MOB

 

Our YFS cable design team used only the finest data transfer cable available and then used our proprietary shielding technique to bring you a truly cutting edge USB 2.0 digital interconnect. We did our homework and we think you'll agree that this is one sweet USB 2.0 cable!

***UNFORTUNATELY OUR YFS V2 USB CABLE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. PLEASE SEE OUR YFS V4 AND OUR YFS Ref FOR OUR LATEST USB 2.0 INTERCONNECT OFFERINGS!!!*** 

CHECK OUT OUR ONLINE STORE!!!

 

We GUARANTEE you'll like it.

 

 - YFS Cable Design Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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