• New Olive 4HD Music Server

    Today Olive launched its new 4HD music server. Olive has been know for great design of both hardware and software. The 4HD music server appears to continue Olive's attention to details in these areas. The user interface and ease of use of the 4HD looks really good. The 4HD as a whole is a really simple solution with room to branch out. It's simple because one pops a CD in the slot and it rips.

     



    Room to branch out comes via a digital input on the 4HD. Olive touts the internal DAC as best-in-breed and the digital input allows users to connect a computer to the 4HD and use the 4HD's DAC. I can visualize a friend bringing an iPod over to the house and connecting it to the 4HD via the Wadio i170 with a little S/PDIF coax to TosLink converter. Very nice feature. Plus, readers who've already invested heavily in a high quality DAC can still use this DAC because the 4HD offers optical and coaxial digital outputs in addition to analog outputs. Olive also supports an iPhone remote control with full album art much the same as Apple's iTunes Remote application. Click on the image below to visit the Olive site, read all the details, and view some really nice photos of the 4HD.

     


    olive 4hd


     

     
    Comments 40 Comments
    1. xjeep's Avatar
      xjeep -
      So for the past what seems forever now, ive been thinking about ditching the CD player and moving to the computer and DAC configuration as my source for awhile now... My biggest hesatation i guess would be how much noise is present in the computer itself aside from the fans... When i look at this product from OLIVE 4HD it makes me think... Maybe i dont need to use a computer after all. I could rip my music to this OLIVE 4HD and connect it to my DAC (Im now considering upgrading to the ALPHA DAC by the way) And then feeding the signal directly (using the digital volume) into a pair of BRYSTON 2B-SST2 both bridged into mono... This little set up kind of gets me excited for a couple reasons... One- not sonically important, but cool factor important, is the simple fact its a gorgeous piece and looks to be well build and engineered, two- it has a great touch interface, and the iphone/touch remote is just icing on the cake. And 3- im hoping it will sound better than a computer( pc/apple) simply because its purpose built... Oh and on a side note, i also love that i can purchase OLIVEs 2 HIFI player attach it to my bedroom stereo and have full access to my main sytem on the OLIVE 4HD (by the way. The 2 TB it offers, is more than enough for me right now)... At first glance it sounds like a supreme set up... <br />
      <br />
      When i look at this product it makes me think of the Meridian Sooloos (which would be my system of choice, above all else if it would play higher bit rate, but last i heard it doesnt), but a smaller version with a much smaller touch screen interface like the Sooloos... But i guess the real question is, can it sound as good as the Sooloos if i bypass the OLIVEs internal DAC and use the ALPHA DAC? I got a feeling better, while costing about 3k less. yes/no???<br />
      <br />
      Oh and another possible advantage i thought of with this product, I got a feeling it will hold its value allot better than a computer of comparable price as well, so in the future when i want to upgrade the source upon selling the OLIVE im guessing i will have more money to put towards the next source unit... lol or it being such a pretty unit i think i could easily find other places in the house to put it... <br />
      <br />
      lol... hmmm it seems I come to really love the idea of this guy doesn't it guys... *smiles* BY THE WAY...GREAT SITE CHRIS... Been really enjoying all the advice...<br />
      <br />
      The other option pryer to coming across this OLIVE was to build a custom tower from scratch and feed it into the ALPHA etc etc...<br />
      <br />
      What do you guys think of this?<br />
      <br />
      Oh and Chris are you going to review this OLIVE product at all in the hopefully near future, or has anyone else heard one... The DAC in it alone might be a huge step up from what im using now which is the Cambridge Audio 840c internal DAC...<br />
      <br />
      Thanks<br />
      <br />
      Cam
    1. firefly0071's Avatar
      firefly0071 -
      A review on another web site of the Olive 4 said that the sound quality was equivalent to a Rega Apollo. The Rega Apollo costs something in the order of $US1,500.<br />
      <br />
      The Naim HDX (music player) has the sound quality of an audiophile CD Player but not a reference CD player.<br />
      <br />
      Many people on this website prefer to build rather than purchase a brand system music player.<br />
      <br />
      There are merits either way. In the hifi world there are vinyl enthusiasts, CD enthusiasts, head phone enthusiasts etc and each group is adamant that their system is the best.<br />
      <br />
      Unless of course people have multi systems.<br />
      <br />
      People should aim for the best sound quality depending upon circumstances i.e. mobile, in the office (headphone system etc).<br />
      <br />
      For those with an audiophile system already such as as a CD one, there is not much point converting to computer audio purely based on sound quality unless there is sufficent 24 bit sound quality music.<br />
      <br />
      The debate over computer audio is similar to the debate over the relevance of vinyl when CDs were released 25 years ago.<br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hi Cam - Since I haven't used this product yet, I really can't speak to it's sonic quality. But, I think you're right on with you're thoughts about looks, ease of use, and even connecting it to an Alpha DAC. Hopefully I can get my hands on one for a review. I'd like to represent the non-system builders on the site just as much as the system builder type readers. Both routes are equally as valid and have their places in high end audio.
    1. xjeep's Avatar
      xjeep -
      Sounds as good as the Rega Apollo you say... hmm if this review is correct then this is outstanding value, and even better value still when you consider the Apollo will not play 24/192, While the Olive does... The Apollo is a great little CD player. Hmm but this tells me this OLIVE 4HD will as a stand alone player will not sound better than my current player (Cambridge 840c) But with all the added features that a CD player cant offer and the simple fact im upgrading to an external DAC anyways. I like this little SERVER even more now...<br />
      <br />
      Only draw backs are, i wish OLIVE would have given us a version that had no DAC, if only as a way to drop the price a little. And since, i feel most guys are going to want to use there own DAC of choice anyways.<br />
      And secondly i wish they had an automatic back up. So i dont have to worry about backing up all my music manually. But with that said, i guess you can now buy external hard drives that have a one button touch feature that will do an automatic backup for you with out any software interface....<br />
      <br />
      Ive been spending allot of time today reading everything i can on this Olive 4HD. I got a feeling i will end up buying one of these guys in the future, unless something else comes out and catches my eye even more than this Server did between now and then.<br />
      <br />
      Oh and Chris Thanks for the reply and for the open mindedness. I hope you can review this Olive soon. Another product i think you should also consider looking at is the NUFORCE Music Server. It catches ones eye as well. But at $500 more than the Olive with no built in DAC , only 500 GB hard drive and no built in touch interface. If it does not sound better, then im afraid its not of same Value... <br />
      <br />
      Thanks again<br />
      <br />
      Cam
    1. firefly0071's Avatar
      firefly0071 -
      If you are inthe US, hten it is even better value. <br />
      <br />
      I am in Sydney and there is further margin forimportin and lack of scale in the Australian market.<br />
      <br />
      If you want a reference Computer audio or CD or vinyl etc, then expect big money.<br />
      <br />
      A reference level amp is easily over $5USk, speakers over $US10k etc.<br />
      <br />
      Olive HD at the price can't be expected tobe a reference system. A Weiss DAC is $US5k alone.<br />
      <br />
      Treat it as it is.<br />
      <br />
      There are more than one way to achieve audiphile or reference quality sound quality.
    1. Encore's Avatar
      Encore -
      Couldn't find this on the page with tech specs: http://www.olivehifi.com/products/C81/<br />
      Does anybody know?
    1. xjeep's Avatar
      xjeep -
      Oh shit, i never even thought of that... Good question... I just assume it did simply because its own dac goes as high as 24/192.<br />
      <br />
      I guess i should look into that myself... Im going to email them right now.
    1. firefly0071's Avatar
      firefly0071 -
      It implies 24 bit.<br />
      <br />
      The website says it can store HD tracks. See quote below:<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      "Access all your digitized music from one centralized library.<br />
      Everything from 24-bit HD files to 16-bit converted CDs will be right at home. Convenient storage, easy touchscreen access and the ability to play it all in any room of your home. Now you'll enjoy your music collecton more than ever. "<br />
      <br />
      So a high resolution music server.,<br />
      <br />
      <br />
      <br />
    1. xjeep's Avatar
      xjeep -
      I dont think thats what he is asking...<br />
      <br />
      We know it stores and can access 24/192 res tracks... But the question is, will the OLIVEs digital output have the bandwidth to out put the 24/192 tracks to and outboard DAC...<br />
      <br />
      This is a good question because i have come across other products that can play 24/192, but cant output 24/192 to another source... The Transporter comes to mind.<br />
      <br />
      I email OLIVE to find out... I need to know this myself anyways. I should not leave it up to assumptions...
    1. firefly0071's Avatar
      firefly0071 -
      Misunderstanding of the question.<br />
      <br />
      Yes outputting 24bitt would be great to an external DAC!
    1. xjeep's Avatar
      xjeep -
      I just got a reply from OLIVE. They said the outputs do support 24/192 at the outputs... Sweeeeeeeeeeet!!!!!!
    1. Encore's Avatar
      Encore -
      Great, thanks, xjeep. This may be a one-box alternative to Linn's products, then. The quality of the digital out should be tested first, though. From my experience, albeit short, with the Sneaky, it's digital output is really excellent.
    1. firedog's Avatar
      firedog -
      If you are thinking of going into the world of hi-res files, then this sounds like a very good value. There aren't many solutions that do what this does (native playback of hi-res files, networking, CD ripping) and not at the price.<br />
      <br />
      I'm sure it would sound good through your external DAC. If you get one, I'd like to hear a comparison between the sound from your DAC vs the analogue output of the Olive.<br />
      <br />
      You could build a fanless music server with a professional level sound card or high-end external USB sound card for less money ($1000-$1500 if you go very high-end); but the UI and looks wouldn't be as nice, and the hi-res aspect would still be problematic, especially with USB.<br />
      <br />
      The home built solution has the advantage that upgrades and repairs can be done with off the shelf parts, and without sending the unit out. The Olive is a "closed"system; you can't (aren't supposed to) service it or install your own software on it. On your own PC/MAC you can install any playback/media/sound software and hardware you want.<br />
      <br />
      I'm not sure how well the resale value will hold up. You will probably be able to get an even better unit in a few years with an SS Drive instead of HD. Remember, just 2-3 years ago Olive was selling units with 160GB drives that didn't do hi-res.<br />
      <br />
      Maybe you should play it safe and wait to hear the unit or read some reviews to see if its digital or analogue output are truly audiophile quality before you buy.<br />
      <br />
      But if you're moving toward playback of hi-res files I think this is a good deal. Once you ditch the CD player and load up a music server like the Olive, you'll be amazed at how much more convenience and pleasure you get out of your music collection. And for those that haven't tried it, a well implemented HD playback system (good DAC, and low jitter output) will sound better than just about any CD deck.
    1. robyatt's Avatar
      robyatt -
      I just received my Olive 4HD (Opus), and two Olive 2's (Melody). The sound quality of the $ HD as in burnt in after several days continues to get better and better. A little soft lacking in detail, but unoffensive and very listen-able. No competition to a Music Vault with a Lynx AES16 SRC card and outboard DAC.<br />
      However the Wi Fi capabilities are crippling the 2's, 80% of the time, cannot find the 4HD!! Software lock ups in the 4 HD and the almost non functioning Maestro, itouch/phone control, are very upsetting. It has potential to be a really sexy system, but has a looooong way to go
    1. xjeep's Avatar
      xjeep -
      Hmmmm well that sounds bothersome...<br />
      <br />
      But in your opinion what would you compare the Olive HD to? I find your statement about how it does not compare to a music vault with the lynx card to be vague and incomplete if you dont state a specific DAC...<br />
      <br />
      Since in essence its just a computer with an onboard DAC... What are you comparing it to? Do you have a CD player in mind you can compare it to?<br />
      <br />
      Plus do you think its possible you might have a defective product if youre having so many software problems? I would think that the two should be able to find each other with ease, since being built by the same manufacturer...
    1. robyatt's Avatar
      robyatt -
      I am a beta tester for Chesky HD tracks and personally built a Music Server, using a Music Vault, Lynx AES 16SRC card and Almann BYOB Arttraction DAC. The DAC is only bettered by the $24K top of the line MSB! WE have access to all the best current DAC's and these are our findings, so far. I don't play many CD's but when I do I use an AYON CD-1. This I prefer to my Reimyo CDP777, or PitTracer/Gemini DAC combo, I also own. David and I both own Quad 57's rebuilt by Wayne Piquent and ASR Emitter amps.<br />
      I find the Olive sound to be soft and easy, but nicely musical and evolving, not particularly resolving or dynamic, though. The problem is units wi-fi capabilities, as a house system are very limited. They have software glitches at every stage. IMHO opinion it has been released on Joe Public way to soon.
    1. MarkC's Avatar
      MarkC -
      <br />
      Have any others had these type of problems with the Olive unit? I am most concerned on the luck-ups within the 4HD and maestro problems?<br />
      <br />
    1. iceb0ys@yahoo.com's Avatar
      iceb0ys@yahoo.com -
      Hi there,<br />
      <br />
      I'm planning to have a music system and merit this olive with these;<br />
      1. AV Processor : Rotel RSP-1570 (7.1 Home Theater Surround Processor/Preamplifier) http://www.rotel.com/UK/products/ProductDetails.htm?Id=474<br />
      2. Power Amp : Rotel RMB-1575 (Multi Canal)<br />
      http://www.rotel.com/UK/products/ProductDetails.htm?Id=475<br />
      3. Paradigm Preference 100 v5<br />
      <br />
      Any comment or sugestion ?
    1. chasm's Avatar
      chasm -
      I spoke with Charles of Olive today. One of the things he told me that I had not seen before was that though you can store music files from the 4/4HD to A NAS or equivalent storage device for backup purposes, the content is stored in an encrypted fashion, only usable by Olive. While you can import your content in the allowable formats, saved content can't be used for other purposes. So if down the road you wish to upgrade to another unit, it has to be Olive for the data to be accessible.
    1. firefly0071's Avatar
      firefly0071 -
      A computer based system will certainly be competitive.<br />
      <br />
      I am sure that the depreciation cost of a computer is greater than an Olive 4HD.