Hey I stumbled across one of these in my stereophile mags and it seems like a really cool component. From what I gather the olive symphony is a cd player which has a hard drive to which it can stro 80 gb of music and stream it via wifi to up to five computers. Thats incredible? First question to come to mind though could this unit at 500 dollars (listed at 900 but can be found heavely discounted online), including all of these features possibly have a decent analog output for normal cd listening. While very feature heavy, indeed, I question the raw quality a unit like this can produce at such a low price point. After all a 80 gb ipod will run you 350 dollars and this unit can be found for only 500 dollars off nextag. Hey, if produces quality audio and can store all your music so that you never have to pop open a cd again, why not pick one up? Especially for those like myself going away to college or simply require a user friendly hassle free component. Also I gather it has usb inputs to allow streaming music from a computer and also as an antenna which can receive internet radio. What a plethora of features! Pease tell me its not too good to be true
Heres a link to the stereophile review http://www.stereophile.com/mediaservers/406olive/
I would prefer a modest PC or Mac over the Olive, (at least that particular model). Granted, the Olive's price, if $500, sounds pretty good but a PC would cost no more. A few of obvious problems I have with the Olive are:
80 GB is far too little storage for my needs. I currently have about 500 CDs ripped to Apple Lossless format and that requires 200 GB.
The Olive display is hopeless cramped and inadequate for classical music management and it doesn't show cover art which I kinda like.
What faclities does it provide for backups? It's taken me hundreds of hours to rip my CDs and it would be huge pain to have to do it all over again should the hard disk fail, (and all hard disks eventually fail).
You're limited to the built-in music management software, presumably.
I paid about $250 for my dedicated PC plus another $200 for a couple of external USB drives, one used for backup. My display is 15" monitor, (an old one I had), not a squinty 3x5" mono LCD. On that PC I can run whichever music manager/player I like: right now I have installed iTunes, WinAmp, and Foobar2000. Nope, that Olive is not for me.
I have the Olive Musica. Although I have not yet implemented a PC connection. The Olive comes with built in wireless access. I presume you can back up the hard drive on your PC. I know you can download songs from the PC to the Olive.
It is supposed to have an extremely good DAC and audio stage, I use mine connected to an external Levinson DAC. It sounds as good as any other player I've used as a transport.
So far I've loaded about 200 CD's in lossless format the drive is about 65% full.
The best feature? Push random, days and days of music.
The worst, Yep that LCD sucks big time.
If you decide to buy, take advantage of their offer to load your CDs for you. It takes hours and hours even at 4-8X speed.
Most PCs are acoustically (and electrically) noisy. Most are ugly. The wife factor prevents this solution for me. I do not regret the Olive purchase in any way.
Olive Musica/transport and server
Mark Levinson No.360S D to A
Passive pre (homemade; Shallco, Vishay, Cardas wire/connectors)
Cardas Golden Presence IC
Pass Labs X250
Martin Logan ReQuests.