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Old 02-19-2008   #25
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Default Re: I am thinking of getting an Audiophile only server

I am surprised there isn't more love for Olive in this thread. It's true that hard drives are not easily replaceable, but you can add an external USB drive and store silly quantities of lossless music. Also, while they are not the cheapest things ever made, they actually are at the low end of the scale for hard-drive-based units and computer-based systems often get high-end DACs that take the cost into the Olive range. More to the point, I think the Olives sound genuinely good and that, even for just straight CD playback, they exceed the entry level by a good margin. They are not difficult to configure for a wireless device and you can edit the metadata easily using your nearby computer.

I have both a stock unit and a Red Wine modded battery-powered unit. The latter sounds better, to be sure, but the newest generation of the Opus has some serious upgrades that might make it sound the Red Wine's equal. The only knock I have against either of my units is that the backup routine is pretty crude. However, some other drive-based servers don't have that capability at all. I grant you that ease of backup is a huge advantage of computer-based systems, but there's something to be said for the Olives' ability to integrate right into an audio system without taking more space than any other CD player would.

I love mine even with the backup issues, and suggest you consider the current Olive versions or a Red Wine version of any of the previous releases. I don't think you'd be disappointed.
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Old 02-19-2008   #26
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Default Re: I am thinking of getting an Audiophile only server

I guess for me the one thing that has me going nutz over the whole music server thing is the total and complete lack of standardization.

I already have all my and my wifes CD's on HDs in AIFF (I'm a Mac guy) so totally uncompressed. I can, in theory convert them to anything I want at any time now, but many servers will not allow me to use or import these files to them.

If they could reach an agreement on a standard, all the problems would go away (granted all the market share for the high end guys might too but it would be great for me!)

For now, I will keep my simple computer based server for day to day casual listening. I really don't want to swap in and out all those discs again. I have already done it almost three times now, the first time I screwed up my computer early on and lost all the data, no big deal, only ~1-200 discs in by then. The second time I did it in MP3 @ 192k, OK, great for an iPod but not much else, so then I decided as HD space is so cheap to do it completely uncompressed and this is where I am now.

Just remembered I need to buy another external HD to back all this up to....
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Old 04-23-2008   #27
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Default Re: I am thinking of getting an Audiophile only server

i would not recommend a laptop for a music server. laptops are not meant to be kept on all the time. they get pretty hot and they don't dissipate heat very well. try using your laptop on your legs for a couple of hours straight and see if it gets very warm. i use a mac mini, quiet, cool running, the best Operating system, and itunes is a nice interface. i use this as my server to a whole house music system. i use airport express devices using wired or wireless connections. i have jitter reduction devices after the airport express devices. huge difference. from the jitter devices, i go into external dacs, then into my preamps. i have $2000 and $3500 external dacs and they make the sound very musical, and easily compares to my multi thousand $$$ cd player.
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Old 04-24-2008   #28
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Default Re: I am thinking of getting an Audiophile only server

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i would not recommend a laptop for a music server. laptops are not meant to be kept on all the time. they get pretty hot and they don't dissipate heat very well. try using your laptop on your legs for a couple of hours straight and see if it gets very warm. i use a mac mini, quiet, cool running, the best Operating system, and itunes is a nice interface. i use this as my server to a whole house music system. i use airport express devices using wired or wireless connections. i have jitter reduction devices after the airport express devices. huge difference. from the jitter devices, i go into external dacs, then into my preamps. i have $2000 and $3500 external dacs and they make the sound very musical, and easily compares to my multi thousand $$$ cd player.
The reason I prefer a lap top is its size. With just 3 connections (A.C. adapter, digital audio and USB) I can move it in and out of my system easily. It isn't an iPod, but it is somewhat portable.

I'm currently using a Dell Precision M90 w/120GB HD running Vista Ultimate. Graphics is handled by an NVIDIA Quadro FX 2500M. Audio is SigmaTel High Definition Audio Codec.

When I'm entertaining, or not really interested in serious listening, I use Media Server with remote control to access my music library. With this combination of hardware/software the lap top doesn't need to be open. The M90 even has volume and player control buttons which are functional and accessible without opening the lid!

As far as heat is concerned, I don't rest it in my lap and when its not in use it goes into hibernation. In this standby mode it generates little, if any heat. Also duo core seems to generate far less heat than single core machines, especially when running from the A.C. adapter.
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Old 04-25-2008   #29
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Default Re: I am thinking of getting an Audiophile only server

An audiophile music server, no holds barred, must play music exactly the same as a high quality CD player. Agreed? To do this I started with a high quality CD player with a digital input, such as the Sim Supernova. I then put music onto an XP running pc in WAV format loaded with 2 500 gig drives. Next I connected the PC via a coax digital cable to the Supernova and compared. That is, I compared the music played through the server to the same CD played through the Sim. The sound was good, very good to most ears, but the server was definitely brighter sounding with the richness and some of the presence gone. To make a long story short, I read all of the stories I could find out there and tried FLAC, Linux, Vista, M-Audio sound cards, new drivers, new external transports / burners and, of course new cables and new ways of making the connections with some of the best cables available. While things improved, none of it was perfect and without that, I knew I would be back listening to the Sim directly. In the end, what did the trick was a Plextor external burner, an iMAC with 2 external 500 gig drives (plus two more 500 gig drives for backing up) running iTunes having all songs recorded in AIFF format, 3 Kimber USB cables, a USBHAG usb to coax converter, a simple metal converter to directly couple that to a Monarchy DIP de-jitter / up sampling device, and a Cardas Digital Neutral Reference cable to the digital in of the Sim. That is an all out system that makes music exactly like the cd player alone. Overboard, yes, but it does what it should. That said, Wavelength audio now makes some excellent stand alone DACs that would eliminate the need for the SIM and some cables, but not the iMac. If you have a high end CD player with digital in or want to be able to play a single disc through a stand alone player, then the Sim is an excellent choice.
Nothing else that I have heard, and I have have heard several of the high end servers out there and made several others using a lot of other PC knowledge, are as good, yet many, including the Transporter and Arcam do an excellent job if not being directly compared to a high end cd player. Also remember that using an iMac gives me a large screen with a remote that lets me scan through songs, artists, albums, etc. from my listening position.
I had a blast doing this, but a 3 week project turned into a 10 month one to get it right. In the end though, it is pretty darn perfect. a dozen

Now I am attacking my analog system.
That is my 2 cents and then some.
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Old 04-25-2008   #30
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Cool Re: I am thinking of getting an Audiophile only server

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Originally Posted by tc4all View Post
An audiophile music server, Also remember that using an iMac gives me a large screen with a remote that lets me scan through songs, artists, albums, etc. from my listening position.
That is my solution for high end music and soon movie server 1Mac with !t of Hard Drive apple lossless and great apple remote.
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