|Olive Opus No4 Music Server Review|
|Home Theater Media Servers Music Servers|
|Written by Todd Whitesel|
|Friday, 23 October 2009|
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Back in 1981 Sammy Hagar had a big radio hit, singing, “There's only one way to rock.” When it comes to setting up a digital music server, however, there's most definitely more than one way. There's hundreds of ways, but most of us want something simple. Digital audiophiles go to great lengths to turn laptops or old towers into music servers, running them through digital-to-analog converters to boost the sound and then using any number of ways to stream the music to an audio system. The drawback of such an approach means that you have an extra computer, and that it always has to be turned on, and so on. A better solution, in my mind, is to bring all aspects of computer audio together into a single server, player and streamer. And that's just what the Olive Opus 4 Hi-Fi Digital Stereo does. It makes its easy for anyone to corral a large music collection and access it from a single point and call it good.
Second, it's easy and fun to use. Getting the Opus 4 up and running took about 30 minutes. The only parts to fiddle with are the supplied WiFi antenna, power cord and remote control. The unit walks you through setup and makes connecting to wireless router a snap – just make sure you have the router password handy. I connected the Opus 4 to an amplifier via the RCA outputs, adjusted the volume and was soon listening to music. My review unit came ready with a bunch of music spanning multiple genres, so I was able to dial in to everything from Beethoven and Michael Buble to Eric Clapton and John Mayor.
Third, memory is upgradable. It wasn't too long ago when 100GB seemed as big as the solar system; not so now. We're now in the Terabyte age, and for those like me with massive music collections it's possible to fill a 1 or 2 TB drive with uncompressed music files. The Opus I received for review had 500 GB of memory, which is sufficient for most households. Such a system can hold approximately 812 CDs in WAV format, 1,433 in FLAC and 8,957 in respective MP3 and AAC formats at 128 kbit/s. Currently, the Opus 4 is offered with either a 500 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB drive. Even a music junkie would have a task to fill the 2 TB, holding some 5,778 CDs in FLAC format. But it would be fun to try!
If you'd rather watch paint dry than load a bulging CD collection into the Opus 4, Olive can help. The company offers a preload service, including the first 100 discs free of charge, whereby your server will come filled and ready to play. Purchase an Opus 4 online and choose the preload option. Bundle your CDs on a spindle, package and send to Olive using a supplied shipping label, order and tracking number. Olive will digitize your collection, converting the music to FLAC. The discs are also tagged with relevant music information (album, artist, song etc.) and album artwork. Visit http://www.olive.us/products/preload_process.html for complete pricing details.
The front display is actually a high-resolution (480 x 272 pixels) 4.3 inch, color LCD touchscreen that is also controllable via remote. Music can be sorted by artist, album name, album art, genre and more. Once you load the Opus 4 up with albums, it's pretty cool to scan through the library via album artwork. Bring an album's artwork to the forefront and press OK on the remote to access the songs.