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Olive 06HD Music Server Preview

Olive 06HD Music Server

Olive 06HD Music Server


  • Product Name: 06HD
  • Manufacturer: Olive
  • Review Date: February 07, 2011 02:10
  • MSRP: $4,999
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

Fully balanced differential Digital Analog Converter (DAC)

  • Two TI 192khz/24-bit Burr- Brown PCM1792 running in mono mode

  • Ultra-low jitter master clock (10 picoseconds after re-clocking)

  • TI SRC4194 Asynchronous Sample Rate Converter (Up-sampling to 24-bit/384 kHz)

  • Ultra-fast op amps (< 20V/us slew-rate)

  • Analog filter: 2nd-order Bessel reconstruction filter

State-of-the-art technology platform & high-speed processor

  • Flawless encoding and decoding of lossless audio format

  • Fast management and access to extensive music libraries

  • Supports simultaneous streaming of high quality audio to multiple rooms

Hard Drive

  • Ultra-quiet 2TB AV hard drive

  • Holds almost 20,000 HD tracks or 6,000 CDs in original quality

  • Cushioned in 8 layers of noise canceling padding


  • High fidelity TEAC CDRW mechanism

  • Import: Audio CDs

  • Burn: Audio CDs, MP3 CDs, Data CDs

High-end Headphone Output Powered by...

  • Dedicated TI 192khz/24-bit Burr- Brown PCM1792

  • TI's top-of the line TPA6120A2 High Performance Audio Amplifier (current-feedback architecture)

Audio Connectors

  • Analog Output:
    - 1x XLR (balanced), made by Neutrik
    - 1x RCA, (24k gold-plated)
    - 1x Headphone, stereo, 6.4 mm

  • Digital Output:
    - 1x AES/EBU (balanced), made by Neutrik
    - 1x S/P DIF optical Toslink,
    - 1x S/P DIF coaxial cinch, 24k gold-plated

Supported Audio Formats

  • Bit rate: 16-bit, 20-bit, 24-bit

  • Sampling Frequency: 10kHz up to 200kHz

  • WAV, FLAC, MP3 (128 and 320 kbit/s), AAC (128 kbit/s)


  • Wireless, 802.11n (54 Mbit/s), Encryption: WEP, WPA, WPA2, 64- and 128-bit

  • 1x Wired Gigabit Ethernet

Other Ports

  • 1 x HDMI (480p, 60Hz)

  • 1 x USB 1.1/2.0

  • Infrared Receiver Input

Color touch-screen

  • 10.1'' wide-aspect ratio
  • High-resolution (800 x 480 pixels)
  • Glass-on-Glass touch-screen technology

High-precision linear power supply

  • Separate supplies for analog and digital components
  • High-performance AC line filter (ultra-high noise attenuation at close to 80db)
  • Custom-built toroidal transformer
  • Large reservoir capacitors
  • Ultra-low noise linear regulators (two stages of regulation, dedicated linear regulator for the clock generator)
  • Passive cooling concept no fan


  • Anodized fine-grade aluminum shell
  • Passive cooling without noisy fan
  • Ultra-quiet operations


  • Width 17.125"
  • Height 4.5" (at highest point)
  • Depth 14"
  • Weight 16.5 lb


  • Silver or Black

Box also includes

  • User manual, Remote control with battery w/ battery, WiFi-antenna, Power cord.

Executive Overview

We've seen more than a few music servers in our time and we have to admit, it's hard to get excited about them. Yes they are cool and yes we love them, but come on, they are box that generally looks suspiciously like a DVD player that holds your music. Necessary? Yes. Exciting? Perhaps not.

Unless you are talking about Olive.

We've had a number of experiences with Olive products and they've all been positive. Their products often have very easy to use interfaces, functionality you won't know you need until you experience it, and tons of storage. Most of all, however, is their commitment to audio fidelity. While others are bragging about how many songs you can shove on their thumb-sized MP3 players, what they aren't telling you is how bad it will all sound. When Olive quotes the number of songs their devices will hold, they are generally referring to original quality. That's CD quality. And that's the way we want our music stored. Not compressed to death. Not crushed into a lifeless shadow devoid of dynamics and depth. Just like the original. Face it, we didn't invest so much into speakers just to have them subjected to the atrocity that is 128 bit compression.

When Olive announces a new flagship product, we can't help but take notice. We know it isn't going to be cheap but we also know that the greatest care will be taken in insuring that the audio quality is top notch. The new Olive 06HD Music Server is, according to Olive, designed for audiophiles so you know no aspect of the audio chain was overlooked.

First, let's address the insides. The Olive 06HD features a 2 terabyte hard drive that is capable of storing 20,000 HD tracks or 6000 CDs in original quality. That's, usually, more than enough space for just about any audioholic. We can think of a few people that might want more, but not many. The 06HD features a high fidelity TEAC CDRW mechanism for importing and burning audio CDs plus burning MP3 and data CDs. The 06HD supports 16, 20, and 2-bit encoding with a sampling frequency from 10kHz up to 200kHz. You can burn in uncompressed WAV (raw CD) or lossless FLAC (we've tested it, it really is lossless). If you have to compress something MP3 at 128 and 320 kbit/s is available as is AAC at 128 kbit/s. That last one is important as it makes it possible to export your iProducts easily as it is their default format.

Lest we forget, there is a lot of technology in the 06HD for maintaining the purity of the audio signal. First there are separate supplies for analogue and digital components. The 06HD has two TI 192kHz/ 24-bit Burr-Brown PCM1792 DACs with an ultra-low jitter master clock. TI has also provided their SRC4194 Asynchronous Sample Rate Converter for upsampling all the way to 24-bit/384. The 2 TB hard drive is cushioned in 8 layers of noise canceling padding and the 06HD is designed for passive cooling which means no fan noise. The high performance AC line filter reduces noise from the power input by close to 80dB. Olive has included a custom-built toroidal transformer, large reservoir capacitors, and ultra-low noise linear regulators to power the unit without corrupting the signal. 

Olive has always included networking in their products and the 06HD is no different. There is a wireless, 802.11n (54 Mbit/s) receiver that supports WEP, WPA, WPA2, 64- and 128-bit encryption and a wired Gigabit Ethernet port. This gives you all the access you need to get online for album art, streaming from other networked sources, and control.

Oh yes, control.

Sure there is an included remote but that's so 1995. Better to use the web app that can access your content (just point a browser on the network to the right URL) or, better yet, you can download Olive's App and you can control the music and the unit from your smart phone or iPad. If you really want a big screen, you can use the 06HD's HDMI output (limited to 480p but it's just doing menus and album art so who cares). But if you are an old school user and actually want to get up to control your music, or maybe you just want to have 06HD near you, you can use the 10.1" top mounted touchscreen.

In probably one of the odder decisions we've seen in recent years, Olive has slanted the top of their unit down so that you can put it next to you and control it from the top. Or just walk across the room and control it. Either way, you aren't stacking anything else on top of it. While surely a very unique solution, it speaks to the design goal behind the Olive 06HD. This is not a unit that was designed to be shoved in a media closet or hidden in a cabinet. This is meant to be the focal point of your music room. With the top mounted screen, this is surely going to be the case.

o4hd_angle     o4hd_back

On the back you'll find every output you could expect on a high end music server. The Olive 06HD has both an analogue and digital outputs. On the digital side there are both optical and coaxial outputs as well as an AES/EBU balanced output made by Neutrik. On the analogue side there are XLR and RCA outputs as well as a dedicated front-mounted headphone output with it's own volume control.


There is a lot more we could have talked about with the Olive 06HD. It supports multi-room audio. It has a dedicated TI 192khz/24-bit Burr-Brown PCM1792 DAC and TI's top-of the line TPA6120A2 High Performance Audio Amplifier (current-feedback architecture) just for the headphone output. No expense was spared on the Olive 06HD so you shouldn't be surprised at the $5000 price tag. They are currently taking pre-orders on their website. While this is surely a niche product for those that are concerned by the minutia of high fidelity (without being deluded that vinyl was somehow the pinnacle) and want to have all their content in once place, it is surely a showpiece. With all the ways to control it including an iPod app and a 10.1" touch screen installed in the top, it's surely a unique device. Add to that an absolute focus on audio fidelity incorporating some of the best components on the market, and you can see where all your money is going.

For more information, please visit www.olive.us.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

jinjuku posts on February 08, 2011 17:09
theaudioguy, post: 790656
I think the nice thing about this solution is that it takes the need for a PC out of the equation for those making the transition from CDs to a digital music library. Not to mention the outstanding audio capabilities of the balanced XLR outputs. You'd have to get some serious components together (on your own) if you were gonna build your own server that would compete sonically with the O6

XLR does not Equal SQ. XLR isn't sonically better than RCA even. Just better at noise rejection and long runs.

I could see a $500 laptop and nice DAC (easily under $1K) competing SQ wise. Not trying to rain on their parade and maybe Olive has id'd a market for $5K standalone digital players. I guess they are the $5K version of the Logitech Squeezebox touch.
theaudioguy posts on February 08, 2011 17:04

I think the nice thing about this solution is that it takes the need for a PC out of the equation for those making the transition from CDs to a digital music library. Not to mention the outstanding audio capabilities of the balanced XLR outputs. You'd have to get some serious components together (on your own) if you were gonna build your own server that would compete sonically with the O6
gliz posts on February 08, 2011 13:48
once again I marvel at the price of these things vs. what one can build one for is insane. I low end PC will do the trick
BoredSysAdmin posts on February 07, 2011 14:03
jinjuku, post: 790218
So what does this unit do for me vs a nice laptop cheap netbook and external USB DAC?

Nice Gui ? :o Gotta be worth 5k by iself

ps. Fixed. See above
jinjuku posts on February 07, 2011 13:56
So what does this unit do for me vs a nice laptop and external USB DAC?
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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