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Olive Opus 4HD Hi-Fi Music Server Preview

Olive Opus 4HD Music Server

Olive Opus 4HD Music Server


  • Product Name: Opus 4HD
  • Manufacturer: Olive
  • Review Date: November 26, 2009 01:45
  • MSRP: $1,999
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
Best-in-breed Digital-Analog-Converter (DAC)
  • Proprietary, high resolution DAC featuring Texas Instruments' 192khz/24-bit Burr-Brown PCM1792A

  • DAC may be used as an outboard DAC for any digital music source. With 24-bit/192kHz oversampling, noise and distortion are ultra low, resulting in incredible purity in both high frequencies and low-level detail.

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

  • Ample processing power for multi-tasking

  • Simultaneous recording of and listening to CDs

  • Flawless encoding and decoding of lossless audio format

  • Fast management and access to extensive music libraries

Color LCD 4.3" wide-aspect ratio, high-resolution touchscreen (480 x 272 pixels)

  • Superior color and image quality

  • See more of your music information and browse by album artwork

  • Color-coded touchscreen navigation lets you find your music fast

Hard Drive Ultra-quiet 2TB drive, cushioned in 8 layers of noise canceling padding.

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

Design Energy-efficient design and heavy-gauge, heat dissipating aluminum enclosure.

  • Passive cooling without noisy fan

  • Ultra-quiet operations. Be the only one whistling to your music.

CD mechanism TEAC CD-R/RW

  • High fidelity CD audio playback

  • Protective lip on CD slot to eliminate noise from internal components and protect CDs

Networking Wired Gigabit Ethernet

  • Fast bandwidth for seamless multi-room audio streaming

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

  • Ultimate security

Audio Outputs Analog 1x RCA, 24k gold-plated

  • Wide variety of high-quality audio outputs to connect to your stereo system

  • Digital 1x digital output S/P DIF optical Toslink, 1x digital output S/P DIF coaxial cinch, 24k gold-plated Digital Inputs S/P DIF optical Toslink, 24k gold-plated   Audio Formats WAV, FLAC, MP3 (128 and 320 kbit/s), AAC (128 kbit/s).

  • Bit rate: 16bits, 20bit, 24bits, Sampling Frequency: 10kHz up to 200kHz

Other Ports 1x USB 1.1/2.0

  • Backup your music library to an external hard drive

  • IR Input. Connect an external IR Receiver to control your Olive 4HD if it is behind solid cabinet doors.

Color Silver or Black

  • Fits perfectly into your stereo system

Measurements Width 17.13"
Height 3.35"
Depth 11.42"
Weight 13.2 lb 

Media streaming is not only the future, it is now. It seems that every new device on the market either has an Ethernet port or has wireless connectivity. This is bringing services like Netflix and Amazon OnDemand into the living room. It is also allowing streaming from networked computers. Newer A/V receiver and display products are coming with this and more. We've reviewed Olive products in the past and have been impressed with their quality and ease of use. One of our complaints has been lack of onscreen GUI and hard drive size. Their new flagship product - the Opus 4HD - addresses both of these and more.

The Olive Opus 4HD is the top of the line offering from Olive. This product is wrapped in a stylish aluminum case with a slanted front in either black or silver. There are the usual assortments of controls on the faceplate including a disc control (play/pause, skip, eject) and menu controls. The Opus 4HD has a full color 4.3" screen with touch control (which begs the questions as to why they need the menu control buttons). As previous Olive offerings, the Opus 4HD sports a slot-loading disc drive and this model comes with 2TB of storage. The drives are a passively cooled and ultra-quiet design to eliminate distracting noise.

Opus 4HD back

We've found in the past is that Olive products are extremely easy to use and load with music, but nothing will eliminate the need to insert discs manually... until now. Olive as always offered a music loading service where you send them your discs and they load them unto your new server. This, of course, was always at a cost. With the Opus 4HD, Olive is throwing in 100 discs for free as well as 12 of the best Chesky Records' HD tracks for free. Since the Opus 4HD sports Texas Instruments' 192khz/24-bit Burr-Brown PCM1792A DACs, it can take full advantage of the higher recording bitrate on these HD tracks. This is also a great solution for those in love with HDtracks high quality downloads.

The Opus 4HD can be used as an outboard DAC for any digital music source. It multitasks well with the ability to record and playback music at the same time. So if you have to be sitting in front of the thing as you are loading up all your music, at least you can listen to some of it at the same time. The Opus 4HD supports WAV, FLAC, MP3 (128 and 320 kbit/s), AAC (128 kbit/s) encoding really missing only Apple Lossless. The 2 TB of storage combined with FLAC support pretty much guarantees that only the most ostentatious music collections won't be able to be uploaded with plenty of room to spare (2TB can store roughly 4000 CDs with lossless compression). While the Opus 4HD sports HDMI and digital audio outputs, it is really meant to be connected via analogue. You don't spend that much on DACs just to have your pre-amp do the digital to analogue conversion. That being said, we're disappointed that Olive is continuing to neglect the multi-channel content out there. At least for HDtracks, you can download multi-channel high quality tracks and we'd like to see support for those as well.

Connectivity is taken care of either wirelessly via 802.11n at 54Mbit/s with WEP + WPA 64 and 128 bit encryption support, or wired via Gigabit Ethernet. With a wired connection you should have no problems streaming just about anything short of Blu-ray (and probably that as well). There is a USB port on the back for backing up your library to an external hard drive (a huge bonus for those that have spent HOURS uploading and don't want to have to do it again) and an IR port for integration into a universal remote system.


Opus 4HD silverSure the Olive Opus 4HD is cool, there is no doubt about that. The case is cool, the functionality is cool, and the DACs are certainly cool. We like that you can use it as an outboard DAC for another digital music source (just one) but wish there was multi-channel support. The connectivity and interface is top notch (as far as we can tell) and our experience with Olive leads us to believe that the product will have a few surprises that will impress us (the Symphony could be used as a wireless access point to other devices). The problem is that for $2k you are getting 2TB of storage and some great DACs. Cool, but nearly everything is streaming these days (HTiBs are coming out now with networking). Do they have the storage or the DACs? No, but if you are streaming from your home or office computer you don't need the storage and DACs are only used when you are planning on using analogue connectivty through the output of the system. For those that want a beautiful box with all the functionality in one place and more storage than you'll can imagine for your two-channel collection, the Opus 4HD is it. It's the last box you'll need. The question really is: do you need it at all?

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

About the author:
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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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