While the Olive brand may hit the mainstream a bit more than your typical audiophile company, the company’s line of media servers has been kicking around since the whole digital playback medium really started to hit the public consciousness. The newest addition to the lineup forgoes the CD drive and the price point of the earlier upper tier players.
The Olive ONE takes a swing at connected-player-for-every-room model that Logitech and Sonos have seen some success at. What is interesting is that in addition to streaming and hosting capabilities, the ONE also includes a pair of speaker taps so you can plug in your favorite pair of bookshelves and go at it. Total output to the posts unitizes 2 amps (one per channel) at 32W/channel into 8Ω. Digital decoding capabilities come courtesy of a BurrBrown PCM5142 chip. In addition to the well executed touch screen interface on each device, the Olive platform boasts it own “Music OS” that learns from your listening habits and can be controlled from a phone or tablet and directed to any playback unit connected to the network.
The old school Apple-ish navigation wheel worked well and the graphical layout looked both intuitive and well thought out. Outputs include the previously mention loudspeaker binding posts, Bluetooth, Optical and Coaxial digital, as well as USB for hooking up to and external DAC of your choice. Inputs also include bluetooth, DNLA and UPnP standards. Pricing starts at a surprising $499 for and scales up with hard drive size (1T/$599 & 2T/$699). While the Olive ONE isn’t the only option on the market, it does offer an interesting versatility for smaller rooms (given you already have a pair of speakers that will pair well with the unit’s output) as well as a touchpoint for a streaming hookup for a full stereo, even allowing connectivity into your favorite reference DAC via USB. Game on.