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First Look: Olive 4
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First Look: Olive 4

2:34 /

The Olive 4 is a fantastic-sounding digital audio server, but its high price and limited feature list limit its appeal to die-hard audiophiles.

[ Music ] ^m00:00:03 >> Hey everyone, I'm Jeff Bakalar for CNET.com. Today we're checking out the Olive 4. Now the Olive 4 is a digital music server, streamer, and ripper that provides up 2 terabytes of storage. It comes in a variety of different capacities, and you can choose from 500 gigs to 2 terabytes. It can also stream music from any networked PC or Mac wirelessly, or through a wired internet connection. The Olive lets you rip your existing CD's to it's internal storage, and you can choose which bit rate you want your CD's ripped at. Up front it's got a really nice touchscreen. It's a bit small and the menu system is a little clunky, you might take a little bit of getting used to. It has a really interesting internal portal network service called Maestro, that lets you organize and edit all the information for your entire music library once you've ripped stuff onto this system. It's actually the coolest part of this whole unit, we really liked it. Unfortunately though, there's no video support here, so you can't see what music you're selecting unless you're on top of this so you can read it off the diplay screen. Also the Olive 4 doesn't support music streaming services like Rhapsody or Pandora, so you're just stuck with streaming from the computer, or what you've got on the internal hard drive. You're also going to have a problem if you decide to use WPA 2 Wi-Fi security. Believe it or not, the Olive 4 doesn't play nicely with that encryption. Even more upsetting, the CD drive on the inside of this thing can't burn MP3 CD's - only audio CD's. Also you cannot play music directly off a USB stick. It has a USB drive, but you can't use it for that, sorry. Now the included remote here has a very retro style to it. It's big and bulky, it looks cool on it's own but when you're using it in practice, it doesn't serve as the most comfortable remote we've ever used before. Overall the Olive works well, we just wish it's functionality wasn't so limited. Also it seems like it would only appeal to a very small demographic of people who want top notch sound quality, from a place that it can also store their entire music collection. Now the Olive 4 sounds great when you hook it up to a proper stereo system, but ultimately it's expensive price deck is probably going to have you looking elsewhere. I'm Jeff Bakalar for CNET.com and this has been a first look at the Olive 4. ^m00:02:32 [ Music ]

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