Olive One music streamer due in 2013 for $399

The Olive One digital music streamer takes aim at Sonos, via a crowdsourced financing campaign on Indiegogo.

John Falcone
John Falcone Executive Editor

John P. Falcone is an executive editor at CNET, where he coordinates a group of more than 20 editors and writers based in New York and San Francisco as they cover the latest and greatest products in consumer technology. He's been a CNET editor since 2003.

2 min read
Olive Media

Olive Media is launching its most affordable streaming music system in 2013 -- and it's turning to crowdsourcing site IndieGoGo to help prime the preorder pump.

The new Olive One is an audio streamer with a distinctive circular design housing a 7-inch capacitive touch screen. Like Olive's current product line, the One can stream from music libraries housed on networked PCs or network attached storage (NAS) devices; the built-in Pandora and Spotify apps (with more to follow); music libraries housed on the internal hard drive (found on the more expensive models); or app-based music services on tablets, smartphones, and handhelds via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi direct streaming.

Happily, unlike Olive's current lineup -- which starts at a hefty $1,499 -- the One's starting price is a reasonable $399. Versions with built-in 1TB and 2TB hard drives will cost $499 and $599, respectively. Those built-in hard drives will also be accessible to users remotely, enabling what Olive calls a "subscription-free home cloud" of online music.

Olive Media

True to Olive's high-end audiophile lineage, the One will feature a 32-bit/384kHz DAC by Burr-Brown, with the ability to play FLAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, and WAV files, in addition to the more common MP3 and AAC formats.

The One will sport dual 32-watt-per-channel amplifiers -- just add speakers, and you're good to go. Right now, the One is not designed with analog or digital line outputs, but a company representative told CNET that Olive is "thinking about offering an adapter that provides digital and analog out."

If the fact that this Olive is taking aim at Sonos isn't already apparent, the One will also be designed with multiroom Wi-Fi streaming in mind (with the purchase of additional units, of course) via its built-in dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi.

Need more? In addition to the touch screen, Olive says the One's display -- which features wide-ranging search options through Olive's "Music OS" and the ability to play YouTube videos -- will also be viewable on Miracast-compatible TVs. (How that works -- and if there would be any TV-based control options -- remains a bit unclear.)

If you're not standing near the One's touch screen, you can also opt to use the free iOS or Android control apps for smartphones or tablets. Here, though, it seems like Olive has its work cut out: current user reviews on the iOS app indicate that it's not up to snuff.

Rounding out the Olive's bag of tricks: the device is slated to be hand-built in San Francisco.

Buy in early on Indiegogo
What would a new product announcement be without a crowdsourcing component? Olive's got that covered, too: Interested audiophiles can get in on the Olive One train early at Indiegogo. In addition to discounted early orders, you can also provide comments and feedback on the product, which Olive may incorporate before it's ultimately released -- currently scheduled for July 2013. At the time of this writing, the funding campaign was already more than $33,000 toward its ultimate goal of $200,000. The funding drive closes on February 1, 2013.

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