Digital music is great, but it’s struck some notes of discord among serious music listeners. Lossy compression is reducing the quality of audio, a step backwards from the traditional CD. And if you like classical music, get ready for major headaches organizing your music. Not to mention, doesn’t anyone miss their stereo system?


Enter the new Olive Symphony. There are several things about this box that are promising:

Lossless music: An 80 GB hard drive rips your CDs at full-quality (via the integrated CD, or pre-loaded from your collection for free by Olive when you buy it)


Classical music management: Special Mac/PC software uses a special database to tag classical music accurately
Integrated wireless: Wi-Fi is built in


USB and CD: Transfer songs to your iPod or burn a CD


Hi-fi: Olive promises hi-fi sound and includes digital outputs to the stereo

Sure, it’s US$899, but I have to say, finally this is a digital audio player that feels like a step forward, instead of backward. Let’s hope this is a sign of trends to come. Due mid-August.

  • mpetrie

    I wonder how much it would cost to put together an equivilent PC with the same functionality?

    Mike

  • admin

    Set up a simple Windows PC with a CD burner and digital audio outs, iTunes for Windows set to Apple Lossless audio . . . could use your TV for on-screen controls I suppose. Small LCD if you wanted to get fancy. Bet you could keep it under $500 (if that much). You lose the comfort of component audio, but add a remote and you could do it. And you could have a bigger HD. (Linux options? Not sure about lossless compressed players on that side . . .)

    The one thing you really lose (aside from the component thing) is the classical indexing. I hope these guys release their software separately, too; I'd pay for it if it could tag my songs properly!

    Peter