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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Great Music AND a Free Trip? Olive it!

Posted on November 3, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Remember those crazy deals that you’d hear about back in the Reagan-licious ‘80s where European countries were apparently so starving for the US Green that they would practically PAY you to come over and pick up a car. “Ja! We have terrific car deal! You buy car, we fly you to Deutschland. We put you up in fine-quality hotel in Deutschland. We make sure you have ample portion of sausage servings for dinner UND breakfast! We bring you to factory. You tour factory. You help Hans and Franz build car. You drive car all around Germany. We pay to ship your car home. You leave us your strong-strong American dollars. Is gut, ja?”


Well, I got the audio equivalent of that offer today. Except you don’t have to go to Europe. (Well, I guess “have to” and “Europe” don’t really EVER belong in the same sentence. Kind of like “We’re out of the rental car you wanted, so now you have to take this Ferrari” or “There was a bank error, and somehow all this extra money ended up in your account, and it is just WAY too much trouble to try and fix it, so now you have to just keep it.” If anyone ever wants me to “have to” do ANYTHING and that thing is in Europe, I’m saying yes. I don’t even need to know what it is. Because whatever it is, it will be IN Europe. “We have this thing. It’s really awful. But it’s in Europe...” “Yes!” “But wait! This thing. It’s awful. Like really...” “But it IS in Europe?” “Yes.” “Then my answer stands." )  So, perhaps I should do the restarts. I got the audio equivalent of that offer today, but instead of getting to fly to Europe, you get to fly to San Francisco. (And, having lived there for many years, I can assure that parts of San Fran do indeed smell quite European.)


So, Olive is a company that makes pretty sweet music servers. In fact, I’ve written about how much I’ve enjoyed using them in the past. I originally mentioned how terrific it was to listen to high-resolution audio files through its 24-bit DAC set. Then I talked about how a client wanted a REAL CD player and how I suggested the Olive might be exactly what he needed.  (I’d share the link to my review at Sound + Vision but, well, they haven’t bothered to post up the review yet. So, you’ll just have to take my word that I liked it. In fact...Olived it!)


So they just released a new lower-priced, slightly-lower performing Olive O3HD server that comes in at under $1000 (OK, it’s $999, but that is technically under $1000). I got to audition this for S+V and while it doesn’t have quite the performance chutzpah of the O4HD, it is $1500 less expensive which can buy you many other chutzpahs. But, when you have an Olive 2, an O3HD and an O4HD and you want to stun the audio world with a new model, what do you do? You make the new model SO good that you skip straight to O6HD! (Suck it, O5, you piece of crap, loser!)


To kick off this new product, and help some of the “What happened to the O5HD? I *really* wanted THAT one!” Olive is offering the first 20 people that pre-register to buy this bit of music awesomeness the chance to win a Golden Ticket Willy Wonka factory tour! (Note: No actual Golden Ticket will be awarded. And the actual Willy Wonka is highly unlikely to be in attendance. Nor any Oompa-Loompas. Nor chocolate. Nor, well, anything that resembles Mr. Wonka in any way, shape or form.) They’ll fly you and your favorite high-res music listening guest (preferably that guest is a technology blogger that provides you with entertainment; free entertainment; who you been leaching on for months now. And you’ve been looking for a way to show him (it’s a him) how much you’ve enjoyed his site. I’m not saying it’s me, but, well, it’s totally me. And I’m already agreeing to coming with you. I have friends in SF. We’ll have a great time, honest!) So, two round-trip tickets to San Fran, a night in a hotel – look, I’m not saying it is going to be pleasant sharing a bed with me, but we can work those little details out once we’re in the city – dinner for two – I doubt we’ll get to pick the restaurant, but there are some great places in the city, and I totally want to take you to Gordon Biersch for a beer where Dana and I got engaged; you’re gonna LOVE it! It’s right under the Bay Bridge and, well, I don’t want to spoil any surprises! – tickets to a “special music event” in San Fran, a tour of the Olive factory where your product is built to order and le pièce de résistance...FREE SHIPPING! (OK, that was a pretty weak closer; I probably should have led with that.)


So, details are a tad thin on the O6HD but what I know so far is that it will have this:

•   Fully balanced differential 24-bit DAC.  At the heart of the fully balanced differential DAC design is a matched pair of TI’s top-of-the-line 24-bit/192 kHz DAC modules (Burr-Brown PCM1792) for the inverted and non-inverted signals on each of the right and left channels.

•   Dedicated 24-bit/192 kHz PCM1792 DAC for headphone use.  Our users demand aural acuity whether it's through their speakers or their headphones.  We shortchange neither, providing a dedicated DAC for both speaker and headphone output.


In English that means it will have warm, sweet, gooey-butter audio that melts in your ears! Yum! Even when using your headphone! (You did replace those awful earbuds that came with your iPod didn’t you? Please tell me that you did. If not, I am forbidding you from plugging your headphones into this thing once we get back from San Fran until you do!) So, head on over to this site and get us registered for this baby! Go on! And if you win, remember, “For those who come to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” Unless you’re a dude. Cause me and you cruising the streets of SF with you wearing a flower in your hair?  Not cool. I get slagged enough for carrying around Lady Phone for any of your flower-haired foolishness.

Categories: November 2010, Electronics, Music

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