Olive 4 Review Westbrook ME
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Olive 4 Review
December 8, 2009 By Lauren Dragan
Olive You So Much: A romance in two parts between a girl and the Olive 4, a sexy young multi-room music server.
At the risk of sounding clichéd, I’ve discovered there is such a thing as love at first sight.
Your eyes lock on a handsome stranger, a smile creeps across your lips and suddenly your heart begins to flutter. Before you know it, your hands are all over their etched-aluminum chassis and fiddling with their touch-activated screen like a teenager in a parked car with his first iPhone. It’s magical.
And totally hot.
OK, so maybe I was initially attracted by the obviously superficial: the Olive 4 Hi-Fi Server and his cute little brother the Olive 2 Hi-Fi Player are undeniably good looking. Even my perpetually unimpressed male colleagues blurted unprompted comments on their attractiveness. The fine-grade aluminum enclosures are detailed with a minimalist-art-flair: genres of music etched seemingly endlessly across the top surface.
Slim, sleek, silver… oh, but don’t think the sophisticated good looks blinded me completely. To make this romance last, the 4 needed to have some substance as well. I powered it up hoping my heart wouldn’t be broken.
The first thing that impressed me was how accessible the Olive’s operations are: Using the included remote, rubberized front-panel buttons, or touchscreen, the menu is intuitive and easy to navigate. A simple home screen allows you to choose from the stored music library, internet radio, from a separate UPnP-enabled computer on your home network, and, of course, good-old-fashioned CD. Stored music is organized automatically and browse-able by genre, album artwork, name, artist or track. Or, use the search function within each sub-menu and find precisely what suits your mood.
Connected to your network through Ethernet cable or wirelessly, the internet radio selections are robust and similarly organized. Streaming music is limited in quality by the station broadcasting and the broadband connection you have in your home network, but overall it sounds clean and is hiccup-free. If you have a hankering for an album on a home computer, you can browse UPnP-enabled Macs and PCs through the network connection as external music sources. This process can be a bit slow at times, but that's understandable considering all the platforms interfacing at once.
Adding music to the Olive 4’s hard drive is extraordinarily simple via CD, but to save you some time, Olive offers a free import of 100 CDs for new owners. Once you have all those tracks locked and loaded, you might want to make a playlist or two. This is something I found especially neat-o.
Using the 4’s IP address, and Olive’s Maestro program on the web, you can use your PC (or Mac’s) Firefox browser to create and organize playlists, and edit track metadata. No annoying programs to install on your computer! Maestro is drag-and-drop, simple to use, plus I think it's fun to make playlists from a differ...