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Olive Symphony


warrior05

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I realize the Olive Symphony is rather pricey but I wanted to divorce my music from my PC and wanted a sleek solution. I considered building a dedicated computer to act as a music server but didn't want to have to incorporate a separate monitor. The Olive is virtually silent - no fans and the HDD is very quiet. The CD-ROM is a tad clunky sounding but I rarely use it. I've had zero problems with it and find it to be the perfect solution for me. I am planning on having RAM do a couple of mods on it since there is a slight hint of grain.

 

I have read that some people have had issues with their units. I can only assume this is a very small percentage. From my experience - I can't recommend it enough.

 

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Thanks for the info Warrior - Are you using an external DAC or does the Symphony do its own conversion well enough to be considered audiophile grade? Maybe you can give us a little rundown of what you are doing. What format are you converting to FLAC, WAV, MP3 etc... How much space does your unit have, what kind of mods you are considering and anything else you would like to add. There is not enough information out there on these types of units and any info you have is much appreciated.

 

Thanks again for posting and welcome to the Computer Audiophile forums.

 

 

- Chris

Computer Audiophile | Turn Down The Silence

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Currently I take the coax digital out from the Olive and feed it into my Presonus Central Station. The CS has two built-in headamps and I have it also feeding my Darkvoice tube headamp. I plan on upgrading my DAC and headamp but my current configuration is pretty darn nice sounding.

 

I'm not sure what the onboard DAC chip is used but I think the analog output is somewhat hampers the unit. There certainly are advantages of using the analog feed from the Olive since you could then control volume via the included remote control. As mentioned, I plan on sending my unit to Reference Audio Mods (RAM) for some upgrades. They will upgrade the voltage rail caps and replace the proprietary AC output with a Furutech IEC connector. This way I can use power cords that I build myself. These two mods should help clean things up on the power end. Then they upgrade the input op-amps and jettison the output op-amps and do point to point direct wiring from the internal DAC. They also upgrade the RCA connectors on the back.

 

The above upgrades should do away with the slight grain I hear through my high-end headphones. RAM offers a host of increasing levels of mods including turning it into a battery powered device for ultra clean power supply. You can check out all their mods for the unit here.

 

After I replace my CS I'll probably feed my Olive with the sound sig from my computer so I can continue to use my Swans M10 computer speakers for my non-headphone listening from both my computer and, of course, the Olive. Keep in mind - only digital and line out is available in regards to the audio sig out.

 

Couple other things I hadn't mentioned: The Olive can be connected to a network either wired or wireless. It also has 4 ports in the back so it can act as a router. Because of its network connectivity it can "tune" into Internet radio stations and do direct firm/software updates direct from Olive's servers. And you can add external HDDs if you run out of room. My unit is an 80gb model and only put FLAC files on it which are largely ripped via EAC.

 

 

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Great detail!

 

I really like the features on the Olive box you have. Network connectivity and capability to add external storage are very cool.

 

I can't imagine spending a good chunk of money on a high end music server that didn't have the capability to add external storage. Too bad many of them don't offer this!

 

Those mods sound very good. Let us know how they turn out when completed.

 

 

- Chris

Computer Audiophile | Turn Down The Silence

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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  • 5 years later...

I picked up one of these and would not recommend it to anyone except my worst enemy. The CD reader has problems reading any disc that's not in perfect condition, which I read about in every review. That wasn't a problem for me, but the tortuous setup was. I finally got it working after countless hours of diddling, and it didn't sound any better than my Squeezebox.

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Funny, but mine still is going strong. I have had few CD recordation or playback issues, if any, and setup wasn't remotely complicated for me (especially under the last updated Hifidelio firmware updates, still available on the web.) While mine doesn't necessarily sound a lot better than the Squeezebox Touch that I also use, I really like having local storage on a drive rather than streaming wirelessly to the Squeezebox, where I get occasional dropouts and stuttering. (The one that's been problematic is that the wifi is limited to outmoded standards, so I had to use a bridge to maintain wifi contact after upgrading my router, but that's by far the most serious problem I have encountered.)

 

Clearly, YMMV, and I don't doubt you have had the troubles you describe, but I think your experiences may not necessarily be the norm. Most of the reviews of these units were very positive and the Olives were on both the Stereophile and Absolute Sound recommended component lists while they were in production. I don't recall seeing a lot of negative reviews either of sound quality or ease of use issues.

 

FWIW, I also have another of these units, modified by RedWine Audio so that it runs on battery power and includes a 750gb drive, and, going out to my W4SDAC2SE, produces by far the best digital sound I've had in my system. If it had the ability to use a larger drive and could play high-rez files, it would still be my perfect server appliance.

Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7 > HQPe > xfinity Xfi Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen w/ AfterDark Empress Sig Clock > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical Tier 2 > Okto DAC 8 Stereo > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Computer Desk System: Synergy DS-218+ NAS > Dell XPS 8930 > HQP Desktop > xfinity Xfi Router > ultraRendu > Wyred 4 Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Audioengine A5+'s

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These older Olive units have an analog in, and will record digital (Redbook) rips of vinyl. They do quite a nice job, especially considering the price. One of the more user friendly ways to record vinyl.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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These older Olive units have an analog in, and will record digital (Redbook) rips of vinyl. They do quite a nice job, especially considering the price. One of the more user friendly ways to record vinyl.

 

The feature set is VERY rich. Nothing in production today will match it.

 

The analogue recording capability you mentioned, with good software to use with it; decent-sounding analogue out; two kinds of digital out; internet radio (initially, although that function got turned off over time); wifi in and out, so it could act as a router if need be (although limited to earlier security protocols, as mentioned in my other post); ethernet; DLNA/UPnP server AND client capability; variable analogue volume output so it could be used as a pre; analogue in for the recording as you noted; two USB ports AND a software backup routine built into the software so it could be used without being connected to the network; LCD screen; IR remote; and at least three ways of accessing from a network: VNC, browser-based, and iOS-app based. (Unlike the backups made on Olive-manufactured rather than rebadged HiFidelio devices, these backups can be read by and restored to any device that dcan read a FAT32 USB-connected drive.) At one time or another, I actually used every single one of the features I mentioned, which is more than I can say about the features on any other audio device I've owned in the last 45 years.

 

If I could find the same device today, with a hard drive of at least 2 TB, I'd be all over it. But I can't. Doesn't exist. Every other appliance server I've encountered requires compromises against this feature set.

 

You can find these dirt cheap on eBay today. They might require a bit of tweaking as Audiomagnate pointed out, and you do need to make sure that the firmware you use is the latest freeware available from HiFidelio, but, if you get this set up properly, I think you can do very, very well with them, especially if you go out from one of the digital outputs.

Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7 > HQPe > xfinity Xfi Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen w/ AfterDark Empress Sig Clock > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical Tier 2 > Okto DAC 8 Stereo > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Computer Desk System: Synergy DS-218+ NAS > Dell XPS 8930 > HQP Desktop > xfinity Xfi Router > ultraRendu > Wyred 4 Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Audioengine A5+'s

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  • 4 years later...

Mike Rubin, I too am a HUGE Symphony fan, this device was ahead of its time!  The analog in is exactly why I love it so much.  I record live TV to audio track often, things like the live bands on SNL, or old concerts on PBS, etc.  Makes a perfect aiff file or wav file and the fileshare mounts perfectly to my Mac over the network, for syphoning off the recordings.  It's brilliant, and INSANE that more vendors didn't/don't have this feature.  My question for you is this - I am running very old firmware on it, do you know what you are running on yours?  I need to find the last firmware that was produced for it.  Thank you SO much, if you don't mind checking the version you're running.  Thank you sir!

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Hi. I didn't see this until now.  

 

Unfortunately, I no longer have my Olive units.  I sold one when I bought a sotm server for hi-res files.   The Redwine-modded one, with other components, was destroyed by a massive power surge when plugged into the recharger by power coming back on after an outage in our neighborhood.  (At that time, the power at my house, as in many other parts of San Francisco, had no ground, so the surge also destroyed my PS Audio conditioner, which would have acted as a surge protector if the line were grounded.  I just had the entire house rewired and the circuits grounded.)

 

So, I have gone another route in the last few years.  Hope your unit still is providing you with pleasure.

Living room:  Synology 218+ NAS > NUC 10 i7 > HQPe > xfinity Xfi Router > Netgear GS348 Switch > EtherRegen w/ AfterDark Empress Sig Clock > Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical Tier 2 > Okto DAC 8 Stereo > Wyred4Sound STI-500 > Revel F32 Concertas

 

Computer Desk System: Synergy DS-218+ NAS > Dell XPS 8930 > HQP Desktop > xfinity Xfi Router > ultraRendu > Wyred 4 Sound 10th Anniversary DAC > Audioengine A5+'s

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