Opus = Good

  • 2 March 2006
  • 6 replies

Userlevel 2
Gentlemen ...

Me likes!


6 replies

Userlevel 2
I clicked around their site for about 5 minutes and can't really figure out what their four+ different product(s) even are/do and why there are four of them ranging in price from $199 to $2999. Specifically, I mean. Not just marketing-speak-wise. Their webmaster could learn a thing or two from Sonos. But methinks they're maybe appealing to a different (richer?) audience. Anybody care to explain for us regular folk what their products really do and which ones you need for what?

It is funny that they list their system with a 40k track limit right on the front page. I detect a maximum-track-limit war in the near future...

Userlevel 2
The good: 160GB internal hard drive for music storage; wirelessly streams music from networked PCs via integrated 802.11g or Ethernet connection; streams Internet radio stations; plays, rips, and burns CDs; records via analog line-in; automatically displays CD information; encodes recorded tracks to lossless formats or MP3; has analog and digital outputs; sleek design; impressive sound.

The bad: Lacks video output; no support for WMA or DRM music files purchased from online music stores; doesn't support streaming from Rhapsody service; doesn't play MP3 CDs, DVD-Audio discs, or SACD discs; doesn't burn MP3 CDs; streaming from attached MP3 players didn't work; saves line-in recordings only to AIFF format; pricey.

The bottom line: The Olive Musica is an impressive digital audio server with a host of high-end features--built-in wireless networking; an internal 160GB hard drive; and the ability to play, rip, and record CDs--that discriminating listeners will appreciate.

AtrociousThe Musica is still Beta and is not ready for consumer use."
by gobikey (see profile) - February 16, 2006

Pros:All in one design for an integrated, modern home entertainment system, good sound
Cons:very buggy OS, unreliable wireless connection, cannot retrieve files after copying them to the hard drive
Full user opinion
Short, dirty story: (longer one with details to follow)

Do not buy the first generation Musica. It is buggy, and the features are far more restricted than advertised.

Olive sent me two faulty units. The first failed to boot (and could not be re-imaged), and the second had a faulty CD player. Besides these warrantied, returnable issues, there are major issues with stability and functionality. The OS crashed or froze often. The networking was unreliable and often dropped or failed to connect (I used my network diagnostic tools to investigate). You CANNOT retrieve files once they have been written to the Musica's hard drive! (at least not without buying their proprietary external backup hard drive) Olive claims that you can attach your mp3 player to the Musica. The Musica will not recognize any mp3 player or other device that connects as a hard drive (like my iRiver or most mp3 players). It will only recognize "iTunes" players (iPods).

Longer version: (Sorry that it's a bit of a flame to Olive)

Userlevel 4
Badge +2
Your review is of the Musica not the Opus.

The Opus sounds good in principle but in reality is a bit limited.

A tiny display screen with an event tinier font.

Limited storage - what happens when it's full.

Can get music in, but can't get it out. Therefore no upgrade path.

Only works in one room.

Aside from the sound quality benefits, this doesn't offer much over a docked iPod and it's $3000.
Userlevel 2
I don't know guys ... here's the link to the full spec for the Opus.


I like. Of course I'm using a Sonos and like it but that doesn't mean I don't like the Opus too. I like it's features. I *love* the Sonos remote. Put the two together ... wow!

A guy can dream!

Userlevel 2
Based on a cursory look around their web site, the Opus appears to be a CD-player with built-in hard drive, that supports automatic ripping and tagging. Just insert a CD, then the unit rips and tags it and stores the music files on its internal hard drive.

The main thing in its favour is its simplicity: just feed it your CDs and you're done. However this could also be considered a major weakness, as you have no control over the ripping and tagging process. The tagging engine works from a database of 2 million CDs built-into the unit, but I guess you're stuffed if your particular CD isn't in that database. There also doesn't seem to be any way of editing the tags afterwards, so you have a problem if their classification of your music is different to yours (genres would be the main sticking point).

I do like the visual appearance of the unit, but I can't see why anyone who already has a Sonos system would want one of these. In such circumstances, the Opus is basically a NAS with auto ripping and tagging support; in fact, it's not even as good as a NAS because you can't get at the music files stored on the device!
Userlevel 2
Olive products are definitely targeted different segment of audience than Sonos or Squeezebox.

Olive is targeting Hi-Fi audiophiles who love classical music and may not be tech savy. Olive products are essentially part NAS, computer/ripper, media server, CD player, and internet radio. One component solution for digital music.

Obviously you can not compare Olive's storage capacity to dedicated NAS like Infrant, it's computing/ripping capability to PC, media serving to Sonos or Squeezebox even, CD player function to Hi-Fi CD player, nor its internet radio to Sirius or even Squeezebox. However, there isn't many other product out there does everything Olive productd do.

For non-tech savy 50-60's something with high-end Hi-Fi system who isn't comfortable ripping his or her own CDs and tagging meta-tag, Opus is simple one stop solution. For people used to dropping many thounsand $ for each component, Opus really isn't that expensive. It looks good and fits nicely with other Hi-Fi system (unlike cute but techy looking Squeezebox or Sonos).

Its large internal database of updateable 2 million tracks eliminate meta-tagging digital music. We all know how painful it is to tag classical music compare to pop, rock, country, or hip-pop musics. If it can do good job of tagging composer, conductor, tracks, and etc, Olive will win affluent, non high tech savy, classic music loving consumers desiring one stop elegant solution for his/her Hi-Fi system.

Robb Report reviews product for different segment of consumers than most other tech magazines. Read from its review.

"Classical music fans will surely prefer listening to the Symphony, a server from San Francisco based manufacturer Olive. The Symphony’s internal database lets you search your music collection not only by the usual song title, performer, and composer, but also by the movement, opus number, performance location, lead musician, and even key. You can, for example, listen to all the Brahms symphonies that conductor Zubin Mehta recorded, in New York City, in F major."

We can not sort classical music like that with Sonos or other typical music server.

Different product for different target audience.