Meridian sooloos, Olive 6HD, ??

Confused with choices. What music server to buy? Budget $2500-$4000 new or used. Looked at Olive and Meridian. The exterior of the Olive 6HD disc slot has the aesthetics (puke green) of a Fischer Price toy (what were they thinking?). I want a screen and disc drive to copy my large CD collection to build-in hard drive and ability to add backup hard drive. Plan to use iPad Mini for control. Keeping my SACD player for my large SACD collection but ideally would like to copy my SACD's to disc and put SACD's in storage with my CD collection but not possible with current SACD copyright restrictions.
If you are comfortable with CDs/downloads and with the cost, the Meridian is the slickest, easiest and best sounding system today.

If you want more flexibility and opportunity for expansion/change, a PC-based or Mac-based system would suitable. For that, you would need appropriate software to control operations, manage the collection and provide a GUI for your iPad.

I am currently using a PC system with jRiver and iPad and streaming files up to 24/192 (stereo) and 24//96 (5.1).
I'm still waiting to get more details on "HP Connected Music powered by Meridian":

Not yet clear, but it suggests you could effectively have a Meridian Sooloos on a $500 laptop.
Mac mini late 2009 will deliver better SQ with Amarra or PM and may be cheaper too IME. It can be further improved with some published tweaks and replacing hard disk with SSD. About $1200 total outlay.

Ripper should be either dbpoweramp on PC or XLD on Mac. Makes a big difference.

You will need a good USB interface and DAC to go with it. This is where you can even outperform good vinyl if you make the right choices.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
The new Olive One coming out looks like it may be a good alternative. They're dropping the proprietary format. Can get it with or without HDs and looks to be under $1k to start. They've already responded to complaints that it was only coming out with built in amps and no digital out, they are adding digital output.
The computer audio forums have endless posts with widely diverse opinions on what Mac Mini setup is best with the only thing universally shared among them is the desire to spend free time tinkering with tweaks.

The Meridian media servers appear the most user friendly for those who don't want to screw around with computer stuff, albeit at a steep price.

The old Olive O6HD had serious issues and the new 6HD is big improvement, alas they retained the puke green Fischer Price disc slot surround. OK it's their company color but lose the toy look and maybe gain some more customers.

That HP + Meridian software. Sigh! Another reason HP's share price and sales have been tanking, a roll out on web about this exciting! music software on 'select' HP computers and then you can't find where to try/buy it.

Some of us are just old enough we want an audio device that is plug and play, user intuitive, upgradable and by a business that will be around for awhile. For those who hangout on Computer Audiophile and the DIY sites discussing details of microprocessors and DSD hacks, good for you, but most of us don't give a d**m about that stuff.

d**n it! (c:
The HUGE advantage with using a computer rather than a server is:

1) you have control over the playback software
2) you have control over the ripping software
3) you can add a device with a good master clock and not depend on the crappy clock in the server
4) if you buy Amarra, you can have one of the best EQ systems on the planet, totally transparent. This can change your $10k speakers into $100K performers.
5) control over the format of the files
6) ability to import files of any type, not just albums

Ease of use is fine, but is it really worth sacrificing all of the above? I think not.

If soem server actually did it right, then I would have no issues here, but it does not exist IME.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I have the Olive 04HD and it sounds great,mine has a black disk slot surround but I could live with the green .Have checked the Bryston BDP-1?
Yioryos. Thanks for your comments. I stand corrected. Is the new Olive 6HD available with black and/or silver disc surround choice as well? Appealing to a younger market segment by loosening the buttoned-up attitude is fine, but few choose to wear white to a funeral or drive a neon green car - but some do. As Apple PR slogan suggested on thousands of billboards coast-to-coast "be different." Apple for all their "different" culture remain rooted in silver with their top offerings. To paraphrase Ford, "any color you want as long as it's silver." Unless of course it's Nano or iPod.
Hi Airegin
I LOVE the Olive 04HD,I am listening to it right now.
I don't have the 06HD,I wish I could afford it then,when I bought the 04HD BUT the 06HD does not give you digital out,where the 04HD does,even though the build in dac in the 04HD is good to my ears. I just bought the Bryston BDP-1/BDA-1 combo.I only received the units mid of this week,Last night I bought the Analysis Oval digital 1m AES/EBU digital cable and soon will hook up everything. The Olive 04HD will stay as my party machine and the Bryston combo will be my kit for the main rig.
Forget the colors and get either one or the other and enjoy the tunes.
Only small issue is I lost recently the Maestro interface because I upgraded to Firefox 18.0.1 version,I emailed Olive for support. No big deal I am sure it will be resolved.
This is a fact: most audiophiles want a computer audio device that is as easy to use as an CD player. Very few people enjoy server maintenance, software installations, firmware updates, calling tech support, etc. I want a toaster, not a science project. As much as I hate to, I'll sacrifice some quality for fewer headaches. One day there'll be an elegant appliance designed for ultimate quality and ease of use. Until then, I'll continue to enjoy CDs through a world-class DAC.
Forget the colors and get either one or the other and enjoy the tunes.

Yeah George you're right. The music matters most.
Vhiner, this is exactly the reason why I got the Meridian Sooloos system. I'm keeping the headaches to a minimum and still enjoy reference sound. Using the 800 reference series as audio endpoint in my system and the MC200 as my store/core. It's good for about 2500 CD's and when more is needed I can add an MD600 store or several for the largest collections.

Example of a Reference setup:
Meridian 818V2(streamer/preamp) or 808.5 (CD/streamer/preamp)
Meridian MD600 4TB storage/core with two mirrored 3.5" HDD
iPad generation 4

High-End setup:
Meridian MS600 (streamer with high-end DAC)
Meridian MC200 1TB fanless storage/core/audio endpoint
iPad generation 4

Starting setup:
Meridian MC200 1TB storage/core/audio endpoint
iPad generation 4

This is all it takes. And the server maintenance is just keeping a current backup from time to time on a NAS or HDD.

Sorry for the sales pitch, but you really can have the cake and eat it. :D

The reference system *must* be good because you rarely see the package at an affordable used price. Or have I been asleep at the wheel?
Hi I have been following this thread with great interest. I am looking at getting a media server also, I don't care about the color, I care about the sound, what about the music vault media servers, how do they stack up againts the big company media servers
I have the greater storage option of the "High End Set-Up" of the Meridian Sooloos system above.

MD600 - 2 TB RAID back-up storage/system core
MS600 - audio endpoint/dac
Simaudio 650D dac/transport
Simaudio P-8/W-8
Revel Studio 2

I can say that the dac in the MS600 is on par with the very well reviewed Simaudio 650D dac. Slightly different "flavours" of sound, but the difference is subtle at best. I can't wait for Meridian to offer their high end ID41 card (the one in the Meridian 818) in a Sooloos endpoint option without the pre-amp, which I don't need, at a more realistic price!

I tried the Simaudio 180 MInD streamer as well using Access as a library management software tool. Although the Sim streamer sounded very good, the Sooloos software is still lightyears ahead, and I stuck with Sooloos because of that.
You owe it to yourself to check out the Music Vault servers made by Neal van Berg. I have the Music Vault Emerald and have been thrilled with it for years. I don't doubt that the Olive and Sooloos are good products, but they do not come with the unrivaled personal support that Neal provides.
Kedoades, the best systems split the audio streamer endpoint part from the noisy "server" part.

Now several manufacturers try to shoehorn this all into one box (server/streamer/storage/DAC) but this will be less versatile and less flexible.

This is why I like the Meridian Streaming System because you can invest and adapt your system as you grow. Need more storage, then add storage. Need a reference media source to your main listening room or just a casual audio endpoint to dining hall or gym, then add just that. No reason to buy full servers everywhere and manage them separately, just add the corresponding function for the job and manage them as a seamless Meridian audiostreaming system.
I've been quite pleased with my LaCie 5Big NAS and Oppo BDP-103. With 5 removable drive bays, up to 15T storage, twonky, 2 LAN's for faster downloads, remote access, etc. the LaCie is a very capable NAS. Twonky Beam or Bubble UPnP allows use of android or iOS devices as a media controller and the Oppo makes a first class media renderer that can playback virtually any audio or video source. A LaCie 2big NAS with two 3T hard drives and Oppo BDP-103 can probably be had for less than $1000. Use the android or i-device that you already own as a media controller and viola', you have a very capable UPnP network solution to manage your media.