Review Olive 06HD


I am in this business for over 15 years of time. I have done thousands of tests with sources, cables, amps, speakers etc. I am a perfectionist and always looking for the best. Because good never will be good enough for me. These days I do consulting in sound and vision because I want and need my freedom to show people the best there is in the world of Audio and Vision.

In 2000 I was looking for the best analogue sounding digital source in the world. Money didn't matter. I took my time by comparing sources with my own music. At that time the Linn CD12 and the Wadia 860 were one of the best you could get. I auditioned them a few times. It was good, but I was missing the emotion and analogue sound I was looking for. I wanted a source with a heart. And I wanted a more sharp individual focus of instruments and voices. This is what I call intimate sound. At that time Meridian had the reference player 800. The first time I saw it I was laughing. Are you kidding me, it uses a cd rom. They said just listen to it. I took the 800 without a box under my arm in the train to listen at home. I didn't expect anything to be honnest. It hit me in only a few seconds. Mann this is the analogue sound I was looking for and it gave the intimate individual focus I wanted. One of my best friends had a concert room with a Steinway wing for about 60 people. Here I did learn how small and direct voices and instruments sound in real. This is the what I call sharp individual focus. And intimate sound. I had the 800 for over 12 years of time. The first one was the 1.12 version. You could update the 800 wenn time went on. So you always had the best sound possible at the time. I upgraded it to 2.5 version, later to version 3. And in 2005 I got the brand new Meridian 800Daxv4 (25000 dollar) from Meridian. They gave it to me for free for service and loyalty. In 2012 I sold the 800Daxv4. It took some time to find the streamer that could fit to my demands. I did listen to the Meridian Sooloos. I liked it, but I was missing something. I wanted a bigger stage and a better timing. The same experience I had with the Aurender. I heard it a couple of times in different settings with different dacs. It was not clean, but it missed the analogue sound of the Meridian. I also did missed the extreme sharp individual focus of instruments and voices just as in real.

I saw the name Olive a few times passing by in the last 3 years. I did read many articles and reviews in the last 2 months. I was aware of the problems they had in the beginning in reliabillity. In forums I also did find a lot of information. The service is improved and also the reliabillity in the last year. So it gave my enough confidence to buy it. In the last 15 years I owned and auditioned very nice and expensive stuff. Thes days my focus is more faced to my clients. This means I am looking for exeptional good stuff for normal prices. In 2009 and 2010 I sold a lot of my expensive highend stuff. I started all over again.

But now let's talk about the Olive 06HD. In 15 years of time this is by far the most thrilling piece of Audio I ever owned and auditioned. I never have been more exited after hearing this. I had already an extreme 3D touchable image with a wide and deep stage. Since the beginning of this year I am aware that I have a fotographic memory in sound. This makes it a lot more easy to understand music and sound. It is a lot more easy to get to a higher level in sound. The Olive 06Hd is the most easiest streamer to put music on. It is even more easy then Apple stuff. The Teac drive is so much more reliable then a computer is. No hickups at all. The sound is one of the best or even the best I auditioned in digital sources. The sound is even more analogue than the Meridian 800 which I owned for over 12 years of time. With the Olive 06HD I now play 1.5 metre beside and 5 metres behind my speakers. It is the best 3D sound I ever experienced. It also goes very deep in the low freq. it has a lot more body than my old 800. The timing and speed is even superior to my old 800. The stage is a lot wider and deeper compared to the 800. This was one of the reasons why I did not go for the Sooloos. Classical music is the best I ever heard. I owned the B&W 800S in the past. I loved it for classical music. With the Pl-200 the sound is more natural, superior timing and the stage is much wider and deep compared to the B&W 800S. The dynamic range of 132 db gives a lot of weight. But you also hear all the layers in the lowest freq. It also betters the integration of the subwoofer. The most special part of the 06HD is the level it gives in intimate sound. It improved the intimate sound I already had to a new level. Voices and instruments are more touchable like in real. I often become emotional be hearing my beloved music. This is emotion in audio at the highest level you can get at this moment. The Headphone amp which is inbuild is even stunning. I use it with my Sony MDR-EX1000. This is such a nice bonus. I know this week the new interface is coming out. Yess the interface is more simple than the interface of the Sooloos and Aurender. But the quality in sound and stage is that stunning. I don't miss a thing.

I love the Olive 06HD, it gives me the freedom in music I missed. You can make your own playlist and listen for hours to your beloved music. It puts you in a flow and you will stay there for many hours. Wenn you use a cd or lp you always will get out of your relaxing mode wenn changing a cd or record. This extra freedom is priceless. It is increasing the joyment in listening to a new higher level.

Note: I think and work in properties/talents of sources, amps, speakers, cables ect. I first want to know what all the properties/ talents are of a device. Only then you are able to get hem all out of the device. The powercables of Purist Audio are one of maybe the best in the world. They can let you hear the weight and all the layers in the low freq. It gives an extreme and wide stage. It also can give one of the best blacks in cables. It gives you also a richer and more open mid freq. I also bought the brand new Audioquest Wild Blue Yonder with the new xlr inputs. This pure silver interconnect gives you the natural sound. Audioquest is with Purist Audio by far the best in blacks ans individual focus I tested so far in cables. You need the right cables to get all the qualities/talents/properties out of the Olive 06HD. And mannn it owns a lot of stunning qualities.

Bobby 18-9-2013
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I own the Olive 04HD and had the same initial impressions that you stated above.

After a few months, I started having problems. Minor at first, then got worse. Mine is still working and sounding fantastic, but the problems are still there. Olive customer service is PISS POOR! I was in the high-end business for over 25 years and this is the WORST company I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with.

If you do some research, you'll find that I am not alone. Actually, IMHO, there are more disgruntled customers than happy ones.

Again, mine is working okay, but the issues are still there:

1. It will not do a backup no matter what external hard drive I use and I've tried 2 of the 3 that Olive recommended and 2 others.

2. The screen is now not allowing me to use the "touch" feature. The navigation buttons work, except the right arrow that has no "spring" to it when pushed, it's just frozen.

3. On every third or fourth CD that I try to rip, the machine freezes up and you have to use the main power switch, (on the back of the unit) to power cycle the unit.

4. The Olive APP for controlling the unit SUCKS! It will only connect with the unit about half the time and again you have to power cycle the Olive to get it to work.

I was going to chuck it out the window, but it is still playing and sounding great, but sure isn't "complete".

Correspondence with Olive has been going on since early May and still no resolution. Actually, Olive has just decided to quit communicating with me completely. I haven't heard from them since July...
I come from Holland and we have here our own distributer. They have a very good service. I cannot Judge about Olive there own service. I talked to a view other people who own the 06HD. I ripped about 100 cd's. There were 2 cd's where it did not find any info. With my Ipad mini I worked very well sofar. I did not have any problem at this stage. I did send them one email and I got respons within 48 hours. I understand your irritation. Did you buy it from a dealer? I always want the best backup for everything I buy. Wenn it would not work for me I would directly sell it. No doubt about it. I can ripp many cd's in a very short time without any problem. It looks like the 04 has more problems. I know this week they will sell only the new series with the new interface. If I were you I would demand getting it fixed or a new device. In our country it is normal that wenn a device is broke 3 times within the guarantee period you will get a new one. Wenn I worked in audio shops this was always the policy. I hope you get your problems fixed. Because for you and also for Olive this will be the best thing to do. Good Luck!
Mofimadness Hi
I believe we have met before and we had a few transactions.Vinyl
I am just trying to help here.
I own both the Olive 04hd and the Olive 06hd.
I recently just last weekend begun having problems wirth my 04hd. It wouldn't go to home screen from starting up. I might of contributed to the issue because it was taking long to load ,froze and I pressed the 'forward' + 'backward' buttons to unfreeze instead of left + right navigation buttons.
It was my fault but after that the machine went kaboom ,it wouldn't load and then started getting split screen image. I tried several times and then I let it rest unplugged for 45 minutes. I tried starting it up and it kind of worked for a little bit but the froze screen came back while playing tracks (music kept going with no hick-ups however)
then the split screen returned.
I e-mailed Olive and they got back to me next business day ,asked for my Olive info such as SW version.
Apparently my Firmware version needs to be updated to resolve the performance issues, but they warned me that if my machine is not the latest software ( is going to be irreparable damage to the hardware if updated with latest firmware.
I am going to update it this weekend when I have free time.
Check your machine to see what version FW you running.
George...thanks for the response. I have tried all of this
as per Olive. I have the most current software (4.3.2) and
the latest firmware (Version 3). Actually, my unit got
WORSE after all of this updating.

I have tried everything that Olive has recommended and have
tried most of what everyone else has said to do. All to no

I hope you have better luck with your unit than I have had
with mine.

Here is a link to lots and lots of info on the Olive units.
I have tried most of what is stated. Still no resolution.

Gee MoFi is it a Olive or a Lemon??
A good company would be horrified to read such a thread and would immediately post a response and a solution. I can name at least three American audio manufacturers I have seen react in this way to quality and reliability issues, so I know that this is not some unattainable ideal.

The fact that Mofimadness is left little choice but to post on a public forum speaks volumes. If Olive is a decent company, forwarding this thread to them ought to be all that is necessary to resolve mofimadness's myriad of documentable problems. If they require more pressure than that, then Olive operates like a growing number of modern companies: short term profits are more important than long-term customer satisfaction.

In the meantime, I will stick with companies like Shunyata, Audio Research, Bryston, Thiel, Wilson, etc.
Vhiner...this is actually my third such post here on
Audiogon and I've replied to several other posts on
different forums. Guess what? Olive has never responded in
any way, shape or form to any of them.

If you click on the link I provided above and have several
hours to read through it, you'll see I'm not alone...that's
the only comfort I can take from this :-)

I completely agree with you and what you say, thanks. I
wish Olive would step up to the plate and make it right, but
at this point, I'm not holding my breath.

I agree there are many excellent audio companies in the
high-end and I hope buyers will find them and support them
for a very long time.

I want to add and/or clarify that the playback function on
my Olive 04HD is still working and sounds fantastic, but if
I had it to do over again, I don't think I'd choose the same
After reading these serious issues I will try to contact them to talk about this. Because they need to be aware that it has to be solved. For those who have problems but also for the company a good service is a pre in this business. This is the reason why we often stick to the brands we own. Without a good service they product is worth less. What I said earlier; I had read these issues. But I also did hear many good things.
I did write Olive an email about the issues. I am curious how they will react. I will let you know!!
I am willing to bet my setup would far outperform the OLive and cost less to boot

Auralic Vega $3,500.00
Wireworld Plaitnium USB $ 600.00
Touch Panel Win 8 comp $ 400.00
J River and J Play $ 175.00


Not proprietary, no service issues and you get a full touch panel computer no contest, you are also getting one state of the art dac with amazing sounding, very analog like.

The proprietary server should be considered a laughable model now, with the exceptions of the super quiet battery based dedicated pc or the Lumin or Arender servers.
Bobby, are you now or will you be retailing the Olive line?
Yess we will. In Holland the distributer has there own service. They are very good and have all the spare parts. We are not depended on the service of Olive. I did hear some computer based servers. Soms were very good. But I did not hear the stunning level of the O6HD. I did audition many expensive highend digital players in 15 years of time with my own music. classical music is stunning with the 06HD cause of the natural sound. I play 1.5 metre beside and about 5 metres behind the speakers. Within this square the individual touchable image is stunning. It not only lett you hear were it is standing, you also hear more easy the different sounds of all the instruments. The dynamic range of 132 db is stunning. I now have by far the sharpest 3D touchable image within the huge deep and wide stage I ever heard in my life.The combination of the Purist Audio powercable and Audioquest Wild blue yonder gives togheter superior blacks. I never auditioned a show with this level in blacks. The intimate sound of all the parts is just like in real. The integration with the Monitor Audio PLW-15 is also of a level what I never auditioned with a subwoofer in all the tests and auditions I did in 15 years of time. Olive makes many streamers for many different prices. It is the simplicity in use what is a big advantage. Beside this I think Olive need to give a much better service in the US. Because in this world you cannot think in short time. You would be a fool!! Wenn we would not have a good service overhere I don't think we would have taken it.
@Audiooracle: The O6HD is an independed system and has everything in one box. I love and want simplicity, also for my clients. I know enough people in this world who do not like computers. Beside this, there is no device what has everything in just one box. For example; the headphone pre amp is even superior to a Musical Fidelity headphone amp. You need more than only a superior dac to get the stunning 3D toucable image with the analogue sound. The computer based streamers did not have the sharpness I am looking for. The regular Ipad or other brands with this size screens are too big. The mini Ipad is a lot better to use as a remote for a streamer.
The teac drive inside the Olive works excellent. Many people who use there computer have often hickups. I had it as well.

The issue of an all in one vs a well setup separate system is moot if the all in one doesn't work.

The Auralic Vega is a much more advanced dac than the board built into the Olive, J River running on a touch panel is easy to use and you can even hide the computer and control J river from an Ipad.

The sound of the Vega is very analog like you should listen to one it is amazing, and the images are very palpable.

To spend more money on a proprietary solution which costs more, and does less from a company with poor customer service is a dubious proposition, and maybe the Olive's headphone amp is quite good but I am willing to bet you can spend $500-750 and get a very nice out board one, I would say don't fight it until you've heard it, also can the Olive handle DSD, Double DSD, 32/484K tracks, and can you download directly from HD Tracks into it?

I had an Olive for a short time, no comparison, sold it, separate well setup computer beats it everytime.
I read some articles about the Vega, sounds promising. I have also a very palpable image. No it cannot read dsd. To be unnest I never liked the sound of sacd. I didn't like the individual focus of it. For my work I had a lot of music on both dvd-a and sacd. DVD-a was superior all the time. The advantage of the mini Ipad is that I can hold it in one hand without touching the glass and the other hand I use for the control. Bigger screens are less easy to hold and use. How do you collect your music. You do it with your computer? Were is the storage?

The Vega sound extraordinary and on HD tracks downloads the sound is truly like a master tape and will actually outperfrom most expensive high end analog rigs.

I use J River and you can control J river from an Ipad with one of the control Apps, piece of cake.
I've got a good friend who own's many HD recordings. I will see him this sunday. He will take all the HD recordings of artists I asked for. Which speakers and amp and cables do you use at this moment?
I would like to add some new information. I use the 06HD now for 2 weeks. I ripped over 100 cd's without any problem. Yesterday I received a harddisk with 2 terabite of HD music. It is a strange world to get all the music you want even for free. I want to tell a few things about the specs of the 06HD. The dynamic range of 132 db gives so much more drive and control. Also at very low volumes it is stunning how good it is. Brands like Marantz, Primare and NAD do not have this weight. Also there total harmonic distortion is higher than the 06HD. They also use a lower quality of dac. 384khz gives a much wider and deeper stage compared to 192khz. I did compare it, the difference is huge. I would never choose for a 192khz dac anymore. What I also noticed is the high level in control over the highest freq. Articulation is opener, but with a lot more authority as well. Classical music at 24/192 kHz is onbelievable. Not only the sound is extreme analogue, but the stage is huge and the dynamics of a big orchestre is impressive!!
We are a few weeks later. Olive 06HD is still working. Cd's which are ripped even can sound better than HD recordings of the same album. I think there is a big advantage that everything is in one machine. I need to compare music from my laptop to the Olive with the same music from a cd ripping. I never heard any cd player ( including many highend cd players)play with this AUTHORITY, analogue sound and separation. The Purist Audio powercable give you a lot more of the weight the 06 can give. It also opens up the mid freq. dramatically. The new Audioquest Wild Blue Yonder gives you one of the best levels in sound realism I ever heard. The level in blacks are stunning. All your music is played in full 3D with superior palpable image. In the last few weeks men and women did listen to it. Often I only said; just listen. They all become very quite and say; how is this possible? I say; this is music played as it's best. The sound quality is exteme addictive. You want to play for many hours. Sometimes it is 4:30 and I think; just one more song. The first time I look at my watch it is even 6 o'clock.
Let us know how the comparison turns out to laptop playback. What software are you running on your laptop?
Nothing special, because I use import for windows to transfer it to the 06. I can rip cd's with my Asus laptop. So I will compare it.
I had the $D and returned it. It was unreliable and I didn't like the way it sounded. I thought it was awful for classical music
I read about the issues of the 4. I never heard it, so I cannot compare. I only can refer on the 06HD.