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
@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.