San Francisco-based audio manufacturer Olive has launched some audiophile-level digital music hardware in the past, but the new ONE promises to be its most stylish, consumer-friendly offering yet. Designed to be a one-stop source for digital music of all forms, the touchscreen-based music player is described by Olive as "the world's first all-in-one HD music player."
The ONE plays music from your personal collection, Bluetooth-equipped smartphone or MP3 player, and Web radio services like Pandora and Spotify. With integrated Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct support, the ONE is 100 percent wireless and never requires a hard connection.
Pull the ONE out of the box and it connects to your home network at the push of a button, automatically recognizing music shared through the UPnP of a Mac, PC or network-attached storage (NAS) device. Those that prefer not to be at the mercy of wireless technology can opt for the available hard drives, which provide up to 2 TB of storage space for up to 6,000 CD-quality albums or 20,000 HD tracks. Olive's Home Cloud Service provides subscription-free access to your ONE-stored music collection anywhere you travel.
The device is claimed to play crisp, accurate music, including high-end digital files like FLAC and Apple Lossless, thanks to a 32-bit/384kHz Burr-Brown digital-to-analog converter (DAC) and two 32-watt HD amplifiers. Thanks to those amplifiers, the ONE connects directly to speakers, with no need for a separate receiver or amp. It works with both Bluetooth and hard-wired speakers.
The ONE offers several user interface options. It includes a 7-inch LCD capacitive touchscreen that listeners can use to swipe and tap sources and tracks. Those who want a bigger screen can use Wi-Fi Miracast to transfer the interface over to their Wi-Fi-Miracast-equipped televisions. A free accompanying app lets listeners use their Android or iOS devices as remote controls. The ONE's Music OS learns your music preferences, integrates with social networks, and is underpinned by an open architecture, leaving the door open for apps and new features.
Like an iPhone or flat-panel TV, the ONE is intended to be as aesthetic as it is functional. Its round glass screen sits on top of an aluminum body, and Olive's "designed by you" strategy lets the consumer customize the device with their color and background of choice.
Olive is currently trying to get the ONE off the ground on Indiegogo. It has raised close to US$70,000 of its $200,000 goal, with about a month and a half to go. A pledge of $349 gets you a ONE, and Olive has a variety of additional pledge packages.
The ONE's $399 retail price is less than half the price of other Olive HD music servers, which extend well into the four-figure range. The model equipped with a 1 TB hard drive will retail for $499 and the 2 TB model for $599. It will ship beginning in mid-2013.
Assuming the ONE proves successful, Olive plans to launch accessories for it. The ONE Box speaker stacks underneath the ONE and matches the styling of the music player itself. Customers will be able to add one for a mono set-up and two for a full stereo effect. The company also plans to offer an "invisible mounting" hardware for wall mounting and LED lighting modules.
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