Olive Symphony

High fidelity is one of the key pieces missing from most of what we think of as digital music. Portable devices collectively thought of as MP3 players are delivering inferior audio experience with compressed sound good enough for playback of over-engineered pop tunes, but lacking the finesse necessary to deliver the same experience an audiophile might expect from DVD-Audio. After investing hundreds or thousands of dollars in a sound system, the experience is somewhat cheapened by sub-standard audio quality. It’s like watching basic cable on a plasma screen, you can here all the artifacts and noise in the file loud and clear. Enter the Olive Symphony. Symphony supports AIFF, WAV and FLAC formats, ripping tracks to an onboard 80GB hard drive. An IBM PowerPC chip handles onboard processing duties. Digital SPDIF and TOSLINK options keep the signal path clean, at least until it hit the speakers. WiFi on board supports signal distribution to other playback devices throughout the house. If you happen to be a Mac user, an application helps manage the on board library, with an option to build playlists from the on-device LCD. The one thing this device lacks is clear support for surround capable audio formats. At $899 MSRP, Symphony isn’t cheap, but if want a component that fits nicely in your home theater and supports high quality digital audio, this may be the way to go.