Olive's super-sleek new Opus No. 4 music server

Olive made waves-well, strong ripples-when it debuted its Opus No. 5 music server a few years ago. The No. 5 was built for serious listeners in a day when most music servers seemed targeted at fans of mainstream artists like Springsteen and Spears. Today the company announced its Opus No. 4 server, which despite its inferior designation appears to be a more advanced and elegant product.

Like the No. 5, Olive built the No. 4 for those who'd rather not fuss with a computer in order to listen to music. The No. 4 suits those who want to listen on a serious hi-fi system rather than on a crummy pair of plastic computer junkspeakers. You can rip CDs directly into the No. 4 through the slot on the front, and Olive says the fan-less unit runs quietly enough to please even the most demanding audiophiles. A high-end digital-to-analog converter is built in, and the system is designed for use with the FLAC lossless codec for true CD-quality sound.

Olivepress_melody2_black_angle The most important new feature is the front touchscreen, which eliminates the need to connect a computer monitor or a TV screen in order to browse your music. Cover art appears on the tiny screen, along with lists of albums, artists, songs, genres, etc. The second most important feature? The really cool graphic treatment on top of the unit.

Olive also announced the Melody No. 2 Hi-Fi Multi-Room Player, which streams music from an Opus server through a wired or wireless network connection. The No. 2 has the same touchscreen interface (and the same groovy graphic) as the No. 4. The No. 2 has line-level outputs you can connect to an amplifier or some powered speakers. A single Opus can send separate streams to as many as 10 Melody No. 2s. The No. 2 will also stream music from networked Macs and PCs.

The Opus No. 4 costs $1,499 to $1,799 depending on the size of its internal hard drive. The Melody No. 2 runs $599. We're just touching on the many cool features these units offer; check out the website for a complete list.

-Brent Butterworth