Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Hear a Symphony

From today's NYT Business section, an article by David Pogue discusses the Olive Symphony, put out by Olive. Simply put (all quoted items are directly from Mr. Pogue's article), the Symphony is an "iPod for the home stereo". At $900, that's a pretty hefty iPod, but here are some of the features. It has an 80 gigabyte hard drive, with possibility of storing 20,000 songs (in MP3 format, 2,000 in FLAC format (the lossless format that are "adored by classical music nuts"). A $1,100 model, Musica, has a 160 gigabyte hard drive.

Got tons of cd's that you don't want to be loading into Symphony? No need to take 3 weeks off form work to tackle that transfer problem. Olive's got a deal where you send them your cd's (not sure what the max is. You pay for the delivery to them and back. They'll do the downloading for free onto your Symphony hard drive.

Got records or old cassettes? You can connect your turntable or tape deck to the Symphony and turn the songs into digital tracks. The tough part will be getting rid of those beloved album covers; not sure if you can hook up a scanner to the Symphony and have those images loaded in as well.

You can connect your iPod oryour MP3 player and, since it has Wi-Fi capabilities, it can become part of your home network. In the works is a companion device, called a Sonata, a small, wireless receiver that hooks up to speakers or to a clock radio (say a Bose Wave Radio or a Cambridge Soundworks Radio ) would allow access to your music from any room in the house. There are limitations. If you're 20 rooms away, reception is lousy.

So for those of us with storage problems, here's a solution. Plus, it's easier to wrap your hands around all of your music with the Symphony than it would be around your record and cd collection. Which is good for those of us with possession issues.

... and yet there are still vinyl records I own that have never been released on CD ... this is why recrod players still rule.
Stephenesque: I've got an old (make that very old) AR turntable and a B&O one as well, so I too am very fond of albums and the instruments they need to be played.
But I have to tell you, this Symphony/Musica contraption sounds awfully tempting. Being able to store all of my albums at the current state of scratchiness and nicks they're in onto the hard drive is more advantageous than listening to them later, with additional ticks, nicks, and gouges. It's the album covers that I'd have a problem disposing of.
Old album covers...

Your trash, my treasure...
900 bones?! I'll be back in a couple of years, when the price has come down.

I like the "album cover" debate. Seems to me every home should have a "listening room" and a "sound system". You'd use the sound system to supply the soundtrack of your life while cooking and cleaning, etc., but retire to the listening room for those times when you need to take the music seriously and ponder anew the design of certain album covers. All this to say, this $900 contraption would be fine for the sound system
WP, yeah $900 is a bit much (to tell you the truth, in that part of the brain devoted to buying ssound equipment and cd's (which is probably 99% of my mind), I've already jumped to the $1,100 model..since it holds more), but it seems it would be worth it. I'm sure, though, that someone like FCB could build a Scottish version for, ohhh, I'd say $49.98. What say ye FCB?
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