TREASURE: Music Servers are Hi-Tech Jukeboxes

We'll get to today's TREASURE momentarily but first Deacon HERC has worked up a sermon for y'all. 

You shall not covet . . . anything that is your neighbor's. . . . You shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Breaking the 10th Commandment comes easy for most people for two reasons: 

  1. Most people have no idea what it is (c'mon, be honest now; see Commandment #9) and 
  2. Wanting what we do not have and keeping up with the proverbial Joneses comes all too naturally to most of us. 
It doesn't necessarily mean someone else has it and we are consumed with envy or jealousy nor does it mean we want it so they can't have it.   There is a saying regarding open coveting: "I wish I had that and he had a better one." Sometimes coveting is merely daydreaming: "If I won the lottery..." or "Maybe, someday...".  The final Commandment doesn't really have to do with taking something away from someone - that offense is covered in the 8th Commandment - it is merely reminding us in a roundabout way what we should've known all along: our souls have no pockets.  Now if you'll turn to page 427 in the hymnal and join Brothers Mick and William in song...


This is the inspiration for today's post: a full-page ad from the premiere issue of Classic Pop magazine.  The product seems like a simple solution to a non-existent problem and upon further research HERC found he was not alone in his line of thinking.  There are vocal, fervent fans of the JB7 to be sure but it seems like most of them somehow managed to avoid or ignore the PC-based digital music revolution with Napster, iTunes, Pandora and Spotify among the major players and went from building large, expensive component hi-fi systems and copious amounts of vinyl platters to play to even more expensive systems and an unruly collection of digital discs.  The ad copy indeed reads like a Hallmark Channel commercial (with a British accent, natch) aimed squarely at the advertiser-coveted Baby Boomer populace:
"How many CDs do you own and never play?  Think of the money they cost, the space they take up."
Picture sloppy stacks of CDs in jewel cases sitting on shelves and even on the floor, falling over.

Key easy-life phrases appear in the print ad: "...at the touch of a button!", "One simple button...", "Control from your armchair..." and "No more clutter, no more hassle..." are Boomer catnip.  That last phrase is then contradicted by "Take advantage of cheap CD prices".  Reading forums and reviews there seems to be a quality control issue in the manufacture of the JB7 units but that is countered by outstanding customer service and timely refunds honoring their money-back guarantee.  Here in the Colonies, importing a new Brennan JB7 will set you back $700-$800 depending on if you go with 320GB or 500GB hard drive.

Next up on today's Treasure Hunt, is the entry-level music system from Olive.  It offers much of the same promised ease and functionality of the JB7 while combining it with an attention to audiophile level sound and a high-quality build.  Olive has been engineering and hand-crafting music servers for a few years now and each successive generation brings both technological innovations and stylish design changes.  Having been a subscriber to Stereo Review (now Sound + Vision) since 1983, HERC has eagerly read as the evolution of the music server has unfolded within their pages - they first favorably reviewed the Olive Symphony Wireless Music Center ($899), with its 80GB hard drive, back in 2005 and most recently reviewed the Olive One ($399 and up), a crowd funded, fully customizable elegantly designed music player in December 2012.  But today, HERC is spotlighting the unfortunately only available in glossy white Olive HD4 (below).

The latest generation 4HD is truly a thing of beauty to behold although HERC would appreciate it even more if it were available in black or a dark brushed metal.  Aggressive, slanted design with giant, gorgeous 7" screen just begging to be touched, decent sized buttons spaced and placed with both thought and purpose.  Plus there is an app for your smart device that ports over the entire user interface.  Sweet! The 4HD succeeds the previous generation 3HD (below) which had a unique etched case and a 4.3" screen.  It's a nitpick but HERC gets that the green color is an extension of the brand but he is not a fan of the hue.

Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, the 4HD screams elitist audiophile snobbery but keep in mind it is their entry-level product with two products sitting higher up the food chain.  Sure it costs almost twice as much as the JB7 but in its defense, the 4HD comes loaded with a 2.5TB hard drive, offering 6-7 times the storage capacity of the JB7.  (Has HERC ever mentioned his passion for alpha-numeric named tech products and cars?)  Given the choice, HERC would opt for the 5HD rather than the primo 6HD.  From HERC's lips to Santa's Nice List.

Which brings us to our final Treasure today, the new kid in town, The Cocktail X10 (pictured at top of post). The style can best be described as "cute" if you're into that boxy, cubey sort of thing. Most reviewers and users say the interface needs some refinement but most agree the X10 offers a lot of functions for relatively little money. An interesting aspect of the X10 is the option to buy it without a hard drive and install your own (up to 2TB) although you can spend a little extra and get it equipped with either a 500GB, 1TB or 2TB drive.

device capacity price
Brennan JB7 [UK]
320-500GB $600-$700
Olive 4HD [US]
2.5TB $1499
Cocktail X10 [KOR]
0-2TB $450-$700

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