New Volumio x86 user, loving it! Review inside.

Hi Everyone,

I’m new to and loving Volumio. I thought I would share my experience of setting it up, a little bit about my system and a sort of mini review.

I just got Volumio x86 setup on my system last night. To my amazement, it recognized and setup my M2tech Hiface 1 asynchronous usb to spdif interface automatically! It works perfectly. After taking awhile to figure out that to setup windows shares on a separate windows 7 machine as a NAS (had to add vers=2.0 to options), I was off to the races. I actually got it running using plex and using dnla first, but the interface was slowish and it didn’t do the web album artwork.

Once I got it running with the network share, I was amazed. This is a huge improvement over my previous setups over multiple dimension.Over the years, I’ve used foobar2000 with the wasapi out plugin and a chromecast audio as my streaming sources. No more…

Foobar + the hiface into my dac sounds good, did gapless playback and was bit perfect, but the interface is terrible and using apple’s remote app (which you can make work reasonably well) is terrible with album artwork and is just badly designed. This is surprising because it’s just the itunes remote and I’m generally a fan of Apple interface design.

The Chromecast Audio was almost a home run, but there were enough niggling issues that it’s a non-starter for my main system. I will be using them for my whole house audio and bedroom purposes though. I use the spdif out of the CCA into an ifi Ipurifier and then my dac. The ipurifier is only really useful for devices like the cca that induce a lot of jitter. It made a solid improvement on the CCA that was immediately audible, but off any halfway decent source, it’s either not noticeable or a slight downgrade. Suffice to say, it’s useless both conceptually and sonically with the hiface. I also ended up using a USB dongle based wired connection as I had issues reliably connecting on my network. That seems to be somewhat unique to me, but the wired connection bulletproofed it in terms of being able to reliably see it from my IPhone X.

I use PLEX for a number of things and actually really like the phone interface and being able to fling from it to the CCA. That’s a win. PLEX’s last.fm album art and info works super well too. The problem is: PLEX doesn’t do gapless playback or support 24/96 files on the CCA. Technically, it will play 24/96 but it clicks and pops continuously. What a drag! So close. I did setup a unpnp server on a pc and got it to stream to the CCA, but the foobar output component has some issues where you have to frequently respecify the renderer setup for the CCA using bubbleupnp. I also am not at all convinced of the bit perfect playback. The sound was not stellar, but more on that.

Enter Volumio. I wanted a player I could run headlessly and control with my phone and tablet. I wanted bit perfect, gapless play back of high res files. I wanted something that could find album and artist artwork online and not necessarily rely on my stored artwork. Volumio did all this, and also managed to sound better doing it. I installed it thinking that there was a near 0% chance that the Hiface would work, but wouldn’t you know it, it did!

I’m so happy with it. It is excellent ergonomically, has all the features I want and, most importantly, sounds great. The difference between the CCA + ipurifer and the Volumio (running on a zotac mag all in one from 2010) with the hiface is astounding! Not even close. I also could swear it was a noticeable upgrade from foobar, but I’m reluctant to standby that as I couldn’t a/b that comparison easily like I did with the CCA. This is the most noticeable upgrade I’ve made in years and it cost me nothing and was relatively easy to do.

Nothing’s perfect, so I will list my very minor gripes / wish list:

  1. I really like the artist bio / album review feature in PLEX. I wish this was part of Volumio. There’s a component for Foobar that downloads bios (and supposedly artwork) on the fly, but I had issues with the artwork piece of that and all the other foobar clunkiness (sorry foobar). The PLEX implementation of the web “agents” for that meta data based bonus info is unparalleled IMO, but given that Volumio seems to be grabbing the same images from the same sources, one would think eventually the bios and reviews would be possible if a developer were so inclined. It exceeds my meager skills in that area.

  2. The documentation for connecting to windows based shares seemed surprisingly sparse. DNLA worked immediately and just saw my PLEX setup, but I had to dig around to find the options vers=2.0 thing. It was actually in reference to making other cifs shares work and I took a wild stab and was amazed to see it fire up

For those of you looking to access a windows network share:

Alias: whatever you want here
NAS IP Address: Put the ip address (no ports or anthing) of your windows machine with the share on it. I suggest setting up a static IP on the windows machine
Path: the actual name of the share and subdirectory. I shared the drive on my PLEX server where all my PLEX files and music are stored. The share is named “plexdrive” so I just typed “plexdrive” in the field, no slashes or any other info. You could presumably set a subdirectory here as well, but I have no need to do so.
File Share Type: cifs
Username: username of an a user with permissions to access the share on the windows PC. I created a username on my windows pc that was for remote desktop (it’s my plex server and it runs headless) and use the same user for with “full control” privileges for my shared folders.
Password: The password for the above user on the windows machine
Options: vers=2.0 I’m lucky I tried that as it’s not documented all that well. That was the key, added that and it worked perfectly.

Overall, I’m so happy with this setup. This combo is the best sounding digital source I’ve had in my system. Thank you Volumio and community!

My system as it sits now:
Zotac Mag all in 1 intel atom PC (sadly not fanless)
M2tech HiFace asynchronus usb to spdif interface (coax)
Belden 1694A (coax) cable with Canare connectors (Blue Jeans Cable) to dac
Andrea Ciuffoli design based diy dac (AD1865 chip, Cirrus CS8414 receiver)
Belden 1694A cable with Canare connectors (Blue Jeans Cable) to preamp
Outlaw 990 preamp with dac output into analog bypass inputs (no a/d conversion)
Belden 1694A cable with Canare connectors (Blue Jeans Cable) to amp and sub
Musical concepts modded Adcom GFA 555 poweramplifier (big improvement over standard 555)
BJC Twelve (Blue Jeans Cable) to main speakers
Magnepan MGLR1 speakers (fuse bypassed, custom bases, binding posts upgraded)
REL Q150E sub (which is kind of crap, but I can’t fit my pair of PSUB1s in my current space)

Glad you’re enjoying the experience, and thanks for the positive reviews.

I’d suggest you add your improvement requests to a separate thread so they don’t get lost in this “Introduce Yourself” thread

About the cifs version 2 thingy, that is a mixture of Microsoft’s tinkering and hardware support. It can end up quite complicated to sort out who is the culprit … in this case, I think it is your Window’s setup, but it is not the same for everyone.

It’s not a problem per say with Volumio, I just couldn’t find a guide that specifically addressed setting up with windows shares on a current version of Volumio. From a technical perspective, its fine, it was just hard to figure out.

Here’s a pic of my current setup. Speakers are too close to walls, gear shouldn’t be behind them, guitars shouldn’t be there, etc, etc. Unfortunately, I live in the real world and I have to put all this junk somewhere! Anyways, very happy with the sound. This is the best my system has sounded in this space, which is somewhat new to me.
efsystem.jpg