My Volumio Experience
Moving towards perfection! I have been using Volumio for around 3 months now and would like to share my thoughts with this review. Overall the software and Pi process are amazingly simple, inexpensive, provides outstanding sound and integration BUT there are a few things that I would like to see Volumio do to make this perfect. I have addressed those critiques in this review.
I am running a Pi4 with Audiophonics 9038 DAC using the analog connectors to feed my Onkyo TX NR656 100 watt surround system with excellent speakers. I also connected the hdmi output to my TV so I can see the interface on the Big Screen. (More on that later).
Interface & Integration
Excellent interface in terms of maneuvering around, playing songs etc, see meta data. Display is nice and being able to control via the browser is awesome. Personally i use the classic view because it looks better on the screen. I also have the app which is very good and also discovered Flirc for my Harmony remote where I can control the Volume, Play/Pause, Next or Previous song. I can not control the menus with Flirc. It’s also nice that you can do OTA updates and load music on the SD card. I haven’t been able add my ITunes music library but I think that is because of my limited computer network knowledge. But seemingly you can connect anything to the Pi, networked or hard wired.
I am a sound freak so I use mostly Qobuz and some Tidal and the experience is pretty good. Everything comes through from Qobuz and happily my system has no problems playing the highest resolution of Qobuz 192/24. Really happy with that. Songs load instantly.
One thing I have noticed is you cannot add/delete or edit Qobuz playlists from Volumio. Nor can you sort by alphabet - artist - and that is a bit annoying. On a positive note the Pi4 and even the Pi3B+ are lightning quick, gapless and for the most part very stable. I have the superstar subscription and therefore get the metadata descriptions. But they are not as good as the native Qobuz descriptions for album review and artist etc. It would be nice to pull that data in.
HDMI Out Visual
I assume that this was developed for the DYI tecky crowd and the touchscreen was added to make the Pi a standalone device. So a plug in was added and some of us are now using the video out to our TV’s. So the original vision probably wasn’t to project to TV’s. And it is not bad. But it could be so much better. This is my biggest critique of Volumio when compared to other systems. I almost didn’t do Volumio because of the screen display.
In some ways Volumio is ahead of the competition. For example, BlueSound does not offer hdmi in their unit. But given that Volumio does, I think the hdmi out should be built into the software and the image projected should not be the interface, rather should be something much prettier.
If Volumio wants to appeal to the masses and not just the computer experts, they need to add this in. Many people are coming from Apple TV or other systems which beautifully display the music and data with images and album art and it looks great. But Apple TV and others can’t play high res whereas Volumio can and offers the best of both worlds.
Volumio is awesome. It makes music fun again and if you are really into sound quality, it is really good. I am encouraged that it will only get better and that’s what I am looking for especially with HDMI out.