Anyone Messed With Volumio?

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
The little I’ve heard about it sounds impressive, but I cant Say I know very much. Anyone care to enlighten me?
 

MrEd

Senior Nobody
I am using it because it directly supports Quobus.
It sounds pretty darned good.
It is easier to set up than some others.
With that ease comes less choice in your setup.
I am going to go back and try Moode agsin and also squeeze with LMS at some point when I have time frustrate myself...🤣
 

je2a3

Senior Member
+1 on ease of set up (pre mo0de 6.x) and more radio channels...mo0de sounds a bit better though. Time to update my mo0de SD card.
 

airdronian

Radar Member
I tried Volumio early on in my Pi adventures. It was ok, but Moode is a better fit for me and I wasn't interested in Volumio's subscription model. Better the devil I know....
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
The little I’ve heard about it sounds impressive, but I cant Say I know very much. Anyone care to enlighten me?
Volumio is developed in Italy, and is very much like Moode in most ways, with one exception being the paid subscription tier that offers additional bells and whistles that you can read about on their web page.

The Volumio web interface is a little more polished looking that Moode's, at least to my eyes it is, and I think that's part of the slightly easier setup, it's just a bit easier on the eyes from a UI perspective than Moode is, and that helps those unfamiliar with it get configured and on their way.

On the other hand, there seems to be fairly wide agreement that Moode sounds just a bit better, which is interesting given they are both based on Raspbian 10 Buster Lite, using the same open source libraries and components, most notably MPD.

Both Volumio and Moode are bit perfect, so if we think it's all just ones and zeros, then they can't sound any different right? But they do sound slightly different, and I give the nod to Moode.

I keep an instance of Volumio at the ready for the excellent web radio interface that @je2a3 alluded to:

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 1.11.58 AM.jpg

Moode's UI and web radio utility have improved greatly over time, but still trail Volumio. The upcoming Moode 7 gets a refresh of the web radio application, perhaps that gap will narrow further still with the forthcoming update.
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
I’ve had a hard time getting excited about my Pi 4 running Volumio. There’s enough lag dealing with my large library that it isn’t fun.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I’ve had a hard time getting excited about my Pi 4 running Volumio. There’s enough lag dealing with my large library that it isn’t fun.
You are connecting the USB storage directly to it? Moode isn't fantastic in that regard either, very large libraries really need to be on a separate server.
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
You are connecting the USB storage directly to it? Moode isn't fantastic in that regard either, very large libraries really need to be on a separate server.

No, I’ve got everything on a NAS.

I’m sure this boils down to library size. Almost half a lifetime ago, a friend and I dedicated hundreds of hours to ripping everything we could get our hands on using iTunes to make VBR and, later, 320 kbps MP3s. Telling you the numbers would be embarrassing and make me paranoid about being hauled off to the gulag.

We were careful to adhere to iTunes ID3 conventions for things like disc number and complication, which makes life a little harder using anything else. And of course, the tagging wasn’t anywhere near as good as it should have been, or we thought it was at the time - things like the cutesy in-joke genre labels haven’t aged well.

This project, centering around obsolete lossy files, the vast majority of which I will never listen to, has become an albatross around my neck. MP3s are the new 8-tracks, and our efforts have never really realized the promise I thought they had as home music servers have matured. The collection is actually harder for me to access and enjoy than it ever has been, and I haven’t ripped a CD in ages.
 
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MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
No, I’ve got everything on a NAS.

I’m sure this boils down to library size. Almost half a lifetime ago, a friend and I dedicated hundreds of hours to ripping everything we could get our hands on using iTunes to make VBR and, later, 320 kbps MP3s. Telling you the numbers would be embarrassing and make me paranoid about being hauled off to the gulag.

We were careful to adhere to iTunes ID3 conventions for things like disc number and complication, which makes life a little harder using anything else. And of course, the tagging wasn’t anywhere near as good as it should have been, or we thought it was at the time - things like the cutesy in-joke genre labels haven’t aged well.

This project, centering around obsolete lossy files, the vast majority of which I will never listen to, has become an albatross around my neck. MP3s are the new 8-tracks, and our efforts have never really realized the promise I thought they had as home music servers have matured. The collection is actually harder for me to access and enjoy than it ever has been, and I haven’t ripped a CD in ages.
So Volumio is not configured as a server, just endpoint?

If so, what is the server software running on that NAS?
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
Hah.
Great line.

Great post too. The perils of too early adoption.

Seriously.

A hard drive chock to the brim with lossy hand-ripped music is a total anachronism in 2020, and marks me as clearly “of a certain age”.

My mind keeps drifting back to “Cleaning House”. If you can stand the show at all, it’s one of the funniest 11 minutes of Beavis & Butt-Head.
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
So Volumio is not configured as a server, just endpoint?

If so, what is the server software running on that NAS?

Volumio is the server, but rather than have the music stored on a hard drive hooked directly to the R Pi, it’s on a network drive.

Complicating matters, I can also play the files through Volumio, accessing the folder structure directly off the network share (which can be a little snappier and, depending on what I’m looking for, easier to navigate) OR through Volumio in the NAS’ capacity as a Plex server. Plex was an earlier stab at all this. In sone ways it’s better than Volumio. In some ways it isn’t.
 
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MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Volumio is the server, but rather than have the music stored on a hard drive hooked directly to the R Pi, it’s on a network drive.

Complicating matters, I can also play the files through Volumio, accessing the folder structure directly off the network share (which can be a little snappier) OR in the NAS’ capacity as a Plex server. Plex was an earlier stab at all this. In sone ways it’s better than Volumio. In some ways it isn’t.

I never got on well with Plex, it frustrated me so I kicked it to the curb, poor documentation and specs always left me wondering exactly what the hell was going on, especially with DSD and hi-rez files.

I would suggest you'll like Volumio a whole lot more if you stop using it as the server, split that job out. Options there may be something as simple as run MinimServer on your NAS, that's the best freeware for that job.

Or, if the NAS is also long in the tooth and CPU challenged, I'd add another RPi to pull server duties, either MinimServer, or AssetUPnP, both of which run headless. Or for a more full featured server, JRiver's Id Pi.

Your existing instance of Volumio will then become an Endpoint, where it will perform much better than as a server. I mean much better.

You could also do the same with any existing computer on your network becoming the server, that's how @Prime Minister is currently running it with a MacBook and Audirvana, but any Windows or Linux box can do the same.

The lean-Linux distros like Volumio and Moode are really intended to run as Endpoints, and they don't do well acting as server for a very large library, too many tracks and too much album art, it seems to overwhelm the low processing power involved.

I'd worry your NAS would face the same result as server unless it is somewhat new and modern. The server software in Moode and Volumio is miniDLNA, itself nothing special, I've never liked it going back years, even separating it from the Endpoint and running standalone, it was a sluggish pain in the ass so it too was shown the door. You are better off accessing the network share.
 

John Frum

Secret Society Member
I never got on well with Plex, it frustrated me so I kicked it to the curb, poor documentation and specs always left me wondering exactly what the hell was going on, especially with DSD and hi-rez files.

I would suggest you'll like Volumio a whole lot more if you stop using it as the server, split that job out. Options there may be something as simple as run MinimServer on your NAS, that's the best freeware for that job.

Or, if the NAS is also long in the tooth and CPU challenged, I'd add another RPi to pull server duties, either MinimServer, or AssetUPnP, both of which run headless. Or for a more full featured server, JRiver's Id Pi.

Your existing instance of Volumio will then become an Endpoint, where it will perform much better than as a a server. I mean much.

You could also do the same with any existing computer on your network becoming the server, that's how @Prime Minister is currently running it with a MacBook and Audirvana, but any Windows or Linux box can do the same.

The lean-Linux distros like Volumio and Moode are really intended to run as Endpoints, and they don't do well acting as server for a very large library, too many tracks and too much album art, it overwhelms the low processing power involved. I'd worry your NAS would face the same result as server unless it is quite new and modern. There server software in Moode and Volumio is miniDLNA, itself nothing special, I've never liked it going back years, even separating it from the Endpoint and running standalone, it was a sluggish pain in the ass so it too was shown the door. You are better off accessing the network share.

Thanks! I don’t really think I ever fully understood that using Volumio as a server in this situation was an unrealistic expectation and causing a bottleneck. The same likely goes for the NAS.

Sounds like a separate server Pi, or jettisoning the NAS in favor of a dedicated server tower, might be the best options.

I’d really like to get this right and be able to easily browse and play my stored music on any of my home stereos. Bonus point for mobile playback or streaming service integration.

I was kind of under the impression that I’d never get there with my library size and the ever-increasing shift away from locally-stored music.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
An interesting side note to this is found on the Small Green Computer product page for their superb sonicTransporter i5.

They say that unit is good for up to 450k tracks, and anything above that requires a custom solution.

What's so interesting you say? Their own custom lean-Linux distro called Sonicorbiter, uses miniDLNA.

So how do they pull it off? I'd say two things, neither of which they will detail for anyone because they are selling a commercial solution, they can't just hand the answers to their competitors, or even the DIY crowd as that would be bad for business.

First, they are using much more robust hardware than Raspberry Pi, their board has an Intel i5 chipset. Second and likely even more important, they have one of the leanest software distros out there, and they have no doubt picked apart what ails the typical miniDLNA install and fixed it to suit their need. This is the value in buying an off the shelf solution as opposed to cobbling together in DIY fashion.

EDIT: as soon as I post that, I see that it has changed, they too jettisoned miniDLNA, perhaps a long time ago, their server software is now the aforementioned MinimServer. Either that or I'm misremembering it entirely, which would seem the more likely as SGC and Sonore are smart cats, I bet they would spend a very short time futzing with miniDLNA before moving on.

Look at what they use hardware-wise to guarantee large library support, it's under Storage:
  • 64GB SSD for server database (Roon Server, Squeezebox, DLNA) no local music storage.
So the library DB itself is cataloged on a dedicated 64GB SSD, and that's fully separate of the actual storage drive, that's only the library itself, and it's good for up to 450k tracks.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
And one last related note... Logitech Media Server and Squeezelite, running on the same Raspberry Pi.

This configuration is promoted by piCore Player (pCP). They make no mention of any library size/track number limits that I can see, however they do say this:

LMS (server) and Squeezelite (player) can be active on the same pCP unit. This creates a compact and complete audio system based on a RPi. To get the optimal experience we suggest to use the most powerful RPi.

So before going nuts with changes, maybe it's as simple as ordering the most recent RPi 4B with 8GB of RAM, and a clean/fresh install of Volumio (or Moode, or pCP). Perhaps just as (purportedly) with pCP, Volumio or Moode will operate well as both server and endpoint if you up the game just a bit on the hardware side of the equation.

If you are using a 3B, that's definitely part of the current problem, and a 3B+ would only be slightly better.
 
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