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Digital Music Systems

Volumio’s Motivo Music Streamer Offers Two Headphone Outputs and Support For I2S/DSD over HDMI

For $1,849, Volumio Motivo combines an audiophile music streamer with an 8-inch integrated touchscreen display.

Volumio Motivo Digital Music Streamer

Remember the days when an outboard AM/FM tuner was a common part of the two-channel stereo setup? Well, those days are long gone, but the standalone network streamer has taken over that spot providing a way to incorporate access to digital music streaming playback through headphones, legacy stereo systems, and the growing number of powered speakers. 

The Volumio Motivo is an all-in-one audio streamer with a rather sleek interface and two dedicated headphone outputs.

Volumio Motivo Digital Music Streamer Angle
Volumio Motivo Digital Music Streamer Features

Intuitive Design 

Volumio designed Motivo to be both visual and functional. It has an angled touchscreen display. It is perfect for placement on top of an equipment rack, shelf, or part of a desktop Hi-Fi system. You can listen using the integrated headphone setup or drive active loudspeakers.

The 8-inch multitouch LCD/IPS display allows users to tactually explore and manage music libraries easily. You don’t always need to use a smartphone or tablet to control it.

The design is from Tomas Ortiz Ferrer from Design Narratives and Jibbing. As a result of his contribution Volumio has received the 2024 IF Design Award for its products.

Volumio Motivo Digital Music Streamer

Network Streamer

Motivo can be used as a network streamer with an integrated DAC and can be connected to high or low-impedance headphones, or an amplifier (or powered speakers) via the stereo-balanced (4V RMS) or unbalanced (2V RMS) analog output. The Sabre DAC ES9038 supports sample rates up to 384kHz/32-bit and DSD256.

For its analog section, the ESS Sabre 9038 DAC is paired with a connection co-developed with Amanero Technologies. This enables the best possible performance. Inside Motivo, there is a main linear regulator for the analog section, the same regulator that is used in the high-end linear power supplies. As a result, there is no need to use a linear power supply to power the Motivo, because the clean 6V supply voltage is generated internally. 

Playback Transport

Motivo also functions as a transport. Volumio incorporated an improved version of the digital section of its award-winning Rivo transport, making the Motivo the best-performing digital Volumio transport to date.

Motivo supports I2S/DSD over HDMI allowing it to be paired with high-end DACs. It’s the only transport on the market that supports all I2S protocols and pinouts: select your DAC model from a dropdown and Motivo will configure its I2S transmission protocol to match your DAC requirement.

Dual Headphone Outputs Volumio Motivo Streamer

Dual Headphone Amplification

Recognizing the diverse needs of headphone users, Motivo features a no-compromise headphone section. It includes the flagship Class-AB TPA6120A2 amplifier from Texas Instruments. The headphone amplifier is connected differentially to the Sabre DAC ES9038, to minimize the common-mode noise.

The output stage of the headphone amplifier has been fine-tuned for both high and low-impedance headphones, with two dedicated outputs.

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Volumio OS Menu Settings

Volumio OS Integration

The Volumio OS has been tweaked extensively to allow the combination of hardware and software to extract every bit of performance from the system.

This combination of hardware and software enables the Motivo to support the best possible quality from its analog outputs, making it a superior choice for streamers seeking audiophile-grade sound reproduction.

Volumio Motivo Digital Music Streamer Side View

Volumio OS Features

To provide the best possible user experience, the Volumio OS has been tweaked to maximize Motivo’s sound quality and usability. Some of the Volumio OS tweaks on the Motivo include:

  • DAC Filter Selection: The Sabre 9038 offers a selection of 6 digital filters to tweak sound features. Users can select the one that fits their tastes.
  • Selective Standby Function: Users can adjust Motivo’s standby function. By default, Motivo will go into power-saving mode after 10 minutes of idling but can be changed if desired. 
  • Auto Power-On: Users can have Motivo turn on automatically if desired. 
  • HDMI I2S Mode: I2S over HDMI is a standard that each DAC manufacturer implements in a slightly different way. With Motivo you will be able to select the appropriate protocol for your DAC.
  • Status LED and Display Brightness: The brightness of the 8-inch Display and Status LED can be adjusted. 
  • Volumio Premium: Motivo does not require additional subscriptions to enjoy Volumio Premium, as all premium features are already included. The Volumio supports Native DSD. Logging into Qobuz, TIDAL, Spotify, and your own digital music library easy to navigate.
Streaming Services supported by Volumio Motivo Streamer
  • Music Navigate: The display is able to show artist and album info, with prompts to discover more, including user favorites. 
  • Supersearch: AI-powered Supersearch allows users to ask Motivo what they want to listen to and it will create a playlist.
  • Infinity Play: Hit the infinity symbol when you’re playing a track and Volumio will take you off on a musical tangent: your own personal radio station.
  • CD Playback and Ripping: Although the Motivo doesn’t have a built-in CD drive, users can connect a USB CD Drive and you can listen and copy your CDs using the Motivo’s transport functions.
  • Play to Sonos and Chromecast: Motivo allows users to cast music to any Sonos or Chromecast endpoint.
Volumio Motivo Music Streamer Connections

Specifications

  • Product Designer: Design Narratives Ltd.
  • Analog Balanced and Unbalanced Output: Audio Output, up to PCM 384kHz/24bit, DSD256
  • USB DAC Port: USB Audio Output up to PCM 768kHz/32-bit and DSD256 (USB DAC required)
  • Coaxial and Optical S/PDIF: Audio Output, up to 24-bit/192kHz PCM
  • Analog Audio Output: RCA/XLR: 2V RMS up to PCM 384kHz/24bit
  • Digital I2S over HDMI Output: Output up to PCM 384kHz/24bit, DSD256
  • USB DAC Port: 2x USB 2.0 current up to 900mA per port
  • LAN: Gigabit 10/100/1000M
  • WiFi: Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 2X2 MIMO with RSDB
  • Bluetooth: Ver 5.0
  • Supported Formats: DSD, WAV, FLAC, Alac, Aac, Vorbis, Cue, Mp3, and others
  • UPNP/DLNA: Renderer with Open Home support
  • Supported Services: Airplay via Shairport Sync, Spotify & Spotify Connect, TIDAL & TIDAL Connect, QOBUZ
  • Available Plugins: Youtube, Squeezelite, Radio Paradise, Podcasts, Pandora, Fusion DSP, Roon Bridge, Soundcloud, Mixcloud
  • CPU: Broadcom BCM2711, Quad Core 1.5 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB DDR4
  • Internal Storage: 16 GB EMMCz
  • Power Supply: 9V, 4A
  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 19.5 x 5.5 cm (7.68 x 7.68 x 2.17 inches)
  • Weight: 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs)

Included Accessories 

  • XLR Cables
  • User Manual
  • Quick Start Guide
  • 9V/4A, Power Supply
Volumio Motivo Digital Music Streamer

Price & Availability

The Volumio Motivo music streamer is available for $1,849 at shop.volumio.com. International pricing is set at £1499 / €1749.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ORT

    May 3, 2024 at 2:47 am

    At first glance it reminds me of the Logitech Squeezebox Touch. Touche’ Volumio. No harm in reminding many of us of our first Music Steamer. I still own a Squeezebox Radio but it really no longer works as it is long since abandoned by Logitech.

    Given that I own and use several Internet capable radios and tuners (by Grace Digital and Denon HEOS) that cost me a LOT less than would this Voumio, I am certain that unless I suddenly become stoopid wealthy (I’d even take stupid healthy right now!) I shall not become an owner of this plainly attractive device.

    Simply beautiful and beautifully simple. Or so one would hope. It is nice looking. I look forward to reading more about it and wish the company well.

    ORT

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