Volumio began life in 2013 in Florence, Italy, when Michelangelo Guarise developed an open-license operating system for audio computers (my Pro-ject streamer runs a bespoke version). That was as a hobby. By 2019 Volumio the company had been formed and the milestone of 300,000 downloads reached. Including MyVolumio, a paid-for version of the software. 

Volumio’s first hardware product, the Primo streaming DAC, was launched in 2018. Followed in 2022 by the Primo V2, the Rivo streamer (transport, no DAC) and the Integro streaming amplifier. Volumio has also chalked up two EISA Awards. Not a bad first ten years really.

Today sees Volumio’s next step with the launch of the Motivo, a streaming DAC complete with headphone amplifier and pre-amp controls. Plus an 8” touchscreen, big enough to put most rivals in the shade. Just add powered speakers.

True to form, the Motivo’s design is slightly leftfield (the current products have an Apple-esque simplicity to them). Resembling a slightly enlarged tablet, complete with angled stand, the Motivo’s natural habitat is out in the open, on display. This is an audio device you’ll want to show to your friends. Whilst it can be run headless via a smartphone app I suspect most people will use the large touchscreen and red control knob that sits above it. It’s all very smart.

Inside the Motivo sits a Sabre ES9038 DAC capable of PCM 384 kHz. Both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs are provided. A choice of 3.6mm headphone outputs caters for low and high impedance models (only one at a time). And those with external DACs have a choice of digital outputs. Coaxial and optical digital handle up to PCM 192kHz. I2S (via HDMI) ups that to PCM 384kHz & DSD256, with USB topping out at a bat-friendly PCM 768kHz. Finally two USB-A sockets allow connection of external USB drives. 

The Volumio app provides Spotify, Tidal, Tidal Connect, Qobuz, YouTube, Bandcamp and Pandora. The Motivo should also be Roon Ready. The Fusion DSP plugin is included, as is Volumio’s AI driven music discovery. Users can cast to Sonos, Chromecast and Airplay devices, and Bluetooth 5 is available. All at no extra cost, the Motivo includes a full Volumio license at no charge. 

All in all the Motivo looks an interesting proposition, melding strong software capabilities with good industrial design. Pairing it with something like Acoustic Energy’s AE1 Active speakers (£1050) could make for a very interesting system. 

Available now the Motivo costs €1749. For more information see Volumio.com