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Thread: Volumio PRIMO Audio streamer review

  1. #1
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: Derbyshire

    Posts: 8,462
    I'm Josie.

    Default Volumio PRIMO Audio streamer review

    Hi all.

    A couple of weeks ago I was sent the new PRIMO from Volumio to review.

    I have finally got round to doing this so please accept my apologies for the delay.

    So, let's get stuck in.

    The Volumio Primo:

    The Primo is the new music streamer from Volumio. From out of the box it looks very discreet. No functioning lights, not even on the front of the unit. No buttons either so as you can see, it's very minimalistic.




    Out of the Box:
    At first glance I thought it was a bit too bereft of lights n buttons but then realised that this matt black box simply doesn't need anything.

    The finish on the unit is really nice indeed. It's matt black finish is really well done with no fiddly corners, lips or venty bits to gather dust. Just how I like it.

    The rear of the unit is also very neatly arranged which includes:
    x1 HDMI port
    x4 USB
    x1 Network socket
    x1 High quality gold plated RCA sockets
    x1 High quality digital out socket
    x1 Wireless aerial socket.

    Again, it's simple... Love it.




    Setup:
    Set up was a breeze too. I did however found an error in the easy set up guide which suggested an IP address to use to get the start up screen up. This just didn't want to connect so I simply used the normal 'volumio.local' and 'Ping..' we were cooking.

    Existing users of volumio certainty don't neet to worry about using this unit. It's the same interface so very easy to use.

    After the unit browsed my USB drive I set it going with the following:




    The Sound:
    From the off it was a very nice sound indeed. Smooth, no harshness, no brittleness. Just a very natural sound.

    This is very early days but I can say that the sound is really quite astonishing and this little cute discreet black box matches its performance beautifully.

    The bass is full and is certainly tight. It's focused and powerful and in my experience with these things if the bass sets off on a good footing things can only get better. This is what makes my booty shake.

    The mid range is so natural, no over emphasis. Beautiful and smooth. It does however have a laid back feel which could be more defined but I always hold judgement on this as things burn in.

    The high frequency range is also a little laid back but this I think will change as things get more established.

    This is not a bad thing though because the sound is so well put together that the stage is full and very precise. Nicely spaced instruments with a bottom what makes the whole picture dovetail.

    This is very quickly turning in to one of the best bits of hardare I've had the pleasure to review.

    Resampling:
    Okay... just had a little play with upsampling but if I wanted to then I'd have to say that I've always found 88khz 24bit to be the best rate IMO but WOW... this thing really rocks and can reach up to 768khz!!!

    I've never been a fan of upsampling but trying some of these options on the Primo I'm pretty astonished. This thing doesn't miss a beat. No glitches, no pauses between tracks, simply solid all the way.

    Stone cold crazy.

    DSD playback:

    YES! - The Primo handles DSD files beautifully and even with the highest resampling using the highest quality algorithm. What else could you want!! lol

    Inside: (taken from the volumio website) - The techy bit so don't ask me what a Low Dropout Voltage Regulator is... lol

    1. Voltage Isolator
    2. 2x Low Noise Voltage Regulators
    3. Low Dropout Voltage Regulator
    4. ESS90x8Q2M DAC
    5. High Precision Clock Oscillator
    6. DAC Microcontroller
    7. 26B RAM
    8. Dedicated USB BUS


    Versitility:
    The Primo is very versatile and would be hard to beat sound wise in this price range but because it has a digital out I assume this could also be used as a head unit supplying a DAC of your choice especially with a small touch screen attached like this which Volumio sell for 229Euros.



    Streaming:

    You can also stream from these using the Primo:



    Pricing:

    The pricing of this exceptional bit of kit from Volumio ain't cheap. At 479Euros (around 410) It's certainly worth the price and it would be most welcome in my main system.

    This is the only thing which is stopping me purchasing one of these.



    Its certainly too early to compare this to the Allo katana + Isolator but the one thing this has over the Allo so far is that it looks lovely and it's simple design makes it a joy to use.

    I will be back now and then to update the OP so please keep checking.

    UPDATE:

    After a few weeks of using the Primo it's time to conclude my experience with it.

    Although I didn't have the unit for too long I can honestly say that if you are in the market for a streamer then the Primo is must certainly be one on your list. It's ease of setup is a huge plus point. A lot of streamers are fiddly to set up to some people who, lets face it are coming in cold from a CD player. For those people it's a dream to just plug a few things in and it works. No in-depth messing with IP addresses or wifi setup. The Primo just works.

    The sound of the Primo is lush. It's agile signature is a lovely thing to behold. No harshness, a voluminously focused bass and a nicely spaced sound stage. What is there not to like?

    If it was to compare with the ALLO Katana I would say that, given more time to really let it flex it's muscles I feel it would certainly be a most respectable rival. It has a slightly different presentation to the ALLO but it's by no means a negative. If you want something to sound like peaches and cream then the Primo has it.

    The price will put some off but what you will be getting is something discreet, well made, adaptable, easy to set up and performance bostingly good.

    Jo
    Last edited by The Black Adder; 21-05-2019 at 10:46. Reason: Updated - streaming
    TRIO L-07D Turntable - Tube Distinctions Copper Amp (Using KT150's) - Croft Epoch Elite (Very highly upgraded) - Studer A80R Master Recorder (High Speed 15/30 IPS) - 15" Tannoy Monitor Gold - Loudspeakers in Lockwood Major cabinets - Tannoyista SPEC 3 Custom Crossovers - VanDamme Black Speaker Cable - Allo KATANA SQ + SHANTI psu

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 60,702
    I'm Grant.

    Default

    Good write up Josie..
    Regards,
    Grant .... ؠ

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
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  3. #3
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: Derbyshire

    Posts: 8,462
    I'm Josie.

    Default

    Thanks, Grant.

    It's certainly a lovely little thing.
    TRIO L-07D Turntable - Tube Distinctions Copper Amp (Using KT150's) - Croft Epoch Elite (Very highly upgraded) - Studer A80R Master Recorder (High Speed 15/30 IPS) - 15" Tannoy Monitor Gold - Loudspeakers in Lockwood Major cabinets - Tannoyista SPEC 3 Custom Crossovers - VanDamme Black Speaker Cable - Allo KATANA SQ + SHANTI psu

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jul 2017

    Location: Kent

    Posts: 448
    I'm Paul.

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    Well written and informative. Would love to compare this to my digione.

    Sent from my CLT-L09 using Tapatalk
    Current system:
    RPi + Allo Digione
    Beresford Caiman Seg & Dorado powered by 15v Linear PSU
    Transcendent Sound Mini Beast OTL
    Amptastic Mini-1
    Klipsch KG4.5 Speakers with Titanium Diagphrams and Sonicap Cap upgrade
    110aH Leisure Battery powers the Mini-1 & Digione

  5. #5
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: Derbyshire

    Posts: 8,462
    I'm Josie.

    Default

    Indeed, Paul.

    I've never tried the digi one so that might be a good thing to check out maybe?

    I'm updating the OP as I go so please keep checking.
    TRIO L-07D Turntable - Tube Distinctions Copper Amp (Using KT150's) - Croft Epoch Elite (Very highly upgraded) - Studer A80R Master Recorder (High Speed 15/30 IPS) - 15" Tannoy Monitor Gold - Loudspeakers in Lockwood Major cabinets - Tannoyista SPEC 3 Custom Crossovers - VanDamme Black Speaker Cable - Allo KATANA SQ + SHANTI psu

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jun 2012

    Location: London

    Posts: 169
    I'm Marcus.

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    Can you stream Qobuz with this gizmo? It might be what a dummy like me could do with.

    Edit: I checked the website, and yes you can. Could onto something here...
    Furutech/Studio Connections power cables and connectors-> Modded Marantz CD63SE or Bluesound -> Roksan K3 Dac -> RFC Venus -> LS25 -> Onkyo 9070

  7. #7
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: Derbyshire

    Posts: 8,462
    I'm Josie.

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    Yep, you can stream all of these:

    TRIO L-07D Turntable - Tube Distinctions Copper Amp (Using KT150's) - Croft Epoch Elite (Very highly upgraded) - Studer A80R Master Recorder (High Speed 15/30 IPS) - 15" Tannoy Monitor Gold - Loudspeakers in Lockwood Major cabinets - Tannoyista SPEC 3 Custom Crossovers - VanDamme Black Speaker Cable - Allo KATANA SQ + SHANTI psu

  8. #8
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: KY - Scotland

    Posts: 4,527
    I'm Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bronzeage View Post
    Can you stream Qobuz with this gizmo? It might be what a dummy like me could do with.

    Edit: I checked the website, and yes you can. Could onto something here...
    Do it for 1/3 the price if you buy a Pi a DAC Hat and install Volumio yourself. Then run Bubble UPnP on an Android phone or tablet and still have access to Qobuz, Tidal, Spotify etc.

    Might not look as pretty but do the same job

  9. #9
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: Derbyshire

    Posts: 8,462
    I'm Josie.

    Default

    Indeed.. I'm sure there are other ways of doing this but that would be for the more technically minded.

    This is a very nicely packaged unit, easy to use and set up which is very appealing.

    IMO for someone requiring an extraordinarily nice sounding streamer which is simple to set up then this is a no brainer.



    Sent from my 9001X using Tapatalk
    TRIO L-07D Turntable - Tube Distinctions Copper Amp (Using KT150's) - Croft Epoch Elite (Very highly upgraded) - Studer A80R Master Recorder (High Speed 15/30 IPS) - 15" Tannoy Monitor Gold - Loudspeakers in Lockwood Major cabinets - Tannoyista SPEC 3 Custom Crossovers - VanDamme Black Speaker Cable - Allo KATANA SQ + SHANTI psu

  10. #10
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: London N2

    Posts: 1,715
    I'm Edward.

    Default

    Looking forward to trying this out.
    Main: Tidal/Roon > MiniITX > Metrum Hex > LDR > either Radford STA25 V or Trilogy 968 > Tannoy (Eaton or Berkeley).
    2nd: Tidal/Roon > Roopio on Pi > Chevron Paradox > Firebottle Buffer > Sugden Masterclass IA-4 > Kudos Cardea


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