Horrible sound quality + Audioquest Dragonfly Black

Dear Forummember,

I’ve just started using Volumio as a test to see how good it is and potentially use it as my daily streaming solution, however I find the sound quality horrible. I’m using a Audioquest Dragonfly Black, which has MQA hardware decoding capabilities when using Tidal and a hardware volume control.

I’m in love with the ease of use and the interface, but the sound quality is horrible. Also the Youtube plugin isn’t able to ‘decode’ 95% of video’s whatever that means and give an error. As a sidenote I’ve installed Volumio with dual boot (on a seperate internal hard drive) on my laptop alongside Windows. The bootloader which was installed shows up in Windows when booting UEFI, but in the boot menu of my MSI GF63-8rc it only boots to Windows and doesn’t recognize Volumio.

I have even tried Clover on a USB, which does recognize Volumio as an OS installed on my laptop, but when I try to boot to it it just gives me a black screen and does nothing, hence why I can only boot Volumio in legacy (non uefi) mode. Will this impact sound quality? I have also tried it on a old laptop of mine, but that sends all kind of crap through the motherboard towards my dragonfly dac which makes some weird noises in my speakers, so that wasn’t an option.

In Volumio I right away disabled volume control and it already started sounding better, so that’s already bad, since my DAC does support hardware volume control but it seems to degrade sound quality a lot in Volumio, it doesn’t in Windows. I’m using the official MyVolumio trial with Tidal and am also noticing that it doesn’t stream higher than 24 bit 44,1 Khz, meanwhile my DAC supports hardware MQA decoding and Tidal is able to stream in 24 bit 96 khz.

When playing FLAC files, 24 bit 44,1 Khz from my local NAS the sound is also terrible compared to Windows or a Logitech Transporter with FLAC files on my NAS. Even when using Tidal on the old transporter from more than 15 years ago (It doesn’t support Tidal masters / MQA) it blows away my Dragonfly with Volumio even when it’s only playing Tidal at 16 bit 44,1 Khz.

How come the sound quality of Volumio is this terrible, when they are claiming to be a ‘High quality audiophile music streaming solution’?

Also it seems that MQA isn’t supported at all as far as I can tell online by the forums.

I really hope that someone here knows whats going on, otherwise I will might have to buy a Bluesound Node 2 or something, since the Logitech Transporter which I mentioned earlier isn’t mine, however I can try it for a few months. It doesn’t support Tidal MQA so isn’t really an option for me either, however it does stream 24 bit 192 khz from my NAS.

As a sidenote, I find the sound quality of Volumio with flac’s even worse than my Spotify 320 kbps. It really translates my amazing audio setup into straight up garbage. Is there anybody here who experiences the same?