I’ve received so much help and kindness in this forum; I owe you an update about how my Volumio challenges turned out.
Here you’ll find my previous posts.
At the moment, Volumio works without any issues on my Volumio Rivo. I’ve spent several full days trying to make Volumio work on two different streamers (Musical Fidelity MX-Stream and Volumio Rivo,) and my problems are now a thing of the past. Now, I have a much clearer idea about what went wrong. Below is what I’ve learned. I hope it can be of help to others.
1. Problem: Only connect to one USB port at a time.
It seems to me that Volumio allows connection to a USB audio output or to external USB storage. Both USB ports can’t be used simultaneously; this will make the unit unable to play for more than max a few minutes before it simply stops.
Part of my problem was that I love my Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha USB digital converter. The Alpha USB converts a USB audio signal to another digital format (the AES/EBU format, which is widely used in professional recording studios.) My chain is this: Streamer → Alpha USB digital converter → professional Genelec studio monitors with three built-in DACs in each monitor, one for each speaker unit.
I haven’t tested this extensively because it’s very time-consuming to connect external USB storage and let Volumio index the files. But it has happened at least eight times for me that everything worked with either external USB storage or with my external digital converter connected to the other USB port. When I connect two USB components simultaneously, the streamer stops playing, and nothing can get it going again.
(The Alpha USB has its own power supply. It shouldn’t draw power from the Rivo or the MX-Stream USB sockets).
2. problem: Don’t touch the streamer for at least 12 hours after Volumio has started indexing your music files
When you connect your audio files to a Volumio streamer, it only takes a few minutes before Volumio registers all files; they all appear on Volumio’s “Sources” page, and you might think that you’re ready to go. But after that, other processes involved in indexing continue for an unusual amount of time.
During the past weeks, I’ve indexed my music files many times because I’ve attempted to make Volumio work with music storage on an external HDD, an external SSD, and an SD Card; and on two different streamers.
The last time I initiated an indexation of my music files, a small notification popped up briefly. It said I should not use my Volumio Rivo until after the indexing was finished. Until that, Volumio would be unstable. While this process continued, there would be a small icon of two arrows chasing each other in a circle in the upper left section of my Browsing page.
That was an eye-opener.
Perhaps, that message was also briefly shown to me when starting previous indexations. The two tiny arrows were rotating on my screen for more than ten hours. (My music files consist of 1,500 ripped CDs.) After the two arrows had disappeared, Volumio worked. I changed no settings. I did nothing but wait a full day, and then everything was O.K.
During the many days when I have indexed my music files again and again, Volumio has been acting strange in numerous ways and often changing its behavior by the hour. I don’t recall all my troubles; here are just two examples from yesterday.
a) For five hours, I couldn’t get access to the Browsing page. The link that was supposed to lead back to that page from my search result listing instead led to the “Playing Now” page. For half a day, I had no way of accessing the Volumio main menu. I tried that link at least 40 times. Every time it led to “Playing Now,” and then suddenly, through no action other than waiting for indexing to finish, that same link led to the Browsing page.
I asked our community about this problem here. How do I return to the main menu after doing a search?
b) On my computer, I casted Spotify to my Volumio Rivo and clicked on a song to play. Volumio started playing, but it played one of my stored music files instead of the Spotify song. The Volumio page showed erroneously that it was playing the Spotify song, but that was not what was coming out of my speakers. No matter what I pressed on the screen, the stored music file, which I had never asked to play, continued to play. I had to wait for it to come to its natural end. After that, I could play the Spotify track.
As I mentioned earlier, now, everything works.
Because Volumio can’t handle my USB output converter and USB storage simultaneously, I now have all my music stored on an SD Card.
I had to reformat this SD Card. It has been mentioned in this forum that you need to name your card “issd” to make it work. You also need to store your files in the fat32 file allocation system. A helpful person in Volumio Support told me this. I don’t get why Volumio only works with a 27-year-old allocation system, but that’s how it is.
So I copied my files to the SD Card and tried in vain to play from it. I reformatted the card and copied the files once again. Then I waited 24 hours after Volumio started indexing my files for the tenth time. That was it. No convoluted changes to any settings were necessary. My Volumio is playing, and it sounds good.
Final notes on Musical Fidelity MX-Stream
I feel bad about dissing this streamer so strongly in a previous thread.
Yes, I had full days of frustrating trouble trying to make it play. But afterward, I also had similar difficulty trying to make the Volumio Rivo play. I didn’t know that back in my “MX-Stream days.”
During the days that I had the Musical Fidelity MX-Stream in my home, it worked for a few minutes, and I’ve never heard my system sound so great. It had a true high-end sound to it. Lots of calmness, lots of space between the instruments, clarity, and total quiet in the pauses. Just beautiful.
I haven’t made any A/B comparisons between the MX-Stream and the Volumio Rivo as I haven’t had the two units in my home at the same time. Also, I’ve moved my speakers since then, so I don’t know how the Rivo would fare in comparison.
I can’t get the memories of that Musical Fidelity MX-Stream – Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha USB combo out of my head. I would be tempted to give the unit one more chance, but it doesn’t have an SD Card slot, so I suppose it won’t work. Or maybe it’ll work once I’ve stepped into the Roon system?
Thank you, everybody!
These have been my first weeks dipping my toes into audio streaming. They turned out very different from what I’d expected. I will NOT look back on these days with fondness. But the tone and online friendship of this forum have been their highlight.