Volumio vs other distribution

Few months ago I installed the latest version of volume V3. I was really pleased about the sound quality compare to the V2.
I made a subscription to open the full features.
even the sound quality is good, I think there’s still a kind of “Fog”, the stage is not very clean and voices not natural.
Recently I install the latest version of GENTOOPLAYER, this is a totally different philosophy, but the sound quality is at a real another level. A great open stage, the voices more natural, instruments more realistic.
Cons is for who need a display : There’s no display support with this minimal distribution.
Pos : ALL of the distribution dev is sound quality only oriented.
My system : RPI4 + gentooplayer+ squeezelite-R2+LMS(running on a Mancini server)+USB DAC Musician Pegasus + 2xQUAD606MKII reworked+Quad Pre99 + KEF 203/1

1 Like

Do you perceive “fog” in Volumio while Gentooplayer seems “at a real another level” to you?
I’m not an expert, but can there really be such a clear difference?
Volumio qaulity seems extraordinary to me; I don’t hear any “fog,” and the timbre of voice and instruments is absolutely natural.


Volumio V3 is as really very good distribution, producing a very confortable sound environment.
To make some test on my components, I’m using few reference albums for these good reasons : Bernard Lavilliers “Voleur de Feu” : at this time I was sound engineer, and I was present in the recording studio whined they made the mix of this album. The voice of the artist has something particular, very tight and clean in “midnight shadows” title.
Francis Cabrel “Sarbacane” : I was in the recording studio and got the privilege to hear the master tape, I also personally know the bassist Bernard Paganotti and his famous bass touch.
I also make the tests using jazz and classical music.
until now, only gentooplayer give me back the “studio sound” I can remember.
Independently of that, the most flagrant thing is the opening of the music stage, I think it’s the main point canceling what I name as “fog effect” in Volumio.
one more time Volumio V3 is a very very good distribution, if we include the easy display interaction, it’s probably one of the best actually.

1 Like

Thank you for your detailed response (and how nice to read about your experiences in studio!), I hope @volumio can take note of these precious indications.
Meanwhile, at this point, even though I’ll always be loyal to Volumio (with a lifetime license :D), I’m really curious to try gentooplayer!

Notwithstanding someone being in a(n unnamed) studio, these are purely subjective impressions - there’s no indication or controls as described herein that should lead to any assumption other than an individual’s various biases.
I’m not saying, let alone insisting, that IS the case here, specifically. However, to give no real or quantifiable evidence and suggest one other Volumio competitor, well, I’ll leave it at that.

Hi, fully agree with you. the studio was MARCADET in Paris, may you know it. It was one of the most famous studios at this time of recording.
I agree with you, all sound perception is quite subjective until we don’t mesure it using electronic measurement tools.
As i said, VOLUMIO V3 is very good, but in my point of view, and in my system GENTOOPLAYER is given better results, in my opinion.


I absolutely agree. It’s always about subjective impressions, it’s psychoacoustics.
Anyway: I tried Gentooplayer. The raw interface and the mandatory use of external clients (e.g., Squeezlite) for browsing music already lead me to prefer Volumio.
Regarding audio comparison, I would need to conduct tests, especially over the medium and long term, because only with time can you fully realize how your system sounds after some modifications.
However, there’s one thing I like about Gentooplayer: the option to choose between different types of kernels.
Perhaps the use of a single kernel is a deliberate choice by Volumio, aimed at simplifying the user experience. Still, for those who enjoy tinkering, I believe the option that Gentooplayer offers is a great feature.

P.S. With my message where I mentioned the Volumio team, I just wanted to encourage them to read this type of feedback, but I think they already do this, just as they’ll likely conduct benchmark with competitors :slight_smile:


so agree with you Ema82.
as gentooplayer is much more detailed, go deeper in details I think it can be a bit more tiring for certain people.Regarding this point Volumio sounds, imo, more cosy, confortable.
The kernel thing is interesting, and really affect the final result, in the other hand it’s a geek thing ! I think it’s not the “business model” of Volumio, which is more generalist than other distrib like gentooplayer.
I spent more than 20 year in music industry, including high end consumer audio business head management.
This comparison remind me the gap between HiFi generalist brands (Yamaha, Denon, Marantz, Sony, Luxman (in the 80’s 90’s)…) and “audiophile” brands (Goldmund, Naim, Linn, Acuphase, Magnepan, Grado…). Two different way to reproduce recording music and sell it !
Anther matter is the recording mastering quality of the digital music. Most of the music produced from the 90’s is highly compress in studios, the full digital recordings are often make very fast to save money, in the other hand the “old” tapes of the 70’s are often remastered, exceeding in the highs ans mids.
It will be very interesting to work on a DSP (even I really don’t like to alter the sound using artificial electronic tools) to make the sound of these recordings warmer and de-esse as far as possible.

1 Like

And I agree with you Ikyo :smiley:

On the terrible trend of compressing masters in records over the last 20-25 years, you’re preaching to the choir with me. It’s an issue that I really care about (I also wrote an article about that, even though it’s in Italian ) and it makes me “suffer” since most of my favorite bands are active during these years. Every time I see them release albums with such compressed masters, it’s a blow to the heart.

I don’t like using DSP either; every time I’ve tried it (even with Volumio using the Camilla plugin), I always felt like it worsened the sound.
However on a forum, I found some “declipped” albums of bands I like and whose original records I own. The person who did the work used tools like iZotope RX, Adobe Audition, and others. It’s not accurate to say that the sound improved; there are artifacts in the moments with most intense volume, but at least they don’t cause listening fatigue, and in some way, they are enjoyable.


I had the pleasure to read your article some years ago, kudos!

1 Like

Thank you!

Excellent article - thanks for the link, was not aware of it (and Google Translate works fine for those of us unable to read Italian :slightly_smiling_face: ).

Anecdotally, I too have found the quality of recording / master / release has a disproportionately large effect on “how good” a track or album sounds to listeners, vs. non-DSP software (transport) effects (if they exist, perceptibly), or hardware upstream of the actual speakers. There’s a rather dramatic presentation available for this in music of the 1960s-80s, even 90s, in my city. As suggested in the article, hearing original production reels vs. later remaster versions on massive Stüder studio decks set quite a precedent in my tragically average memory.

It’s very unreliable to compare impressions across time, but admittedly, people can know what they like and there’s no real-world contradiction against it (other than expectation bias for individuals prone to always look for flaws :wink: ). Transport software packages not blindly sampled definitely opens that door…

I could be wrong, but I suspect if studio music wasn’t so often manicured to play “well” on desktop/computer speakers or through earbuds and smartphones (or if setup/room didn’t have such considerable effect on perceived sound), few if any people would notice difference among transport software kernels on dynamically capable speakers. :sweat_smile:

1 Like

Yes, perhaps it may seem trivial to say, but I agree with you. There are often endless discussions about audio formats (CD quality vs. hi-res), kernels, players, DACs, but the thing that impacts the most is unquestionably the recording quality of albums, in which dynamic range plays a crucial role. If recordings were made with the intention of sounding good on high-quality systems, with particular attention to soundstage and dynamics – as was done in the years before the 2000s – many of the aforementioned discussions would probably become less relevant.

However, I understand that times have changed, smartphones and other portable listening devices have become widespread. So, it’s unthinkable today to produce records with very high dynamic range. What I don’t understand and find frustrating is why there is so much compression. Simply mastering with a DR of 8 or 9 would make the records sound good on both a Bluetooth speaker and a high-quality system. Instead, they compress as much as possible, resulting in waveforms that are like bricks with completely cut transients. Terrible.

P.S. Thanks for reading the article and for the nice feedback! :slight_smile:


To follow you, I can say with my sound engineer part of life experience, that in the 90’s for certain kind of music (mainly commercial TOP50 music), we made the mix with one goal : Good sound on test Auratone speakers = It’s ok for the FM radio’s on car radios ! in this case the DBX was our god !
I can compare nowadays to this, Bluetooth speakers, people educated to listen MP3 music, killing of recording costs (time is money, the more faster you can don, more money you win).
Where I don"t understand the way used today, it’s about remastering. usually we should get something even equal but better than the original master. Video makers are doing that with very good upscaling processors, the same exist for audio.

1 Like