What is Volumio based on?

So what exactly is Volumio made of? Is it a modified version of Raspbian? Is it a minimal OS with everything stripped out that isn’t essential for audio?

What exactly makes it “audiophile” over the typical Linux installation? Does it have custom audio drivers that make the sound way better? Or is it simply that it supports a good range of DACs?

As far as I can tell, the following 3 things are the focus of Volumio

  • Minimalistic ARM Linux kernel (supporting ARM based boards so no need for full blown PC hardware)
  • ‘Best’ use of MPD (best audiophile music playback for *nix systems)
  • Headless with excellent WebUI to control MPD

I am not aware of any Volumio specific (kernel)drivers or patches. There are no Volumio MPD code patches I am aware of.

Well, a simple cat /etc/*-release shows the following:

PRETTY_NAME="Raspbian GNU/Linux 8 (jessie)"
NAME="Raspbian GNU/Linux"
VERSION="8 (jessie)"

You can see how Volumio is built by looking at its build script:


  • Minimal OS, only the needed packages (based on Raspbian packages for armv6, debian for armv7 and i386)
  • Only audio related packages are running, and those needed for general connectivity
  • Runs on RAM for minimal SD Card wearing
  • Uses pure alsa approach, shipping with many optimized conf files (goal: have the best sounding system with less hassle possible, with the widest range of systems possible)
  • X86 has some kernel tuning for DSD, we’re applying those to PI kernel in the future as well
  • MPD is compiled with a custom recipe, to keep it lightweight:
  • Integration of many services into a seamless User experience (shairport, dlna, webradios, etc)

But there’s actually much much more… I should actually write an article detailing the basic principles behind Volumio OS