tidal-connect-volumio-app

TIDAL Connect is now available on Volumio!

Since the beginning, Volumio’s vision has always been to keep the ongoing search to provide solutions that enhance the way people listen to music. To continue this purpose, we focus on two main things for Volumio; to provide the highest sound quality possible and in the most convenient and ease of use approach. 

This vision resulted in a great partnership with the leader in hifi music streaming service, TIDAL. And today, a new feature that will provide Volumio and TIDAL users the finest music experience is finally released on Volumio: TIDAL Connect. 

Over two years ago we incorporated the TIDAL Native Integration feature on Volumio, giving the chance for users to interact with TIDAL directly for the Volumio UI. With TIDAL Connect, we want to give our community what matters most: more options and more comfort. Whether you prefer to manage their TIDAL music content via their app or the Volumio UI, now the choice exists.

TIDAL Connect superb new feature is now available for MyVolumio users, giving a seamless experience to listen to your favorite music from the comfort of the TIDAL app. If you haven’t heard of TIDAL Connect before, let us tell you the advantages you can get with the TIDAL Connect feature in Volumio.tidal-connect-volumio-app

What is TIDAL Connect and the benefits of it on Volumio?

If you haven’t heard of TIDAL Connect before, it is a fairly new feature of the Norwegian music streaming service TIDAL, released back in November 2020.  Basically, you can stream your music directly from the cloud to supported third-party devices. And as of today, all Volumio devices are TIDAL Connect supported and ready to play on! 

Think of it as the same concept as Spotify Connect. TIDAL Connect works the same way: from your phone, computer or tablet, with a click on the TIDAL app, you can cast all your music content to your Volumio device.

Here is better news for audiophiles and music lovers! In addition to easily control your music straight from the TIDAL app, you get two more important benefits from it: TIDAL Connect lets you stream all the HIFI music in lossless quality and provides gapless playback. 

The TIDAL connect feature is now available to all MyVolumio Virtuoso and Superstar users.

Whether you have Volumio Primo, or installed Volumio OS devices on the official platforms, these will all be compatible with the TIDAL Connect feature. 

How do I get started with TIDAL Connect on MyVolumio?

To use the TIDAL Connect feature, follow these simple steps:

1. Make sure both of your devices are connected to the same network.

2. Update Volumio to the latest version v2.878

3. Login to your MyVolumio –Virtuoso or Superstar– account on the Volumio UI.

4. Make sure your TIDAL app version is on or above: 

- iOS: v2.16.0 or Later -Android: v2.32.0 or Later 

5. Open the TIDAL app from your phone, computer or tablet;

6. Go to the Now Playing page,

7. Click on the “Sound Output” icon and choose your Volumio device.

Now you can listen to your favorite music for hours; uninterrupted and without any limitations in the quality of the music you are listening to. Can’t get any better than this!

This could not have been achieved without the phenomenal community that gives us their inputs and suggestion to continue to improve Volumio. To Mervin and our developer's team who worked on the integration of this feature for Volumio, and to the TIDAL Connect team to give us their support and a pleasant experience implementing this feature.

Now is time for you to try it out by login into your MyVolumio Virtuoso or Superstar account!

And if you haven't subscribed to one yet...


Discover a music album every week with Music Letter!

It's been almost a year when we first released the Music & Artists Credit Discovery feature on MyVolumio. And not long after we started our personal album reviews from the Volumio team members on our socials channels and here on the blog.

As we were receiving such great responses from these features, we thought..."What about giving a music album recommendation, where not only you listen to the album tracks and that's it, but you also get to know everything that comprises it, and in one single newsletter? This is exactly what here at Volumio did in collaboration with Music Expert Jacques Krischer.  Today I'm so happy to introduce to you this new initiative called Music Letter.

What is Music Letter?

A newsletter that gives you the chance to discover, or rediscover every weekend a music album. In today's world there is so much information out, and to keep track of it can be such an overwhelming process, this is why we created Music Letter. You might have listened to an album, but have you thought about all the stories behind the process and growth of it?

We believe that not only the melody or the tracks; but the whole story, the thought process, the after-releasing events that go into the album is what makes it more fascinating to listen to it and enjoy it to the fullest. Each week, we choose one album and gather all the information associated with it (this is carefully searched, compiled and written by the great Musicologist Jacques).

You will find info such as Review, Production Facts, Links to listen to it on different platforms, events that happened on the day of the release, trivia about the album and artists, a fun treat, and much more!

Music Letter brings you all the fun and interesting resources behind the album you love or behind an album (or albums) you've never heard of... but might be your favorite one. You can expect albums we are sure you will enjoy, new or old-school artists, and a mix of genres to explore different music choices. One space to give you all the music resources and recommendations along the way, in an entertaining approach. Paid once for a year, and every weekend we will send the newsletter straight to your inbox.

The newsletter is €29 a year and to be more specific, this is what you will receive every weekend in the newsletter:

  • Album Presentation,
  • Review,
  • Productions Facts,
  • Links to listen to it on your preferred music server,
  • Trivia related to the album/artist, and even
  • Historical/Music Events with the date associated with the album/artist.

And to make it more entertaining, a fun quiz to test your music knowledge. :nerd_face:

Our goal with Music Letter is to give in one single space all the information related to a music album, in an enjoyable but detailed way.

 

music-album-newsletter

Why is it going to be paid?

We are doing this because we love music and what we do. But unfortunately love does not pay for our email server, web hosting, the Music Letter team’s lunch… Jokes aside, as we are doing this in collaboration with a Music Expert, all the information you get it’s carefully searched, compiled and written, giving accurate material and what we believe is quality content.

Since you made it all the way here on this post, I would like to invite you to try it out and know what your thoughts are on it.

Sign up, receive your first newsletter (for free!) and let us know what your feelings are about it.


Big News for Android Users: The new version of Sound@home for Volumio App is here!

If you have been part of the Volumio community since the beginning, you've probably heard about and tried the app Sound@home for Volumio. This project was born pretty much at the same time the first versions of Volumio were released... and yes, a long time ago. Today I want to re-introduce this app given that a completely new version was just released, improving significantly its functionality. All done by one incredible mind and Volumio contributor, Diego Tafuto.

Sound@home is a native app available for all android devices. It allows full control of Volumio with many features available, and an important thing to mention: it is completely free!

I should point out this app is a part of something bigger. Diego has started Sound@home first, as a part of a project that he would like to cover, one step at a time, entire home automation, being passionate not only about Hi Fi music but also IoT.
But enough writing, let's jump to the cool part and see all the things you can do with Sound@home app for Volumio, shall we?
Soundhome-volumio-playerA completely renovated User Interface making the app more intuitive and of course, good looking! And if you prefer to use your device horizontally, you can surely do it!

horizontal-player-soundhome-volumio

Sound@home for Volumio App allows you to configure and control multiple Volumio devices in your home from the same App.
With one click you can search and automatically configure your device (once Volumio has been configured the first time via WEB UI).
Once configured on the app, even if the device is later moved to another network or room, Sound@home is able to recognize it automatically without any further configuration by the user.

soundhome-new-plugins-volumio

soundhome-qobuz-volumioYou can install new plugins and configure them as well as all the different Volumio configuration options. It also supports Qobuz and has its own widget to facilitate the user experience. First, you will need to login to your Qobuz account via the Volumio UI and later you will be able to command Qobuz via the Sound@home App.

soundhome-playqueue-volumio

It allows you to rearrange the queue of your songs by simply dragging and dropping them.
In the next version to be released soon, it will also support the "swipe left" and "swipe right" gesture to switch between sections faster.
Currently it doesn't allow streaming the same song on multiple devices; but when it becomes available at Volumio, works will be done to have the same functionality in the Sound@home app.  Soundhome-app-volumio-albumsFor additional help, you can find some "How To" videos in the official Sound@home Youtube Channel
Of course, we cannot end the post without introducing the great mind behind the project. In his own words, Diego told us a couple of things about himself:

I'm a simple person, passionate about Hi-Fi music and IoT. Even if I'm an engineer the Sound@home project is just one of the ways to express my passion for technology and the possibility the technology can simplify and enjoy our life.

In the past, I was also a DJ and at that time I started to love Hi-Fi music and all the related world.

I think everyone should have the possibility to enjoy the music they love in a simpler and economic way, especially the Hi-Fi music that will give a difference. Volumio is one of the possible solutions and Sound@home will permit to spread more the Volumio knowledge on the market.

I'm alone at the moment on developing the Sound@home and until I can I will continue to improve it.

In the past, there was a stop on Sound@home improvements due to the fact a new baby came into my life. He completely fills my life with his happiness, joy and a lot of stuff to manage :) but now I'm back with more energy to be spent on my dream, bringing hopefully it to a new level.

The new version of the App will always include new services or new possibilities of control! Stay tuned...

Are you ready to try it out?

Download for free the Sound@home for Volumio Android App here and let us know what you think!

Write it in the comments section or email Diego at digx At hotmail.it

Enjoy!


Black Friday Surprise! We have a important announcement for you

Mmm... Here is where we should announce all the Black Friday discounts...

So where is the Black Friday discount?

discount-meme-black-friday

Oops! This time, Black Friday will be different here at Volumio and there are no discounts!

Jokes aside, we wanted to get in touch with you to give you an important announcement.

After carefully analyzing our supply chain for the past months, we are here to inform you Volumio Primo prices will increase. 

We all know about the unfortunate situation that's being going on in the world. This year has changed everybody's life, one way or another. Same happened to companies, unfortunately the COVID-19 pandemic forced us into new changes.

Logistics costs have increased +200%, as well materials and manufacturing costs have increased +12% for Primo. Combining it, these costs have significantly increased the last months, not giving us another option but to come to the decision that our Volumio Primo price will increase.

Volumio-Primo-EISA-Digital-Source-Award

 The new Volumio prices will take effect on Saturday, November 28th at 00:00 CEST:

  • Volumio Primo Community Edition: €479 €499

  • Volumio Primo Hi-Fi Edition: €619 €649

*Volumio Primo Hi-Fi Edition includes MyVolumio Superstar Lifetime Plan

Why are we doing this now? We tried to hold this decision for as long as we could and prevent this price increase for these last months. However, as supply chain costs continue rising and we keep expanding our team and capabilities to provide the most to our community, keeping the current price is not sustainable anymore.

We believe it's fair to communicate in advance, this way if you are interested in buying a Primo, you can have the chance to purchase it before going through this change.

Get Volumio Primo here before prices go up!


Want a Volumio t-shirt? See here how you can win one!

Hey guys! We are coming back with more surprises! These past few months we've receiving so much love from all of you so we want to create a little contest where we can learn more about our community and how everybody is using Volumio!

So head over to our Facebook and Instagram official pages and participate on our contest!

Two winners will receive a Volumio t-shirt plus a surprise vinyl :wink:

Facebook
How to participate:

  1. Go to this post
  2. Comment on the post the best picture of your Volumio Setup and tell us a little about your gear.

The comment with most likes wins!

Tshirt vinyl volumio

Aaaand…For Instagram:

  1. Make sure you follow us on instagram
  2. Post on your profile the best picture of your Volumio setup
  3. Insert in the caption our @volumio tag with the hashtag #VolumioSetup and tell us a little about your gear
  4. Make sure your profile is public during these days to see it!

The post with most likes wins!

Both contests closes on Monday, November 2nd at 18:00 CEST and winners will be announced shortly after.

Good luck and show us your best pic :wink:


myvolumio-lifetime-deal

MyVolumio Lifetime Deal is available NOW! Limited time offer!

What's better than having lifetime access to your favorite audiophile music player?

After receiving requests from many of you to provide the availability to purchase the lifetime license, we decided to make it now available for a limited time!

For 4 days and only a limited amount of 200 licenses, MyVolumio Superstar Lifetime is available NOW for sale at just €199

myvolumio-lifetime-deal-superstar

You can be one of the lucky to get lifetime access to all Superstar premium features for life, for the same cost as less than 3 years of the yearly plan! Just pay once and forget about extra payments on MyVolumio!

With MyVolumio Lifetime Deal, you will have exclusive access to premium features such as:

  • Use MyVolumio on 6 devices
  • TIDAL and Qobuz Native Integration
  • CD Playback and Ripping
  • Alexia and Highresaudio.com Integration
  • Automatic Backup and Sync
  • Music and Artist Credits Discovery
  • Digital and Analog Inputs Playback
  • Bluetooth Audio Playback Input
  • Dedicated email support from the Volumio team

Plus, all upcoming premium features and unlimited upgrades!

MYVOLUMIO SUPERSTAR LIFETIME DEAL IS AVAILABLE NOW!

From now until Monday October 19 at 23:59 CEST... or while supplies last.

As we continue growing as an organization and continue expanding Volumio capabilities and performance, there will come a time where soon it'll be necessary for us to increase the monthly and annual MyVolumio subscription prices. This offer we provide now is for the petitions we have received from many members of our community since we released MyVolumio, giving a chance to benefit before changes are made.

There won't be another chance like this again, so mark your calendars and be on the lookout since it is a limited amount... Once they're gone, they're gone.

YOU CAN GET YOUR LIFETIME DEAL HERE

 


Motet-Distribution-Volumio

Announcing Volumio Primo official Canadian distributor: Motet Distribution

Our award-winning Volumio Primo has arrived on the northern side of America! And yes Canada, this news goes out especially for you! 

We are proud to announce Volumio Primo's arrival to Canada. Motet distribution has joined the Volumio family, and as of now they are the new official Volumio Primo distributor in Canada, supplying our EISA award-winning streamer to retailers in the country.

Our team is pleased to start this partnership with Motet Distribution given that we share the same values and philosophy. This being primarily doing hard work in providing the best support to our customers, and promoting a sensible approach in the hifi industry by offering the best products while considering the quality-price ratio. Having said that, we can confirm not only Motet Distribution but the brands it currently represents, such as iFi (who we know and like a lot), deliver the same values.

Motet Distribution scouts the world to bring audio retailers brands of the highest musicality and value. It seeks dependable specialized manufacturers that offer superlative audio products designed with passion and care.

Music lovers and audiophiles can experience music in an unprecedented way. - Motet Distribution.

motet-distribution-primo

The Volumio Team is thrilled to be working with the well-known respectable Motet Distribution team lead by Lily Luo, its owner. Their commitment and eagerness to showcase and represent Volumio Primo gives us such joy and we look forward to a long and prosperous partnership. 

Stay tuned for more news and in the meantime, visit their website and say hello!


volumio-album-week

Introducing Volumio's Album of the Week

We thought it was time to start sharing a little more about the Volumio team... You might have heard from some of us or have talked to us during a moment. But what better way to know about us by the music we enjoy listening to?

Let us introduce our Volumio's album of the week. To prepare ourselves for the weekend, we will deliver a list of curated suggestions of our favorite music collections. One album, once a week... a mix of art and pure sound quality to freeze yourself in instants that you hopefully will remember.

Week #1

Our first week's recommendation is a newly fresh studio album from the Norwegian act Ulver - "Flowers of Evil".

 

ulver-Flowers-of-evils
 

Recently released in August 2020, Flowers of Evil “finds the wolf pack exploring the fear and wonder of mankind’s fall from redemption”.

An outstanding album, which gives a touch of what a synth-pop album should have; from instrumental greatness to nostalgic touch. The difference is that ULVER has proof once again that they don't need to follow the rest by simply creating catchy electronic sounds to please the general audience.

If you don't believe us, listen it for yourself and feel the greatness with "Machine Guns and Peacock Feathers"

Purchase the vinyl on Amazon: Flowers of Evil By Ulver 

 

Week #2

Let's go back to 2014 and transport yourself into a new dimension with the album LUX by French group Ez3kiel.

ez3kiel-LUX-album-cover

We can describe LUX as a combination of powerful and dramatic, in a vibrant way.

One of a kind... 

With LUX, Ez3kiel includes a mix of electronic with a modern post-rock, providing a captivating combination that we believe on stage it sounds incredibly hypnotic, but even at home, it can satiate immensely.

A must-track to be listened: “Dead in Valhalla”

Purchase the vinyl on Amazon: LUX by Ez3kiel

 

 

Week #3

 Let's enjoy a mix of jazz and psychedelic rock with album of the week: Trust in the Lifeforce of the deep Mystery realeased on 2019 by THE COMET IS COMING
the comet is coming album

One of the projects of the unstoppable Shabaka Hutchings, king of British Nu Jazz. Psychedelia, cosmic electronics and lysergic colors in a mix of Flying Lotus experiments.

"Imagine a culture that rests on a more spiritual relationship with the earth and with lovers... Unable to listen, we keep talking... Unable to notice ourselves, unable to stop and unwilling to learn" unforgettable words from song Blood of the past.

This record is a true avant-garde journey guided by jazz paths, a jazz steeped in groove, from rock to funk, from acid house to d'n'b, from clarinets to sax, TCIC leads us to discover a new reality that is not only musical, but a lively artistic kaleidoscope.

Must-tracks to be listened: BLOOD OF THE PAST & SUMMON THE FIRE

Purchase the vinyl on AmazonTrust in the Lifeforce of the deep Mystery by The Comet Is Coming

 

Week #4

 Slowcore and dreampop... This week's album is from Cigarettes After Sex, their eponymous album from 2017.

Cigarettes after sex

We are in the indie world, but not the noble one, the trendy one. The CIGARETTES AFTER SEX give us a concentration of pure androgynous, nocturnal and minimal hyper-romanticism that intensifies piece by piece. The songs can be more properly called bedroom stories, 10 compact tracks soaked in bourbon and romance.

Purchase the vinyl on Amazon: Cigarettes After Sex by Cigarettes After Sex

Week #5

The newly released album (2020) City Burials by KATATONIA, a mix of progressive rock with metal.

Katatonia-City-Burials

Take the time to dig into this album, really feel it. There is so much to uncover and dissect. A compelling and powerful composition of musicianship and lyrical content. The entire album gravitates above all to a leaden and modern pathos, and to the melancholy voice of Renkse. The atmospheres are decidedly nocturnal, with metropolitan and decadent moods, with a catchy vein to dilute.

The tracklist explores different coordinates, but a common thread is maintained between all of them: although resized, they remain moments that touch an urban and suffused progressive, with polyrhythms and sophisticated chisels inserted here and there as ornaments; but at the same time we have a collection of songs that reaffirm the group’s most emotional alternative-rock / metal pedigree with dark shades.

Must-tracks to be listened: BEHIND THE BLOOD, THE WINTER OF OUR PASSING & CITY GLACIERS

Purchase the vinyl on Amazon: City Burials by KATATONIA

Week #6

Let's take a step back to 2016 to listen to progressive avant jazz with math rock in CHROMB's album 1000.

Here we have a band who are pushing boundaries, creating music without electric guitar which takes Zappa, Soft Machine, The Residents, John Zorn and Art Zoyd into logical and illogical extremes, blending sounds which have no place being put together, to create something which is strangely enthralling and enticing while at the same time also being harsh and abrasive. They use atonality almost as a weapon to distract the listener when things could almost be getting too commercial and poptastic. It is challenging music where there really are no limits. There is a sense of humour, playfulness even, within some of the sounds, but the result is always something which many music lovers are going to find too harsh to be enjoyed.

Purchase the vinyl on Amazon: 1000 by CHROMB!

Week #7

Back to the early 2000s with SOPHIE ZELMANI and her ballad folk album Sing and Dance.

sophie-zelmani-sing-dance-album

The story of the Swedish Sophie Zelmani is common to other singer-songwriters from northern Europe: shy, shady and reflective, she spends most of her adolescence creating poems that have a therapeutic-liberating meaning for her, then one day she begins to write songs and discovers his primary artistic vein. So she sends a demo to a couple of record labels and, surprisingly, Sony opens its doors to her alongside the expert guitarist Lars Halapi, a member of the Bo Kaspers Orkester group. Relying on the simple, straightforward, instinctive and emotional philosophy that repeats: "A good song is only a good song", the artist crystallizes in the folds of "Sing and Dance" a collage full of melancholy and intimate ballads such as "Oh Dear" and "Once" proposed in duet with Freddie Wadling alternating with sunny melodies by "People", "Breeze" and "Yes I Am" where the spontaneous grace of his voice and the freshness of the music travel in unison, drawing a palette of pastel sounds encased with pure emotional art and precious instrumental virtuosity.

This album is almost now 20 years old but has an unmatched artistic and productive sound freshness on its side.

Hoping with these few lines you discover or rediscover a real unique talent.

Must-track to be listened: 

  • Going Home
  • Breeze

Purchase the CD on Amazon: Sing & Dance by Sophie Zelmani

Week #8

Let's stay in the early 2000s this moment with CELLDWELLER and its eponymous album.

celldweller

 

The first self titled CELLDWELLER album marks a new generation in the US electro-rock fields, musically taking on a style most akin to industrial rock, an 18 tracks production heavy beast. A self proclaimed perfectionist, Klayton's high level of editing and tweaking for the sake makes it better with every single song. 

What we find here is an album that benefits from a strong electronic backing and production that brings everything in the mix forward into the spotlight, and further strengthens the overall style of the album. Instrumentally, Klayton's 'jack of all trades, master of none' approach to things brings a strong performance to the record. Although lacking anything close to a lead guitar, the wall of rhythm guitars riffage more than does the job, with songs like 'One Good Reason' and 'Own Little World' featuring a catchy, guitar driven sound. Songs like 'Under My Feet' and 'Symbiont' flourish in percussion driven segments, and the blend of acoustic and electric drum kits found throughout the album works exceedingly well.

The writing on this album is by far his best. 

In contrast with his later work, Klayton's vocal delivery on the album largely remains moody and features far less production, benefiting the darker nature of the lyrics greatly, and giving songs like 'Fadeaway' a big boost. The crown jewel of the album, 'The Last Firstborn', stands as the embodiment of everything this album is: a blend of electronic trance with metal screams and a big wall of guitar distortion.

Must-track to be listened: Switchback & The Last Firstborn

Purchase it on AmazonCelldweller by Celldweller

Week #9

A post-punk, rock, industrial album of the week with Criminal by THE SOFT MOON (2018)

The-Soft-Moon-Criminal

Luis Vasquez is still not over his personal demons. Since The Soft Moon’s self-titled 2010 debut, the mechanized riffs, post-punk squirms and groggy krautrock beats of the Oakland-based one-man-band have remained. On Criminal, The Soft Moon’s fourth studio album, these sounds are at their most gruelling, and most sharply-produced, yet.

Criminal details some of the darkest aspects of the human experience – shame, guilt, violence, desperation, self-loathing. Give something, then, is a pleasing break from the intense motor that runs through the first couple of tracks, as higher-pitched synths observe more nuanced vocals that wreak of desperation rather than sheer anger. It’s still painstaking, but on an album defined by its horror, there is beauty in the spaciousness which is wrought into delicate melodies.The album’s opener “Burn” fits its name, sudden and pulsing, a hot industrial song about lost control and a frightening kind of helplessness, one that is almost akin to dependence.

The following tracks, “Choke” and “Give Something” take a down tempo turn, brooding, softer giving off an almost liquid texture. Clear throughout Criminal is the singer’s bald-faced struggle, his wrestling with something deep insider; what is more, it feels like he’s losing, badly, especially as “Give Something” seethes restlessly to its dystopian finish. On “The Pain” the tempo picks back up, forging one of the record’s most dramatic constructions, a fury of heart racing keys and pulsing beats. As the record crackles to a finish on a triptych of songs (“Young” “Born Into This” and the title track) one is left with no other recourse than to believe Vasquez, his performance, the way he feels every instrumental shock mimics the experience of being abandoned.

Additional suggestions to be listened:

  • Criminal Remixed album - 2018
  • Criminal Instrumental album - 2018

Purchase the vinyl on Amazon: Criminal by The Soft Moon

Week #10

Om advaitic songs

The Americans Om, a pearl in the stoner sludge panorama (project by Sleep's icon Al Cisneros), in their 2012 album Advaitic Songs, evoke ancient rituals in psychedelic mystical landscapes, unreal landscapes wrapped in dreamlike atmospheres. An aimless journey through India, through supernatural worlds, choruses that sing disturbing litanies, everything contributes to creating dark and arcane fantasies.

The first track, "Addis", knows how to convey the idea: you hear a voice singing mysterious words, almost a Middle Eastern chant, in the background percussion and strings and the journey begins. With "State Of Non-Return", however, the unstoppable rhythm leads to a landscape that is much more 'hard', which will no longer be perceived for the rest of the album and which refers to the past stoner rock, apart from the calm closure again.

“Gethsemane”, in fact, takes up the mystical journey we had undertaken with “Addis”; but the piece lasts 10 minutes in which it knows how to build a spiritual and timeless atmosphere: strings, percussions, bass, singing an austere prayer to any god, even if this is a typically oriental spirituality. "Sinai" begins with the bursting of arcane words praising the mystery that reveals an Arabian sun. We are confused by the suggestive carpet of arches, which obscures the sun and makes the journey continue in other scenarios.

"Haqq al-Yaqin", the last stage, is firmly anchored to a gothic and gloomy universe: the sound is solemn, the song a sacred melody among the gloomy spires of an ancient cathedral. The record ends and it is not easy to return with a clear mind.

Must-track to be listened:

  • STATE OF NON RETURN
  • SINAI
  • HAQQ AL-YAQIN

Purchase the vinyl on Amazon: Advaitic Songs by OM

Week #10

The album of the last week of 2020 is Forever Blue by A.A. Williams, a combo of post rock, post classical. Released this 2020.

Classical studies as a child, falling in love with Deftones and the most extreme metal, a guitar found on the street, the first compositions, an eponymous EP and, then, the leap in quality, with a 10 "vinyl entitled "Exit In Darkness" composed in collaboration with the Japanese post rock band Mono. These are the stages in the short career of A.A. Williams, a young Londoner who with "Forever Blue", her debut published via Bella Union, finally tries her hand at long distance.

Eight songs for forty-three mins, in which the young songwriter puts her studies and passion for the most experimental rock. 

From the first listening, in fact, influences from bands such as the mentioned Mono, Rachel's, Explosions In The Sky, Sigur Ros and Cult Of Luna are perceived, relocated in a sound context in which also contemporary classical and contemporary textures emerge, opening to a livid and crepuscular folk. However, it would be very simplistic to frame this debut through its bands of inspiration: in fact, the album shows all the talent of a young artist who writes great songs and has many things to say through her own original artistic vision.

"Forever Blue" is first and foremost the perfect representation of the dramatic liturgy of our times, the ghostly photograph of a world adrift and hopeless.

It is one of the best albums of this grey year, a complex and fascinating record, surrounded by a sadness that does not evaporate, but that drags and wraps around a candlelight, a glimmer of hope.

Purchase the vinyl on Amazon: Forever Blue by A.A. Williams

Well.. we want to hear from you, what are your thoughts on it? Have you listened to them before? Are they related to your music preferences?

Tell us in the comments!

Reviews written by DED@Volumio

Do you enjoy Volumio Album of the week? Then you will love Music Letter! Check it out here.


Liedson-Volumio-OEM

Introducing the ORATORIO by LIEDSON: Volumio new OEM partner

Some of you might have noticed a link in Volumio's header called "Custom Solutions". Some of you might have wondered what it is and why we decided to make it so prominent. Well, here's your chance to have a behind the curtains overview of what it means and why we're so proud of this.

Essentially, Volumio is not only your favorite Audiophile Music Player, but it's a technology that we do license to many Hi-Fi companies around the world. The idea is simple: Volumio is the result of the development efforts of our beloved community and of the developers working for the Volumio company. As we are great fan of efficiency, we understood that to create a top-notch music player, we had to involve (both financially and on a co-design basis) the more stakeholders possible: the more ideas we put in it, the more development resources we put it it, the better.

So, what you, in fact, use every day has been funded thanks to all the Hi-Fi companies (there are more than 30, worldwide) that embraced Volumio technology and used them in their product. On the other hand, such companies receive a tailor-made, state of the art streaming software, enabling them to bring new products to the market. And the Volumio company not only provides the software per-se, but a range of services (consultancy on software and hardware, support, branding, fine-tuning of audio performances etc), effectively removing all the complications that software inherently brings.

This is essentially why Volumio OEM has become the choice of many audio manufacturers for their streamers solution, ensuring them a stable, feature-rich and proven platform. And why the OEM program allowed Volumio to grow as it is today.

Enough talking about Volumio, now let's see a case where we can safely assume that the Volumio OEM tailored software, together with exquisite audio and design expertise produced a remarkable result.

oratorio-liedson-streamer

The ORATORIO. Created by France-based brand LIEDSON is an integrated high-end streamer with CD playback and ripping ability built-in. It captivated us not only for its sonic performances, but as well its elegant design. With Volumio OEM Solution, we provided to the ORATORIO a customizable platform where users can manage the device, inheriting proven stability and performance of the Volumio OS, and customizing the looks and feel to provide a coherent package.

Desktop Version

Gilles Aguilera, designer and founder at LIEDSON, created the Oratorio's OS when he first developed the product. Decided to go on a different path, he later on tested Volumio on the device, resulting in a new decision to incorporate instead a customized Volumio version for the Oratorio's main OS. As Gilles explained to us, he chose Volumio because the system is "fluid, responsive with very good ergonomics". 

Mobile Version

 The ORATORIO, more than high-end streamer, a philosophy

Gilles carefully designed and developed the ORATORIO based on its passion for art and audio. Being an awarded painter/sculptor since the age of 18, he was fond by Italian art and the artists surrounding it. In addition, audio was another passion recollected since he was young, creating his first audio server worked under Linux in 2005.

After all, a great product comes with great design. Two years ago, with the help of an Italian designer friend, Gilles developed the first visuals of the Oratorio. Gilles' wife contributed as well with the first model, developing a modernized device with noble materials while keeping it user friendly with its plug and play convenience. 

design-liedson
All products from LIEDSON are assemble by hand

 

The ORATORIO is built around an aluminum chassis machined in the mass for a weight of 16 kg, the sides and the bottom have a thickness of 10mm, and the front face is 150 mm x 30 mm it serves as housing for the reader CD which is totally trapped, reducing mechanical vibrations to naught. 

The wooden part "the hood" is machined from a noble wood, from 30 years old drowned burl. It is machined to tenths of a millimeter on digital control, to receive the imprints of the internal components (transformers, PCB, capacitor) which are fixed on the bottom of the ORATORIO.

Our products are intended for a demanding clientele seeking custom-built equipment, free from all noise, and unparalleled reliability. - Gilles Aguilera

We can surely agree the ORATORIO provides the complete package. Elegancy, timeless design and universality.

liedson-oratorio

 

Powerful integrated technology

With an extended expertise on high-end audio equipment, Gilles carefully chose these four main parameters the audio server needed to follow:

  • No heating,
  • Gold-plated printed circuits,
  • High quality components such as resistors, capacitors and diodes and,
  • Rigorous pairing of each component.

Two years of research was done before choosing what is now the core of the ORATORIO system, an integrated circuit from Texas Instrument, built on the specifications for LIEDSON. According to Gilles, "the advantage of this DAC is that it requires very little electronics to operate, and its biggest advantage is that it happens operational amplifier output, the signal is directly transmitted to matched and non-magnetic resistors from TAKMAN."

Oratorio-DAC-Streamer

We are extremely pleased with the result of such great collaboration with LIEDSON. Working with their team to build and develop an optimized platform for the ORATORIO, the outcome is a truly first-class product.


Sound-Systems-Technology-Audiophile

Sound Systems: What New Technology Await Audiophiles

Music makes everyone’s life better. You can bet we’re listening to your favorite songs while writing this article. So how can you make your favorite song sound even better? Technology can answer this.

Innovations keep changing the world of sound with every minute. It improves the way songs are recorded, the experience of listening to them, and even how to play an instrument.

Technology has made music widely available and smartphones play a big role in this. From music streaming apps, to sound mixers and even learning how to play musical instruments, our mobile phones are a big part of our audio experience. There are a ton of apps that can help you curate the perfect playlist. If you want to know more about this, you can check it out in joyofandroid.com.

So what should we expect next? If anything, to be amazed. What if we go completely wireless? Or there could be more nature-friendly devices. The future is here to surprise you.

Let’s delve into some possibilities!

1. Ferroelectric Nanogenerator (FENG)

Ferroelectric-Nanogenerator

This is a very thin, foldable material. It can convert mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice-versa. This kind of technology is only experimental at the moment, mostly used for research. It was used for LCD touchscreens, LED lighting, and even flexible keyboards. All these devices operated without the need for an external power source.

One day, this material could be used to make full-sized speakers. This material was already used in a Michigan State Spartan Flag. With the help of FENG, the Michigan State fight song was played, with only an iPad as a source.

(Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2211285518303318)

2. Going Completely Wireless

wireless-headphones

Wireless devices aren’t something innovative anymore. With the apparition of earbuds, the popularity of all kinds of wireless headphones has been on the rise. Yet, there’s still a lot of room for improvement until we achieve the maximum potential.

Wireless audio has been greatly improved by the aptX HD and LDAC codexes. Additionally, battery life—a major place of improvement, is increasing. There are now devices that can go as long as 38 hours on a charge. With these improvements in mind, we wouldn’t gasp if wired headphones would become obsolete anytime soon.

The popularity of wireless headphones will skyrocket after the launch of the Apple AirPods 2. It is said that the second generation of AirPods will focus more on health and fitness, in addition to sound.

3. 360 Degree Audio

360-degree-audio

In 2019, Sony announced its 360 Reality Auto. This is a new music format made to be streamed over mobile platforms through compatible headphones. However, there is a long way to go before this becomes a reality. This is mainly because it changes the way music has to be recorded for 360 degree audio.

There’s work in progress for this, though. The Nokia OZO technology records spatial audio for your video—using your smartphone. Sounds from certain places will be artificially enhanced. And others, from outside the frame of the video, will be suppressed.

In 2018, a new holography system appeared, called Super XFi. The platform duplicates the soundstage of a full-surround sound system in a pair of headphones. This kind of technology uses a specific amp, as well as certain calibration software. These were available only to the creators of the platform, Creative.

This kind of sound can help create a more immersive “sound sphere”. When you’ll listen to a 360 degree audio, you will hear the sounds in the direction that they came from. This will make a big difference while gaming, for example. The 360 degree audio has been compared to the difference between an HD TV and a standard one.

4. Eco-Friendly Gadgets

Eco-Friendly-Gadgets

Since protecting the planet is on everyone’s minds at the moment, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more gadgets made out of eco-friendly materials. Big companies, like Apple, said they will use more recycled materials in their production process.

There’s already the Tri-Art Audio S-Series TA-0.5 turntable. It's completely made out of hemp and beeswax soaked bamboo. Those materials aren’t just eco-friendly.  Bamboo is perfect for audio due to its rigidity and vibration dampening properties.

(Source: https://www.vinyloftheday.com/tri-art-audio-bamboo-turntable/)

5. Synthstrom Deluge

Synthstrom-Deluge

This synthesizer is made in New Zealand and there are a few reasons why it’s special. First of all, it’s an uncommon all-in-one synthesizer, sampler, and sequencer. It has 128 pads for sequencing, a dual-engine subtractive, FM synth, and 64 MB of RAM. Additionally, there are built-in effects, CV outputs, and many more features.

What’s so revolutionary? It doesn’t need an additional computer to create music. This kind of device is a big innovation for portability. It broke the norm. With this one, you could make music anytime, anywhere the inspiration strikes.

(Source: https://synthstrom.com/product/deluge/)

6. Damson Cisor

Damson-Cisor

At first glance, one would be tempted to say that this is just a portable speaker. Well, yes, it is, but it is also ahead of its time. What is revolutionary about it is that it makes use of its surrounding environment. It will turn your windows, floor, or tables into a speaker. How? It uses the surface’s vibrations to amplify sounds.

This wireless speaker has changed the way portable speakers should work. And, even though it’s pretty small and lightweight—it provides great sound quality. We’re going to be frank—we kind of like looking at it too.

7. Smart Headphones

Smart-Headphones

These headphones are called Mindset—don’t mistake them for your usual wireless headphones. If you’re having trouble with your concentration, then you should definitely consider buying these. Mindset will track your focus and give you alerts when it drops.

There are EEG electrodes that sit on your head, in a  comfortable manner. They measure electrical activity. Using these kinds of headphones will train you to deal with being distracted. They also come with voice cancellation, to help you stay focused.

(Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mindset/headphones)

Take Away

As you can see, innovations in sound systems can be made in a plethora of directions. The quality of sound is continuously improving. There’s a clear focus on portability and convenience. Gone are the times where you needed expensive and massive devices to properly experience your favorite song.

From self-powering gadgets to eco-friendly materials and more portable devices, anything is possible. Or maybe all of the above combined? Just like in any domain, there are endless possibilities for improvement.

What are the next technologies in HiFi you think will be the most interesting to see?