Wow! It has been a while since the last time we have spoken or wrote here in our blog. I am really sorry but there is a great reason for it! Behind the scenes, there were too many things we have been working on these past months, many software improvements, fixes and a brand new feature (exciting!). So today we have decided it is time to catch up with all of you and give you the latest exciting news on the biggest update on Volumio this year: the release of Volumio 3!
After more than 2 years of work by Volumio Team and the community, we are really pleased to announce that Volumio3 is in the final stage of development and it will be officially released very shortly.
On the Volumio Forum, you may have seen back in February this year we started the testing of Volumio 3 Buster Beta for our dedicated devices (RPI, Tinkerboard and x86). Before giving more details, we want to say thank you to all contributors of our community who have been helping in the development and fixes for Volumio 3 for all these months, it really takes a village to develop an excellent music player, and we could not have done it without all of your help.
Now let’s get to the fun part, what is Volumio 3? What are the next steps for the official release?
About Volumio 3
Volumio 3 is a next-level upgrade from our current Volumio version (Volumio 2). Thanks to our Volumio developers’ works, Volumio 3 will be faster, better in terms of security and future proof. The newest version of Volumio has left the Debian jesse version and is built based on the newer Debian Buster version. Even if it’s not noticeable to the eyes, the Debian Buster version helps Volumio 3 to be better in terms of performance and compatibility.
Advanced Audio Modular Processing Pipeline
That’s the real deal of Volumio3 and it’s the feature that required the most work. We are very proud of it since, from a mere technological perspective, it makes Volumio probably the most advanced audio player in terms of flexibility and audio processing.
The Advanced Audio Modular Processing Pipeline (AAMPP from now on) is a facility built into Volumio that allows plugins to take any audio (from any service and source) and do processing on it, and chaining to multiple processing modules.
This allows a potential huge customizability of audio processing modules, working with each other.
As an example: audio is played from TIDAL Connect, then fed into a parametric equalizer, then sent to network endpoints for synchronized playback.
Other things that can now be possible with Volumio AAMPP are:
- Synchronized multiroom playback
- Adaptive resampling
- Resampling for all sources
- Playing silence when audio is not in use
- DSP and EQ on all sources
- Playback to Bluetooth headsets
- Playback to Chromecast or SONOS
And this is possible for all sources: Spotify, Spotify Connect, TIDAL, TIDAL Connect, Radios, Bluetooth, Analog inputs etc.
We’ve built Volumio AAMPP in a way that also plugin developers can take advantage of it, by defining an API to add their processing modules as Volumio plugins.
And the best of it all is that, when no modules are doing DSP or any manipulation, playback stays bit-perfect.
Additionally, the months of testing have been of great importance to remove as many of the annoying bugs as possible in order to release the most stable version of Volumio 3. But besides the many improvements on the backend system, you will find a brand-new feature on Volumio 3.
Multi-Room Sync Playback in Volumio 3
Finally, we made it. With Volumio3 you will be able to play in sync ANY source to up to 6 Volumio players (Available for MyVolumio Superstar users).
You will be surprised to hear that we work on this for about 4 years, but we never got something we felt quite up to our expectations.
It took so long because we wanted to be able to synchronize playback, not only for MPD sources, but for all sources, like Bluetooth, TIDAL and so on. And we wanted it to be easy to use and with the ability to switch from single device playback to multiroom playback without interruptions.
This has been made possible by using Volumio AAMPP, by adding a processing module which selectively outputs audio to the audio card or to the network. The rest is handled by the excellent snapcast, which ensures playback is synchronized with a latency of max 0.2 ms.
Adding the multi-room to our list of features will give you the chance to group two or more Volumio devices to fill every room with your favorite music in perfect sync. This feature will be available in one of our premium plans, MyVolumio Superstar.
On the right menu, you can group and sync your devices
New plugins store
One of the things that set Volumio apart is the possibility to extend its functionality via plugins. There are already a whole lot of plugins made by the team and the community and that’s fantastic because it allows to extend Volumio to possibilities that we never dreamt of.
However, that comes at a price: given the complex nature of plugin development and interaction with the core Volumio, sometimes installing one or multiple plugins can make Volumio unstable.
We want to have a better curation of plugins and a better way for plugin developers to test their creation in a safe way, to make plugins available when they are stable and safe for the overall community.
The new plugin store allows to have different stages for plugins (alpha, beta and stable) which allows for broader testing and easier updates.
We are setting up a stricter control procedure and a standardized tests to help developers create top-notch plugins and a facility to rate them.
This is also why, to access the plugin store, a MyVolumio account will be required (of course, the free MyVolumio tier).
New Build System
While our beloved build script worked well for quite some years, it was time for a step up. The whole build system has been refactored to achieve 3 main goals: maintainability, observability and faster builds. While this is something that you will never notice, it means that we will be able to build and deploy faster new Volumio versions, which will mean more updates frequency.
Before the official release…
We understand how the last steps before the release are crucial, so we want to make sure all is stable and working phenomenally before the official release for the public. As I mentioned before, it takes a community to have an excellent audio player, so this is where we want to invite you to help us with the final testing.
To all Volumio users interested in joining us on this final step and help us do the final testing of Volumio 3, please click on the button below and follow the quick steps to participate in the final testing. If you find bugs, imperfections or something not working as it should, please leave a report there.
Thank you to all who helped to make Volumio 3 a reality and we will keep in touch next week with more updates on the testing and official release date.