Introducing Motivo: our flagship Streamer, Transport and Headphone Amp

Why do we all love music? Why do we put so much effort into making sure we get the best gear for our listening sessions? Why is music such an important part of our lives?

There must be a meaning to all of it. There must be. This was the foundational question we started with when conceptualizing Motivo. Motivo means just that: “meaning” in Italian.

Enjoying music involves multiple senses, aesthetic conditions, physical connection and emotional communication. We wanted to embody all of that in what we believe is the ultimate music enjoyment machine.

Welcome to Volumio Motivo: the most versatile streamer yet

Motivo is:

  • Your all-in-one audio streamer that fulfills your passion for music. We packed it with the best analog reproduction technology to deliver pristine sound quality as a streamer.
  • Your digital bridge offering the best digital interfaces for your digital system, improving even more our award-winning digital streaming technology.
  • Your premium headphone amplifier that delivers breathtaking sound quality no matter which headphone you want to pair it with.

All of that by leveraging the thing that all digital music lovers miss: a phisical connection to their music, thanks to a functionally distinctive design that allows touch interactions.

A Journey of Innovation and Community-Driven Design

The development of Motivo has been a  long journey of passion, setbacks and hard work. This is the product we took most time to develop, for various reasons. But luckily, we were not alone. Right after conceptualizing what Motivo should have been, we got our beloved community involved. Some of you might remember our “Voumio Motivo Co-creation” initiative: more than 600 people provided us feedbacks on what their ultimate listening machine should have.

Motivo was designed following these feedbacks. For instance, the decision to integrate a headphone amplifier emerged clearly as the top requested feature. And this is why we added a state-of-the-art headphone section to Motivo.

Excellence in Analog Sound

Motivo can be used as a classic streamer with an integrated DAC, a power amplifier can be connected to the stereo balanced (4V RMS) or unbalanced (2V RMS) analog output. The Sabre DAC ES9038 supports sample rates up to 384kHz/32bit and DSD direct up to DSD256.

We wanted Motivo to offer unmatched sound quality and functionality. For its analog section we wanted the high-performance ESS Sabre 9038 DAC and paired with a bespoke connection which we co-developed with Amanero Technologies. Every detail of this implementation has been tweaked to offer the best achievable performance: inside Motivo there is a main linear regulator for the analog section, the same regulator that it’s used in the high-end linear power supplies. With this particular architectural choice, there is no need to use a linear power supply to power the device, because the clean 6V supply voltage is generated internally. Every sub-section of the analog part is powered by a dedicated low-noise low-dropout regulator, connected in cascade with the 6V linear regulator, to achieve the cleanest supply and the lowest noise for each element.

On top of that, the I2S and DSD signals required to feed the DAC are generated with Amanero, another Italian technology extremely popular in the Audiophile world. Thanks to the close cooperation between Volumio and Amanero, a custom version of the USB bridge has been implemented. This customized version, a combination of hardware and firmware, performs the re-clocking of the I2S and DSD signals, to achieve an even lower jitter compared to the standard version of Amanero.

Volumio OS has been equally tweaked extensively to allow the combination of hardware and software to extract every bit of performance from the system.

This combination ensures that Motivo extracts the utmost quality from its analog outputs, making it a superior choice for streamers seeking audiophile-grade sound reproduction.


The definitive transport


Furthermore, Motivo excels as a transport. We incorporated an improved version of the digital section of our award winning Rivo transport, making it our best-performing digital-transport to date.

It incorporates advanced reclocking, galvanic isolation, and separate PSU rails for each digital output. The S/PDIF coaxial and optical digital outputs are generated by the WM8804 transceiver from Wolfson/Cirrus, connected directly to the I2S bus of the System-on-Module. The coaxial output has galvanic isolation, implemented with a high-bandwidth transformer from the Japanese company Murata. The external USB ports and the internal USB port required by Amanero are connected to a USB HUB from Microchip, with proprietary technology that reconstruct the USB digital signal for improved signal integrity.

Motivo also supports I2S/DSD over HDMI allowing it to be paired with the finest DACs out there. And it’s the only transport on the market that supports all I2S protocols and pinouts: simply select your DAC model from a dropdown and Motivo will configure its I2S transmission protocol to match your DAC requirement.


Dual Headphone Amplification: Designed for Audiophiles

Recognizing the diverse needs of headphone users, Motivo features a no-compromise headphone section. It includes the flagship class-AB TPA6120A2 amplifier from Texas Instruments. The headphone amplifier is connected differentially to the Sabre DAC ES9038, to minimize the common-mode noise.

The output stage of the headphone amplifier has been fine-tuned for high-impedance headphones and low-impedance headphones, with two dedicated outputs.

Thanks to these optimizations and to the clean high-headroom supply voltage for the amplifier, it’s possible to drive any kind of headphones, even the most difficult ones, with an astonishing performance in all the frequency spectrum.

This setup ensures that every listener can experience music with clarity, depth, and precision, regardless of their headphone choice.


Ergonomic and Intuitive Design



Motivo’s design is both beautiful and functional. It’s more than just a showcase of beauty and style—it serves a dual purpose.

We wanted it to fit well atop of your main gear’s rack: its angled touchscreen display, reminiscent of top-loading CD players, offers intuitive interaction for the times you want to operate it via its touchscreen. Likewise, it’s the perfect companion for desktop Hi-Fi systems: use it as an integrated headphone setup or to drive active loudspeakers and access conveniently every feature easily with a fingertip.

The 8” multitouch IPS display brings a tactile dimension to your music exploration, allowing you to manage your music library with ease and convenience, for the times you don’t want to use a smartphone or a tablet to control it, no matter where you place it.

This thing of beauty is yet again a masterpiece from Tomas Ortiz Ferrer from Design Narratives and Jibbing. Together we have been recently won the IF Design Award for our product range.


Volumio at Its Best


We wanted Motivo to be the best possible Volumio experience yet. This is why Volumio OS has been tweaked extensively to maximize Motivo’s sound quality and usability.

Some notable features of the custom Volumio OS you will find on Motivo:

  • DAC Filter selection: The Sabre 9038 offers 6 a selection of 6 digital filters to tweak slightly its sound features. Select the one that better fits your tastes.
  • Selective standby function: you can decide Motivo’s standby behaviour. By default, Motivo will go into power-saving mode after 10 minutes of idling. You can configure this to your liking.
  • Auto Power-On: in case of power outages, you can have Motivo to turn on automatically shall you want it to.
  • HDMI I2S Mode: I2s over HDMI is a standard that each DAC manufacturer implements in a slightly different way. With Motivo you will be able to select the appropriate protocol for your DAC.
  • Status LED and Display brightness: Tune the brightness of the 8” Display and the Status LED to your liking.

Motivo requires no additional subscriptions to enjoy the full goodies of Volumio Premium, as all premium features are already included. There’s little if nothing the Motivo can’t play, which puts it above many rivals – including more expensive ones. Native DSD support is included and makes the most of the format. Logging into Qobuz, TIDAL and Spotify is a breeze, and these are as easy to navigate as your own digital music library (if you have one).

Its lovely display makes it a joy to select and browse music – bringing up artist and album info, and giving you jump-off points to discover more. It’s easy to go down a musical rabbit hole, and if you like what you discover it’s simple to create playlists and add favourites.

And there’s more:

  • Motivo supports all major streaming services: TIDAL, QOBUZ, Spotify, Radio Paradise, and all file types. ROON Ready certification is expected to land soon.
  • With our AI-powered Supersearch, you can ask Motivo what you want to listen to, for example, “A Playlist for a Party”, “Artists similar to Tame Impala”, “Jazz with Female voices” , and it will create a playlist for you.
  • Infinity Play: Hit the infinity symbol when you’re playing a track and Volumio will take you off on a musical tangent: your own personal radio station.
  • CD Playback and Ripping: connect a USB CD Drive and you can listen and copy your CDs.
  • Play to Sonos and Chromecast: want to listen to your soundbar in another room? With Motivo you can cast your music to any SONOS or Chromecast endpoint.


Our testament to musical bliss

What you will find with Motivo is more than great industrial design and cutting-edge music technology. It’s our love for music and our devotion to delivering the best music experience possible. Every Motivo, carefully assembled at Volumio HQ in downtown Florence, contains all our ingenuity, love, and passion.

We hope you will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed creating it.






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