The Volumio Primo is a streamer with DAC in an interesting segment of the market. Audio lovers, prick up your ears, because the Primo is surprisingly good.
Volumio’s first product was the black box design Primo. This is the new Primo, in the same nice-looking design that fits the Integro.
The Primo can be connected to your home network either with an Ethernet cable or WiFi. Volumio recommends a wired connection for sound quality, and in the Volumio software you can disable WiFi. That is a nice feature.
A bluetooth option is present for those who want to play music via bluetooth with a phone, and bluetooth can also be turned off in the Volumio software if you do not use it.
Volumio makes its own software for streaming music. Besides integration with Spotify, Qobuz, Tidal and Tidal connect, the software includes plugins for Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Pandora, YouTube Music and Bandcamp. You can install these in Volumio’s menu. The Primo is also Roon Ready. Should you prefer to use Airplay, you also have this option. The only option missing on the list is Chromecast.
At the back, you will find two USB ports to connect a USB stick or hard disk with music files, an Ethernet port for a network connection and a microSD card slot to expand the Primo’s internal memory and use it to store music files, for example.
The HDMI port is an outgoing port for connecting a touchscreen or monitor on which the Volumio software is displayed. The USB port can also be used to attach a mouse or keyboard to the Primo. In practice, most users will choose to control the streamer via the Volumio app or via a browser.
To access the Primo using a browser, key ‘primo.local’ into a browser’s address bar. A description of the Volumio software can be found in the review of the Integro. This is identical for the Primo, as are some notes.
An SPDIF output is present to connect an external DAC with a coax cable. The USB ports can also be used to interface with a DAC.
The most interesting thing about the Primo is the DAC, though. A set of RCA or XLR outputs is available for an analogue connection to a preamplifier or integrated amplifie. The Primo does have a balanced design on XLR, so using XLR is the preference if your amplifier has XLR inputs. A good move from a marketing point of view, it differentiates the Primo from its main competitors.
For us, it is clear that the Primo’s main competitor is the popular Bluesound Node. We compared the Primo and the Bluesound Node.