'Like an iPod for audiophiles': Motivo is a high-end streamer, amp and DAC in one

Volumio Motivo is an 8-inch display gateway to high-end audio control from your favourite streaming services and sources

Volumio Motivo
(Image credit: Volumino)

When a press release from Volumio, an Italian streaming company, landed in my inbox last week, I couldn't help but stare at its new Motivo product and think to myself "that's like a high-end iPod for audiophiles". 

Sure, there's no affiliation whatsoever between Volumio and Apple, but the idea that an 8-inch tablet-like product with a giant red control knob sat above it could be a new and exciting product in 2024 was unusually refreshing. 

Motivo is described as a "streamer, transport and headphone amplifier" that blends "beautiful Italian craft with true audio innovation". It's not often that you see the best streamers appear with full touchscreens in their build, giving the Motivo an attractive edge over its mainstay competitors. 

Check out the gallery of images below for a closer look at what this streamer, amp and DAC rolled into one has to offer. On the digital-to-analogue conversion side there's no shying away from best-of-best behind the scenes: a Sabre ES9038 sees to that.

If you're looking to plug in a pair of the best wired headphones there's no shortfall there either: the Volumio Motivo has a dual output analogue XLR (balanced) and RCA (unbalanced) outputs. Not that you have to plug in, as over-the-air support is strong, with potify, Tidal, Tidal Connect, Qobuz, Roon Ready, YouTube, Bandcamp, Pandora and Fusion DSD all catered for by Volumio Premium software. 

Sonos users will love that High-Res Audio can be sent to their multiroom systems, there's Google Cast and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity too. File-wise the support for high-end formats such as DSD, WAV and FLAC, with support up to 384kHz/24bit files (769kHz/32bit if you're using a capable additional DAC via USB).

Of course my iPod-like analogy comes short with the realisation that there's no on-board storage here. You'll need to have one of the best NAS drives full of files to help with that, if streaming services aren't your first choice. And, sure, it's not like this 8-incher - which measures 19.7cm square by 5.4cm tall - will fit on your pocket, but it'll no doubt look grand next to your favourite turntable, audio system or Sonos setup. 

The Volumio Motivo will be priced at £1,499 / $1,849 when it goes on sale. Hardly pocket change, but compared to many of its streamer competitors there's a lot on offer here - in particular that large touchscreen and integrated control knob mechanism, to deliver a product unlike anything else out there. I want one already. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike is the Tech Editor and AV Editor at T3.com. He's been writing about consumer technology for 15 and, as a phones expert, has seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a 10 years, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.