This is my HiFi review of the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen Wireless Bluetooth Music System. It has, in the headlines, Apple Airplay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect & TIDAL Compatibility.
One of the things about 2 channel listening is you are often not in a prime spot, particularly if you are in a living space, but with the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen more often than not you are!
Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen – Design
The design of the Mu-so 2nd Gen is sumptuous. It is quite heavy overall and boxed accordingly. There are carry handles on either side of the Mu-so to make positioning easy. In the right-hand handle are the sockets for power and the other inputs. This makes for a very tidy installation. On top, the main control dial is gorgeous, it activates by proximity and illuminates to give you input or preset options, so we have our radio stations preset which can be seen in the Naim App.
If you like dark listening, and I do, the under chassis lighting is a winner. The lighting level is adjustable in the App. In ‘Other Settings’ in the App, I was mistakenly thinking I could adjust the lighting to Naim Green, which would have been cool, but no dice, I’m afraid.
There is a nice remote, not like the usual Naim remote, though I confess I have barely used it as the App controls everything, I’m using the Android App generally which is fine, not BluOS great, but fine.
The Mu-so 2 also features HDMI ARC, which could make this the most premium soundbar in history as well, but this also could make it the centrepiece of any living area in your home because it does everything you could possibly want from an audio and TV perspective.
The overall finish is a brushed aluminium box. There is a stylised foam ‘dust cover’ grille that is also available in Olive, Terracotta (main picture) and Peacock (blue) as well as standard black.
The distinctive heat-sink fins at the back of the Mu-so are now more compact, while still being ultra-effective. The fins contain the Naim patented technology that discreetly incorporates the wi-fi antenna. Brilliant.
(from the Naim site)
HDMI – ARC in with CEC
Streaming – Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast Built-in, UPnPTM, Spotify® Connect, TIDAL, Roon Ready, Bluetooth, Internet Radio
Analogue Input – 3.5mm Jack
USB – USB2 (Type A connector)
Optical S/PDIF up to 96khz
Connectivity- Multiroom, Sync up to five Naim Streaming products and control via the Naim App.
Network – Ethernet (10/100Mbps), Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), BLE v4.2
Formats – Internet Radio Formats, Windows Media-formatted content, MP3, ACC, Ogg Vorbis streams and MMS
Internet Radio Provider – vTuner Premium 5*
Audio Formats – WAV, FLAC and AIFF – up to 24bit/384kHz, ALAC (Apple Lossless) – up to 24bit/384kHz, MP3 – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16 bit), AAC – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16bit), OGG and WMA – up to 48kHz (16bit), DSD- 64 and 128Fs
Bluetooth – SBC, AAC
Note: Gapless playback supported on all formats
Warranty – Two Years
Physical – Finishes, Burnished and anodised aluminium casework, CNC milled, bead blasted and anodised aluminium heatsinks, Dual-tone grey and black fabric grille.
Grille colour options in Olive, Peacock and Terracotta.
Weight – 11.2kg
Power – Amplifier Output, 450W – (6 x 75W)
Mains Supply – 100V, 115V or 230V, 50/60Hz
Typical use: 17W
Standby mode: < 2W
Deep sleep (No-network standby mode): < 0.5W
Speaker System – Stereo 3-way; DSP-optimised vented box acoustic system
Supplied with – Dual-tone grey and a black grille, remote control, mains cables (market dependent), reset pin-hole tool and information booklets.
User Control – Handheld, Remote handset included and optional control app for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices
Product – Touch control user interface with rotary volume control
Remote Control – Infra-red (RC5)
As a source it all adds up to a very rhythmic and delightful, uncluttered presentation that is very enjoyable indeed
I’ve got the Mu-so in our Kitchen/Lounge type area so it is pressed into service every day for breakfast radio and general kids use as well as Tidal/Bluetooth usage during the day. I have it hard wired using a BT repeater with no bother at all. What I particularly like about the set-up is I cannot see the Ethernet or power cable at all and this is a win for me.
I find the output from the Mu-so 2 to be rather soft and gentle, certainly not heavily or typically ‘Naim’ sounding. As a source it all adds up to a very rhythmic and delightful, uncluttered presentation that is very enjoyable indeed.
The sound, in proximity, gives a fulsome stage and is very impressive. The bass has volume and can certainly take some heavy Warren G/Snoop Dogg style beats as well as some volume.
Detailed presentation is very good, too. The likes of Nils Frahm’s “Some”, sounds really rich and detailed from the built-in Tidal integrated module.
The Bluetooth is very reliable from all of TuneIn Radio, BBC Sounds and the Tidal App from my Android Pixel phone. No complaints at all here.
There’s a USB A slot though I note it does not support my old school iPod, a very sad demise in my view. I’ve not had the chance to put a USB stick in the Mu-so but I’m sure it will be pretty perfect.
We’ve all wasted hours on YouTube but the Mu-so takes this to a whole new level. Using an iPad I defy you to not watch ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ with Prince’s incredible solo at least twice. The Mu-so takes the rhythm of this track as well as the detail in the performance in its stride and it is absolutely fantastic. Obviously, I ended up watching ‘The Numbers’ (Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood) for the million and oneth time and it still gives me shivers like I’ve never watched it before!
If you have a server, the App is good for you. The Mu-so is Roon Ready, apparently, but I’m using a Naim Uniti Serve into the player and it is faultless.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, often when casual 2 channel listening you are often not in a prime spot but with the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen you more often than not are. It is a distinct showstopper to have a noticeably detailed sound presence in your living space. The HDMI ARC is also a killer feature for a living area/TV set-up and certainly represents great value as noted below.
In a world where we’re losing 2 channel investment maybe this is the best many HiFi companies can hope for, a detailed, rhythmic sound platform to find some space in a living area. With most people concentrating on paying rent and generally surviving, 2 channel HiFi is becoming a luxury many can’t afford. When I reflect on the Naim system I’ve just returned with a £2,400 streaming DAC and a £4,000 integrated amplifier, not to mention the speakers needed to deliver the quality on offer this Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen starts looking like an absolute bargain at near £1,300.
There is a fair bit more here with the 2nd Generation Mu-so, with Naim claiming 95% of it being upgraded from the first Mu-so. For me, the HDMI is really useful making this product a centrepiece to any active living space. I can do no less than recommend this product as a fantastic piece of audio equipment and give it my Highly Recommended Award. Love it.
Stylish Contemporary Look
Living Space Functionality
It was a bit cheaper, but you do get what you pay for.
More information here, from Naim.