There are many many reviews of the wonderful Naim Mu-so so I am unlikely to bring any astonishing revelations to the party but it is, in the end, the small details that draw you in. For example the hidden carry handles, the volume dial is beautifully innovative and functional, the underneath lighting, the transport packaging at the back to keep the stylish fins straight. It is also what is not there, particularly the wires; because the Mu-so is a wireless speaker there is only the power lead that comes out of the back recessed under the Mu-so. When I looked at my Hi-Fi system in the lounge with servers, streamers, NAS drives and eight plugs in the gang extension, four ethernet connections, big Atlas speaker cable, a Rack, and two KEF floor standing ‘sentinels’ and compare it with the Naim Mu-so, style on the side-board, one wire, you do wonder. Particularly with it sounding so good.
The Naim Mu-so is simply a wireless, contemporary lifestyle music system that sounds astonishingly good and it really does make you think about where you spend your money on music. In the context of my up and coming review of the stunning Naim NAC N272 streaming pre-amp retailing at over £3,000, that needs a power amplifier, cables, speakers and the like, the Naim Mu-so is a bargain at £895.
As I have mentioned there are dozens of reviews of the Naim Mu-so, it has been out for a good year now and has won everything it can, there is little for me to add. In ‘What HiFi’ I read last night it has bagged “Best mains-powered wireless speaker £800+” and the “Readers’ Award 2015”, extra-ordinary performance really.
Set-up is ridiculous, it is so easy
In the box
You basically get a load of cardboard, the Naim Mu-so itself, a power supply, a rather disappointing remote (compared to the Mu-so itself) and a quick start guide (not needed).
Set-up is ridiculous, it is so easy, the App does it for you, and it really does. There is nothing to say really, I’m an Android user, iOS set-up is easier still. If you’re doing it wirelessly, have your password handy. If you hard wire, I used a ‘powerline’ type BT product and it was even quicker. Once it is done, unplug the ethernet, pick it up and put it in any room anywhere within reach of your WiFi signal.
Reaction to positioning in the kitchen
Wife: “Where’s the rest of it… can we get rid of the kit in the lounge?”
7 year old daughter: “Awesome”
11 year old daughter: “Coool”
Design and Quality
The Mu-so oozes pure quality; it is weighty, 13kg, but is compact at 122 mm x 628 mm x 256 mm. It is exactly as tall as a CD and like a squashed printer but heavier. On either side, on the underside, there are carry handles for lifting the Naim Mu-so about. This is genius and I move it from the kitchen to the kids rooms at will, they are under strict instruction, of course.
The only criticism of the Naim Mu-so could be that it has limited flexibility because it has few inputs. There is a ‘Made for iPod’ USB port, a TOSLink optical digital input, making it a soundbar if you ask me, on the underside and a 3.5mm audio jack on the side. Of course the other inputs are: UPnP,™ AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Bluetooth (with aptX), Internet Radio via wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi and multiroom client from an existing Naim streamer system. Tidal also works very nicely though there is no ‘glowing light yet to say so, unlike Spotify. The website needs updating on this one.
The product supports the following file formats: WAV, FLAC and AIFF up to 24bit/192kHz, ALAC (Apple Lossless) up to 24bit/96kHz, MP3 up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16 bit), AAC up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16bit), OGG and WMA up to 48kHz (16bit), Bluetooth SBC, AAC and aptX. All formats to 48kHz maximum over wireless network
The Mu-so, if is is limited in terms of input, is as flexible as it gets when it comes to control. We have used, between us, the full suite of products to control the Mu-so, including iPhones, iPads, Samsung tablets, Google Nexus Phone etc. There is also a slightly disappointing remote control though this should not take away from the package, we have not used it at all to be honest other than testing it out because we are using our various devices with the excellent Naim App.
It sounds absolutely brilliant. We have been playing with the Mu-so on a daily basis, iradio, UPnP streams from my NAS, Tidal and Spotify and it is performing beyond expectation and hype. I was not expecting it to be as good or a flexible as this. For example, I had a Tidal Music Streaming Hip-hop night with a friend and a glass of wine. Warren G, Snoop Dogg and ‘B.I.G.’ sounded as good as you would want with plenty of bass to satisfy.
Care is needed with the set-up here if you do happen to be Warren G or Nate Dogg. There are settings for ‘Loudness’ and ‘Positioning’ in the App for the Mu-so so if you have loudness ‘On’ and room position set to ‘More than 25cm’ the bass can get too big and bloated. Have a play , move it about a bit and get it right but you wont be short of bass, dawgg.
The UPnP connectivity has been faultless to date and is a WiFi joy as has Spotify Connect.
Switching to Bluetooth and streaming a 24bit recording of Jeff Buckley’s Grace and you are immediately sucked into the detail of the music and the emotion in his voice. This is remarkable box of tricks.
Iradio is set-up through the App, all the BBCs are there, ‘6Music’ and ‘Lauren Laverne’ are pre-set 1! It is great with good Bandwidth. Naim Radio is worth a listen, it is 320kbps stream featuring their label’s artists.
Even the USB/iPod input sounds good, just plug your iPod in and pick your playlist. In the words of Yoda “Elegant it is not, but sound good it does”!
Then using a the digital optical input the Mu-so becomes … a soundbar! 900 quids worth, but boy it’s good. I’ve just listened to Sam Smith’s ‘In concert’ recording on my Sky Box through the Naim Mu-so and it is very very powerful, what a sound!
Verdict on Naim Mu-so
There has been a lot of hype and words written about this Naim Mu-so but it has delivered for me. As a quality all-rounder for modern lifestyle living it is without parallel. The Naim Mu-so is certainly one of my ‘Products of the Year’, but then I haven’t written about the NAC N272 yet!