NAIM

Mu-so Qb Wireless Audio System Review

High-end brand delivers best-in-class value for speaker successor.

PRICE


$999

THE HIGH NOTES


  • Huge Sound for the Size
  • Legendary Naim Build Quality
  • Naim App Included

SOUND PROFILE

Company & Product Overview

Naim Audio is a 40+ year old audio company located in Salisbury, England. They are well respected around the world for their high performance audio components that top out at over $200,000, and were even chosen by Bentley to design the ultimate sound system for their luxury automobiles.

Naim introduced the original Mu-so in late 2014 at $1499 and quickly garnered tons of critical acclaim. The new Mu-so QB retails for $999 and is simply a more compact version of its predecessor that packs an incredible amount of sound and technology into a beautiful box that would be right at home in a museum of modern art.

Design & Build Quality

Hiding behind the Mu-so QB’s beautiful and roughly 8.5in cube exterior are the same speaker components used in the larger Mu-so: five drivers (each with its own amp), two passive radiators (for deep bass), and a digital processor (to control not only how the amplifiers work with the drivers but to adjust the sound depending on its environment). The Naim design team spent many late nights calculating how to position the components for the best possible stereo sound out of this compact box. The design they settled on has the tweeter and midrange units firing slightly out to the sides while the woofer is crossed over to handle the lower frequency extremes. Having a separate amplifier for each speaker driver means it’s perfectly designed to make the driver perform exactly as they want it, which greatly aids in achieving perfect sound.

A large touch sensitive wheel gives you some basic control for volume and inputs, but the true beauty of the Mu-so QB lies in the well-designed Naim control app. Naim has been in the music streaming business longer than most, and their streamers are used all over the world in high performance audio systems where the users are very demanding on ease of use and outstanding features. All Naim streaming products, including the Mu-so QB, use the same app to control the unit. This is a huge bonus since you have access to the same experience as those using $30,000 Naim music streamers. If you have a large library of your own content, you will love the way the Naim app provides a complex artist perspective for each album. Expect to find upwards of 20 pages of information on the album and other albums by the same or similar artists. We’re immediately transported to the days of soaking in every detail that came along

Build quality on the Mu-so QB maintains the Naim standard of excellence and is completely first class. Even though this is the least expensive piece they make, it’s made with the same quality level as their $200,000 amplifier. The contemporary design is not only beautiful to look at but was created to enhance both the sound quality and ease of use the Mu-so QB offers. Once you see it in person and touch the control wheel, you’ll know exactly what we mean.

The Mu-so QB allows you to access music in a variety of ways. For streaming it offers internet radio, Spotify, and if you want the best sound possible, Tidal, which is CD quality streaming. As though these options aren’t enough, the Mu-so QB also offers Airplay, Bluetooth, digital in, analog in, and a USB port for direct connect. Plus, if you have more than one Naim piece in your system, you can sync them through the Naim app for an exceptional whole home audio experience.

Performance

Since Naim’s inception, their products have aimed to keep sound as close to live performances as possible. They’ve done this by ensuring products have both a full range of sound and are true to the rhythm and timing of a live performance, which is much more difficult than you may imagine.

Every piece of audio gear, like the Mu-so QB, has multiple sections that the sound must travel through before it gets to the speakers. Each of these sections also has a power supply that feeds it the necessary power to run. Many manufacturers will go to external board vendors to procure each of these sections, then put them together as a whole unit. This route, however, does not take into account how each section affects the overall sound.

The only way to ensure the emotions the artist is trying to portray in their music passes through unaffected to the user is to design from the ground up. And unlike Naim, some manufacturers who attempt designing from the ground are unable to achieve this end goal.

Testing 1…2…3…

As you’ll find in most brand new speakers, the Mu-so QB’s sound had a slight edge fresh out of the box. To combat this, we let it spend some time quietly marinating in the background to give the drivers an opportunity to break in. From there we played a couple of old-time favorites and immediately got involved in the music.

When you consider the cost of what we use as our reference system and the cost of the Mu-so QB, you’ll be stunned by the value found in the Mu-so QB. It is also incredibly true to the music and has a sound you can listen to for hours without getting tire. And there is no doubt that when you crank up the volume you’ll be impressed with the Mu-so QB’s output and deep bass performance.

Overall Recommendation

If you’re looking for something better than the typical budget bluetooth audio player, the Mu-so products from Naim are at the top of the food chain. While Naim products are more expensive than most of the competition, the Mu-so QB is the best possible all-in-one music player that you’ll undoubtedly enjoy for years.

HIGH NOTES UNPACKED

Huge Sound for the Size

The best sounding all in one speaker we have tested

Lengendary Naim Build Quality

From their 200,000 amps to building products for Bentley, they build some of the best gear in the world

Naim App Included

You will wind up learning all kinds of new information about your favorite performers and discover new music with its “related artists” tabs

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