When I saw Mu-so by Naim at CEDIA last year, I thought: ‘Not another one of these.’ They told me how great it was going to sound and I thought: ‘Yeah, right.' Well, I recently got the demo Mu-so and decided to take it home for a listen. I've heard a lot of systems like this over the years, but Mu-so makes me say: “Houston, the music has landed!
Just what is Mu-so? It’s the wireless music system from our friends at Naim in the UK (known for producing some of the best sounding audio gear in the world). In addition to sounding great, Mu-so design is strikingly beautiful. From its elegant mirrored base, to the brushed aluminum chassis, massive multi-purpose dial, and sculptured grill, Mu-so looks like a work of art. There are even 4 choices of grille colors available. (My NCSU kids sure like the red grille!)
Mu-so is an all-in-one desktop wireless music system (it could also serve as a TV soundbar). It can stream content from your network, AirPlay, or Bluetooth. There are analog and digital inputs plus a USB input if you want to directly connect a phone or tablet. Spotify and internet radio are natively supported music sources and Tidal is coming soon. You can control it with the Naim app, the included remote, or the very cool multi-purpose dial.
Mu-so has six speaker drivers (one per speaker at 75 watts each), and is controlled by a 32 bit digital processor. The housing is a dead wooden cabinet wrapped in anodised aluminum. Basically, you have a tri-amped set of speakers in a beautiful enclosure! Each cabinet end has a down firing port for increased deep bass response. (You can even tell it if it’s close to a wall or not to engage an eq curve to compensate for it coupling to a wall!) Physically wider than any other all-in-one piece on the market, Mu-so actually gives a sense of stereo sound.
I have always been skeptical about tabletop music systems. In my opinion, at their best, the sound is typically just okay (or even bad). Of course, the Mu-so is more substantial than the typical tabletop boom box. It’s over two feet in length and ten inches deep, giving it as much internal speaker room as a lot of good bookshelf speakers.
If you have read my other blog posts, you know I am a huge fan of Naim gear. The sound they achieve is very true to live music, full of rhythm and emotional engagement. I spent the last half hour running through songs from my library on Mu-so. I found myself standing and tapping my foot while listening to “I’m a Man” (in high res too!) from ‘Chicago Transit Authority’ and I just smiled. This little box sounds fantastic for its size and does so much. It crushes anything like it from a sound and even design standpoint (which in the audio world is saying a lot). Mu-so honors include winning the UK magazine What Hi-Fi? Product of the Year for 2014 for Best Wireless Speakers and a 2015 Red Dot Award for Product Design. The demo unit is in my kitchen now, but I see it being right at home in all kinds of environments. One is going to be my desk - I want one of these guys!
The Naim app used to control Mu-so is the same app used for any Naim network gear. It’s an incredible interface that handles a huge music library making on the fly playlist creation a snap. My favorite part is all the data they give you for each song playing. Here is a shot of what you get, as you can see for Chicago, there are over 40 pages.
Get your Mu-so for $1499 in black (other colors slightly more). I warn you: If you buy Mu-so, you’ll get hooked on the sound of Naim too, and be coming back for more!