Naim Mu-So Reference Wireless Music System 2nd Generation

Item #NAIM:MUSOv2

Naim Mu-So Reference Wireless Music System 2nd Generation

$1,799.00 - $1,999.00
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Overview

Mu-so 2nd Generation evolves the iconic styling of its predecessor, adding a compelling new touch control panel ringed by an illuminated dial with a proximity sensor: it lights up in welcome as your hand approaches it. Easily access key playback controls, your favorite playlists and radio stations, Spotify resume, multiroom functionality and more from this tactile new interface. The system has a premium aluminum casing, in a new burnished grey finish, fronted by a new style of the speaker grille.

High Notes

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The Best All In One Units On The Market

The Mu-so 2 and Mu-so QB 2 represent the best we have heard in all in one players. From their great sound to amazing build quality, you will love the Mu-so 2 series.

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A Great Legacy

When you have a company that makes $200,000 products, you can be sure, they are not going to put their name on something that is not first-class. The new Mu-so 2 series is not only worthy of the Naim brand but redefines how good an all in one speaker can sound!

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Includes Naim Control App

The Naim control app is the best we have seen for full control of your music library. We love the educational and exploratory parts of the app where you can discover more about your favorite artists and learn about music from similar artists.

Company & Product Overview

Naim is another British company Audio Advice is a big fan of. They have been quietly making great audio gear for over 40 years out of their factory in Salisbury, England. Naim has not spent a lot of money promoting themselves over the years but has let their products speak for themselves. Interestingly, they have one of the largest audio company user groups we have ever seen that is full of activity.

Naim started out making an external power supply for the Linn Sondek LP12 table and has focused on great power supplies since the beginning. Their 150+ employees design and make almost everything from the ground up in the UK factory. Even though they only make stereo components, their product catalog has over 50 pieces. Plus, they go from the stratosphere of $270,000 for their top of the line mono amps and preamp, down to very reasonably priced integrated amps.

Naim users normally fall in love with their sound, which we feel gets you very close to the emotion of a live concert. 

About 5 years ago, Naim decided to enter the all-in-one speaker category with the Mu-so series. This was two fairly large speaker systems that offered a lot of the new types of connectivity for music streaming. These were very successful for Naim and introduced a whole new group of music lovers to the classic Naim sound. The look was also a departure from Naim’s conventional black all business boxes. Mu-so products have a very cool contemporary look with several color options on the sculpted grille.

Over the last 18 months, Naim has come up with a new platform for music streaming that first showed up in their Uniti series of integrated amps and recently made its way into all of their stand-alone music players. We suspected it would not be too long before the Mu-so series got an injection of this new tech. But in typical Naim fashion, they did not just add the new streaming engine but revamped almost everything in the Mu-so speakers to greatly improve their performance. Today’s review is on the new Mu-so QB 2 and Mu-so 2.

Design & Build Quality

When most people see a Mu-so product for the first time, their reaction is: wow, that is so cool! The Mu-so 2 and Mu-so QB2 do not look like conventional home audio products. They look like they belong in a modern art museum! The contrast of grey brushed aluminum, sculpted fabric grills, and acrylic accented with subtle lighting just makes you want to reach out and touch the large, multi-function knob recessed into the top panel. In other words, they are flat out beautiful!

The Mu-so 2 is much larger than the QB version sitting at about 25” wide, 11” deep and roughly 5” tall. The QB 2 is much more compact and cube-like being about an 8” cube. Both come with a black grill but have an optional Olive, Terracotta, and Peacock grilles.  The grille fabric even looks like something you would see in a British woolen mill.

The Mu-so design goal is to give you an all-in-one, but great sounding and easy to use speaker system that can access your music in many different ways. Naim also wanted the Mu-so speakers to be able to easily fill up a room with big sound that had no strain as you cranked up the volume.

While the original Mu-so’s were simply astounding in the sound they produced for their size, Naim took the opportunity to completely redo both the internal cabinet and speaker drivers in both models. The improvements are not subtle, but huge!

Naim also took the control of the Mu-so 2 to a new level compared to the old with a redesigned, touch-sensitive multi-function knob.

The level of build quality on all Naim products is about as good as it gets. This is probably one reason Bentley chose Naim for their vehicles. The new Mu-so 2 series is impeccably finished and in many ways better put together than just about any piece of audio gear we have ever seen.

Naim mu-so qb2

Features & Technology

Both the Mu-so 2 and Mu-so QB 2 share a lot of the same features and technology. We’ll first go over what they have in common, then get into the differences between the two models.

From an access to music standpoint, the Mu-so 2 series has a ton of options. You’ll have Apple Airplay 2, Chromecast, Bluetooth, UPnP for music files on your network, Spotify® Connect, TIDAL, and Internet Radio. We were also happy to see support for Roon added. Physical connections include a mini-plug analog audio input, a Toslink digital input, a USB input for a local USB music drive, and an ARC HDMI input (Mu-so 2 only). ARC is short for “audio return channel” which means if your TV supports this you can connect it to your TV with an HDMI cable to get sound into the Mu-so 2.  With the 5” height of the Mu-so 2, you likely need to elevate your TV to keep the Mu-so 2 from blocking the bottom of the screen should you decide to use it as a soundbar.  

The fact that the Mu-so 2 series supports Airplay2, Chromecast, and Bluetooth means you could stream virtually any music app from your phone to the units. The Mu-so 2 models also support your Hi-Res music files with the capability of playing back WAV, FLAC, ALAC, and AIFF up to 24bit/384kHz. They do not support DSD files though.

Naim includes a hardwire ethernet port on both models, plus the new ones have enhanced their WiFi capability to be Dual Band. The touch-sensitive interactive wheel has had some function updates. It allows you to choose sources, skip/play/pause tracks, choose from favorites, and indicates how you might be connected to it. And it just flat out one of the coolest volume knobs we have ever played with!

We suspect most people will use the redesigned Naim app for control. Naim has been updating their app for many years and it’s gotten pretty darn good over time. It is especially fun to use if you have a large library on USB or a NAS drive as it fully integrates your library with Tidal. This allows you to see what you own from an artist, then scroll down and see their work that is on Tidal.  Using the app also allows you to use either Mu-so 2 in a whole house music system where you can group up to 5 units together. Multi-room use is also not limited to the Naim app. With support for both Airplay 2 and Chromecast, you can use your Mu-so 2 models in either environment with other speakers that support these functions.

The original Mu-so’s had a room compensation feature that let you tell the unit where it was located in your room to optimize the audio. The redesigned engine in the new Mu-so 2 series has almost 13 times the amount of processing power of the original units, which means their DSP for room compensation works much better than before. While it is not the same as some of the more sophisticated room EQ features found in new home theater receivers, it does a good job of compensating for situations where your Mu-so 2 is against the wall or in a corner.

When Naim added the new streaming and DSP engine to the new Mu-so 2 series, they also partnered with Focal to do a redesign of the speakers used in the new Mu-so 2. This also led to them upgrading the Naim amplifiers used the power the speakers. The only thing that stayed constant was the tweeter. On the Mu-so 2 model, the internal cabinet became bigger, giving it the ability to reach deeper into the bottom end.

When you compare the speaker layout on the two models, it's clear the Mu-so 2 should provide a much bigger and deeper sound than the Mu-so 2 QB. The Mu-so 2 has two five-inch oval-shaped woofers in the center, augmented with a port in the base of the unit. These are flanked by the 1” dome tweeters and 2” midrange drivers. This layout coupled with the 25” width of the Mu-so 2, throw out what is a pretty convincing stereo sound stage. The bass you get out of the new Mu-so 2 will have you scratching your head, wondering how they pulled off such accurate bass in its modest-sized enclosure. We suspect the new DSP engine has a lot to do with it. 

The Mu-so QB 2 uses a similar configuration, but it is designed more to fill a room up, rather than present a true stereo image. The QB has just one woofer with the two midrange and tweeter drivers angled off to the sides. This does not give the same stereo effect as the Mu-so 2, but it does an outstanding job of putting big sound in a modest-sized room.

Naim mu-so reference

Performance

We tested setting up the new Mu-so series with both an iOS device and an Android device. The iPhone was as easy as any set up with have ever done, but we have to say the Android app is a little quirky. Once you get it set up the first time, it works just like the iPhone app, but there are a few tips we’ll give you on how to get up and running quickly with an Android phone. We’ve put together a quick start guide for Andriod users we’ll send out in the box with your new Mu-so piece. 

Set up uses the Naim app, which, especially on a larger screen, is a joy to use. But what bowled us over on the Mu-so pieces was how much better they sounded than the originals. The Mu-so 2 has the tightest and deepest bass we have ever heard from an all in one music system. We played some classic Chicago (Dialog) and the intro bass line was tight, fast, and very deep. Naim and Focal really did a great job on the new speaker and amp design to stretch as much sound as possible from the Mu-so cabinet.

Another stunning cut was the old Girl From Ipanema. This recording is old school left and right stereo and the Mu-so actually showed pretty decent stereo separation for an all in one speaker.

When we tried the Trinity Sessions from the Cowboy Junkies, you can hear all the subtle harmonics quite well. Another thing we noticed in both pieces is Naim’s devotion to keeping the timing of the music together. You’ll be tapping your toes to the music with either of these Mu-so 2’s.

When you think about it, Mu-so’s heritage comes from a British company with a long history of making great sounding audio gear who is also driven to keep innovating for better sound. It is no surprise the Mu-so 2 models sound a lot better than the originals, AND offer the best sounding all in one speakers we know of.

Overall Recommendation

Naim has really upped the game with the new Mu-so series. These two models are hands down the best sounding all in one player we have ever heard. If your goal is to simplify things and get great sound out of a single box where all you need is a power cord, you’ve found your answer in the new Mu-so series. For larger spaces we do recommend the Mu-so 2 over the QB but make no mistake, even the QB blows away all of the competition.

Details & Specs

Multiroom and App Control Mu-so 2nd Generation works brilliantly on its own or as part of a multiroom music set-up. There are three easy ways to make it multiroom: combine it with other networked Naim products (including 1st Generation Mu-so and Mu-so Qb) via the updated Naim app; with other AirPlay 2-compatible wireless speakers via the Apple Home app; or with other Chromecast devices via groups controlled by the Google Home app. Available for iOS and Android devices, the updated Naim app allows you to browse by artist, genre, album and more, complete with artwork and extended music information. You can also control volume, light settings, room modes and create playlists. As a further option, Mu-so 2nd Generation is Roon Ready, too.

More Information
Roon Status Roon Ready, Roon Airplay
Product Manual Download
Warranty 2 Years
Included Accessories Dual tone grey and black grille, remote control, mains cables (market dependent), reset pin-hole tool and information booklets.
Amp Power Output 450W – (6 x 75W)
Control By App Remote handset included and optional control app for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices
Design Stereo 3-way; DSP-optimized vented box acoustic system
Dimensions 122mm x 628 mm x 264 mm
Multi Room Yes
Music Format CD, Internet Radio, Downloads, Streaming
power_range Typical use: 17W
Standby mode: < 2W
Deep sleep (No-network standby mode): < 0.5W
Supported 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
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