Launched 5 years ago, the hugely popular Naim Mu-so won numerous awards and high critical acclaim.
This 2nd generation Mu-so shares the same signature styling. But beneath the premium aluminium casing, it hosts a 95% re-engineered design. The new design upgrades the performance, features and functionality to redefine what is possible from a single-box sound system.
The Naim Mu-so 2 wireless speaker is based around the brand’s own audio streaming platform. Unique to Naim’s ultra-high-end amplifier products and dedicated network players, the platform grants optimum performance regardless of streaming source. The listener can simply access and enjoy quality internet radio, a personal digital music library or streaming services such as Tidal or Spotify
In this significant update, Naim has naturally carried its new comprehensive streaming platform – the beating heart of the brand's latest streamers and systems, such as the ND5 XS 2 and Uniti Atom – into the Mu-so 2. This gives it UPnP streaming of hi-res music up to PCM 32-bit/384kHz, direct streaming from Spotify Connect and Tidal, Apple AirPlay 2, internet radio and Google Chromecast. Naim has also improved the Wi-Fi stability, although a wired ethernet connection is still a good option.
As with the original Mu-so, offline streaming is catered for with Bluetooth, while USB, optical and 3.5mm inputs offer the ability to connect another source, such as a CD transport, CD player or television. On the latter, Naim has also decided to add a HDMI ARC socket so you can hook the Mu-so 2 up to your telly or AV receiver to pass-through high-quality Blu-ray formats, such as Dolby TrueHD, and also use a single remote to control all connected components.
Control comes from the latest version of the neatly-designed Naim app (iOS and Android). The home screen offers simple input selection and preset access, the display of Audio Trends server's library highlights the album art and is easy to browse through. Tidal is nicely integrated too, and the whole experience is responsive on a smartphone or tablet.
The app is also your go-to for multi-room pairing and control. The backwards-compatible Mu-so 2 can be paired with other Mu-so 2, Mu-so and Mu-so Qb speakers, or other compatible Naim products, using the latest streaming platform in three ways: via AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast or Naim's own software.
A selection of settings allows you to do everything from naming and updating your Mu-so to setting a sleep timer or alarm clock. You can also tailor the sound based on where the Mu-so 2 is positioned – choose from Near Wall Near Corner’ or, when out in the open ‘No Compensation’. Users of music player curation software Roon can control the Roon-Ready Mu-so 2nd Generation via Roon's own app.
While the Mu-so 2's stylish aesthetic heritage is obvious, there are tell-tale signs of its individuality next to the original. The aluminium chassis sports a new burnished grey finish and the front wave-like grille, available in black, terracotta, olive and peacock (blue), is now made of a new nylon and polyester knit fabric that Naim says improves sound sensitivity by around 1db in the midrange.
The flat handheld remote is similar to the one supplied with the Naim Uniti series and offers a handy means of control if you want a break from your smartphone or tablet screen.
Another upgrade is to the Mu-so 2's top mounted dial which features an improved touch control panel, ringed by a silky-smooth illuminated dial allowing you to change volume, switch sources and select preset music to play. Up to five presets, such as albums, playlists or radio stations, can be set via the Naim app. Thanks to a proximity sensor, you can wake the display with your hand and illuminate the icons ready for use.
To improve performance, Naim has fitted new drivers – optimised in collaboration with Focal and collectively driven by 450W of amplification – and advanced the capability of its digital sound processing. Each driver has been reconsidered: the bass unit has been given a longer voice coil and larger magnet to reduce distortion, while the midrange has a better-damped surround to improve its phase with the cone.
The new processing is capable of 13 times as many instructions as the original Mu-so, and all digitised analogue inputs and all digital inputs are upsampled or downsampled as necessary to a 24-bit/88kHz output. Naim has paid attention to digital timing too, extending the duties of the system's Master Clock to the streaming card too, as is the case in Naim's high-end ND555 streamer.
Those improvements combined have secured a calibre of sound that's more next level than incremental. While there is the familiar richness, both in terms of tonality and quality, the Mu-so 2 walks all over its predecessor when it comes to detail, dynamics and rhythmic dexterity.
The sound of the Mu-so 2 is forceful, hugely engaging and precise. The sound stage is wider, the bass response improved and the sheer presence of it is just that much more massive. To augment bass, Naim has re-engineered the physical structure of the system to increase the cabinet volume by 13 per cent. Turn it up and you'll find it will go loud, without distortion. You can have Mu-so 2 practically all the way up and not really realise how loud it is… until you try to have a conversation and find it drowning you out.
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