Naim Mu-So 2
Stream Music From Virtually Any Source in Stunning Sound with Naim Mu-so Wireless Music System: Apple AirPlay, Universal Plug 'n' Play, aptX Bluetooth, Spotify, Internet Radio, & Multi-Room Capability Award-Winning Naim Mu-so Delivers 450 Watts Through Six Amps and 32-Bit DSP Inspired from Bentley-Made Design: Also Features Touchscreen Volume Dial and Innovative App Stream music from virtually any source in ravishing audiophile-caliber sound with the incredible Naim Mu-so wireless music system , bolstered by six dedicated amplifiers and a gorgeous touchscreen volume control inspired by the company's flagship pre/pro. Delivering a total of 450 watts of power, Mu-so includes built-in AirPlay, Universal Plug 'n' Play (UPnP), aptX Bluetooth, USB, Internet Radio, Spotify Connect, and USB connectivity to give you practically every digital option you could want. Listen to music stored on your computers or tablets in better-than-CD quality, set up a multi-room system with another Mu-so , or utilize the digital input to better TV and game sound. No matter what you do, you'll never tire of the rich, dynamic, and subtle sound. Made to pair with a stunning app, Mu-so plays back music with genuine hi-fi sonics distinguished with tremendous scale, dynamics, energy, and detail. "This player is about fun, and good old foot-tappin' involvement. Give it a high quality file to play and I guarantee that you will be delighted at its musical coherence and articulation. If you want to get more music in your life, then get a mu-so. It's as simple as that!" – Chris Thomas, HiFi+ A What Hi-Fi? Product of the Year Award-winner that the audio magazine calls "more than worthy of a front-and-center position in your listening room," the stylish Mu-so provides controlled, textured, impactful, and precision-based sound associated with top-notch floor-standing speaker.
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, which brings Deezer, Qobuz and Google Play Music to the table. Naim claims to have 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 a simple input selection and preset access, the display of our server’s library features the album art and is easy to browse through. Tidal is nicely integrated too, and the whole experience is responsive on the One Plus 7 Pro smartphone (Android) and Apple iPad (iOS).
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 Qbspeakers, or other compatible Naim products, using the latest streaming platform in three ways: via AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast or Naim’s own software.
The first two are accessible on Apple device software and either through a Chromecast-enabled app or Google Home app. Streaming from your NAS drive in multi-room can be achieved via the Naim app’s ‘now playing’ interface. Connect, disconnect and change volumes independently by pressing the bottom-right four-square icon. You should be able to pair up to eight speakers, if you have the space.
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 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.
The flat handheld remote isn’t as nice as the rounded wand supplied with the original Mu-so, but it offers a more basic means of control if you want a break from your smartphone or tablet screen.
On-unit controls rarely feature highly in our reviews, but the Mu-so 2’s off-centre dial is worth more than a passing mention. An improved touch control panel, ringed by a silky-smooth illuminated dial, allows 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.
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.
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.
NAIM MU-SO 2 TECH SPECS
Inputs Optical, HDMI, USB
File support 32bit/384kHz
Control app Yes
Streaming Tidal, Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Chromecast
Power 450 watts
The Mu-so 2 effortlessly opens up The National’s Hey Rosey, and everything in that more spacious soundfield – the pitter-patter of piano, the slicing strings, the Gail Ann Dorsey accompaniment – is clearer and more nuanced. The chorus’s kaleidoscopic rhythm pattern sounds much more systematic, too.
The gentle dynamic build to Maribou State’s Turnmills is more obvious, there’s more euphoria to the playful melody, and the entrancing vocal traverses the electronica with greater presence.
To augment bass, Naim has re-engineered the physical structure of the system to increase the cabinet volume by 13 per cent. As the track’s drum loop kicks in, it’s clear that the bass has more control and conviction – the drum machine pattern in Twilight Sad’s It Never Was The Same sounds more sinister and stately than it does through the Mu-so.
Musicality is still at the heart of the Mu-so 2’s performance as a soundbar. There’s weight, insight and liveliness, and as we tune into the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the commentary is clear and coherent.
You don’t get the scale of sound you do from the best premium soundbars (such as the Dali Kubik One or Sony HT-ST5000), or the bass volume of those with external subwoofers. But there’s no question that the Naim does justice to soundtracks and dialogue alike, offering significant improvements over TV speakers.
We’re surprised just how much sonic progression the Naim Mu-so 2 brings, however these advancements are necessary to justify the hefty price increase over the original.
At the time of writing, the first generation Mu-so can be bought for several hundreds of pounds less, but for the extra cost here, you get a better performance, extra sonic insight, better usability and the inclusion of an HDMI socket.
And, just as the best film sequels manage to add something to their franchise, the Mu-so 2nd Generation proves a worthy successor and a fine addition to the Mu-so range.
- Sound 5
- Features 5
- Build 5