What Hi-Fi? Awards 2016 winner: Naim Mu-so wireless speaker


naim_bb_wireless-speakers_naimKnown for their idiosyncratic approach to design and technology, Naim have been an industry benchmark since their beginnings in 1973. It is very much a name who does things its own way. Sticking to its guns and refusing to bend to shape others ideas is often an admirable trait, has lead them to create some of the best audio equipment ever made.

The Mu-so saw its first foray into a new area altogether: the wireless speaker market. The usual suspects in this field have usually fallen in around the £200 – £500 price bracket. What does the Naim, which comes in at a fair bit more than that, have to offer… and is it worth the extra outlay?

Firstly I was amazed at the sheer weight of the thing. A quick look at the specs and it’s no wonder why: The Mu-so contains six speakers, and six 75 watt digital amplifiers! It kicks out 450 watts in total. These aren’t distorted figures either; all measured into 6 ohms. All that power has the potential to generate a huge amount of heat, so the Mu-so dives straight in with it’s first beautiful design key. The top of the case is a thick slab of aluminium, and this runs onto the equally enormous heatsink that runs the length of the back of the case. It’s final weight of 13kg means that this isn’t going to be moved around too much, but realistically that was never intended.

The oversized dial that sits to the left handside of the top plate is truly excepetional in use. Not only does it offer a wonderfully smooth point of operation for the volume itself, its light up display also shows which of the Mu-so‘s many inputs are currently in operation. The Naim comes with a remote supplied, but I’d be happy to get out of my chair every time to give this marvel a spin.

A neat set of apps are available for Apple and Android operating systems, and this proved more useful in operation than the remote. You’d be well advised downloading the app to get the most out of the Mu-so.

AptX Bluetooth is included, as you would expect. An optical input for getting a TV hooked up is also present. AirPlay is a welcome inclusion, as is the ability to use Spotify Connect. USB is also catered for, allowing for playback from Apple’s phones and tablets, and also memory sticks. Up to 5 radio presets can saved. Finally, a 3.5mm input is thrown in for connection to older players.

Testing the Mu-so, I fired up the Bluetooth on my phone, quickly located the Naim and browsed my library for tracks to listen to. First up was Beck with Morning Phase. This is one of his two much quieter albums (Sea Change being the other – highly recommended). The Mu-so made this deep, lush recording sound exactly as it should. Clarity of everything was astounding; bass, mids, treble. Nothing was over-presented, over-compensated or under-compensated. The soundstage was excellent, which is a very big statement when talking about a single speaker. The Mu-so was easily capable of filling our demo room, and never sounding strained at the volume required to do so. I was very, seriously impressed.

The Matrix Reloaded‘s opening scene is a great test of a speaker system. After the swirling musical score settles and the clock clicks into place, we’re treated to the roar of a motorbike engine, which hurls through the air towards a building full of blissfully unaware security guards. Queue huge explosion! The fight scene that follows requires razor-sharp dynamic control to sound its best, and the Mu-so was more than up to the challenge. It was as good as I’d heard it sound from something that wasn’t a full surround sound system. Bravo!

The Naim Mu-so – a success? Emphatically so. This is effectively a one stop hi-fi, TV speaker and streaming system in a single box. Fantastic! Click here to find out more about the award-winning Naim Mu-so.

Author – Chris, Liverpool store