Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation review: Naim didn’t need to make this wireless speaker better, but I’m glad it did

    The Naim Mu-so was one of many perfect all-in-one audio techniques I’ve reviewed, and this up to date model is best in each method. The Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation good points HDMI with ARC, so you’ll be able to pair it together with your TV; and it helps Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, and Bluetooth, so you’ll be able to stream music from nearly any supply. It has an even bigger amp, extra processing energy, and higher drivers than the unique. It’s solely just a little dearer—$1,599—and it sounds positively divine.

    The 2019 model of the Naim Mu-so doesn’t look appreciably totally different than the unique, however Naim says 95 p.c of the system has been re-engineered, together with a redesign of the speaker’s inside and its bracing and baffle molding that to squeeze out 13-percent extra inside house whereas rendering all the enclosure extra inflexible to suppress vibration and undesirable resonance. The new mannequin nonetheless sits on an acrylic base with a dimmable LED lighting up its model, and that large aluminum heatsink on the again of the unit stays to ship passive cooling. The outsized management wheel has been carried over, with a brand new proximity sensor that lights up its touch-sensitive controls the moment you place your hand close to it.

    Naim added HDMI with ARC help, to make it simpler to make use of the Mu-so as a soundbar together with your TV (the unique had solely a Toslink connector). This mannequin has that and a 3.5mm analog enter, too, however the speaker’s 5-inch peak would possibly obscure the underside of your TV’s display screen (and block the TV’s IR receiver) if you happen to place it proper in entrance (I’d counsel placing your TV on a riser of some type). Naim doesn’t present mounting brackets to hold the 28-pound speaker on the wall, however I suppose you could possibly bolt a shelf to the studs in your wall and relaxation it on that. The speaker doesn’t decode Dolby or DTS, so it doesn’t matter that there’s no possibility for including encompass audio system, however you’ll must configure your TV to ship digital audio to it in PCM format, versus bitstream.

    naim mu so recessed ports Michael Brown / IDG

    The recessed and angled port bay on the underside of the brand new Mu-so makes it unnecessarily troublesome to plug issues into the Mu-so 2nd Generation, particularly the ability twine.

    The new mannequin correctly retains its 10/100 ethernet port, so you’ll be able to hardwire it to your community if in case you have the infrastructure, however Naim up to date the speaker’s onboard Wi-Fi adapter to a dual-band (2.4- and 5GHz) mannequin. I think most patrons will stream music in excessive decision (as much as 32-bits, with sampling charges as excessive as 384kHz) from a UPnP server on their community or from an area USB storage machine. Alternatively, you’ll be able to stream from Tidal, and any of your favourite web radio stations (by way of TuneIn) instantly from Naim’s app. There is not any help, nonetheless, for MQA-encoded Tidal streams. The speaker helps Spotify Connect, so paid subscribers can use that service’s app to play their favourite music. If none of these choices fit your palate, you need to use Air Play 2, Chromecast, or Bluetooth to stream different companies, reminiscent of Apple Music, Qobuz, Deezer, or what have you ever.

    Inside the Mu-so 2nd Generation

    The Mu-so 2nd Generation has a barely extra highly effective amplifier than the primary technology—it delivers 475 watts in comparison with the unique’s 450 watts—however its onboard digital sign processor is considerably extra highly effective: 2,000 MIPS (million directions per second) in comparison with a measly 150 MIPS for the first-gen speaker. One of the numerous options the DSP allows is a room compensation algorithm that lets you not less than considerably customise the speaker’s efficiency to your room. This isn’t as bold because the room correction software program you’ll discover in higher A/V receivers, and even the Trueplay expertise Sonos developed for its audio system, however it should compensate if in case you have no alternative however to position the Mu-so towards a wall or in a nook (the third setting turns off compensation if you happen to’re capable of put the speaker in an open house).

    naim mu so 2 grill off Michael Brown / IDG

    Naim collaborated with its sibling model Focal to develop all-new drivers for the Mu-so 2nd Generation.

    Remove the brand new Mu-so’s black asymmetrical fabric grille (you should purchase a replacement grille in olive green, peacock blue, or terracotta red, however these value £50 every) and also you’ll discover a comparable three-way audio system to that which made the unique Mu-so sound so fabulous, together with a big bass port on the underside of the cupboard. This time round, nonetheless, Naim labored with its sister firm Focal to design a complete new set of mid-range and bass drivers designed to ship true stereo from a single cupboard.

    There are left/proper pairs of 1.0-inch silk dome tweeters, 2.0-inch midrange, and 5.0-inch woofers. At the Mu-so’s unveiling in New York earlier this yr, Naim Audio’s director of design, Simon Matthews, instructed TechHive contributor Jonathan Takiff the groups “went through six versions of the mid-range and seven iterations of the long-excursion bass driver until we got to the place where we wanted to be.”

    naim logo Michael Brown / IDG

    As with the unique speaker, LEDs behind the acylic base mild up the corporate’s brand.

    What it’s like to make use of the Mu-so 2nd Generation

    Naim’s app, accessible for Android and iOS, is a comparatively Spartan affair, not less than till you select a supply and music to play. Icons throughout the highest symbolize your sources (servers, USB, web radio) and companies (Tidal, Spotify, and so on.). Touch certainly one of these and the related submenu will seem. The house display screen additionally shows a row of headings for the artists, tracks, radio stations, playlists, and presets you’ve designated as favorites. Touch a type of, and a listing of things from that class will seem.

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