Extreme All-In-One Naim Mu-So Wireless Audio System
Next in our detailed reviews of the Best Wireless & Bluetooth Home Speakers is the Mu-so family of Audiophile equipment from Naim. If audio companies were people, then Naim Audio would be a British aristocrat – probably one who drives racing cars in his spare time.
Naim Audio designs high quality products with a major emphasis on style and performance. The company was founded in 1969, by a racing car driver turned engineer; although, if you read some of their stories of the early days, you'll start to feel like they were there, at least in spirit, at the Battle of Agincourt.
We like that they go on about their history with the early recording industry, and their ongoing association with iconic British brands, from famous bicycle companies to their current role of providing the superb quality sound systems for Bentley motorcars. Naim also took on the Japanese during their domination of the hi-fi receivers with a less is more product that sounded better and was more enjoyable to use.
However you slice it, Naim is an audio company with a long history of offering products that offer a defining minimalistic look, excellent performance, great build quality, and are often at least a bit ahead of their time.
Their latest wireless products – the Mu-So and Mu-so Qb – are no exception. Their build quality is lovely; their performance is impressive; and they are stylish. They also offer changeable grilles in a variety of colors to fit your décor.
Naim Mu-so Speakers Comparison Table
Naim Mu-so Reference
Spotify Connect, Tidal, Internet Radio
4.8" x 24.7 x 10.1 inches
1 Remote and Naim Control app Apple iOS & Android
Naim Mu-so QB
Spotify Connect, Tidal, Internet Radio
8 x 8 x 8 inches
1 Remote and Naim Control app Apple iOS & Android
Speaker Covers For Naim Audio Mu-so Qb
Naim Mu-so Qb Wireless Audio System Optional Grille Deep Blue
Naim Mu-so Qb Wireless Audio System Optional Grille Burnt Orange
Naim Mu-so Qb Wireless Audio System Optional Grille Vibrant Red
Speaker Covers For Naim Audio Mu-so
Naim Mu-so Wireless Audio System Optional Grille Deep Blue
Naim Mu-so Wireless Audio System Optional Grille Burnt Orange
Naim Mu-so Wireless Audio System Optional Grille Vibrant Red
Are British Luxury Loudspeakers a Thing?
First off, let's be clear that the Naim Mu-so is beautiful. It takes its design cues from the state-of the-art Statement amplifier and pre-amplifier.
The Mu-so itself is about 25" wide, 10" deep, and just under 5" high. No weird contours or strange shapes here.
In appearance, the mu-so is a very elegant and rather traditional looking anodized aluminum enclosure, with a luxury finish, and a front grille which comes in Naim Black, Deep Blue, Burnt Orange, or Deep Red.
On its top the Mu-so sports a round control panel; shiny black, with a silver trim circle, and a few understated icons.
The panel is a touch-sensitive control, and the outer ring rotates to control volume. The back is lined with heat sinks and if you look closely, you'll find a USB input and a few connectors tucked away on the right side.
All the other inputs are stashed on the bottom panel; and of course, the wireless stuff is buried in the enclosure.
Mu-so by Naim | Go Deeper [Video]
What's Inside This All-In-One Naim Mu-so Audio System?
The Mu-so sports a pair of real three-way speakers, each of the six drivers powered by its own independent amplifier, all housed in a wooden speaker enclosure (the elegant anodized aluminum skin is wrapped around the wooden enclosure).
If you're curious - the woofers are what we refer to as race track drivers (oval with flat sides), and are substantial - about 7" long by 4" wide; the midrange drivers are 3" cones, and the tweeters are one inch domes.
The cabinet is a tuned bass reflex design to optimize the bass output of the woofers. The amplifier is rated to deliver 450 watts total – which works out to 75 watts for each speaker driver.
- sample rates up to 24/192k when playing WAV, FLAC, and AIFF files from USB
- sample rates up to 24/96k via Toslink optical
- sample rates up to 48k from most streaming sources
It's Always About Connectivity
The mu-so supports a variety of AC power line voltages – including 100 VAC, 115 VAC, and 230 VAC – so it's at home anywhere, and the power cable plugs right into your mu-so, so you don't need a clunky wall wart.
In order to play streaming audio, the mu-so must be connected to your network, which you can do via an Ethernet cable or an 802.11b or 802.11g WiFi connection.
Configuration is via the mu-so App, which is an elegant control App for your iPad, iPhone, or Android touch device.. Important: Note that the Naim App is only available for the iPad, iPhone, and Android phones.
There is currently no Naim App for Windows computers or other devices. However, computers that can't run the Naim App to control the mu-so like Windows computers, can still stream audio to it using one of the audio streaming protocols it supports.
The mu-so can also broadcast its own WiFi signal, allowing you to connect the App and other computers to it even if you don't have a network handy.
Audio Sources and Multi-Room Capabilities
The Naim Mu-so supports a variety of different types of audio sources that we will cover now.
The Mu-so has an analog 3.5mm input jack where you can connect devices like phones and music players; you can also connect an output from your stereo directly to this input with the appropriate cable.
The Mu-so has a standard Toslink optical input, where you can connect the digital output from a variety of audio devices. Many CD players, computers, portable players, and receivers have Toslink outputs. You can also use that Toslink input to connect your Mu-so to your TV to deliver excellent quality sound.
The Mu-so also has a very flexible USB input. You can use the USB input to connect devices like your iPhone, which can then be operated under its own control, or by the Naim App. You can also use the USB input to connect a USB stick containing music files.
Unlike many players, which only support a few file formats, the mu-so supports a wide variety of file types, including MP3, WAV, FLAC, AAC, ALAC, and AIFF files.
Wireless and Streaming
The Mu-so supports Internet Radio – although you will have to have the Naim App to use that feature. The mu-so supports direct playback of Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth streams; and it supports Spotify Connect.
It also supports Tidal, but only through the Naim App. The mu-so also supports UPnP streams. UPnP is a streaming format supported by lots of music servers and computers, including Windows, and the software included with many NAS storage devices.
The Mu-so also supports the proprietary multi-room streaming format used by Naim's other devices, so it can share audio streams directly with other Naim multi-room enabled devices.
The Naim Ecosystem
How you view the Naim Ecosystem depends on, well, how you look at it. The Naim mu-so is really designed to be used with up to four Naim mu-so Qbs in up to five separate rooms.
However, it also works with several other Naim wireless devices, all of which can be controlled with the same App, and can be part of larger systems, and it can be used with other more open multi-room and streaming standards.
In other words, while the mu-so and the mu-so Qb make up their own little ecosystem, the mu-so really plays well with lots of other multi-room systems.
The Naim Control App
The Mu-so is configured and controlled remotely using the Naim App, which is available for iPad, iPhone, and Android smartphones (and not Windows). The App is Mu-so owners and like the other features of the Mu-so line, the app is clean, carefully laid out, and elegant looking.
It is characterized by neat concise icons, easy to read text, and a minimum of garish colors. The Naim App lets you configure your various streaming sources, select inputs, control what plays in which room, and control settings your most important settings.
Naim's philosophy is elegance, brevity, and efficiency over exhaustive detail. The App allows you to configure multiple brightness schemes and background colors. It also allows you to configure the volume control to be a loudness control. (A loudness control boosts low frequencies at low listening levels to make your music sound better in accordance with how our ears work at low volume).
However, rather than offer pages and pages of detailed tone and EQ settings, the mu-so App offers "adjustments for room location". In short, it seems designed for someone who just wants to listen to music rather than someone who likes endless gadgets and options to fiddle with. (We think this is refreshing – and sort of relaxing - in a music player.)
Is Naim A Righteous Contender?
The Naim combines great sound quality and really elegant good looks. If you want a sound system that will look at home in your modern apartment, or your art gallery, boardroom or office then the Naim mu-so is for you.
The mu-so screams... well, it doesn't scream anything... it exudes understated elegance, fine craftsmanship, and functional good looks. We really can't stress enough how elegant the mu-so looks, and how elegant it feels when you operate its controls, or just touch the fine finish. (You might say that it's the exact antithesis of modern shiny plastic).
The sound quality is excellent....but with a few kudos. The mu-so delivers an impressive amount of room filling sounding with prodigious bass for a device its size. We also noticed that, while the mu-so sounds quite good in any location, it really excels at delivering crystal clear sound when located at or near ear level.
Since the mu-so is clearly designed to be positioned on a counter or shelf, where you can see and reach the top-mounted control panel, and which puts it at ear level if you're sitting down, we suggest that you exercise care in finding a location where the mu-so is both accessible and sounds its best. You'll find that the effort is well worth it.
How To - Set Up Your Naim Mu-so [Video]
We also would like to stress that the mu-so itself is well thought out... and that extends to lots of small but important details. For example, having to use a wall wart isn't a big deal, but not having to use a separate AC adapter is really a lot nicer.
While you might not even know what a FLAC file is right now, someday you'll appreciate how convenient it is that the mu-so can play them from your friend's USB sticks – while many other devices cannot. In short, Naim's heritage of making audio equipment for home and studio for a long time shows up in the proper handling of lots of small but important details.
Do keep in mind that the Naim mu-so is a luxury item, and is priced accordingly but we think it's worth it!
Specifications and Incidentals
The Mu-so also supports an optional – and conventional - infrared remote control, which you can purchase separately. While this looks to be quite simplistic, we think it's a nice touch.
Even though most of us will use the App to control our mu-so and mu-so Qb, it never hurts to have options, and it might just be handy to have a remote control you can leave on the coffee table.
Mu-so Physical Specs
- Dimensions: 24.7" wide x 10.1" deep x 4.8" high
- Weight: 28.7 pounds
Mu-so Qb Physical Specs
- Dimensions: 8.25" x 8.35" x 8.5"
- Weight: 12.3 pounds
Is The Mu-so Qb Loudspeaker Your Multiroom Solution?
The Mu-so all-in-one has a companion piece – the Mu-so Qb loudspeaker - and it is a cube that's just under 9" on a side. The Mu-so Qb sports a matching finish and a similar control panel and comes in the same choice of grille colors.
The Mu-so Qb has many of the same features as the mu-so , and is an excellent wireless music system in its own right. If you are the proud owner of the Naim Mu-so system and now want to add multiroom, the Mu-so QB is the way you should go. Naim has made sure all of great functionality of the Mu-so is carried over to their second wireless system the Mu-so Qb.
Just like the Mu-so the Mu-so Qb uses the Naim control app for iOS and Android along with providing native support for Spotify and Tidal. Everything is built into Mu-so Qb and you can stream music from a PC, Mac or network-attached storage.
How To - Set Up Your Naim Mu-so Qb [Video]
Using Bluetooth aptX or Apple AirPlay you can stream music from your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and with Internet radio.
All in all, the Mu-so Qb is carefully designed and well built like its big brother. It's got 300 watts of power squeezed into its compact size and produces prodigious bass and the other four drivers are clear sounding. Bottom line: This is a high quality system but is pricey compared to some of its competition.
If you're not a Mu-so owner, listen up! Flat out, you'll find some of our other music system recommendations might be a wiser choice. You'll find at the same price point as the Mu-so Qb we rated other systems as sounding better and able to do more.
To make matters worse, for half the price some of our other all-in-one and lower cost two speaker systems are flat mind blowingly better as an audio system and a bargain to boot.
However, there are many Naim fans out there most of whom swear by Naim's British heritage and they will no doubt want to own both the Naim Mu-so wireless components as part of a complementary pair. We still rate the Mu-so with 5 stars ans it features in our top-rated list of best wireless home audio systems. So go ahead and spoil yourself!