This pricey sonic sequel provides for sensational listening and is worth every penny, writes Noel Campion.
It’s rare I get the chance to review a product that blows me away, but that’s exactly what the Mu-so 2 from Naim did.
I’ve never claimed to be an audiophile, but after spending a lot of time listening to music and audio on the Mu-so 2, I’ve rekindled my love for both music and sound quality.
In as much as music is incredibly subjective, so too is sound quality.
I love that a product like the Mu-so 2 not only offers all of the flexibility and features we demand from a sound system and smart speaker in 2019, it also pays homage to an age when high fidelity sound was something to aspire to.
All that being said, the Mu-so 2 will not suit everyone’s budget at €1,499 and its size and weight won’t make it practical for all situations and needs.
However, for those looking for the ultimate smart speaker, the Mu-so 2 is an incredible system that will bring music to your ears in a way that you never thought was possible.
The British company Naim is synonymous with sound quality and excellence in the audio industry and although the second generation of the excellent Mu-so may look very similar to its predecessor, under the hood it has been almost entirely redesigned using new components.
“In its 45 years, Naim has both created and recreated product categories — all in our founding quest for the most authentic musical experience. Mu-so was the first truly high-quality wireless music speaker; five years on we’ve re-engineered 95% of it to develop Mu-so 2nd Generation and redefined what’s possible from a one-box system”, says Naim Audio MD, Charlie Henderson.
The Mu-so 2 looks incredible. I love how it looks from the mix of materials that range from brushed metal on the top to the solid transparent polymer base that lights up and displays the Naim logo.
The front speaker grille comes in black as standard and is also available in Terracotta, Olive or Peacock colours.
There are no physical buttons but instead, there’s a large capacitive dial on top that has a proximity sensor that lights up as your hands get near it.
When lit up, you’ll see icons that represent various controls and features that allow you to select inputs, change favourite radio stations, connect to streaming services and control volume.
The Mu-so 2 also comes with a remote control and a companion app for both iOS and Android.
I found the app the most convenient way to control the speaker, especially when I was changing inputs and streaming services and so on.
The remote is small and functional, but basic and you have to remember what symbol functions to do what.
The same is true of the rotating dial symbols, some of which don’t make too much sense until you get familiar with what each one does. Still, I love the elegant implementation and minimalistic style.
The Mu-so 2 is stacked with features that offer a solution for everything that I was able to throw at it.
It supports Bluetooth, wifi (2.4/5Ghz), Ethernet, digital optical, HDMI (ARC), 3.5mm analogue and a USB port that’s compatible with all the major file types including FLAC and WAV.
The HDMI port is a nice upgrade over the original and allows you to use the Mo-so 2 as a soundbar for your TV.
This also means you can use your TV remote to control volume. This works great, but your TV has to support HDMI (ARC).
You can still use either the digital audio or 3.5mm port instead, but then you’ll have separate controls for volume.
The list of ways to connect the Mu-so 2 also includes Apple’s AirPay 2, Google’s Chromecast, as well as native support for Tidal, Spotify Connect and thousands of internet radio stations.
UPnP streaming is also present allowing you to stream music from your PC, Mac or network-attached storage in high-resolution formats. Mu-so 2nd Generation supports high-resolution WAV, FLAC and DSD files at resolutions up to 32bit/384kHz.
For audio nerds, the built-in DSP (digital signal processor) is capable of running at 2000 MIPS (instructions per second). There are six speakers with individual Class D amplifiers, 75W each (450W total).
During my time using the Mu-so 2, I listened to a vast array of music including Jazz, Classical, Rock, Soul, R&B, Indie, Dance, Pop and even genres I wouldn’t usually listen to.
I was able to sign up for three months free Tidal HiFi via the Naim app, which is a nice bonus and a great way to fully appreciate the incredible sound you can get from the Mu-so 2.
Listening to music I am familiar with was a joy and it was like everything I was hearing was a remastered version. Even at lower volumes, the bass is present and strong without being overpowering.
Push the volume to max or near it and you’ll get the full range of deep bass, mellow mids and crystal clear highs.
In terms of audio and features, I can’t fault the Mo-so 2. However, I would have liked it if there was an option to change the colour of the lighting as well as have full control over the brightness, which has three dimming settings as well as off.
Also, the remote is small and convenient but doesn’t feel as premium as the Mo-so 2.
Overall, the Naim Mu-so 2 represents value for money despite its steep price tag because it manages to pack so many features in a single unit.
It looks incredible, sounds incredible and if you take your music seriously, then I highly recommend you check it out.
Available now from Harvey Normans €1,499