Five years after the launch of the original, we have a Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation. While the ground-breaking Mu-so has largely kept up with the competition, there is, of course, always room for improvement - not least in the fast-moving world of wireless, multi-room audio.
Naim claims to have squeezed even more performance and functionality out of the Mu-so 2, promising an almost complete upgrade of its classic streaming speaker system. That comes at a cost, however, with the new Mu-so sporting a new, noticeably higher price tag of £1299/$1599.
Naim has very much stuck with the look and feel of the original Mu-so. But don’t be fooled by such familiarity, for underneath the aluminium casing Naim has changed pretty much everything (“95%”, according to managing director Charlie Henderson), from new drive units to extra connectivity to a re-engineered cabinet.
Naim has naturally carried over its new streaming platform, which lies at the heart of the brand’s latest streamers and systems, such as the ND5 XS 2 and Uniti Atom. That means support for hi-res music up to PCM 32bit/384kHz via UPnP; streaming over Spotify Connect, Tidal, AirPlay 2 and Chromecast, the latter of which brings Deezer and Qobuz to the table; and internet radio access.
Alternatively, Bluetooth, USB, optical and 3.5mm inputs provide means of offline connection to a source. Perhaps the boldest addition to the list of connections is an HDMI ARC socket. This allows you to connect the Mu-so up to your TV to perform soundbar duties. All told, the new Mu-so has a thorough feature list.
A good streaming platform requires good control, and Naim’s app (available on iOS and Android) has been updated for the job. Alternatively, the Mu-so 2nd Generation is Roon Ready, so it can be controlled using the Roon app.
And further good news: existing Mu-so and Mu-so Qb owners wishing to expand their multi-room set-up can indeed add a backwards-compatible Mu-so 2.
While the shape, size and form factor of the Mu-so is largely identical, the 2nd-gen model introduces a new touch control panel ringed by an illuminated dial, allowing the user on-unit control of source selection, presets and multi-room pairing.
Thanks to a proximity sensor, an approaching hand wakes the display and illuminates the icons ready for use. Having had the pleasure of a brief introduction to the new Mu-so, we have to say this inclusion is deftly smart - both visually and practically. There's also a new remote control, should you prefer to keep it simple.
All-new drivers, which have been optimised in collaboration with Focal, have 450 watts of power behind them. And new processing provides 2000 million instructions per second - that's thirteen times more than the original Mu-so can muster. Naim also claims to have improved the wi-fi connectivity, although Ethernet is still an option for optimum network stability.
To augment bass, Naim has re-engineered the structure to increase the cabinet volume of the Muso 2 by 13 per cent. And to tailor performance based on its listening position, there are three settings – ‘Near Wall’, ‘Near Corner’ and, when out in the open, ‘No Compensation’.
The system’s aluminium chassis sports a new burnished grey finish, fronted by a newly-styled speaker grille, supplied in black but also available in terracotta, olive or peacock (blue).
The Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation is available from Thursday 9th May, priced £1299/$1599. We can't wait to put it through its paces.