NAIM Mu-So 2nd Generation

Audio

NAIM Mu-so 2nd Generation

Pros

  • Finish, beautiful to look at
  • Sound quality (holy moly)
  • HDMI ARC – what the predecessor didn’t have
  • Easy to use
  • Lighting really finishes it off

Cons

  • The Naim app doesn’t have old-fashioned EQ, not that it’s necessary. It does provide extra freedom
  • The asking price of 1500 euros is not cheap, but you do get something in return!
NAIM Mu-So 2nd Generation Review

Introduction

NAIM is quite well-known in the high-end audio market. NAIM had put the Mu-so on the market several years ago. That was already a pretty good-scoring WiFi speaker. With the additional HDMI connection, the Mu-so 2nd Gen is a real soundbar… with quality!

Specifications

Let’s start with the specs.

Audio Inputs
HDMI
ARC in with CEC

Streaming
Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast Built-in, UPnP, Spotify® Connect, TIDAL, Roon Ready, Bluetooth, Internet Radio

Analogue Input
3.5mm Jack

USB
USB2 (Type A connector)

Digital (S/PDIF)
Optical S/PDIF up to 96kHz

Connectivity
Multiroom
Sync up to five Naim Streaming products and control via the Naim App.

Network
Ethernet (10/100Mbps), Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), BLE v4.2

Formats
Internet Radio Formats
Windows Media-formatted content, MP3, ACC, Ogg Vorbis streams, and MMS

Internet Radio Provider
vTuner Premium 5*

Audio Formats
WAV, FLAC and AIFF – up to 24bit/384kHz
ALAC (Apple Lossless) – up to 24bit/384kHz
MP3 – up to 48 kHz, 320kbit (16 bit)
AAC – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16bit)
OGG and WMA – up to 48kHz (16bit)

DSD- 64 and 128Fs

Bluetooth – SBC, AAC

Note: Gapless playback is supported on all formats

Other information
Warranty
Two Years

Physical
Finishes
Burnished and anodized aluminum casework, CNC milled, bead blasted, and anodized aluminum heat sinks, Dual tone grey and black fabric grille.
Grille color options in Olive, Peacock, and Terracotta.

Weight
11.2kg

Dimensions (HxWxD)
122mm x 628mm x 264mm

Power
Amplifier Output
450W – (6 x 75W)

Mains Supply
100V, 115V or 230V, 50/60Hz

Power Consumption
Typical use: 17W
Standby mode: < 2W
Deep sleep (No-network standby mode): < 0.5W

Speaker
Speaker System
Stereo 3-way; DSP-optimized vented box acoustic system

Supplied with
Dual tone grey and black grille, remote control, mains cables (market dependent), reset pin-hole tool, and information booklets.

User Control
Handheld
A remote handset is included and an optional control app for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android devices

Product
Touch control user interface with rotary volume control

Remote Control
Infra-red (RC5)

Unpacking

From Naim, I received a Mu-so 2nd Gen and a Mu-so Qb (2nd generation). In this review, I take a closer look at the Mu-so 2nd Gen.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen has quite a few options:
Chromecast built-in, AirPlay 2, TIDAL, Spotify® Connect, Bluetooth®, Roon-Ready, Internet Radio, UPnP™ (Universal Plug and Play), HDMI ARC, Multiroom Ready, Digital/Analogue Inputs, USB, Remote Control, App Control (iOS™ & Android™), Loudness Control, Room Compensation, Alarm Clock, Qobuz, 450W Digital Amp, Remote Control.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

In any case, the Mu-so 2nd Gen is neatly packed. A soundbar neatly in a piece of cloth, in a box inside a box… Not bad with a glass look (actually made of plexiglass) at the bottom!

Naim supplies two plugs (one European and one English) with the Mu-so 2nd Gen power cable, manual, and remote control.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The latter is not very exciting, by the way. It is a small and light remote control but fits perfectly in your hand. Since the Mu-so supports 2nd Gen HDMI ARC, 9 times out of 10 it will not be necessary to use the remote. When listening to music, it’s nice to be able to turn the volume up/down remotely (if you don’t do that via the app) or via the Mu-so itself (I’ll come back to how this works later).

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Once unpacked, it can finally be seen in full. The Mu-so 2nd Gen is truly a beautiful device. The curve in the front looks nice. The plexiglass bottom makes for a beautiful sight.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The dust cover can be easily detached. If, for example, it is unexpectedly damaged, you can continue with a new cover in no time.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

With a total of 450W – (6 x 75W) of power, it is quite a large system. And that can be heard too! What a power.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Below the tweeter is the IR for the remote. This way you can control your Mu-so 2nd Gen!

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Let’s take a spin on the Mu-So to see what it looks like on the sides and back. I must confess that I like the way the cabling is concealed.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The only thing that is difficult to get rid of is a USB port. This is to be able to play music via a USB connection. For all your high-quality 128 kbit MP3s! 😀

No kidding, the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen plays quite a few files!
WAV, FLAC and AIFF – up to 24bit/384kHz
ALAC (Apple Lossless) – up to 24bit/384kHz
MP3 – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16 bit)
AAC – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16bit)
OGG and WMA – up to 48kHz (16bit)

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

To the left of the USB connection is an LED and reset button. This works especially well if you (like me) are busy with your WiFi and continuously use other boxes for testing. Just press the reset button and via the Naim app you can set up the speaker again in no time.

The different colors of the LED shows whether the Mu-so has contact with the internet, can be installed or the like (this is all explained by the app, I’ll get to that later).

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

And yet I find that handsome, even the back of the Mu-so 2nd Gen looks classy.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The heat sinks on the back do get quite warm too. So the transfer of heat is a warm welcome in this case (sorry, silly humor – I’m going to be a father, so that’s okay! :P).

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

With 11.2 kilos, the Mu-so 2nd Gen is also rock solid. It can also carry quite a bit of weight. For example, in a test, I put a 55-inch TV on the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen. And that held up without any problems. In addition, the Mu-so does not bend.

The top and sides have a nice brushed steel look. The rotary knob, that’s totally cool. I’ll show that later in the photos.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The bottom of the Mu-so 2nd Gen is made of a fairly thick layer of Plexiglas. And that ensures that the Mu-so looks just a bit nicer and is immediately a lot sturdier.

On the left is the bass reflex. At the top left LEDs illuminate the logo (I’ll come back to this later), and on the right are the connections.
NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The connections are as follows: Network, Analog input, Digital input, HDMI & Power.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Impression of the products

Once connected, it’s time to admire the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen!
The LEDs on the bottom illuminate the Naim logo on the Mu-so 2nd Gen. This gives quite an elegant look! Even during the day, it is visible.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

And to show it completely well, let’s put the studio lights on a more ‘normal’ level.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The cool thing about the Mu-so 2nd Gen is that when you put your hands near the touch panel and dial, it reacts. Also when turning up the music, the LEDs indicate how loud the music is.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

In addition, it is also possible to adjust the music/inputs, etc. via the touchscreen!

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Even though the lighting can also be turned off completely, the menu on the touch panel also disappears after a short time.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

It’s funny, but I can look at this design for hours. I think the Mu-so is beautiful. I can appreciate this design and especially the attention to quality.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Touchscreen

It is time to take a closer look at the touchscreen.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The touchscreen has a total of 15 areas that you can touch. From preset/favorites 1-5 (for example for preset internet radio stations), up to and including the external inputs and USB.
NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

For example, clicking on the star opens the presets/favorites menu. These are customizable via the app, by the way!

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

And clicking on the three dots at the bottom opens the inputs/outputs menu.
The volume is affected by turning the outer (illuminated) ring.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

App

Naim has an app for all Naim products (which can be installed on both iOS and Android). In my case, I use the iOS variant.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The installation of both the Mu-so 2nd Gen and the Mu-so Qb is very easy. The app walks you through the options.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

On the right side, an LED shows the status of the soundbar. In this case, it is flashing purple. Then the app searches for the soundbar.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Through iOS, the AirPlay configuration is opened where the WiFi data needs to be entered. After selecting the correct SSID and password, this data is pushed to the Mu-so 2nd Gen.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The updates can also be installed via the app. However, installing/updating takes quite a while.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

It is time to name the Mu-so in your network. In this case, I choose living room (so the product is then also displayed in Airplay/Spotify, etc…). Of course, you can also choose a name yourself.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The Naim app also gives the option to set up Chromecast via Google Home.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

The setup is dead simple. A signal is played through the Mu-So, on which you can indicate whether you have heard it or whether you want to play it again (should you hear nothing and you press retry several times – the app will register that as no, and you will be given other options).

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Separate rooms can also be created within Google Home, for example, I have already set up three rooms myself. In this case, I also put the Mu-so 2nd Gen in the living room.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Once the installation is complete, the Naim app can be opened.
At the top are several options;
– Servers (for example a media server on which music is stored),
– Internet radio,
– USB,
– Tidal,
– Qobuz,
– Spotify,
– Chromecast Build-in,
– Bluetooth,
– Analog,
– Digital,
– HDMI.

The presets (from 1-5) are the radio stations marked as favorites. These can of course be adjusted via the internet radio.

Via the library button (top left) you can search for stations and songs on Tidal and more! Ideal.

The menu can be opened at the top right at the cogwheel. There are quite a few options through the menu!

1. Standby,
2. Sleep timer (off/5 min/10 min/15 min/30 min/1 hr./2 hr./
3. Alarms (regularity – should this be every day or on specific days?)/Input (Naim Radio 320K)/Name (Alarm),
4. Styles (Different theme colors),
5. Set input,
5.1 AirPlay,
5.1.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.2 Analog,
5.2.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.2.2 Input Name (Analog),
5.2.3 Adjust input (-10/10 (0 is the default)),
5.2.4 Lip sync (0-50),
5.2.5 If selected, dim the lighting (on/off),
5.3 Bluetooth,
5.3.1 Bluetooth activated (on/off),
5.3.2 Activate Bluetooth pairing mode (on/off),
5.3.3 Input name (Bluetooth),
5.4 Digital,
5.4.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.4.2 Input Name (Digital),
5.4.3 Adjust input (-10/10 (0 is the default)),
5.4.4 Lip sync (0-50),
5.4.5 If selected, dim the lighting (on/off),
5.5 Chromecast Built-in,
5.5.1 Open Google Home,
5.6 HDMI,
5.6.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.6.2 Input Name (HDMI),
5.6.3 Adjust input (-10/10 (0 is the default)),
5.6.4 Lip sync (0-50),
5.6.5 If selected, dim the lighting (on/off),
5.6.6 HDMI Auto Select (Off/On HDMI Input/On All Inputs),
5.7 Qobuz,
5.7.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.7.2 Place Qobuz favorites on the home screen,
5.7.3 Quality (MP3/CD/High/Very High),
5.7.4 Logging into Qobuz,
5.7.5 Open Qobuz app,
5.8 Internet radio,
5.8.1 Input name (Internet radio),
5.8.2 vTuner MAC Address (xxxxxxx),
5.9 Spotify,
5.9.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.9.2 Spotify bitrate (Normal, High, Extreme),
5.10 TIDAL,
5.10.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.10.2 Place TIDAL favorites on the home screen,
5.10.3 Quality (Normal, High, HiFi),
5.10.4 Logout,
5.10.5 Open the TIDAL app,
5.11 Servers,
5.11.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.11.2 Input Name (Servers),
5.12 USB
5.12.1 Input Name (Servers),
6. Register your product
7. Check for updates
8. Other Settings
8.1 Room name (Music room)
8.2 Time zone (Europe/Amsterdam)
8.3 Network Settings
8.3.1 DHCP (on/off)
8.3.2 IP Address/Mask/Gateway/DNS1/DNS2
8.4 Time to autom. standby – 20 min default (Never, 5 min, 10 min, 20 min, 30 min, 1 hour, 2 hours)
8.5 Set lighting (louder/softer)
8.6 Amazon Store (UK)
8.7 Stay connected (on/off)
8.8 Volume control (slider, on-screen buttons)
8.9 Tap for options (on/off)
8.10 Share user data (on/off)
8.11 Delete Cache cover art
8.12 Reset app
9. Helpful Tips
10. About
10.1 More
10.2 Statements
11. Help

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

For example, if we go to Tidal via the app (you have to log in with your Tidal account), then we can either search for our playlists or public playlists. The only thing I miss about Tidal is that there isn’t a good community integration like Spotify – where you can search/listen to lists that have been created by someone – but that’s a downside of Tidal.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Use/Music

Hand on my heart, this is a different caliber than the soundbars I was allowed to test before. And that while this does not even necessarily have to be used as a soundbar.
You notice how nice it is to have these options, especially when setting up multi-room options. Especially during my reviews I regularly walk through my apartment, and then it is great to have the background music on.

Let’s start with some music.

Last year I came across the song below… And oh, how wonderful that is! During this song, you can hear right away what kind of quality the Mu-so 2nd Gen is. To be honest, I was shocked by the punch that the Mu-so 2nd Gen packs. The sound is full, this is really how it is meant to be.

The YouTube version is slightly different (and longer) than the Tidal version.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

Whatever you throw at it in terms of music – via Tidal or Spotify – it sounds as it should be. The speakers provide a full feeling of the music, it feels as if you are hearing things that you have not been able to hear before. The bass is full, but not terribly heavy. So it’s not that your crockery shifts a meter with every beat.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

When the Mu-so 2nd Gen is also connected to a television via, for example, HDMI (ARC), then watching movies is fun. The Dolby Atmos settings ensure a full but above all clear sound. Speech is gigantic and well-balanced. Normally you have TV speakers or a 2.0 set that often dominates the sound. At least with the Mu-so 2nd Gen, you hear what they say, and then the sound comes around beautifully. A real experience.

I’m quite a fan of the Marvel movies, John Wick, etc. And with the Mu-so 2nd Gen I’ve re-watched several movies, and that feels great. It feels like hearing a Ferrari V12 roar, it gives you goosebumps. I got that with some of these movies. Not because of the films themselves, but how the sound was presented.
And as I wrote, I’ve been able to review quite a bit of audio equipment in recent years, and this is really another level. And of course, the asking price is accordingly… But that is with almost everything in life…

Conclusion

In the years that I listen to audio equipment, you think you have gained quite a bit of experience regarding the quality of products. And then the Mu-so 2nd Gen is right in front of you, you turn it on… you listen quietly and then you get a slap in the face that says “no, you are not prepared for this”. Naim has launched a great wireless speaker/soundbar with the Mu-so 2nd Gen.

In addition, watching movies (especially with Dolby Atmos) provides a true cinema experience. For what you can expect from a soundbar.

Not to dismiss the soundbars – which I have previously been allowed to review, but this is really a different class! Not only the quality of the audio but also the finish. What a beautiful thing the Mu-so 2nd Gen is to look at. The finish is higher than that of many other soundbars. The HDMI connection ensures that a TV can play its audio through the speakers, making it a soundbar. The first generation of the Mu-so did not have this.
As a wireless speaker, it’s also a great device. Especially if you don’t want too much fuss in your living room.
My wife came home from work and listened to the Mu-so 2nd Gen for 5 minutes. Her first reaction to that was; “Can’t we keep this one better instead of the pillars/amplifier” – you know that meme of the crying cat? That’s almost how I sat there…

The app on the phone is good, but not great. For example, I miss the option to adjust the sound via the buttons on the phone while streaming music (via Tidal or Spotify, for example). In my opinion that could be a little better. I don’t want to constantly open the app to control the sound or use the remote. Nevertheless, there is a widget for, for example, an iPhone to influence the sound.
The only thing the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen doesn’t have is an old-fashioned equalizer. However, there are several preference settings at Audio Setup > Loudness ON/OFF. You can also adjust the EQ under the heading Room compensation > No compensation / Near a wall / Near a corner (so that the best situation can be chosen).

I’ve said it before, music moves you. And that only works if you have something where you can fully enjoy music. A pair of headphones that cost 30 euros sounds different 9 times out of 10 than one that is ‘a bit’/much more expensive. And I notice that with this soundbar too. I have been able to test quite a few soundbars and other audio equipment, but the Mu-so 2nd Gen is really of a different caliber. And that while it doesn’t even have to be a soundbar. Even as a speaker on a sideboard, it is not only a beautiful sight but also a pleasure to listen to.

If you find 1500 euros under your sofa cushions, and you are looking for something ultimate, then take a look at the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen. This one is really on another level for me. Although the asking price is also on a different level, the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. It is well worth it!

In the meantime, I’ll keep listening. Until the next review, of the Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation.

NAIM MU-SO 2ND GENERATION

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