NAIM Mu-So Qb 2nd Generation

Audio

NAIM Mu-So Qb 2nd Generation

Pros

  • The finish: beautiful to look at
  • Sound quality
  • Easy to use
  • Lighting really does finish it off
  • For a single speaker, I am genuinely impressed

Cons

  • The Naim app doesn’t have an old-fashioned EQ, not that it’s necessary, but it does provide extra freedom
  • With 795 euros it is not a cheap speaker
NAIM Mu-So Qb 2nd Generation Review

Introduction

NAIM is quite well-known in the high-end audio market. With the Mu-So Qb 2nd generation, Naim once again puts a top speaker on the market. In this review, I will go deeper into the possibilities and mainly quality.

Specifications

Let’s start with the specs.

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

Analogue Input
3.5mm Jack

USB
USB 2 (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 48kHz, 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 (details here)

Physical
Dimensions
210mm x 218 mm x 212 mm

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
5.6kg

Power
Amplifier Output
300W – (4 x 50W, 1 x 100W)

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

Power Consumption
Typical use: 15W
Standby mode: < 2W
Deep sleep (No-network standby mode): < 0.5W

Speaker
Speaker System
Stereo 3-way; DSP-optimized dual auxiliary bass radiator acoustic system

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

User Control
Handheld
Remote handset included and optional control app for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android devices

Remote Control
Infra-red (RC5)

Unpacking

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

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

The Naim Mu-so Qb 2 has quite a few options:
Chromecast built-in, AirPlay 2, TIDAL, Spotify® Connect, Bluetooth®, Roon-Ready, Internet Radio, UPnP™ (Universal Plug and Play), Multiroom Ready, Digital/Analogue Inputs, USB, Remote Control, App Control (iOS ™ & Android™), Loudness Control, Room Compensation, Alarm Clock, Qobuz, 300W Digital Amp, Remote Control and Room Compensation.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

In any case, the Mu-so Qb 2 is neatly packed. A speaker neatly in a piece of cloth, in a box inside a box.
Naim supplies two plugs (one European and one English) with the Mu-so Qb 2 power cable, manual, and remote control.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 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. When listening to music, it is 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 Qb 2 itself (I’ll come back to how this works later).

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Once unpacked, it is finally on full display. The Mu-so Qb 2 is a beautiful device. The curve in the front looks nice. The synthetic/plastic bottom provides an extra nice look.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

At the back are the following connections;
– Power connection,
– USB
– Network cable (the Qb can also be used via WiFi),
– SPDIF
– 3.5 jack input
– Reset button
– And finally (which is not a connection, but is important) a LED that indicates the status of the Qb. White, purple, or the like.

The Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen plays quite a few files (also via USB)
WAV, FLAC and AIFF – up to 24bit/384kHz
ALAC (Apple Lossless) – up to 24bit/384kHz
MP3 – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16bit)
AAC – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16bit)
OGG and WMA – up to 48kHz (16bit)
DSD- 64 and 128Fs
Bluetooth – SBC, AAC

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Like the Mu-so 2nd Gen, the Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen also features a Plexiglas bottom. The bottom not only makes it looks nice, but it also ensures that Qb stands firmly. At the top left are the 5 LEDs that illuminate the Naim logo.

NAIM MU-SO QB 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 QB 2ND GENERATION

The Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen has a total of 300W of power – (4 x 50W, 1 x 100W).

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Another thing about the Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen is that it has a long cable. This makes it just that much easier to hide the speaker.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Impression of the products

Once connected, it’s time to admire the Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen!
The LEDs at the bottom illuminate the Naim logo on the Qb. This gives quite a cool effect. This is also visible on the Mu-so 2nd Gen soundbar.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Touchscreen

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

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

The touchscreen has a total of 15 spots 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 QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

For example, clicking on the star opens the presets/favorites menu. These can also be adjusted via the app.

NAIM MU-SO QB 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 QB 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 QB 2ND GENERATION

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

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 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 QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Via iOS, the AirPlay configuration is opened on which the WiFi data must be entered. After selecting the correct SSID and password, this data will be pushed to the Mu-so 2.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Showtime….

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

The updates can also be installed via the app. However, the installation/update takes quite a while (just under 4-5 minutes).

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

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

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

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

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Setting up is dead simple. A signal is played through the Mu-So. You can indicate whether you have heard it or whether you want to play it again (if you do not hear anything and you press retry several times – the app will register that as no, and you will be given other options).

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

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

NAIM MU-SO QB 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.

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

Top left, the library button can be used to search for stations and songs on Tidal and radio stations.
At the top right by the cogwheel, the menu can be opened. Through the menu, there are quite a few options!

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 Qobuz,
5.6.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.6.2 Place Qobus favorites on the home screen,
5.6.3 Quality (MP3/CD/High/Very High),
5.6.4 Logging into Qobuz,
5.6.5 Open Qobuz app,
5.7 Internet radio,
5.7.1 Input name (Internet radio),
5.7.2 vTuner MAC Address (xxxxxxx),
5.8 Spotify,
5.8.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.8.2 Spotify bitrate (Normal, High, Extreme),
5.9 TIDAL,
5.9.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.9.2 Place TIDAL favorites on the home screen,
5.9.3 Quality (Normal, High, HiFi),
5.9.4 Logout,
5.9.5 Open the TIDAL app,
5.10 Servers,
5.10.1 Input activated (on/off),
5.10.2 Input Name (Servers),
5.11 USB
5.11.1 Input Name (Servers),
6. Register your product
7. Check for updates
8. Other Settings
8.1 Room name (Mu-so Qb 1483)
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 auto 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 coverart
8.12 Reset app
9. Helpful Tips
10. About
10.1 More
10.2 Statements
11. Help

NAIM MU-SO QB 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 QB 2ND GENERATION

How does the app continue to work? Pretty well, actually. The only thing I miss is that if I turn on music, for example, via the app – let’s take a Spotify playlist for the sake of convenience – then I would like it if I could turn this up/down via the volume buttons of the phone. That is missing in my view. But… Naim also has a widget for that on iOS, for example.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Scrolling through radio stations is also easy. In addition, the 5 radio presets can always be easily replaced by the ones you would like to save yourself.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

For example, using Tidal via the Naim app works quite well. It is easy to search and scroll through the songs.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

If multiple Naim products are used (for example, different speakers), it is possible to adjust the volume of each speaker via the app.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Spotify is still a bit stubborn. You use the app on your phone and select the Qb as the speaker.
I can tell you that the two bottom tracks sound great on the Qb.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Use/Music

Oh, how I can enjoy music. And especially if it sounds good too.

During the months I got to use the Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen and the Mu-so 2nd Gen, I was able to watch/listen to quite a few series/movies/music. The Qb is definitely the one that sticks with me the most, and that is simply because it is a small speaker that packs a huge punch.

I understand that one wireless speaker doesn’t sound the same as a 2.0 set or even a 7.1. And that’s what I rate this speaker on.
What can you expect from a separate speaker? Well, I can tell you… I’ve been able to listen to quite a few in my life and this is just a little different. Just a little better than anything else.
I feel it comes pretty close to the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge (which I had the pleasure of reviewing last year). As stupid as it sounds, in this case, it is just that a speaker that may cost a little more actually sounds a lot better.
To ratio, a Denon Heos 7 speaker sounds fine. But, does this one lose out to the Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen.

Just in between… oh my gosh, how loud can this speaker be! That’s absurd. At the moment while writing this review, I have the speaker on 50%, and that already lights up the room considerably. Think of it as if you were turning on a construction light in the toilet…. 😀

Back on topic, of course, I listened to enough music on the speakers again and I also looked closely at the operation of the app. In addition, I was also very impressed with ‘Deep Vibes Radio’ – a radio station under preset two. During working days (yay working at home) it has been on for quite a few hours.

The number below, yes fine actually.

OK, all jokes aside…
How I enjoy the song below (and blues anyway).
Cold Hearted Woman from Magic Slim clicks on the Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen so full. The speech comes across very clearly. The drum set is nice in the background, but not dominating. How Magic Slim sings, that colors. My room lit up.

Let’s continue with some blues.
In the song below, the Qb represents the piano really great. The guitar/bass guitar also comes across bright and clear.

A little rougher; YouTube user Deenis regularly puts some hardstyle mixes online. And these sound pretty good on the Qb. The sound is full, and the bass is definitely present. Something you really want to hear with these kinds of mixes. 😉

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPDJ1xGOcQ0

With such speakers, I always pick up a Charlotte de Witte song; Space Raiders. The bass of the Qb is magnificent for a single speaker. I sincerely take my hat off to this – if I had one on of course.

I close my review with again a mix of Leks. The disco/classics and house rooftop “LIVE from Haarlem rooftop” mix sound wonderful on the Qb in my opinion. If you haven’t already, click the subscribe button! Leks will come a long way, mark my words!

Back to the Qb; in the meantime, the mix of Leks has been on for 1 hour and 20 minutes (the umpteenth time I listen to this mix :D) and I am still enjoying it to the fullest. Not only because it is a wonderful mix, but also because the Qb sounds great!

I am literally writing this review right now with a smile. I not only enjoy the music (in this case the music of Leks) itself, but also the way the Qb brings the music. Whether I play music via Tidal or via YouTube, the Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen really makes something of it.
I do have to admit that there is a real difference to be heard between the Tidal/FLAC or other audio files compared to a YouTube or Mp3. The Qb makes a range of sounds.

Conclusion

Over the years of listening to audio equipment, you think you have gained quite a bit of experience regarding the quality of products. And then the Mu-so 2 is 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”. With the Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen, Naim has brought to the market a wonderful wireless speaker.

I think this speaker sounds ‘better’ than a single KEF LSX speaker. The Qb feels fuller, and also gives more kick.
The fact that the Qb also has speakers on the sides also provides a lot of extra fun in my opinion.

It is of course also very nice to place multiple speakers throughout your house and to use the multi-room audio function. This way you can play the same song synchronously throughout your entire home (where there is of course a speaker).

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 that can be used with iPhone to make the sound louder/softer.
The only thing the Naim Mu-so 2nd Gen doesn’t have is an old-fashioned equalizer. 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. Nine times out of ten, a pair of headphones that costs 30 euros sounds different from one that costs ‘a little’/a lot more. And I notice the same with this wireless speaker.
This sounds like such a sales pitch, but… looking at the quality of the materials, how it sounds, and how it works, I don’t think the €795 is a very crazy amount.
In the end, you pay for a piece of quality, and you don’t just see that… in this case you also hear that!

The Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Gen gets 5 out of 5 stars from me.

NAIM MU-SO QB 2ND GENERATION

Let’s start a discussion

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