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Naim Audio Mu-so wireless speaker review: Expensive? Very. Worth it? Oh yeah.

Michael Brown | May 27, 2015
The more enthusiastic you are about high-end audio system, the less you're bothered by the law of diminishing returns. But I guess you could say that about hardcore fans of any type of hardware, be it automobiles or bicycles. So whether you agree with my opinion of the Naim Mu-So wireless speaker or think I'm a blithering idiot with no concept of value for lavishing praise on a $1500 soundbar will likely depend on just how passionate about music reproduction you are. luxuriously

The more enthusiastic you are about high-end audio system, the less you're bothered by the law of diminishing returns. But I guess you could say that about hardcore fans of any type of hardware, be it automobiles or bicycles. So whether you agree with my opinion of the Naim Mu-So wireless speaker or think I'm a blithering idiot with no concept of value for lavishing praise on a $1500 soundbar will likely depend on just how passionate about music reproduction you are. luxuriously

Naim provides the audio systems for Bentley, so price sensitivity is probably not in the company's vocabulary. And like that luxury automobile, the Mu-so is not a product designed for the mass market. That said, $1500 for a networkable powered speaker of this quality doesn't fall into "if you have to ask how much, you can't afford it" territory, either. And the bottom line is that the Mu-so fully justifies its price tag, whether you're looking for a soundbar to fill a large room, or you want to put together a multi-room audio system using your home network.

The Mu-so sits on a clear acrylic base, which makes the 28.7-pound speaker look as though it's floating above whatever surface you place it on. The next thing that captures your attention is that its enclosure is wrapped in brushed aluminum — the cabinet itself is fabricated from thick medium-density fiberboard, a wood product valued for its uniformity. I questioned Naim about the aluminum, since it seems as though that would have a negative impact on the speaker's Wi-Fi antennas.

A company spokesperson responded that the aluminum cladding helped render the Mu-so more rigid than would have been possible with MDF alone. I was also told that Naim had developed "a new type of antenna (patent pending) in collaboration with Queen Mary University, London. Two hidden printed-circuit slot antennae, one between the bass drivers and one deep inside the rear heatsink, work in combination with a dual-channel diversity receiver. This means we can maintain the seamless aesthetic, without external fixtures or antennae, whilst still providing robust wireless connectivity." A massive aluminum heatsink runs across the entire back of the Mu-so's cabinet.

Touch me, hear me

Power the Mu-so up and your eye is drawn to the oversized control wheel on top of the cabinet. A ring of LEDs illuminates the outer ring of the oversized dial, and touchscreen controls appear on its surface. Touch-sensitive icons appear for play/pause, track forward, and track back; input source; streaming source; and Internet radio (you can program up to five station presets and select them right from the touch dial). If you're a Spotify Premium subscriber, you'll be interested to know that the Mu-so supports Spotify Connect.

 

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