Last week I was given the unique opportunity to visit the Naim Audio factory in Salisbury to listen to the new Naim mu-so.
First impressions in Naim’s demonstration room were somewhat dominated by the Statement amplifiers towering in the corner looking truly splendid without their heat sinks fitted, revealing the immense level of detail in the layers of circuitry on display.
My eyes were then drawn to two compact units on a table in the centre of the room. Having only seen pictures of the mu-so in press articles I wasn't sure exactly how big it was going to be, but I was immediately impressed by the discreet cabinet, how elegant it looked and how well built it clearly was.
The volume knob and display, the aesthetics of which are borrowed straight from Naim's Statement product, are the only thing to embellish the aluminium top of the unit. A full width rear heat sink keeps the sealed unit cool and doubles up as a substantial wi-fi aerial.
On the right hand side I found a USB socket and mini jack input. Behind the side panel is a Bluetooth aerial.
Picking the unit up to examine underneath I discovered just how heavy and well built the mu-so is. It feels weighty and solid despite the compact form. The underside reveals an optical input for use of mu-so to connect another audio component plus an ethernet socket for networking and a figure of 8 mains input.
Taking a look at mu-so's stylish speaker grille, it's well formed and curved with a stylish wave shape reminiscent once more of Statement. I saw examples with red and grey grilles. Mu-so will be supplied with a grey grille as standard and alternative colours will be available at an additional cost.
Removing the grille revealed an interesting array of drive units, including two bespoke race track units custom made for Naim, two mid-range units and a pair of soft dome tweeters complete the array. Jason from Naim was quick to point out the attention to detail that had been put into the design and construction of the drive units.
Jason then rapidly paired up his iPhone via Bluetooth and played me a track by Fink which immediately impressed, sounding detailed and weighty with impressive dynamics.
I wanted to test how easy it was to switch Bluetooth devices as this hasn't always been straightforward on some other wireless speakers. Jason quickly disconnected his phone and the Mu-so was there on my Bluetooth list in seconds and paired equally quickly. This meant I could listen to my own music. So I fired up a couple of my favourite tracks and was immediately impressed that the Mu-so totally captured the essence of the Naim family sound.
The bass line bounded along with rhythmic fun. Vocals were clean and emotionally involving. This really sounded like a baby Naim system, and it was playing mp3s from my iPhone via Bluetooth. I was staggered as to how good this unit was. I threw a couple more tracks at it, trying to trip it up, but the only thing I could detect was that it was creating more than enough energy to fill Naim’s large demonstration room with high quality sound.
Considering the unit I heard was undergoing it's final stages of audio tuning, and that the finished product will be even better, I think Naim have hit the spot with this wonderful piece of kit.
I came away from my morning at Naim thinking that the guys from Salisbury really have cracked it and they are about to release a product that will really raise a lot of eyebrows.
Thanks to everyone at Naim for making me so welcome during my sneak preview of mu-so, especially Jason Gould, for taking the time to demonstrate mu-so and talk me through the development and features of this fantastic product.
We eagerly await the arrival of our first mu-so delivery so all of our customers can share the Mu-so experience.
Watch this space!