I was in London yesterday and could not miss the ads for Naim’s mu-so all-in-one music system.
In one sense it is just another wireless music streamer – with 6 integrated speakers, separately driven by 6 x 75w amplifiers – and support for Apple AirPlay, UPnP, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth – and I have no idea yet of how it sounds. It would be interesting to compare with Sony’s hi-res SRS-X9 (reviewed here), which is another all-in-one streamer with audiophile ambitions.
Naim’s mu-so is £895, whereas Sony’s SRS-X9 is £600.
But mu-so intrigues me for another reason. It is (as far as I am aware) Naim’s first effort at cracking a wider market than the traditional hi-fi enthusiast.
Naim came into prominence (within the hi-fi community) in the Eighties, with distinctive styling and a commitment to sound quality above features – in contrast to the Japanese brands of the time which seemed to compete on numbers of switches and lights.
When I think of Naim I think of products like this, a 250 amplifier with Hi-Cap power supply and 32.5 pre-amp:
- and yes, it still works nicely, though true believers would not stack them, but rather have each box on a separate acoustic table.
Buying Naim meant going to a a specialist dealer, doing an audition with your favourite records and a cup of coffee, and swallowing hard as you handed over thousands of pounds for these plain black boxes; they seemed to deliver music like nothing else at the time.
Now Naim is moving with the times and going on sale in John Lewis and in Apple stores; not exactly downmarket, but quite a change from those early days. You can even buy mu-so from hi-fi discounter Richer Sounds, though you will not get it any cheaper!
Note: Naim has always been based in Salisbury, but merged with French company Focal in 2011.
For more info on mu-so see Naim’s site here.