Naim Audio is a new name to us here at Techaeris. We’ve only just started covering some of their products, and the Naim Audio Mu-So Wood is the first one sent to us for review. The company was founded by Julian Vereker, a racing car driver, entrepreneur, and self-taught engineer with a deep passion for music. Spending his spare time listening to and recording his friends playing live in the 1960s, Julian found that playback on his system at home fell woefully short of the experience he craved.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
I have to admit that when the Naim Audio Mu-So Wood arrived, I was intimidated. This really is another level of audio I was about to experience. I’ve had my hands on dozens of brands from Sonos to JLab but never anything of this caliber.
I’ll say this. The Naim Audio Mu-So Wood isn’t for your average buyer looking to stuff some sound in a room. This is far more elegant than that and is built and made for audiophiles looking for both sound and functionality. This speaker is both an audio-tuned masterpiece and a piece of beautiful artwork.
I’ll be blunt here; this speaker isn’t cheap. Now, you might disagree with the pricing here, but it is what it is. Some users are going to be happy to throw their money at this, and others won’t. The tl;dr of it all is that this speaker is well worth its price tag. Whether or not you want to pay that price tag is up to you. Read on for my thoughts on the Naim Audio Mu-So Wood.
The Naim Audio Mu-So Wood has the following features and specifications:
- Chromecast Built-In
- AirPlay 2
- Spotify Connect
- Bluetooth 4.2
- Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
- Internet Radio
- HDMI ARC
- Multi-Room Ready
- Digital and Analog Inputs
- Remote Control
- iOS & Android Apps
- Loudness Control
- Room Compensation
- Alarm Clock
- Made with sustainable Ayous hardwood, treated and lacquered for a Light Oak effect finish
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 122mm x 628 mm x 264 mm Weight: 11.2kg
- Audio Inputs:
- Optical S/PDIF up to 96kHz
- USB2 (Type A connector)
- 3.5mm jack
- HDMI ARC in with CEC
- Ethernet (10/100Mbps)
- Formats: WAV, FLAC and AIFF – up to 24bit/384kHz ALAC (Apple Lossless) – up to 24bit/384kHzMP3 – 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
- Amplifier Output: 450W – (6 x 75W)
- Power Consumption: Typical use: 17W Network Standby mode: <2W No-network Standby mode: <0.5W
- Mains Supply: 100V, 115V or 230V, 50/60Hz
- Speakers: Stereo 3-way; dsp-optimised vented box acoustic system.
What’s In The Box
- Naim Audio Mu-So Wood
- Remote Control
- Documentation and Warranty
There are very few pieces of tech that can get away with looking elegant and blending into the decor in your home. The Naim Audio Mu-So Wood is one of those few pieces of tech. Its elegant lines, design, and premium materials melt into just about any room.
The wood finish is covered by clear and hard plexiglass-like material, which is very glossy. The front speaker array is covered in a cloth mesh that looks clean and seamless. The geometrics of the design really makes it look like a piece of artwork, and if you place it somewhere it can be seen, people will ask about it.
The speaker is sizeable and hefty, weighing in at just over 24 lbs. The front of the Mu-So Wood is clean, with the Naim logo being at the bottom left. LED lighting accents the bottom all the way around and gives it a nice look. The right side of the Naim Audio Mu-So Wood has a USB-A port, a pinhole reset button, and an LED status indicator.
The bottom is clean except for the feet, and the rest of the inputs are tucked under there. The inputs include the LAN, analog port, digital port, HDMI ARC, and power port. The back of the Mu-So is slatted, which is part of the acoustics of the speaker.
The top of the Naim Audio Mu-So Wood is also clean and minimal and houses a large control knob. This is both a physical knob and touch control. We’ll talk more about the controls in the ease of use section but first, let me talk about this knob. This knob turns with such precision and has a weighted feel to it. The action on it is so smooth and even satisfying to move. It really is a fantastic control and shows just how precise the build quality of the Naim Audio Mu-So Wood really is.
The included remote is also very nice and well built. It’s easy to use and looks sleek and minimal. You don’t really need it as you can control the unit from the control knob or your smartphone. But it’s nice to have.
Overall, I haven’t been this impressed with the build quality of any speaker in a very long time. The Naim Audio Mu-So Wood is the real deal and is an absolute gem of a design. One could easily say that half of the value is in the design itself. This is really top-notch work, next-level stuff.
Ease of Use
The Naim Audio Mu-So Wood is not a complicated device to use at all. There are various ways to connect to it, and I’m guessing most people will choose one, maybe two ways to connect. This means you only have to learn the one connection method, and you’re set.
I prefer to use Apple AirPlay 2 because my primary devices are an iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPad Pro 11. I’m also using Apple Music with Apple’s lossless feature enabled. We’re not going to go over how to set any of these connection methods because Naim does a fine job of that in its quick start guide. But here are the methods you can use to connect:
- AirPlay 2
- Spotify Connect
- HDMI ARC
- Digital or Analog input
The controls are easy to use, both in the app and physically. The remote control is also straightforward, so, overall, the simplicity of design rolls over to simplicity of use.
The Naim Audio Mu-So Wood app isn’t needed to get the best experience from your new speaker. But you will need it to set up things like Chromecast and Apple AirPlay 2. But once you get through the initial setup, you don’t need to mess with it too much.
You can add favorites on the app, switch inputs, listen to preset radio stations, set sleep timers, set alarms, enable inputs, check audio settings, and register your device for warranty purposes.
Aside from using the app for initial setup, the most important thing the app offers is access to firmware updates for the Naim Audio Mu-So Wood. Keeping the firmware updated is important if you want your speaker to work properly, especially if you’re connecting wirelessly.
One more thing the app is good for is using the multi-room connection feature. This allows you to connect multiple speakers, much like Sonos does with their speakers. It’s a great feature and what’s really amazing is that you can even link other AirPlay 2 or Chromecast speakers to it.
Overall, the app is simple. You can do most of the options in the app on the speaker or remote. But the app is important if you want to connect wirelessly and not use a physical input source.
So how does it sound? That is the biggest reason why you would be considering this speaker. I mean, Design and features are part of the package, but if it sounds horrible, then what’s the point?
Honestly, your chosen connection method will have a tremendous impact on the sound coming from the Naim Audio Mu-So Wood. Direct connection via HDMI ARC, digital input, USB, and even analog will always have better sound over wireless methods.
While I’m sure some would disagree with me, I think that wireless sound technology has improved, and my chosen method is Apple AirPlay 2. I found the sound to be full and room-filling even at low volumes. The highs and mids are very balanced, and I noticed Naim pushed up the bass frequencies just slightly.
I’m not too fond of heavy bass, but I do like enough bass to give some thickness to the floor. I think Naim tuned the soundstage just right, at least for my ears. I have two different soundstages I like. The flat soundstages for my IEM’s when I play guitar live and this soundstage for listening to music for entertainment.
As I stated earlier, actually plugging in a USB stick or source with something like FLAC files will probably sound even better. I think Apple Music and Tidal give great quality wirelessly, and I certainly think this speaker sounds amazing.
Overall, the soundstage is tuned to have a bit more emphasis on the bass side of things, but it was done with respect to the rest of the frequencies and didn’t drown things out or get muddy. Clarity is just amazing, and the overall tuning is spectacular.
I’m really at a loss as to what to say in this section. The Naim Audio Mu-So Wood is expensive, no question about it. But it has a lot of value; it’s some of the best audio I’ve heard, if not the best, from a speaker of this size. So value for something like this is going to be very subjective. It’s a ton of cash to plunk on a speaker but worth it to the right person.
I can’t recommend this to someone who’s just looking for some sounds for the house, even if they want decent sounds. The Naim Audio Mu-So Wood is for the listener who puts a lot of value into their sound and expects the best of the best. While the price tag is high, the Mu-So Wood is the best of the best, and it’s well worth it to those knowing what they’re getting into.