When sound matters but you can’t skimp on style, you want NAIM’s $1,500 Mu-so

Ultra-premium wireless speakers are hard to come by. You’ve got your Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air, your Klipsch Stadium, and let’s toss the Sony SRS-X9 in there for good measure. That’s pretty slim pickins, but now you can add the NAIM Mu-so to the mix, a spectacle of modern industrial design, loaded with power and premium features for the equally premium price of $1,500.

What you’re paying for with this speaker is its design and power. Outside of the aforementioned Klipsch Stadium, I’ve never heard such robust, muscular sound coming from a single-box speaker solution. But unlike the Klipsch Stadium — which I might liken to a tank in terms of aesthetics — the Mu-so is more like an Audi. It’s far more refined, and certainly befitting the Apple Store vibe you’ll find it residing in. I wouldn’t buy it, but I’m willing to bet lots of people will.

That premium feel extends beyond the visual and into the tactile, with a control system that calls to mind Bang & Olufsen’s approach. There’s a capacitive touchscreen embedded in the middle of a large, LED-illuminated volume dial, which is sunk flush into the speaker’s top panel. Under the aluminum hood is an MDF cabinet — the sort of cabinetry you’d expect from a high-quality speaker — which houses six drivers in all, each getting their own 75-watt amplifier for a whopping 450 watts of total system power.

As for features, this wireless speaker does it all. It supports DLNA for network music playback, Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth, Spotify connect, and Internet Radio playback. Controlling the speaker is made easy by NAIM’s very well thought-out smartphone and tablet app. Wired connections are also available, with a 3.5 mm auxiliary input and an optical digital input allowing a wide array of devices to act as a source.

NAIM Wireless Speaker
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends
Greg Mombert/Digital Trends

Of course, the most important aspect of any speaker — particularly one that costs $1,500 — is its sound quality, and this is where my feelings become especially conflicted. On one hand, the Mu-so’s bass output is jaw-droppingly robust — nobody expects so much deep bass out of a speaker that looks like this. Unfortunately, for me, the bass is just too much, and it has a tendency to crowd the midrange region which, when exposed with acapella vocal tracks, is otherwise uncolored. Then there’s the high-frequency response, which is a bit on the bright and spritely side for my taste. Certainly, the treble is clean, and it lacks harshness, but everything from cymbals to the zeal of a brass instrument is unnaturally forward, calling attention to itself in an unflattering way.

I can think of countless different speaker-amplifier pairings that would easily outperform the Mu-so in terms of stereo separation, soundstaging, and dynamics, all of them well under the $1,500 price point. However, every single one of those solutions will involve more complicated setup, wires, and a good deal more space. And none of them will look as good. So, here we are again, back to praising the Mu-so’s form factor. The question is: Is that enough?

I think it will be for many people. My opinion of the Mu-so’s sound quality comes from a picky audiophile’s standpoint, one which very few others share. The fact of the matter is, people are going to love how this speaker sounds. Its sleek design will lure onlookers in, and its potent bass and sparkling treble will set the hook. If there’s cash in the bank, the Mu-so is going to go home, and it’s going to class up the joint the moment it’s removed from its box.

Home Theater

Yamaha’s MusicCast Vinyl 500 turntable spreads analog joy throughout your home

It can be tough to listen to your favorite analog tunes anywhere besides the room where your turntable is located. With its MusicCast Vinyl 500 turntable, Yamaha allows you to stream your tunes throughout your home.
Gaming

Everything we know about 'Red Dead Online', including the new mode Gun Rush

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Deals

Amazon knocks $50 off the Sonos Beam soundbar and smart speaker

If you're looking to add some oomph to your home audio setup, then through February 3, the Alexa-enabled Sonos Beam is on sale for $50 off, bringing this excellent sound bar down to just $349 on Amazon.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best new movie trailers: ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘John Wick,’ Ghostbusters,’ and more

Everyone loves a good trailer, but keeping up with what's new isn't easy. That's why we round up the best ones for you. This week, it's the first trailers for Spider-Man: Far From Home and John Wick: Chapter 3.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: ‘American Crime Story’ and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Terry Gilliam's Brazil, and more.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (January 2019)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The show cost how much?! The priciest original series on Netflix

Netflix has spent big bucks on original series, which might be part of the reason why its subscription pricing is going up. Here's a look at some of the priciest series from the streaming service.
Home Theater

Ikea’s Symfonisk Sonos speaker coming in August, priced to “reach many people”

If details in a newly released video are true, we could be looking at Ikea's new Symfonisk speaker collaboration with Sonos to be in stores as soon as August. And the price? Within reach of "many people."