Gadgets for humans

The Naim Mu-so Qb 2 is a compact streaming speaker for audiophiles


It was just a few months ago that I wrote about the Naim Mu-so 2, an update to one of the first high-end streaming speakers. I’m currently in the process of testing that model, and it delivers remarkable sound quality in a soundbar-like body. But for many spaces, it’s kind of overkill. For those places, Naim now has the small Mu-So Qb 2nd Generation. I’m just going to call it the Qb 2.

Naim is a premium audio company. The Mu-so 2 cost $1,600, so it’s not surprising the smaller Qb 2 comes in at a staggering $899 price point. But the former is one of the best streaming speakers I’ve heard, so I have high expectations for the latter.

Like its bigger sibling, the Qb 2 can play music through Google Cast, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal, Bluetooth (SBC/AAC), UPnP, and Roon. It supports multi-room audio via Cast or AirPlay. It also has 3.5mm, USB, and optical inputs for those of us who still like our wires from time to time.

Also like its bigger sibling, the Mu-so Qb 2 features a touch-sensitive control dial that automatically lights up when you approach it, and provides quick access to common functions and your favorite playlists.

But Naim is known for its sound. The drivers were co-developed with sister company Focal Audio, and Naim says it has ten times the processing power onboard for DSP tricks. One of these tricks is being able to tune the sound depending on whether the speaker is placed near a wall or corner.

Oh, and it’s really pretty too.

The big pity is that Naim makes no mention of stereo support – I suspect many an audiophile would find the Qb more interesting if they could get proper stereo playback out of it. The Mu-so family occupies a bit of a weird space, in that it has the stylings and convenience of a lifestyle product with the sound (and price) of the audiophile market. Still, if the Qb 2 is anything like its larger sibling and stereo isn’t a concern, the Qb should deliver impressive sound in a small package when it goes on sale September  2.

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Published August 9, 2019 — 21:49 UTC

Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation on Naim