From the Naim Audio press release:
London 24th April 2014. Naim today announced their long expected and awaited home music system, Muso. Muso is a wireless music system designed to transform your music into incredible sonic experiences. Naim streaming, amplification and speaker technology combined to deliver the best music the world has to offer.
The product brief was simple: the system, then codenamed ‘Project Eagle’, had to offer incredible, class-leading sound quality whilst being beautiful and elegant, using premium quality materials. It was to be simple to install and control whilst creating the intense and emotive musical experiences on which Naim has built its reputation. After an intensive development period drawing on all the expertise and experience of Naim’s award-winning engineering and design team, Muso was born.
Muso features six 75 watt digital amplifiers driving six custom-designed Naim speaker drivers. It’s an integrated wireless music system, designed to deliver a truly musical performance from sources as diverse as streaming solutions, tablets, USB sticks, mobile phones and MP3 players. It can work as a stand-alone system or be part of a Naim or AirPlay multiroom system. Performance and ease of use in one beautifully-crafted unit.
Muso will be available in September 2014 and will retail at £895 inc VAT.
Muso, the features
AirPlay – Stream music from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch or from iTunes.
UPnP™ (Universal Plug ‘n’ Play) – Stream music from a PC, Mac or network-attached storage in high-resolution ‘better than CD’ quality.
Bluetooth – Pair with a Bluetooth device to instantly play your music. Also compatible with aptX for high-performance audio where supported by the device connecting to Muso.
Internet Radio – Access thousands of internet radio stations and save your favourite presets for easy access.
Streaming Services – Native support of streaming services to play millions of songs from your portable device, PC or Mac.
USB – Play music from and charge your iPhone, iPad, iPod and many other MP3 players and playback from USB sticks.
Digital Input (Optical) – Boost audio from digital sources such as TVs, set top boxes or games consoles.
3.5mm Analogue Input – Play music from other digital and analogue sources including MP3 players.
Multiroom – Play to multiple Muso devices simultaneously via Airplay or link with other Naim streaming players as part of a Naim multiroom system.
Six Naim Speaker Drivers – Custom-designed dome tweeters (x2), mid-range (x2) and bass drivers (x2).
450W of Amplification – Six 75 watt digital amplifiers drive each speaker unit independently.
Muso control app – Custom-designed Naim app to control Muso and explore music via iPhone, iPad, iPod and Android devices.
Touch Panel Volume Control – Innovative touch panel volume control (patent-pending) with 11 volume settings plus standby, input and preset selection.
Remote Control – Remote control to put Muso into standby, adjust volume, change track (next/previous), pause and adjust the base illumination.
Room Settings – Two different room EQ settings to optimise sound when positioning Muso near or away from room boundary.
Loudness Control – Muso intelligently boosts bass and treble at low volumes to ensure a full musical experience at all sound levels.
Muso can be controlled via the supplied remote control, the touch panel volume control or via a Muso control app for iPad, iPhone, iPod and Android.
A ‘Now Playing’ bar at the bottom of every screen gives instant control and you can browse albums, artists, songs and genres through a beautifully designed menu system. The app home screen gives easy access to all inputs and iRadio presets. And if you have other Naim streaming products on the same network such as a UnitiQute 2, you can select and enable party mode directly from the app.
Add this to playlist creation, extended metadata to explore performers, biographies, discographies, similar music and the Muso app becomes the perfect tool to get the most from the massive selection of music available.
A new control app will be available to download for iOS and Android devices in September 2014 and will be compatible with existing Naim streaming products as well as Muso. More details will follow for existing Naim customers closer to launch in September.
Muso, Performance and Power
Active systems bring a directness of communication that is difficult to achieve conventionally. A separate amplifier drives each drive unit in a loudspeaker system independently with the frequency band ideal for that driver. Naim has always been a huge supporter of active systems but they can be expensive in a separates system due to the many amplifiers and the need for an external active crossover. Naim for Bentley systems are fully active allowing Naim to optimise performance for each car design and each drive unit. In a similar way Muso uses six amplifiers driving six loudspeaker drive units each designed for a part of the audio band. The small and light tweeter produces the fast moving high frequencies, the larger drive units the critical mid-range and bass frequencies.
Bass Reflex Port
Muso features a sophisticated bass reflex system to maximise power output and bass extension. Listening tests confirmed that the overall performance was heavily dependent on getting the design and implementation of the bass port just right. So the size, shape and positioning was carefully calculated early in the design process. The port is ribbed to increase rigidity and is flared to minimise turbulence – to improve laminar flow – this both reduces resonance and lowers distortion. The result is a unit with serious kick for a powerful music performance.
Digital Signal Processing
The digital signal processor is the audio brain of Muso. It has the crucial job of handling the incoming digital music information and passing different frequencies at the right time to the correct speaker driver. It’s a high-performance 32bit silicon chip capable of one hundred and fifty million calculations per second. More important than this, however, is that the code it runs was custom-designed by Naim engineers. It was then tested and fine-tuned in the listening room to ensure the finest, most engaging and most live sounding experience.
It was important in the development of Muso that it was flexible enough to deliver a great sound in most homes. To ensure this Muso offers optimised equalisation settings for two different positions within a room: close to and away from room boundary.
It was also important that Muso could be used at any time of day and Naim’s research indicated that a surprising number of music lovers listen quietly late at night, possibly when the rest of the family have retired for the day. At low volumes bass can sound flat and thin, out of proportion with the rest of the music. First identified by Fletcher and Munson in the 1930s many companies have been implementing ‘loudness’ controls badly for decades. Naim combined more up to date research with empirical testing to provide a more sensible, more usable and a more enjoyable compensation curve.
Simple to set up, easy to use
Muso is very easy to setup. Unpack and either connect an Ethernet cable or connect an iOS device. Touch the side pin switch and the wireless settings from the iOS device will be transferred to Muso. With an Android device an easy to use wizard guides the owner through the Wi-Fi setup.
Two patent-pending ideas
To make the seamless Muso design a functional reality took months of collaborative work between our engineers and a consultant professor from Queen Mary, University of London. One of the innovations that resulted from this work was the embedded Wi-Fi antenna system (patent-pending). Two hidden printed-circuit slot antennae, one between the bass drivers and one inside the rear heatsink, work in combination with a dual-channel diversity receiver. The result is excellent Wi-Fi link performance from a metallic enclosure.
Contactless Touch Panel Volume Control
The Muso touch panel volume control has been precision engineered to provide a seamless interface between the user and their music. It shares elements of its form with our flagship amplification system, Statement.
Constructed of a solid ring of bead-blasted, anodised aluminium, it features a patent-pending system of illumination, which refracts light onto the touch-panel surface and 11 different (yes it goes to 11) volume segments with varying intensity depending on the setting.
There is no physical contact between the Muso volume control and the main board. Instead, two photo interrupters, which transfer information by light, are used. As well as being a more reliable and consistent alternative to a mechanical contact it allowed complete control of the tactile feel of the volume dial, the primary physical interface and an essential touch point.
Muso, the engineering story
To develop a product including the industrial design and sound engineering necessary to be class-leading is not an exercise to be undertaken lightly. It’s fair to say that it has required the expertise of all of Naim’s 34 R&D engineers to achieve. This is not a product designed by a Chinese company and offered to Naim to badge: this is a ground up product designed by Naim, engineered by Naim and fully utilising Naim’s skills and experience. 40 years of engineering heritage brings the skills, the critical mass of the team and the resource to develop a product as ground-breaking as Muso.
Muso shares elements of its form with Naim’s prestigious Statement series of amplifiers. Both draw inspiration from classic industrial design and share a monolithic shape, which is juxtaposed with organic, sculptural features that represent the abstract experience of music. While Naim is relentless in its pursuit of technical excellence it is always grounded by the ultimate purpose of its creations, to connect with music as the artist intended.
A detachable speaker grille follows the same curvature as the aluminium heat sinks found on Statement. The transparent acrylic base is illuminated to appear as if the product is floating on a blade of pure light. The rotary volume control shares similarities in form and function.
Muso materials have been selected not only for their look and feel but also for their effect on sound quality and performance when combined.
A solid extruded aluminium heat sink runs the length of the product extracting heat to maximise thermal performance for increased longevity and sound performance. It’s a three-part extrusion, which is bead-blasted and anodised in a similar way to the metalwork of all Naim products to provide a beautiful finish.
The touch panel volume control features a solid ring of aluminium, which is also finished through bead blasting and anodising.
The internal speaker cabinet is constructed from wood, as it is a natural material for sound quality with high self-damping qualities. A skin of anodised aluminium – a constrained layer – increasing rigidity and mechanical damping to improve performance, covers it.
UPnP, AirPlay, Streaming Services and Internet Radio: via wired Ethernet (RJ45) or Wi-Fi
Digital: Optical S/PDIF (up to 96kHz)
Analogue: 3.5mm jack on side
USB/iPod: Side USB Type-A
Other inputs: Bluetooth (including aptX)
Infra-red: remote control
Network: Ethernet (10/100Mbps), Wi-Fi (802.11b/g)
Power Amplifier output: 450W – 6 x 75W (into 6ohms, at 1% distortion, 1 channel driven)
Audio formats supported:
WAV, FLAC and AIFF – up to 24bit/192kHz
ALAC (Apple Lossless) – up to 24bit/96kHz
MP3 – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16 bit)
AAC – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16bit)
OGG and WMA – up to 48kHz (16bit)
When product is wireless:
up to 48kHz on all file formats.
Gapless formats supported:
WAV, FLAC and AIFF – up to 24bit/192kHz
ALAC (Apple Lossless) – up to 24bit/96kHz
Internet radio service provider: vTuner premium
Bluetooth: SBC, AAC and aptX
Product Certifications & Licensing
Licenses: Apple MFI and AirPlay, Bluetooth, aptX, Wi-Fi certification
Supplied with: Remote control, mains plug adaptor and quick-start guide
Dimensions (HxWxD): 120mm x 628mm x 256mm
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