Mu-So Qb review

Big sound and stylish looks in a petite package

Naim Audio Mu-So Qb
Naim Audio Mu-So Qb

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Once you've managed to setup the Qb, however, the device is incredibly easy to use.

I tested out the device in Bluetooth and Airplay modes, as well as directly hardwiring my iPhone into the USB port.

In all three modes playback on the device was as straightforward as you'd expect, and switching between connected devices was handled by tapping the top of the device.

Naim Audio Mu-So Qb

My biggest gripe with this feature is that it wasn't clear if a touch had been registered, causing me to cycle through every available input trying to get back to the one I wanted. For the most part however, the Mu-So is pretty good at selecting the correct input automatically anyway.

Sound quality

All the fantastic industrial design in the world doesn't matter if the Qb has failed to squeeze its bigger brother's audio fidelity into a smaller form factor, and thankfully there's no cause for concern here.

Naim has done a fantastic job squeezing five drivers (two tweeters, two mid-range and a single subwoofer) into a speaker of this size. Combined, the five produce 300W of amplification.

This means that bass ends up having punch without overwhelming the overall soundscape, and sound separation is impressive for a speaker of this size. A sample listen to Mozart's Le Nozze Di Figaro revealed a nice amount of detail in the string section, with individual bow scrapes audible on the track.

You'll get the best results if you hardwire your music directly via a USB cable, but the trade-off between portability and sound quality using AirPlay or AptX Bluetooth was one I was comfortable making.

Streaming over standard Bluetooth is also supported, but the punch it takes out of the sound means it's not worth using if you can avoid it.

Listening to Like Clockwork… by Queens of the Stone Age over Bluetooth saw Homme's vocals get lost in his guitar backing, and the drums didn't cut through the mix like they did when I hardwired an iPhone playing the same hi-res track from Tidal.

Naim Audio Mu-So Qb

The sound isn't quite as broad as the larger Mu-So, but what Naim has been able to achieve in this form factor is impressive all the same.

It would have been nice to have the option of pairing two Qb's to broaden the sound into stereo. But admittedly, with its premium price tag, this would probably be an option that very few consumers would end up using.

You can also perform a limited amount of tweaking on the Qb's sound through the app. There are two settings depending on how far away the speaker's backside is from a wall. (It will compensate with more bass if there isn't a wall reflecting bass back into the room.) Should you want to keep things a bit quieter, another 'Loudness' setting can be turned off for those of us living in flats above noise-sensitive neighbors.

What we liked

Naim's Mu-So Qb is a frankly stunning-looking piece of kit, especially if you bravely opt for a more colorful speaker grille than the standard black. The glass plinth creates a great floating effect, and the brushed aluminium finishes off a look that's simply in a different league to rival Sonos.

Thankfully, as well as looking great, the Qb is no slouch when it comes to belting out the tunes. It manages to fill the room with sound without being overwhelming, and the detail it manages even near max volume is impressive.

What we disliked

There are a couple of niggles I had with the Qb which, depending on how you plan on using it, might end up being more or less of a deal than it was for me.

The volume dial and controls on the top of the device are great for simple tasks like volume control and input selection. But, if you have to rely on them more often than that, you might end up wishing you had physical buttons to press.

And while the setup process is more or less intuitive, making a mistake during the process is costly and will set you back a few minutes while you reset the system to start from the beginning.

Finally there's currently no option to pair two Mu-So's together in a single room to get stereo sound – a feature that's available on some very inexpensive Bluetooth speakers. At its price point this might not be an option most audiophiles can afford, however it would be a nice feature to have in case you really want to double down on Mu-So's latest offering.


The Mu-So Qb has a lot to like about it: It sounds fantastic, and its design means it fits well into a modern living space. But at almost £600 ($1000) the Qb is an expensive piece of kit.

If sound quality is your primary aim then you'd do better to investigate building a hi-fi out of a separate amp, speakers and dock, but if you want all of that combined into an exceptionally neat and stylish package then the Qb might be exactly what you're looking for.

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.