British hi-fi manufacturer Naim Audio shook things up with their Mu-so series of wireless music systems back in 2014, and the latest notches up the sound, features and styling of the originals. The new Mu-so 2nd Generation’s smaller sibling is the Qb (cube, get it?), which packs a serious sonic wallop from a box scarcely the size of a stack of paperbacks. The Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation is a true multitasker in the world of digital audio, using Naim’s proprietary high-res streaming platform to play network-based files, Internet radio or music-streaming services, like Tidal, Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2, wirelessly through Bluetooth or a hard-wired Ethernet connection.
Control is easy, via a dial with a proximity sensor that lights up when approached, the Naim app or a new remote-control handset. Inside the box, things get interesting. A multicore Digital Signal Processor delivers more than 13 times the performance of common single-core processors, rendering music more accurately through the new complement of speakers. Developed in partnership with French loudspeaker manufacturer Focal, these mid-range and bass transducers produce a three-dimensional soundstage with effortless dynamic range and authoritative bass that couldn’t possibly be coming from such a small container. Except that it does. The Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation is especially suited for small spaces like kitchens and bedrooms, where performance can be optimized for placement near a wall, in a corner or in free space with no wall boundaries in proximity. And the Qb even does duty as an alarm clock, enabled through a settings menu in the app.
Just less than 8.5 inches square, but weighing in at a chunky 12 pounds, the $899 Qb is as solid as the powerful bass that belies its diminutive form. Its thoughtful industrial design merits special mention, with anodized aluminum casework and CNC-milled, bead-blasted aluminum heatsinks uncommon in gear at this price point. And a choice of fabric grilles in black, olive, peacock or terracotta ensures the Qb can rub shoulders with the most sophisticated interiors.
Check out more images of the Qb below: