Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition provided for the purpose of review.
As a car and audio enthusiast, the launch of the Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition certainly piqued my interest.
More often that not we seem to focus and demand the best quality of audio in the vehicles we drive, but this logic isn’t always transferring into our homes.
What is particularly special about this collaboration is that Naim has been exclusively partnered with Bentley since 2008 as their premium bespoke in-car audio system provider.
Naim works incredibly close with Bentley to ensure the audio systems are tuned and optimised for the best audio experience even when you’re traveling at speeds of 200mph which is incredible.
Both brands, Bentley and Naim, are of British heritage, even more reason why this partnership makes sense.
Back to the collection launch, a three-brand collaboration between Focal & Naim (sister brands) and Bentley.
This launched unveiled the Special Edition Bentley collection: Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition and Focal for Bentley Radiance hi-fi headphones (see review here).
Inspired by the Bentley EXP 100GT Concept car, the special edition speakers featured copper colour accents and a Bentley lattice design.
In a Naim Mu-So first, the Naimi Mu-so 2nd Generation Wireless speaker also features a hardwood finish, made of sustainable African wood, called Ayous, which has been stained and lacquered numerous times to achieve its brilliantly dark finish.
The front grille is a copper-threaded weave with copper accents, speaking to Bentley’s styling.
This material finish also matches the material used for the Focal for Bentley Radiance headphones which is part of the collaboration between the three brands (Bentley, Naim and Focal).
The tactile and dimmable volume dial on top is surrounded by the Bentley lattice design.
The Special Edition is priced at a modest AU$3,700. Although the Special Edition is a bit pricier than the standard Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation (almost AU$1100 more), I think it is well worth the asking price, especially considering the materials and exclusive design.
For example, the grille cover in the Special Edition colour way with copper threading cannot be purchased separately, and with a first-time wooden finish for the Mu-so 2nd Generation, the cost is certainly reasonable considering the exclusivity and materials.
What’s in the box?
- Naim Mu-so 2 for Bentley Special Edition speaker
- Remote control
- Mains cables
- Reset pin-hole tool
- Information booklets with Bentley branding
I’ll admit as a luxury lover I had high expectations of the packaging, even though they are speakers, the packaging was not as premium as I would have expected.
Besides the Bentley branded and packaged information booklets that were included, I found the packaging to be quite boring which I felt was particularly surprising for a Special Edition.
It would have been nice to see the information booklets come in a hardcover and serve more as a Special Edition memento.
Although the packaging was lacklustre, the real showstopper is the speaker after all.
- 450 Watts of power paired with premium processing and optimised speaker drivers
- Dark and moody wooden finish
- Stunning design and unique copper accents, exclusive to the Special Edition
- Adjustable illuminating Bentley x Naim branding on the front
- It is a wireless speaker system – which works partnered with other Naim speakers or compatible audio players
- Compatible with numerous music playback and streaming services (including Bluetooth, AirPlay, Chromecast built-in and Tidal)
- Incredible TV sound
- 3 ways to control – in app, remote control, or using the tactile dial on the Special Edition
- Looks really, really good
I found the initial set up was fiddly due to iOS compatibility issues/firmware issues. To activate the wireless functionality through my home WiFi network I had to troubleshoot through the Naim app when the initial connection failed, taking it much longer than necessary to set up. Albeit it took a smidge over 5 minutes in the end but it was quite frustrating.
The provided remote control feels cheap and is also oddly very difficult to open if you wanted to change the batteries. I found myself looking at forums out of the fear I was going to damage the remote trying to get it open… Alas, scrolling through the internet forums verified that this experience is also true for other Mu-so 2nd Generation speaker owners.
Additionally, the remote was not always responsive. Using the dial on the speaker was a lot easier and I preferred that than using the provided remote.
Although it is not a huge problem, I would have expected the quality of the remote to be better.
Thankfully, setting up a TV connection was straight forward and can be done via a HDMI cable or a digital optical cable which can be purchased separately.
Overall the initial speaker set up process was a little frustrating, but once it’s done you shouldn’t have to do it again!
I opted to set up the Naim Mu-So 2nd Generation speaker as part of my TV set up at home.
The audio quality is incredible, and you can also adjust the audio settings within the Naim app for room audio compensation so that no matter where the speaker is placed in a room you can ensure an optimal sound experience.
I liked that you could also adjust the speaker illuminations (tactile dial and logo plate), so you can dim it to your preference with three options: bright, dim, illumination off.
As mentioned, before I preferred using the tactile dial as I found it easier and I particularly enjoyed how it would light up as my hand got closer to the dial. From a user experience perspective this was really satisfying for me.
Although the tactile dial was not always the most convenient method of control. Alternatively, you can also control the speaker through the provided remote or through the Naim smartphone app.
Speaker settings and customisation
There are some customisation features in the Naim smartphone app that you can only access within the app.
These include auto standby time, audio settings (loudness, room compensation, maximum volume), an alarm clock function, sleep timer and multi-room set up.
You can also set up favourites on the tactile dial or through the Naim app by tapping the ‘star’ icon, with 5 preset slots available, which guarantees instant playback.
The Special Edition speaker elevates the Mu-So 2nd Generation Wireless Speaker in a wonderful way. The Special Edition speaker is gorgeous to look and even better enjoyed with the power on.
Besides the frustrating set up experience thanks to my iOS issues, day-to-day the Special Edition was a joy to use and made the perfect functional statement piece in our living room too.
We all demand the best in our cars, so why not demand the best in our homes?
The Naim Mu-so for Bentley Edition is not just for collectors but it is also for lovers of music, entertainment and design.
To learn more about the Naim Mu-so 2nd Generation for Bentley Special Edition head to the official Naim Audio site.
Photography of the Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition by Andrea Hobbs
EXP100 GT Concept Car imagery courtesy of Bentley Motors
Focal for Bentley Radiance review