Honey, I Shrunk Our Mu-So

Naim Mu-SoNaim managed to shrink the Naim Mu-So into a cube of 20cm3 and called it… wait for it… Qb. No ill feat on the shrinking side. Slightly off their rocker on the naming ditto. Specs are roughly the same as usual albeit given the smaller form factor having smaller speakers and with less to drive, a smaller set of amps. The high and mid drivers are positioned in an X-Y configuration for compactness and the subs appear to be push-pull. The mother Mu-So is stunning to behold already. With these little babies dispersed around the house, you are likely to win an award in your local interior decoration magazine and sound good winning it. Multi room sound took another leap today.
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Meridian’s MQA is Gaining Traction

Among the first news tidbits from CES in Las Vegas, a few drops of MQA support color the hi-res waters. Among mainstream audio product vendors Bluesound announces an upcoming update to support MQA, Tidal have already shown it and now HTC announces MQA support on their One A9 Android phone. Norwegian audiophile record company 2L as well, will be supporting MQA.

B&O Changing Your Room Again

beolab-90-bang-olufsen-form-follows-function-4B&O just put a big fat squiggly line under their room correction abilities introduced with their space traveller’s speaker, Beolab 5. With the new Beolab 90 we can now more or less refurnish our living rooms and always sound good in the process. Each speaker houses 18 drivers and two massive D-Class amplifiers. Inputs range from your usual line-in over balanced XLR to all the digital ins under the sun. This one’s going to be interesting to hear.

Sonos Turning The Decks

sonosplay5Sonos are turning the decks yet again and reissues the Play:5 in a new guise. This time with the long anticipated TruePlay room correction. With it comes TruePlay support on all other units except the PlayBar. When high rollers [and brothers in dissimilarity] B&O, Lyngdorff and Bose, to name a couple, use room correction and today almost all surround sound receivers offer the same, it is odd to leave the PlayBar out of the game. But there you have it.

sonosnew52The Play:5 is completely redesigned and should be a refreshing whiff both visually and sonically. It shows a glimpse of what we have coming down the road. The speaker has an accelerometer driven orientation detection, automatically disabling speaker elements in horisontal dual speaker mode. Layout of speaker drivers has been optimised as has the actual cabinet construction. No word yet as to whether there are changes in the amplifier but it would be a natural move.

Yamaha MusicCast

Yamaha Restio ISX-80Boasting compatibility with Bluetooth Audio, Apple Airplay and the prevalent streaming services, there is no shortage on Yamaha MusicCast on the connection side of things. At the other end of the cable, the system permeates almost the entire audio infrastructure of Yamaha, covering A/V receivers, active network speakers, stereos and soundbars. You can play music from a CD and stream it anywhere, as well as, of course, ubiquitous network stored bits and pieces. It appears to even support Dolby Atmos. Now, that’s a first. Supported file types include Flac, Aiff and DSD (on A/V receivers and audio equipment that can read the discs), in resolutions up to 192KHz/24-bit.

What Hi-fi? just released an almost painfully happy mini review of the system. Do go and have a look. What they zoom in on, are things like being able to not only feed all MusicCast components from a Bluetooth source separately, you can even attach Bluetooth players to them, for instance a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Finally someone who stands up to B&O and their decades old and wonderfully future proven Beolink. Sonos and their comrades (you know who you are) could definitely learn something here. Definitely.

Interesting Short on Sonos

UK magazine What Hi-Fi? just wrote a short on what Sonos is and what it does. The short is, in short, rather short. But it does tell the story without much fiddling about meaning, of course, that it lacks a bit on the technical details.

Clint Asgard

asgaardfootWith their Asgard line of speakers, tiny Clint are barking awfully loud, namewise. If their bark matches their muscle remains to be seen but the speakers do look rather cool. There is no doubt that with every competitor Sonos face, their users get a better product and users of multi-room streaming audio components in general will have a larger selection and thus be happier people. It is this extended selection that Asgard is part of.

The line consists of three speakers. Two versions of the small 7W Freya, one Bluetooth and one Wi-fi, and the larger Odin supporting both Bluetooth and Wi-fi. Asgard speakers can be fed from a Bluetooth audio source or via Wi-fi from a NAS or streaming service, as well as via Apple Airplay. The interesting part, of course, is that they can form a multi-room solution and run 4 speakers in concert, albeit only when running on Wi-fi.

The Odin speaker offers a modest 25W of class-D power in a 57cm floor standing pondus and supports the mainstay of formats, incl. 192KHz/24-bit flac. Control is limited to iOS and Android apps.

Geneva Labs AeroSphère

areospherebase01For those who have the rooms to suit a bit of soft, round fluffiness, Geneva Labs, known for their cubistic iPhone docks, have a streaming audio setup slightly out of the ordinary and certainly not a cubistic one. The system consists of an optional base station that receives FM and DAB radio as well as plays audio CDs, and two sizes of speakers, which placed on their polished steel stands, look quite the piece.areospherelred_b All components are nicely rounded and might as well be leftover props of Lost in Space. The speakers on their own will play AirTunes, Bluetooth audio and DLNA streams. When connected to a base station, it will play audio from there as well. The base station will feed up to 4 speakers, Platini the same ting simultanously. The output effect is not mentioned. Both speakers and base station have a line input for analogue sources. Unfortunately the base station isn’t capable of acting as a DLNA server. Otherwise it would have been a nifty add-on to many streaming systems that don’t have a CD player.

Qobuz Aiming For High Resolution Streaming?

British hi-fi magazine What Hi-Fi suggests that French lossless streaming service Qobuz may have streaming of high resolution audio files in their pipeline. They have recently been given the Hi Res Audio logo rightly suggesting such a step. This will be interesting to follow.

Sooloos On The Loose

Roon, the software that drives Meridian Sooloos, is being detached from the dedicated Meridian hardware and will be available to run on any computer soon. Jeff Dorgay of Tone Audio magazine has authored an in-depth review of Roon which you really should read.

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