Naim Muso 2 vs Separate speaker or other alternatives

Tracidpago

Standard Member
Thank you so much for the in depth response Paul , size is not a problem and im actually willing to invest some money now for something that would last for years, so im willing to go for the Adam a77x or the focal shape twins as you suggested. The focal shape twins are beautiful, i don't want to put the aesthetic over the sound, but i have to admit they look great. Any differences between the focal twins and the A77x's in therms of sound that i should consider?

And also, if i understand you correctly, all i would need would be either of those speakers and the Yamaha WXC-50 right? What about the wiring, what would i need to keep everything connected?

You said also that the room is the second biggest influence, its something that worries me because my house is quite singular. Its a small old building with stone walls and both floors are open with rooms that make an "L" shape, i don't know how much is there to worry about the singularities of my house, but it's making me think a lot about where to place these speakers and if the stone walls will create problems.

Thank you so much, you guys are helping me inmensely and making me really excited about my buying my new audio system
 

xmb

Well-known Member
Just remember speakers like the Adam a77x are near-field monitors, so could be very clinical, and you need two for a stereo pair.
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
Thank you so much for the in depth response Paul , size is not a problem and im actually willing to invest some money now for something that would last for years, so im willing to go for the Adam a77x or the focal shape twins as you suggested. The focal shape twins are beautiful, i don't want to put the aesthetic over the sound, but i have to admit they look great. Any differences between the focal twins and the A77x's in therms of sound that i should consider?

And also, if i understand you correctly, all i would need would be either of those speakers and the Yamaha WXC-50 right? What about the wiring, what would i need to keep everything connected?

You said also that the room is the second biggest influence, its something that worries me because my house is quite singular. Its a small old building with stone walls and both floors are open with rooms that make an "L" shape, i don't know how much is there to worry about the singularities of my house, but it's making me think a lot about where to place these speakers and if the stone walls will create problems.

Thank you so much, you guys are helping me inmensely and making me really excited about my buying my new audio system

Honestly, don't ever worry about your room, if you get to that level of thinking you are basically saying 90% of peoples living spaces are unsuitable for good sound, which is simply untrue.

You can design a system around a room, its needs to sound good to YOUR ears, no one elses. I absolutely hate active speakers, as I've never found a set that don't just sound clinical and uninvolving. I admit, I use a valve amplifier, because for me, the sound reproduction using valves is just better for what I want to hear...and if you want portability, what a faff to move them around the home.

For me, measurements are no where near true representation of sound, so you should always consider this why buying a kit - I have come to learn that measurements, in real world, mean absolutely sod all - I have heard some of the 'best measuring' systems out there, and they sounded pony, not matter how much they cost. Active speakers I find, very much follow the 'measurements are king' route.

I also own a Muso 2, and its fantastic. Of course, like others have said, it cant compete with seperate speakers on width of field of sound , but its bloody damn good and I really enjoy listening to it and it takes up no space at all. It really is THAT good.

Aesthetics are massively important when the equipment is sharing your habitation so don't worry about caring about that, its important!

My recommendation would be to try and get a home demo of a Muso 2 and mabe a set of actives, and see which one you prefer, and if you can live with the caveats either one has - Muso2 , portable but smaller sound width yet everything built in, actives - bigger, but requires mess with cables, domewhere to place it like stands etc and a streamer needed etc...
 
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Tracidpago

Standard Member
Honestly, don't ever worry about your room, if you get to that level of thinking you are basically saying 90% of peoples living spaces are unsuitable for good sound, which is simply untrue.

You can design a system around a room, its needs to sound good to YOUR ears, no one elses. I absolutely hate active speakers, as I've never found a set that don't just sound clinical and uninvolving. I admit, I use a valve amplifier, because for me, the sound reproduction using valves is just better for what I want to hear...and if you want portability, what a faff to move them around the home.

For me, measurements are no where near true representation of sound, so you should always consider this why buying a kit - I have come to learn that measurements, in real world, mean absolutely sod all - I have heard some of the 'best measuring' systems out there, and they sounded pony, not matter how much they cost. Active speakers I find, very much follow the 'measurements are king' route.

I also own a Muso 2, and its fantastic. Of course, like others have said, it cant compete with seperate speakers on width of field of sound , but its bloody damn good and I really enjoy listening to it and it takes up no space at all. It really is THAT good.

Aesthetics are massively important when the equipment is sharing your habitation so don't worry about caring about that, its important!

My recommendation would be to try and get a home demo of a Muso 2 and mabe a set of actives, and see which one you prefer, and if you can live with the caveats either one has - Muso2 , portable but smaller sound width yet everything built in, actives - bigger, but requires mess with cables, domewhere to place it like stands etc and a streamer needed etc...
Thank you, I wish I could try both and then decide but that's not a possibility right now.

When you guys say that the sound is too "clinical" what are you referring to exactly? And why is that a characteristic Inherent to active speakers?
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
Thank you, I wish I could try both and then decide but that's not a possibility right now.

When you guys say that the sound is too "clinical" what are you referring to exactly? And why is that a characteristic Inherent to active speakers?
Again, this is all subjective but I find most Actives use Class D amplifiers (although there are some that use Class A/B), whereas class A will always sound more fluid and natural. I've never liked any Class D amplifier . I presume many of active speaker designers chase measurements, and combining that with Class D amplifiers, is in my opinion, why it all sounds clincal. The Naim Muso also uses a Class D, but being Naim, it has the Naim sound, which is a lot more musical imo than other brands.

For example. Q Acoustics's native sound presentation with their speakers is clearn, bodied, warm, yet with their new actives, its cold, and precise very much NOT a Q Acoustics traditional sound. I was very dissapointed with them, and I actually own Q Acoustics Concept 300's , so theres no brand snobbery from me :) but someone else who wants that hard ice edge chasing resolution sound would probably like them.

As I said, its all entirely subjective, as soon as I say something, someone will come a long and say the complete opposite, so really you need to listen to a few variations, if thats not a possibility, then pay your monies and take your chances on whatever visually/function wise suit you best. Buy used, then you should be able to reclaim your money if they don't work out..other buy from a company with a good returns policy that allow home demos such as Elite Audio.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’ve never understood this notion of active speakers being ‘harsh’ or ‘clinical’, or ‘hard edged’.

That is far from reality.

They are simply detailed and accurate. Much more so then can be said of passive speakers at anything like the same price and frequently much more.

The point of active speakers is control. The command of each driver doing its own thing.

To that end they have a power amplifier for each separate driver. There is no power sapping, phase bending, frequency distorting passive x-over in the way.

Manufacturers go to some impressive lengths to mitigate the effects of passive x-overs. And modern ones (suitably designed and engineered) are excellent.

But they can never be as good as no passive x-over at all.

Each power amp is tailor made for each driver. There is no guess work involved such as that in finding a ‘suitable’ amp for passive speakers.

The control of the bass driver for instance is near total. That means that there is almost zero distortion all the way to its peak output, which, in even modest active speakers is ferocious (if necessary).

But, for me, the best part about the control involved is that bass sounds as it should at any volume.

That includes midnight, baby asleep, volumes too. There is no loss of reality or impact even at volumes so low that passive speakers bass generally disappears, swallowed by the x-overs requirements.

Every pair of actives I’ve owned has been quite astonishing for the price: from £180 a pair to my current £2800 pair. The collection included many Adams, Yamahas, edifier, Fostex, Wharfedale, Tannoy and others I’ve forgotten for the moment.

All were different, but all punched well above their price would ever suggest. And certainly better in every respect than the corresponding priced passives do.

The usefulness of having each driver of each speaker individually, and directly, controlled is hard to over state.

For those used to what some call warm and mellow (and others call flabby and slow) I can understand the shock.

Bit for those who like their music accurate and articulate it’s more of a revelation.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thank you so much for the in depth response Paul , size is not a problem and im actually willing to invest some money now for something that would last for years, so im willing to go for the Adam a77x or the focal shape twins as you suggested. The focal shape twins are beautiful, i don't want to put the aesthetic over the sound, but i have to admit they look great. Any differences between the focal twins and the A77x's in therms of sound that i should consider?

And also, if i understand you correctly, all i would need would be either of those speakers and the Yamaha WXC-50 right? What about the wiring, what would i need to keep everything connected?

You said also that the room is the second biggest influence, its something that worries me because my house is quite singular. Its a small old building with stone walls and both floors are open with rooms that make an "L" shape, i don't know how much is there to worry about the singularities of my house, but it's making me think a lot about where to place these speakers and if the stone walls will create problems.

Thank you so much, you guys are helping me inmensely and making me really excited about my buying my new audio system

Hmm.. that’s a tough question sir. Both companies are peopled by serious engineers and their speakers are superb value.

To pick one over the other takes the personal ear. I can say I’ve been repeatedly delighted with what Adam X range can do. They are special indeed.

I’ve not had the pleasure of the Focals, but I’ve no doubt they are also super impressive.

Focal are huge, have been around forever and don’t do anything other than seriously good.

As I mentioned it is perfectly legitimate to use Thomans 30 day return if you are not satisfied.

I think, if it were my money, I’d chance the Focals first. If only for the not very good audio reason that they are also very pretty.

For connection from the Yamaha a pair of these are what you’d need.


There are less expensive ones that will do exactly the same job, and I’ve bought a few pairs over the years, but I’ve found the above ones to be very well made and more robust than most.
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
As I said, someone will say the complete opposite, it's all subjective.

Having quite a few of my own studio recordings, when I've listened to them on actives, they have all sounded very different to how it was meant to sound, - clinical and almost fake. They can have all the 'technology' they want, but if it dosent sound real, then it ain't music...and talk about listening fatigue, actives are wonderful for inducing that.

But as I said, the only way to find what you want to hear OP is listen. You may not get it right the first time (you probably won't) but you'll enjoy trying them all out and listening to your tunes.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
As regards the room. Any and all rooms have issues.

The only serious way to deal with it is with modern DSP. Amplifiers that include it are expensive and outside your budget.

However most people are happy with their rooms as is (until they’ve tried we’ll sorted room correction).

The usual rules apply though.

Not too many hard surfaces. Keeping the speaker away from side and rear walls by a suitable amount. A good thick rug in front of the speakers if uncarpeted.

A bit of trial and error gets it right in the end, and then the active speakers have frequency controls for a spot of fine tuning if necessary.

When your wallet recovers you could do yourself the massive favour of buying a MiniDSP DiracLive equipped DDRC.


This will go between the preouts of the Yamaha and the inputs of the speakers, giving you one of the best room correction systems around.

I used the very same for my big Adams before I got my Lyngdorf and it is transformative. Mostly bass, as that is where room effects are most usually manifest, but Dirac is hugely flexible and can deal with almost every room issue.
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
As I said, someone will say the complete opposite, it's all subjective.

Having quite a few of my own studio recordings, when I've listened to them on actives, they have all sounded very different to how it was meant to sound, - clinical and almost fake. They can have all the 'technology' they want, but if it dosent sound real, then it ain't music...and talk about listening fatigue, actives are wonderful for inducing that.

But as I said, the only way to find what you want to hear OP is listen. You may not get it right the first time (you probably won't) but you'll enjoy trying them all out and listening to your tunes.

And yet, I’ve never heard a pair of actives that induced anything like listening fatigue even over entire days spent listening.

Instead, I simply felt a compulsion to listen more.
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
And yet, I’ve never heard a pair of actives that induced anything like listening fatigue even over entire days spent listening.

Instead, I simply felt a compulsion to listen more.

See first line.

"As I said, someone will say the complete opposite, it's all subjective."
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
See first line.

"As I said, someone will say the complete opposite, it's all subjective."

Accuracy, detail and bass control are all measurable. As is in room response.

None of that is subjective.

Certainly the effect of those parameters has points for personal preference. No doubt there.

But to state that all actives are ‘hard edged’ and ‘clinical’ is certainly subjective.

As it is to condemn all class ‘D’ amplifiers.

Modern amps of that kind are way beyond the initial offerings of decades ago with all their attendant issues.

Many, and more and more to come, serious amplifiers, well regarded by even die hard old fellows, are using class D. They are well passed the initiation stage and well into serious engineering of the kind routinely used by the biggest and brightest amp manufacturers.

Again, there is always personal preference. But that is not the same thing as subjective.
 

Gaslight

Well-known Member
Accuracy, detail and bass control are all measurable. As is in room response.

None of that is subjective.

Certainly the effect of those parameters has points for personal preference. No doubt there.

But to state that all actives are ‘hard edged’ and ‘clinical’ is certainly subjective.

As it is to condemn all class ‘D’ amplifiers.

Modern amps of that kind are way beyond the initial offerings of decades ago with all their attendant issues.

Many, and more and more to come, serious amplifiers, well regarded by even die hard old fellows, are using class D. They are well passed the initiation stage and well into serious engineering of the kind routinely used by the biggest and brightest amp manufacturers.

Again, there is always personal preference. But that is not the same thing as subjective.
'None of that is subjective'

'it certainly is subjective'

Bit confusing.

However, I have to admit I try to avoid getting into debate with those who sounds like a shill from Audio Science Review forum because I find they often lack an understanding of music, and their view point is so very linear, which often lacks ability to expand beyond measurements. Often the owner of that site, will not listen to audio equipment he reviews. So I find it generally pointless to enter into major discussion.

Class D's - I can condemn them all I like, I don't like them, never heard a good one. I think the closest I ever came to liking one was a Gato, they are very good for what they are, but a class A JVC from the 70's still sounded better. Thats my subjective decision based on experience. Your mileage may vary.

The best thing in my opinion as I said earlier is for the OP can do is go on his journey of trialing speakers and setups so he gets a vibe of what he likes. No amounts of 'room correction' is going to aid a newbie just wanting a set of speakers, and all it does is confuse a person into thinking they need all that crap to get a good sound, which is not the case. I have none of that, and a crappy room, yet I designed my system, and although I did spend years getting it right, but now it sounds awesome, to me. Subjectively. I had a set of Dutch and Dutch 8c's all set up by a dealer on demo and it sounded pony. Clinical and souless. For the cost of them, I would have been weeping if I had invested in them based on measurements and without listening to them.

Concluding, subjectively, I know my hifi will sound better than yours... 'sound better to me' . The end.
 
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Tracidpago

Standard Member
Thank you both of you , despite the tone of the arguing it was an interesting read.

What i will probably do is, order the Focal Shape Twins with the Yamaha and see how happy i am with the sound and the connectivity, and if i see that something lacks, i will try to get my hands on a Muso 2 and see if that suits me better.

Im going this way just because of thomann return policies. I will write here when i get my hands on them. Thank you all for your time and sharing your knowledge
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Thank you both of you , despite the tone of the arguing it was an interesting read.

What i will probably do is, order the Focal Shape Twins with the Yamaha and see how happy i am with the sound and the connectivity, and if i see that something lacks, i will try to get my hands on a Muso 2 and see if that suits me better.

Im going this way just because of thomann return policies. I will write here when i get my hands on them. Thank you all for your time and sharing your knowledge

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think 👍
 
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Gaslight

Well-known Member
Thank you both of you , despite the tone of the arguing it was an interesting read.

What i will probably do is, order the Focal Shape Twins with the Yamaha and see how happy i am with the sound and the connectivity, and if i see that something lacks, i will try to get my hands on a Muso 2 and see if that suits me better.

Im going this way just because of thomann return policies. I will write here when i get my hands on them. Thank you all for your time and sharing your knowledge

Good stuff.

Sadly you're entering a field where there are three very distinct categories of people, Objectivists (who rely on measurements for their sound), subjectivists (who trust their human senses for their sound, likes ears and stuff), and ones who sit in the middle appreciating both sides. We can't measure everything we can hear or interpret, so sitting in the middle is normally where I find the best of both worlds.

Ken Ishiwata of Marantz once commented that measurements can only take you 'so far' when creating good sound, he adopted the ideology that measurements are the starting point, the rest is done by ear and senses.

I've never liked Focal speakers particularly, having owned a set of Focale Kanta's before. Interestingtly though Focal now own Naim and you can tell the changes they have made in the Mu-so 1 to the Mu-so 2. Muso one is more laid back musical Naim sound, the Mu-so 2 is more 'Hi-fi' like the Focal sound.

If you do decide to upgrade, that Yamaha streamer is not very good in the grand scheme of things (but good for the price), lots of better options out there, but its a good starting point.

Enjoy your journey and let us know what you think! If this is your first decent setup, it will definitely wow you immediately, but definitely try to experience other setups before you commit and give it weeks instead of days of listening time.
 

Tracidpago

Standard Member
I don't have much time these days to be able to write a lengthy message about my impresions with these speakers, but i want to talk at least a bit about them, keeping in mind that im a user that never experience any speakers of this quality or any other hi-fi audio source.

I received my pair of Focal Shape Twins 15 days ago, i had a good deal in a local store and instead of the yamaha, i got the Bluesound Node 2021 streamer, so far really happy with it, really meets all the requirements i had.

I wasn't particularly happy with them when i got them out of the box, but after a few hours of break in, it started to sound better and better, and it seems that the sound is still getting better. Im still not sure about the placement, like how far apart should i place the speakers from one another for example, if anyone can give me some indications about that, i would be really thankful.

As of today, im enjoying them a lot , and its by far, the best sound quality i've ever experienced, not even in concerts or venues, it took them a few hours to get to this point , but now they sound glorious, zero complains about it, not regretting the purchase at all.

But, i have two issues with these speakers, i don't know if its something that i did wrong while setting them up, or if its normal or if it is a factory defect.

First, there is a quiet hiss that comes out of both tweeters, like low volume cloud of white noise. It's not too bad, its not noticiable when im playing music, but it's loud enough to be able to tell it from 1.5-2m apart when im not. It doesnt get louder when i raise the volume , so im assuming the problem comes from either the Node or the cables (i have no idea about this, so im probably wrong), what could be causing this?

And the other problem is that one of the speakers is never going into sleep mode, it's always on, i have no idea about whats causing this either.

Thank you so much for the help and advices so far, despite these issues, im really enjoying the experience.
 

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