I have not able to find direct comparison of B&W Formation line product vs. Naim Muso. Also these in relative to SONOS or perhaps Bluesound line. It looks like Roon community have some who have experience in these products so can you kindly help me decide?
I’ve owned SONOS playerbar (sold). Currently own HEOSBar, HEOS 5,7 and Denon AVR, and two SONOS One.
I am at the stage like to get better, perhaps best sound quality multi-room wireless speaker system but won’t be buying or replacing all at once rather plan to start either from bedroom or living room.
My daily use currently involve
- Local music from NAS
- Amazon Music HD
- Alexa voice control
- Roon music play
- Spotify (Amazon HD is taking this over, so not as important anymore).
*6. Hi-Res support (debating).
With extensive online research daily for past couple weeks, 5 product lines came to my attention.
- B&W Formation
- Naim Muso
- Denon Home series
Sonos - lack of Hi-Res
SONOS seem to be out due to lack of Hi-Res support. However, honestly, I am not sure if I have enough skill/talent to be able to appreciate Hi-Res quality over CD quality but mentally, I feel I’d be keep regretting if I purchase product that does not support Hi-Res. Part of me hates such thinking. So Sonos is out.
Denon home - Seeking for better sound than HEOS line
Denon Home series is releasing this month, and it will have built in microphone, Airplay 2 support, but I’d assume the sound quality are similar to HEOS line. May be it is decent but I wonder I have better option.
Alexa built in vs. Works with Alexa
Alexa compatibility is important for me and built in Alexa sounded great which there are only two options: Sonos and Denon Home with future upgrade. However with a recent purchase of Sonos One, I learned that built in voice control are limited version. For instance, Alexa does not support drop in, routine nor Alexa skills. It is still better than having echo and separate speaker next to each other for voice recognition while playing music but not as good as echo device itself running solo. In fact, by placing the speaker and echo dot far enough, I feel I can get full function Alexa with Hifi quality audio without much interference from playing Audio to hinder echo input initiation. So I’m ok with product lines that does not have built in Alexa as long as it works with Alexa.
Bluesound - better but not the best sound quality?
Bluesound seems a straight upgrade of Sonos but latter two may have even better sound quality gain from what I read. I’ve tried Bluesound Pulse 2 before committing to HEOS line and compared to HEOS 5, Sonos playbar and Pulse 2. I recall liking the Pulse 2 sound the best back then. Audio input latency via Aux in was so important back then and hence I went for HEOS where had the least delay.
So I feel like two primary contenders are B&W Formation line and Naim.
The Wedge has few direct rivals on the market, but we reach for the excellent, and more expensive, Naim Mu-so 2. Both are superb in their own right, but offer a different sound character, so while you’ll get more bass clout from the Mu-so 2, there’s greater refinement, detail and clarity with the Wedge, which offers a more layered, hi-fi sound by comparison.
The Formation Flex is certainly one of the best-sounding “compact” speakers you can buy right now.
There aren’t many online reviews but from what I read, it sounds like most reviews highly praise sound quality and I read many implying best sound quality of all wireless speaker lines, but software limitation is major reason for negativity. I’ve got burned so many times with the assumption of software limitation will be fixed in the future.
So I needed official statement from company. B&W blog recently indeed made a statement of Alexa skill for early Q1 of this year. Further more it sounds like almost Sonos like app for early Q2.
Belying its box-like dimensions with a punchy bass alongside sparkling and rich tones across frequencies, the Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation scooped up our most recent 2019 What Hi-Fi? Award for the best home wireless speaker over £500.
if this is to be your one source of music in the house, we can think of few combinations of separates able to both better the sound and match or undercut the price. It has its innate limitations in terms of upgrades and stereo imaging, of course, but the Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation is not just another expensive wireless speaker.
Source: [https://www.whathifi.com/us/reviews/naim-mu-so-qb-2nd-generation](What Hifi Muso Qb 2)
T3 ranks Muso 2 as the best multi-room wifi speaker.
Naim Muso line sounds another one of the top in line sound quality product. Extreme feature rich with extensive connectivity options and great streaming support. Combination of sound quality and features put Naim Muso second gen product as the best wireless speakers one can buy right now if money is not a concern. However, Muso line sounds to lack stereo pairing option of Muso Qb2 and despite fantastic sound Muso-2 still won’t match dedicated stereo speakers. So reading between lines, I interpret B&W formation line has better sound performance.
At this time, I am willing to restart entirely new ecosystem. I may start either for my bedroom or perhaps living room depending on what I purchase. But in a longer run, I’d like to keep adding the same product line device throughout house including office, entertainment zone (perhaps more serious/expensive speakers), family room (sound bar) and kitchen etc.
- What is the best sound quality product line for those have experience with above product? Especially, formation line such as Formation Wedge vs. Muso Qb2 or perhaps Muso 2.
- If one can compare to SONOS, is other product significant upgrade? Especially from cost stand point of view, 2 Play 5 (for stereo) may be purchased for 1 Formation Wedge or Muso Qb 2, and latter cannot be used in stereo pair.
Thank you for your help in advance