Hi-Fi Stories January 29, 2016

Naim Audio isn’t a household name outside of audiophile circles, but this British company has for many years made some of the most respected amplifiers in the business. Naim long had an informal partnership with Linn, and if the standard audio system fitted to Bentley’s ultra-expensive cars isn’t good enough for you, the optional audio upgrade is to a Naim system. You’ll also find it available through the Apple Store.

The company is notoriously conservative when it comes to new technology, refusing to even consider making a CD player for most of the 1980s, relenting only in 1989, when it felt the technology had developed sufficiently to allow it to deliver the quality it sought. It’s therefore no surprise that Naim has waited so long to launch its first wireless speaker system, the mu-so – nor that it has done the job properly when it finally did so.

The price is also no great surprise …

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Hi-Fi Stories October 12, 2015

I’m a strong advocate of the philosophy of buying the right thing once. My view is for any activity you care about a lot, it’s cheaper in the long run to buy an expensive product that will keep you happy for a great many years – maybe even for a lifetime – than a cheap product you’ll end up wanting to replace a few years down the line. Buy cheap, buy twice, as they say.

My hi-fi system is a great example. When I was a lot younger, I splashed out on a Bang & Olufsen hi-fi system that was more than twice the price of everything else I tested. Twenty years on, it now looks like an extraordinarily good value. It’s so old it has a cassette deck (yes, really!), but all it took to bring it back up to date was the addition of a simple Wi-Fi audio receiver to add AirPlay support.

Standalone Bluetooth speakers have therefore been of very limited interest to me – and I’d never have dreamed that one could ever replace a proper hi-fi system. So I was intrigued by one that claimed it could: the Devialet Phantom. As if that wasn’t enough to capture my interest, Devialet is a company with a serious reputation when it comes to high-end audio: they make the amps B&W uses to demo their speakers at audio shows. And yes, I’ll admit that part of what made me want to try it was my profound skepticism that any Bluetooth speaker could be worth $1,990 … expand full story

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