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I like a bit of luxury and have a soft spot for luxury brands that offer a little bit extra. Whether it’s a handmade shirt or a pair of bespoke shoes, owning products that have been made with extra care and thought bring a real pride of ownership that can really add to a product’s value. In the luxury market there’s been quite a bit of cooperation lately between high-end audio brands and deluxe car marques. This year we’ve already seen announcements of cooperation between Maserati and Italian deluxe speaker brand Sonus Faber. Maclaren F1 has also been working with USA speaker brand Klipsh to create an exciting pair of true wireless earphones that are bound to appeal to many car fans.
Another two companies working together in automotive and audio sectors that have been cooperating for a while are Naim and Bentley. These two classic British brands have an impeccable pedigree and something approaching fanatically loyal following. Naim, along with its stablemate Focal, have been creating deluxe audio systems for the Bentley car range since 2008. Now the companies are moving closer together with two new products that leverage the Bentley connection and are aimed at people who want something a bit special from their favorite brands.
Design and audio specialists from all three companies have worked together to develop two new products: the Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition wireless speaker system, and Focal for Bentley Radiance headphones. The joint venture is an extension of the close partnership that was originally formed in 2008 between Bentley Motors and Naim Audio. Engineers from both companies have worked together optimizing Naim for Bentley systems on every Bentley model.
Meanwhile, Focal and Naim have been part of the same parent company since 2011, and produce music players, audio systems, loudspeakers and headphones for the upper end of the audio market. Now all three brands have come together to produce a pair of new products that encapsulate the values of all three brands.
The Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition and Focal for Bentley Radiance headphones are the latest products to join the Bentley Collection: a selection of products, each with a unique identity. Every item in the Bentley Collection embodies the Bentley marque and features craftsmanship, luxury materials and attention to detail that Bentley is renowned for. I’ve never driven a Bentley, but I can vouch for the quality of Naim and Focal products.
Both new products have been liberally sprinkled with Bentley’s distinctive design cues, including color accents referencing the interior and exterior styling of the new Bentley Mulliner Bacalar, a car that was inspired by the design DNA of the award-winning EXP 100 GT electric concept car. Each product features the recurring lattice pattern that was inspired by Bentley’s iconic diamond seat quilting, which is also echoed in Bentley’s headlight designs.
Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition
This unique edition of Naim’s Mu-so 2nd Generation wireless speaker offers the latest music-streaming technology and superb build quality. The Naim Mu-so can be used as a standalone wireless speaker or as part of a multi-room audio system for playing music all around the home using other Naim products or any wireless speakers that support Apple’s AirPlay 2 or Google’s Chromecast built-in.
This special edition Naim Mu-so is the first product in the range to feature a wood finish. Naim has used a wood called Ayous, a sustainable African hardwood, which has been stained and repeatedly lacquered to create a dramatic and dark finish that’s unique to the Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition. Other special features include a smoked plinth, copper-threaded speaker grille and signature Bentley lattice design surrounding the large tactile volume dial. The dial illuminates via a proximity sensor as soon as the user’s hand approaches.
Focal for Bentley Radiance
These deluxe headphones are designed and built at Focal’s Saint Étienne factory, in France. The Radiance are a closed- back headphones and incorporate Focal’s advanced M-shaped neodymium driver technology and are made with high-quality materials. Focal claims that the Reliance headphones make an ideal partner for the Naim Mu-so.
The Radiance earcups are finished in soft and breathable Pittards gloving leather. Pittards has been crafting leather in Somerset since 1826 and the company’s soft and durable leather is used by couture houses around the world and was even used by Spitfire pilots who wore Pittards gloves during the Battle of Britain.
Packaged with extras, including a bespoke carry case, the Focal Radiance headphones are finished with the same woven material used on the speaker grille of the Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition. The Radiance also have other Bentley styling cues including the same copper accents and the recurring lattice pattern on the earcups, cable connections and the underside of the padded headband.
Pricing and availability:
Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition and Focal for Bentley Radiance will be available from mid to late October via selected Focal, Naim and Bentley retailers, or direct from Focal, Naim and Bentley web stores. Suggested retail pricing will be £1,799 / €1,999 / $2,199 for the Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition, and £1,199 / €1,299 / $1,299 for the Focal for Bentley Radiance.
More info: www.naimaudio.com and www.focal.com
Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition
- Inputs: Optical S/PDIF up to 96kHz, USB 2 (Type A connector), Analog: 3.5mm jack, HDMI: ARC in with CEC
- Streaming: Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast Built-in, UPnP, Spotify Connect, TIDAL, Roon Ready, Bluetooth, Internet Radio, Qobuz
- Remote Control: Infra-red (RC5)
- Network: Ethernet (10/100Mbps), Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/ g/n/ac), BLE v4.2
- Multiroom: Sync up to five Naim Streaming products and control via the Naim App.
- Audio Formats: WAV, FLAC and AIFF – up to 24bit/384kHz ALAC (Apple Lossless) – up to 24bit/384kHzMP3 – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16 bit) AAC – up to 48kHz, 320kbit (16bit)OGG and WMA – up to 48kHz (16bit) DSD- 64 and 128Fs, Bluetooth – SBC, AAC
- Touch control user interface with rotary volume control
- Remote handset included and optional control app for iOS and Android devices
- Speakers: Stereo 3-way; dsp-optimised vented box acoustic system.
- Power: Amplifier output: 450W – (6 x 75W)
- Power Consumption: 17W
- Network Standby mode: <2W
- No-network Standby mode: <0.5W
- Mains Supply: 100V, 115V or 230V, 50/60Hz
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 129 mm x 628 mm x 264 mm
- Weight: 12kg
Focal for Bentley Radiance
- Type: Circum-aural closed-back headphones
- Impedance: 35Ω
- Sensitivity: 101dB SPL / 1mW @ 1 kHz
- THD: 0,1% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
- Frequency response: 5Hz – 23kHz
- Speaker driver: 50mm Aluminium/Magnesium “M” shape dome
- Weight: 435g
- Cable: 1.2m) OFC 24 AWG cable with 3.5mm TRS jack connector
- Hard-shell carry case: 250 x 240 x 120mm