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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

KEF MUO Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Review

KEF MUO Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Launched at the end of 2015, the KEF Muo is the first test of the "hifist" brand in the world of nomadic audio. Although it works wirelessly, this model promises both surprising power and precise and defined sound. Let us see what the expertise of the English manufacturer is worth in such an enclosure.
KEF MUO Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

KEF Muo is an enclosure that remains massive despite its compact size. It is largely covered and protected by an aluminum part, complemented by two plastic parts. The assembly is harmonious, exudes solidity and no manufacturer defect is detected. During our trial period, the enclosure did not show any sign of weakness. A drop of about one meter on one of its corners only damaged it very slightly, without compromising its proper functioning.

Due to its size, weight and design, the enclosure is not designed for off-road trips, so it should be kept away from water points or sand, for example. In addition, no carrying case or case is provided to transport it more easily and protect it.

The KEF Muo has two small rubber pads that allow it to be laid and oriented slightly in a horizontal position, but also to reduce the vibrations a little. It is also possible to place it vertically so that the buttons are always accessible. In both orientations, the enclosure holds fairly well in place (however, beware of shocks in vertical position).
KEF MUO Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

This loudspeaker offers a good experience of use. The list of controls is far from exhaustive - a multifunction button for reading management and navigation between tracks would have been welcome - but we appreciate the presence of many sound indications and some bright indications on the button d (Speaker status, pairing and four battery levels). The pairing is done fairly quickly and can be accelerated with the integrated NFC chip. If you decide to buy two, the manipulation to pair them is simple once you know the procedure: a passage to the notice or via the mobile application will still save you time. Once the manipulation has been carried out, Use two mono or stereo dual speakers wirelessly, regardless of whether the source is wired or wireless. A small tone sounds when the speakers toggle to indicate the switch in one mode or another. In terms of connectivity, the KEF Muo is simple: Bluetooth for the wireless (aptX), a 3.5 mm mini-jack and a micro-USB port for charging. In view of the size of the beast, a USB port for recharging would not have been too much, or even a microphone for the handsfree function. However, the USB cable for charging comes with an AC adapter and two different tips. For its part, the KEF Muo application does not add much in terms of ancillary functionality. Apart from the audio player, basic,
KEF MUO Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

The KEF Muo promises 12 hours of autonomy, which is little given its size, weight and compared to what the competition offers. Unfortunately, it is difficult to reach this threshold in reality. At reasonable volume, I approach 9 to 10 hours of use. At extremely high volume, the service life drops to 6 hours. To save battery power, you can still count on the automatic power off function, which activates after 10 minutes of no signal. Another small point to know, it is possible to use the enclosure while it recharges (3 hours of recharging approximately on mains).

The KEF Muo is equipped with two 50 mm Uni-Q miniature speakers and a radiator for bass flattering. To maintain a certain sound quality, KEF immediately announces the color: the Muo only diffuses in mono, even in horizontal position. It is a particularly confusing choice that we have decided not to sanction too hard, as it is clearly specified and assumed by the manufacturer. In addition, this speaker sign a tour de force by proposing a very beautiful sound.

All in all, this portable speaker is obviously not at the same level as its big sisters, but for its size, we really must welcome the performance. The first striking element is the way in which the speaker reproduces the spatial depth, especially when one knows that the rendering is monophonic. Each stratum of the mix is ​​present, without artifice and it is possible to identify them quite easily. The room effects and the most discreet instruments are not forgotten. The whole remains legible that this is at a low or sustained level of listening,

As far as sound reproduction is concerned, the Muo is not the type to do in the higher bid, but keeps its small character in the low / mid-medium and in the treble. On the one hand, we have a low enough to bring a minimum of sound and sound heat while staying hard, even if we would like the speaker to tap lower. On the other hand, there is a very slight accentuation of the shine and the presence, but the Muo behaves well so as not to awaken sibilance or be aggressive, even on very sensitive pieces on this point. In between, we find a medium well balanced and defined. The different sources are naturally expressed and detached well between them. The voice also comes off very well and is rendered in a clear and perfectly intelligible way. In addition,It is by using two stereo speakers that the Muo expresses its full potential. The sound reproduction is simply amazing for speakers of this size, both by the detail and precision of the reproduction of the sound scene and by the frequency balance. We regain a little more depth in the low and the small bright trend is still current. Stereophonic depth and width are simply excellent, even in relatively narrow configurations. If this is not at all its primary use, this duo can clearly compete with the best PC 2.0 kits on the market.

The Muo offers an excellent size / power ratio, while mastery. The distortion is contained at an extremely low level. 70% of its maximum power is large enough to sound a room of a good size (about 20 m²). You can always push it even further if you want, but it will accentuate the shiny and sharp side in the optimal listening axis.

Let's conclude with communication latency in Bluetooth. This is about 150ms, which allows to follow a video without suffering too much of a discrepancy between the image and the sound. If you have the possibility, do not hesitate to compensate it again to be totally at ease.

Very nice sound balance.
Very good accuracy.
Excellent size / power ratio.
Very low distortion.
The stereophonic rendering totally bluffing with two speakers.
Easy to use, numerous indications.
Careful manufacturing.

No stereophony in horizontal position.
Low battery life.
No USB port for charging devices.
A little more depth in the bass would not have been too much.

My Rating: 4.5/5

As much as prevent from the start: if you are already frustrated at the idea of ​​enjoying only a monophonic sound with a portable speaker of this type, think twice before you let yourself be seduced. If this is not a brake for you, you will enjoy the very beautiful sound performance of the Muo, especially given its format. Although some choices may seem strange, this model remains completely consistent in its approach and it shows a rarely observed control on a portable speaker, while remaining very easy to use. If for you nomad must above all rhyme with versatility, look rather on the side of the Zipp Mini . And for even more compactness, the Bose SoundLink Mini II is all designed.

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