Naim Muso as Soundbar

Posted by: Dungassin on 27 December 2018

SWMBO finally decided that she wants better sound from her Panasonic Plasma TV.  This is after saying for ages that she wasn't interested in better sound!

The TV has an optical audio output, and to keep things fairly simple I decided that she should have a MUSO, and as a bonus she will music in the living room again.  I'm off to collect one from Cymbiosis on Saturday.  Relatively small size is important to her.  She used to love music on the 52/135/SBLs etc, but hated how much room it took up.

I assume the TV optical output is just  a 'through' thing and will be sending multichannel.  So, my questions are :

Will I have to set her bluray player etc to output Stereo PCM rather than multichannel, or will the Muso just convert 5.1 etc to stereo anyway?

I suspect the answer will be 'set the player to output stereo, but I'm basically lazy (given half a chance!)

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Bailyhill

I am from across the pond.  What is SWMBO?  Just curious.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by NAJB

SMWBO translates as "She who must be obeyed". Enough said.      

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by ChrisR_EPL

Not sure about the need to change dvd settings but itís not much effort anyway. Iíd assume that the tv has already handled incoming and dealt with it appropriately to send it out via the TOSLink.

Be wary though. Our Panasonic tv has given v good sound into the Panny sound bar that accompanied it but has recently stopped working, and the Muso as a stand-in is much less satisfactory. As a music box and radio itís fine but to my ears tv sound isnít good through it. Canít put my finger on it, maybe itís  6 years of being used to the sound bar. Connecting via optical also means that youíll need two remotes to hand, one for the tv and one for sound. Not a great bind but again we're had all that time to get used to the tv controlling the sound level through the ARC. Iíve stopped using the Muso for tv sound.

 

NBailyhill - swmbo is a dreadful term thaat's supposed to refer to ones wife, partner or significant female other - she who must be obeyed. Personally I'd ban it and anyone who uses it, for its simpering supineness and the faux respect that itís intended to convey. Itís an awful term.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Mike Sullivan

I run a couple of Naim systems into my Panasonic TVs. I set the TVs to stereo PCM. I connect Apple TVs and Bluray players to the TVs using HDMI and then run a single optical output from the TVs to the Naims. The optical output is labled TV in the Naim apps so all TV sound outputs are a single selection on the Naim. Works really well, Iím running that on a Nova and a Uniti 2. Good luck.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Richard Dane

The Mu-So can't accept a multichannel bitstream digital input signal, only 2 channel PCM, so you need to ensure that the TV and any connected DVD/Blu-ray are set to the latter.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Bart

There's a reason that sound bars are shaped like they are.  A one-box semi "point source" is not optimal for TV.  Our minds want to hear the voices coming from the images of the people; you can end up with a very unnatural experience even with 2-channel stereo speakers on either side of the screen. That's why center channel speakers were invented.

I'd get a sound bar if you really intend it for TV use.

Otherwise, with a small box music source, your best sound likely will be using both the TV sound and the Qb on at the same time.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by David Hendon

In addition, from my experience of using the optical output from a Sony TV, the optical audio output SQ from the TV may be nothing special too, which a muso may show up more than a soundbar does, especially if the soundbar was designed to work with that TV.

best

David

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Mike-B

I agree the sound from the Sony TV's optical output is nothing special.  I've had it connected into both Supernait DAC & NDX,   the NDX DAC is as good as it gets & that included comparing with a Chord DAC.   That said it is far better than the stand alone TV sound.   

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by trickydickie

As there seems to be some doubt as to whether the Muso will be successful as a soundbar you may like to look at the Canton DM55 which we use on our TV.  It works really well, you can tell it strengths are tuned towards TV sound rather than as an accurate music source but we are delighted to it.  It does music quite well with a fair amount of weight but the Muso QB is a better listen on music. 

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Innocent Bystander
Bart posted:

There's a reason that sound bars are shaped like they are.  A one-box semi "point source" is not optimal for TV.  Our minds want to hear the voices coming from the images of the people; you can end up with a very unnatural experience even with 2-channel stereo speakers on either side of the screen. That's why center channel speakers were invented.

I'd get a sound bar if you really intend it for TV use.

Otherwise, with a small box music source, your best sound likely will be using both the TV sound and the Qb on at the same time.

But voices can be placed anywhere across the width of the soundstage just with a stereo system - isnít that what stereo TV sound does?

When I heard a Muso a year or two ago, being pleasantly surprised at the sound it managed from a compact unit, but not interested in purchasing because it was very expensive for the radio use envisaged at the time, I did wonder if it would be good as a soundbar for a medium size TV (37Ē) in the second lounge. I will be interested tomlearn how it does in this function.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Innocent Bystander
NAJB posted:

SMWBO translates as "She who must be obeyed". Enough said.      

Comes from British writer John Mortimer who wrote a TV series called Rumpole of the Bailey, about a barrister, Horace Rumpole, who referred to his wife in that way.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Gazza

We have a panasonic plasma with sound bar, and replaced the sound bar with Muso, more to reduce box count. Sounded better to my ears than the cheap bar thrown in with the TV set. Easy enough with optical from either tv or in my case virgin set top box.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Suzy Wong
Innocent Bystander posted:
NAJB posted:

SMWBO translates as "She who must be obeyed". Enough said.      

Comes from British writer John Mortimer who wrote a TV series called Rumpole of the Bailey, about a barrister, Horace Rumpole, who referred to his wife in that way.

Who in turn got it from Henry Rider Haggardís character Ayesha, who was entitled ďShe-who-must-be-obeyedĒ.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Sloop John B

I use a Bluesound Pulse soundbar. Very good app with loads of settings-speech, music, movies etc. It can be worked by your existing remote which is more of an issue than you may think. A second remote or app for volume is a PITA. 

It can also be used for music, streaming sources, radio etc. 

If Cymbiosis stock Bluesound it might be worth an audition. 

.sjb

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Dungassin

Thanks for the succinct answer, Richard.   Interesting to see the other comments, so ...

SWMBO is a common abbreviation for 'wife'.  It's just a jokey way of referring to her.  She isn't in the least offended by being called that.  Not just Rider Haggard, but also possible made more popular by 'Rumpole of the Bailey'.  Variants include SWTSOTBO (she who thinks she ought to be obeyed).  Not worth getting offended by the term.  She has her own odd names for me too!

She want's one box which does it all, and the Muso seems to fit the bill.  As it will be sitting directly under the TV I don't see any problem with the voice location.  She's not bothered about it being stereo.  A soundbar plus subwoofer was rejected by her as she wanted a one box solution, and as the living room is her domain, I have deferred to her decision.  The TV sits in a corner of the living room, not in the middle of a wall.   I'll take the opportunity to sort out the rats' nest of cables behind it while installing her new toy.

No problem with multiple remotes - I'll just program the activities into her Logitech Harmony Elite.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Bart
Innocent Bystander posted:
Bart posted:

There's a reason that sound bars are shaped like they are.  A one-box semi "point source" is not optimal for TV.  Our minds want to hear the voices coming from the images of the people; you can end up with a very unnatural experience even with 2-channel stereo speakers on either side of the screen. That's why center channel speakers were invented.

I'd get a sound bar if you really intend it for TV use.

Otherwise, with a small box music source, your best sound likely will be using both the TV sound and the Qb on at the same time.

But voices can be placed anywhere across the width of the soundstage just with a stereo system - isnít that what stereo TV sound does?

When I heard a Muso a year or two ago, being pleasantly surprised at the sound it managed from a compact unit, but not interested in purchasing because it was very expensive for the radio use envisaged at the time, I did wonder if it would be good as a soundbar for a medium size TV (37Ē) in the second lounge. I will be interested tomlearn how it does in this function.

No, and again there's a reason center channel speakers were invented.  But if you like watching your TV while the sound comes out of the Qb, sound dissociated from the picture, then who am I to complain?  If by "stereo tv sound" you mean stereo sound produced by the display's built-in speakers, the difference there is that the speaker drivers are located in the display, typically at least on both sides. At usual seating distance from the screen you hear the voices coming "from" the screen.  The fact that the speakers are physically so close to the display is what's important there, not the ability of those speakers to create a sound stage where voices emanate at the center of the soundstage. I predict you won't have that experience with a Qb sitting below or next to the screen.

(NB: I have the Bose soundbar for my 55" LG and it's fantastic; it contains about a dozen drivers and some face rearward-ish and sideways and do the surround channels vis dsp.  Somewhat credible surround from a single bar.)

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Innocent Bystander
FBart posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:
Bart posted:

There's a reason that sound bars are shaped like they are.  A one-box semi "point source" is not optimal for TV.  Our minds want to hear the voices coming from the images of the people; you can end up with a very unnatural experience even with 2-channel stereo speakers on either side of the screen. That's why center channel speakers were invented.

I'd get a sound bar if you really intend it for TV use.

Otherwise, with a small box music source, your best sound likely will be using both the TV sound and the Qb on at the same time.

But voices can be placed anywhere across the width of the soundstage just with a stereo system - isnít that what stereo TV sound does?

When I heard a Muso a year or two ago, being pleasantly surprised at the sound it managed from a compact unit, but not interested in purchasing because it was very expensive for the radio use envisaged at the time, I did wonder if it would be good as a soundbar for a medium size TV (37Ē) in the second lounge. I will be interested tomlearn how it does in this function.

No, and again there's a reason center channel speakers were invented.  But if you like watching your TV while the sound comes out of the Qb, sound dissociated from the picture, then who am I to complain?  If by "stereo tv sound" you mean stereo sound produced by the display's built-in speakers, the difference there is that the speaker drivers are located in the display, typically at least on both sides. At usual seating distance from the screen you hear the voices coming "from" the screen.  The fact that the speakers are physically so close to the display is what's important there, not the ability of those speakers to create a sound stage where voices emanate at the center of the soundstage. I predict you won't have that experience with a Qb sitting below or next to the screen.

(NB: I have the Bose soundbar for my 55" LG and it's fantastic; it contains about a dozen drivers and some face rearward-ish and sideways and do the surround channels vis dsp.  Somewhat credible surround from a single bar.)

Well, I was thinking of Muso not Qb, and siting it immediately below the screen, so in terms of positioning it would be very similar to the TVs own, but very crummy, speakers.

And as for a centre speaker, Iím not convinced aboout the voice positioning:  voices are perfectly capble of being accurately positioned horizontally using stereo speakers each side of tbe screen,exactly as a hifi system can, whereas a centre speaker for voice would only place the voice in the centre- which on a larger screen  does not fit with a person towards the side of the image (though of course on a small screen it doesnít matter). Surely what a centre channel does is separate out the vocal to be the dominant sound for clarity, combined with panning information from the side speakers for positioning. A soundbar would infinitely improve clarity of voices and everything compared  to internal TV speakers firing sideways from behind the screen - as would a Muso - and that is what I want from it. And when it comes to a big screen, I would rather have full surround than a soudbar (which is what I do with my 12ft wide screen in the main lounge).

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by fatcat

I connected my Qb to my Sony TV last night (Optical from the TV), anticipating an improvement in sound. How wrong I was, it sounded very flat, the mid range disappeared, as did the treble. However, the bass obviously improved.

Using both the TV speakers and the Qb at the same time was the best option. The Qb is basically used as a sub.

The above findings, where obtained at moderate volumes, maybe higher volumes would have improved things, but I didnít want to incur the wrath of the LLC. (Listening Level Controller.)

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by iburnell

Spooky. I've just disconnected my Canton Soundbase Dm75 this morning and connected TV to my Muso, so about to put the Canton up in the usual place. Seems silly having two units side by side and since the Muso is so capable decided to hook it up

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by David O'Higgins

I use a Muso as a soundbar connected via coax to a 10 year old Sony HD TV. Big improvement on TV sound, plus I can access my music via Roon when thereís nothing I want to watch. 

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by Dungassin

Well, I collected the Muso this morning and it's now sitting on the floor in front of the TV stand.  I've point blank refused requests by my 'boss' to install it properly, as I'm still awaiting delivery of the appropriate optical lead, and I'm b*ggered if I'm going to dismantle the TV setup twice!  She'll have to wait to hear it until all the bits have arrived.  It's bl**dy heavy, BTW.

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by Innocent Bystander
Dungassin posted:

.It's bl**dy heavy, BTW.

Yes, and without a carry hanle it ruled out possible use as a radio to mover whereverSWMBO might be in the house - she likes listening to music on the radio while doing things (I donít). It also has a circular dust catcher that I know would get a disapproving comment...  But Iíd still like to know how it performs in soundbar mode.

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by perttu

One yes vote from Finland to Qb working as soundbar as well as background radio listening. Positioned straight next to Tv we have managed to enjoy the sound it offers.

Is it better than our Tv-speakers, absolutely. Is it better than my previous surround sound system, no. But Qb performance versus size ratio makes it our favorite. It's bigger sibling should manage to achieve a similar performance. 

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by Dungassin

Well, just spent a frustrating afternoon setting up the Muso.   Got it working for music and iRadio OK, although the Naim app is hardly intuitive when it comes to setting up and arranging radio presets.  I had to restart my router before it was recognised on my network, but that was no big deal.  I use the FM tuner in my Arcam 850 when I want to listen to the radio (with Naim as poweramp, of course) , so it was a bit of a new experience for me to try to set up iRadio.

The problems are with getting it to work with her Panasonic TX-P42GT30B 42" plasma TV.  There is an optical audio mini-toslink output on the back of the TV, which I duly connected up to the Muso, but digital input on Muso says not connected.

Spent ages RTFM for the Muso and TV, and went into the TV setup menu, but although the instructions to set the output to PCM in the manual, they don't appear to be there when I access the sound setup for the TV!  So my thoughts are that 

1. I have a duff cable

2.Faulty Muso optical input

3. Faulty or absent optical TV output.  Perhaps this is one of those cases where the manual (which is, of course, for more than one model of Panasonic TV) hasn't mentioned that the optical output socket on SWMBO's TV isn't functional in this particular model of TV.

At this stage SWMBO appeared and asked me to hurry up, as she wanted to watch her TV, so I tried to rush it all, and didn't succeed in getting it to work.  I tried to persuade her to go and watch the TV in my study, but she wasn't having it.

Just been in the loft to find a standard Toslink so that I can try connecting her bluray player directly to the Muso, and will have to go into the garage and pinch the stereo minijack to stereo minijack lead I keep in the car.

All that will have to wait until tomorrow until I can persuade her to leave me alone to hopefully complete that part of the setup.  After that it will take another half-hour to change the activities on her Harmony remote to include the Muso.

Would probably have been so much easier if she would just have let me get her a cheapish AV amp and a halfway decent pair of bookshelf type speakers.

Sounds OK on streaming from my NAS.  Not as nice as the NDS, but a big price differential!

 

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by fatcat

When you plug the optical cable into the tele, does the end that plugs into the muso glow red. If it doesnít there is no signal.

With regards setting the digital output on the tele. On my sony, with the output set to speakers, it is not possible to change the DO. However, with the tele speakers switched off, I can change the DO to PCM, then if I switch the speakers back on, Iím able to listen through the Qb and the tele speakers, which I find better than just the Qb.