As we all know there is alot of streaming audio players out there, at the heart of the Musaic MP5 (Amazon £279.95) is a beautiful sounding amp more on this later on in the review, which in the MP5’s case outputs 18W per side into two full-range 55mm front-firing drive units made from doped paper cones with dust caps.
A rear grab handle also acts as a discreet bass port, to further aide lower frequency reproduction and both models feature a custom-tuned version of HDSX signal processing, claimed to expand the listening position’s sweet-spot.
With 10 touch-sensitive top-panel buttons emulating smartphone icons that include power, volume and mute in the right bank and play controls to the left, which also double up as memory recall buttons. There’s also a heart-shaped ‘like’ icon and light bulb symbol, revealing how the Musaics are also designed to work with streaming services and smart home lighting systems.
Physical inputs are limited to a rear-panel 3.5mm analogue input, a USB-A charge socket for smartphones and the like and an Ethernet port. The system’s real talent, however, lies in its streaming support, and to access everything it has to offer, you need to download the free Musaic app (for Android and iOS). Setting up a wi-fi connection is plain sailing.
The way how the MP5 glues the various instruments within the track together in a cohesive manner, allowing all of its elements to combine and build the music’s overriding atmospheric, to hook me in.
At the bottom of the screen is a row of music source icons to access music stored on my phone, internet radio stations, music libraries on my network (including my NAS drive), plus a range of third-party streaming services.
For the latter, seamless integration is provided for Spotify Connect, and you’ll need Spotify’s Premium package to access this. There’s also support for AUPEO!, Murfie, Napster, Qualcomm AllPlay,, including Tidal.
Hitting the home icon takes you to the ‘Rooms’ menu, which lists each Musaic player on your network, allowing you to stream music to each individually, or group them to play simultaneously, with one acting as a ‘master’ allowing it to relay music on, such as when streaming via Bluetooth.
With the Musaic MP5 has the range of file types is supported including MP3/AAC/ALAC/FLAC/AIFF and WAV up to 24-bit/192kHz, alongside aptX Bluetooth.
While listening to the MP5, while was listening to it I positioned myself about 2m in front of the MP5, to test the quality of sound from the device, with listening to my test tracks, the instruments are placed precisely where they should be with the guitars at the centre of the mix, complemented by horns and tambourines at the edges, alongside layers of percussion deeper still. Moving left or right of this position and the musical image remains the same, continuing to sound whole and well-rounded, with less drop off or over attention on areas of the frequency band than I’d expected. As I continue to move away from my listening position, the music gives a good impression of following me around the room without getting too lost or blurred.
The outset from the M5 has been engineered for maximum sound quality from the compact cases, meaning your office or kitchen need not suffer from audio that’s overly compromised. And while the Musaics’ onboard controls are intentionally limited, thankfully the accompanying app is very user-friendly, allowing you to jump across each device in the moment. Also Musaic can be connected to smart lighting systems and IFTTT to create a smart home that’s equally simple to set up.
If you looking for a good streaming speaker system then your ears will love you for it.