Executive Editor, TechHiveSep 14, 2020 5:00 am PDT
Image: Naim Focal
Naim Audio has been supplying bespoke car-audio systems for Bentley Motors since 2008, and Naim and Focal merged in 2011. Now, all three companies have worked together to produce two new high-end audio products for the home: The Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition (a luxury version of the Naim all-in-one music player that earned our Editors’ Choice award in September 2019), and an entirely new headphone, the Focal for Bentley Radiance.
Both products echo design elements found in Bentley’s luxury automobiles, such as color accents drawn from the $2-million Bentley Mulliner Bacalar open-top touring car, the characteristic diamond quilting of Bentley’s upholstery, and of course the Bentley logo.
Focal for Bentley Radiance
The Radiance headphone is arguably the more interesting of the two new products, since it is an entirely new design with brand-new drivers: 40mm (1-5/8-inch) M-shaped domes fabricated from aluminum and magnesium. Focal says the Radiance will deliver frequency response of 5Hz to 23kHz with THD of 0.1% @ 1kHz/100dB SPL, and a sensitivity of 101dB SPL/1mW @ 1kHz. With 35 ohms of impedance, these headphones should be easy to drive even with the smaller amplifiers in mobile devices.
The headphone’s yoke is fabricated from aluminum, and its earpads and headband are wrapped in padded full-grain leather, the latter embossed in the aforementioned diamond pattern. This motif is also present on the back of each earcup. Copper accents are intended to recall elements of Bentley interior design. Priced at $1,299, the Radiance falls in between Focal’s other two closed-back headphones, the Stellia and the Elegia, both of which have been named TechHive Editors’ Choice winners. Like those cans, the Radiance is being manufactured in France.
The enhancements to Naim’s self-contained wireless music player are all about appearances, not that the lovely-sounding Mu-so 2nd Generation needed much in the way of sonic improvements. Like that system, the Bentley Special Edition is powered by a 450-watt amplifier driving pairs of 1-inch silk-dome tweeters, 2-inch mid-ranges, and 5-inch long-excursion woofers.
The special edition’s enclosure features a stained and lacquered wood finish crafted from Ayous, a sustainably harvested wood from Africa. Bentley’s diamond pattern surrounds the Mu-so’s illuminated, touch-sensitive control dial, and the fabric in its asymmetrical cloth grille features a copper-threaded weave. The massive heatsink in back will have a copper finish, and the system’s smoked acrylic plinth will feature the Naim and Bentley brands illuminated by an LED backlight.
These luxury trappings lift the price of the Naim Mu-so for Bentley Special Edition to $2,199. You can read more about the system at Naim’s website. Both the headphone and the all-in-one system will be available for purchase at select retailers and direct from Naim, Focal, and Bentley online stores in October.
Michael is TechHive's lead editor, with 30+ years of experience covering the tech industry, focusing on the smart home, home audio, and home theater. He built his own smart home in 2007 and used it as a real-world test lab for product reviews. Following a relocation to the Pacific Northwest, he is now converting his new home, an 1890 Victorian bungalow, into a modern smart home.