We review the KEF Muo!
For many, Bluetooth speakers aren’t something you spend big bucks on. Typically consumers buy something that has sound quality that’s good enough for sharing to other people in the room. For the KEF Muo, that’s absolutely not the case – this portable Bluetooth speaker is probably the best sounding one we’ve tested in a long while and despite its relatively small size, it handily beats bigger speakers like Bose’s Soundlink Mini II in sheer volume output and clarity.
Anybody who is familiar with British brand KEF knows that they’re not fans of garish designs, and instead favor simple, iconic designs that aim to capture the eye of the casual observer without overwhelming them. The Muo is no exception as it was designed by famed industrial designer Ross Lovegrove and based on KEF’s limited edition, 9.3 million a pair Moun speakers.
Overall construction is superb, as the Muo uses a single slab of aluminum for the main body, with only the ends being plastic. It feels sturdy and hefty in the hands, and while it’s not water resistant like other Bluetooth speakers, you can probably whack someone in the head with this without the speaker dying (your victim may not be so lucky).
True to KEF’s no-frills ethos, the controls are rather simple. All of the controls are located on the right side of the speaker, which consist of a volume rocker, power button and a button to start the Bluetooth pairing process. There’s a slot on the back to attach the USB charger, and a 3.5mm auxiliary jack to daisy chain other Muo speakers together, if you happen to be Mr. Moneybags. You can also use NFC to pair your device to the Muo if you want.
Pairing your device is pretty straight forward – you just need to hold the Bluetooth button down for 2 seconds until the power indicator starts blinking blue, then pair your device as normal.
While the outside of the Muo seem simple and unassuming, the inside is quite impressive. Inside the Muo are two 50mm drivers and a bass radiator, and KEF has designed the drivers in a way that emulates their Uni-Q drivers that inhabit their bigger and more expensive speakers.
This gives the Muo surprisingly awesome sound quality, esepcially for its size. Sound fidelity is amazing, especially for a speaker this small – you can really hear the emotions in the vocals of Adele in Rolling In The Deep. Mids are very pronounced, though bass heavy tracks revealed the limitations of its bass radiator while playing Drake’s Back To Back. Typically speakers this small struggle to output clear audio at higher volumes, but the Muo takes everything in stride – even at higher volumes, the clarity of the sound remain unaffected. The sound quality of the Muo takes a very slight hit at max volume.
As far as run time goes, KEF rates the battery at around 12 hours but you can expect battery life of probably 8 hours with normal use. With the volume cranked all the way up, expect that figure to drop to 6.
The only thing that’s holding us back from recommending the Muo is its price. At Php 14,000, it’s probably the most expensive Bluetooth speaker of its size in the market today and will be out of reach of most consumers. But for the people who put an absolute premium on sound quality, it’s the only logical choice in a market that’s saturated by gimmicky Bluetooth speakers that deliver mediocre sound.