The app generates Music Now playlists depending on the artists you select as favourites. They can be Music Now (Your personal mix), Music Now (Discovery), Music Now (Favourites), Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, etc.
You can’t create playlists in the Dynaudio Music app but instead play the ones generated by the app/Music Now and your saved playlists from Tidal. You can, however, shape the Music Now playlists by click ‘dislike’ or ‘like’ when a specific track is playing. Also, if you create your playlists in Tidal and then they will automatically show on the front page of the Music app. The best way to think of the Music Now function, is as as an ‘always on’ playlist that is constantly adapting to your taste.
This is one of the true strengths of the Music 5, and the Music system entire. Pretty soon, the app goes away, and you just press one of those five buttons for your music (you can also assign specific albums, fixed playlists, or even internet radio stations to those hard buttons). In fact, about the only time you end up using your tablet or smartphone is when you hear something so good, you want to play it again. That happens quite a lot because the Music 5 quickly becomes spookily good at finding the sort of music you like. And I really mean ‘spookily good’... almost ‘music stalker’ good. You press that button and music you never knew you liked comes out of the speaker.
OK, you can make the Music Now algorithm fail (if you made a playlist that includes plainchant, Kabuki, Burt Bacharach, and Dead Kennedys tracks, then don’t be surprised if your virtual-music-curator acts a little psychotic), and it’s bound by the limits of Tidal, but that means it’s functionally limitless for most listeners.
Even this isn’t the end of the Music’s ‘smarts’. It includes a NoiseAdapt function that ‘listens’ to the ambient sound. It may adjust the volume slightly but it is more about adjusting and adapting the dynamics in a specific area of the soundstage. Personally, I’d like that to go further and include a ‘drowning out boring conversations’ option, but I think that’s beyond the technology as it stands. In fact, the technology has existed in recording systems for years, but usually alters the volume level alone, and as a result can ‘pump’ the volume up and down a little with the flow of speech.
Given the relative size of the Music 5, it also plays impressively loud. Not ‘PA system’ loud and not even ‘bring the club home and party’ loud, but certainly loud enough to get the party started. This can be something of a double-edged sword if you are in possession of a teenager. If this is the case, you’ll probably need to buy more than one Music 5, because your one will be purloined, reprogrammed, and played a lot, at a decent lick. That’s actually great, and great for keeping the audiophile flame alive because it’s promoting the notion of good sound to an audience that might not otherwise experience the concept. And here’s why: the audio industry keeps banging on about ‘new blood’, but what they mean is ‘younger people listening to the same stuff we did.’ This will never work; no teenager is going to be impressed by listening to well-recorded songs penned 25 years before they were born (sorry, Rickie Lee Jones), but this gives the same teenagers some kind of context in which to appreciate good music (on the Music 5). That makes these loudspeakers a gateway into good audio. Excellent!
In outright audiophile terms, the Music 5 is pretty good. OK, so it’s not ‘bulldog chewing a wasp’ audiophile-grade good, but they will be damning it for not being a pair of Special 40s anyway. There is some slight tailoring around the upper-bass, which comes across when playing fast bass drums; instead of ‘bop-bop-bop’, it’s slightly ‘blomp-blomp-blomp’. However, that tailoring is akin to reducing a sauce to make it richer, and makes for a more fun sound. The difference between Music 5 and conventional hi-fi is fairly narrow, and mostly relies on the more meticulous nature of traditional systems. Sound will be presented in full marching order on a good stereo system, where the Music 5 takes a more relaxed approach to things like dynamic range. In its peer group, however, it’s hard to beat.
Using a pair of Music 5s makes a lot of sense, too. Pair them as stereo and they make an expansive sound, albeit not a sound with a pin-point soundstage and rock-solid instruments in an audio hologram. Group them and you have a multi-room system. Run them as two standalone devices and you have two separate music systems in the house. You can switch between these scenarios easily on the app.