It’s very rare for me to start a review like this but WOW! Just WOW. The Bowers&Wilkins speaker is huge! From the images I was expecting something a little smaller but that’s definitely not a bad thing, especially when it sounds this good.

Bowers&Wilkins are back with a new rendition of their popular Zeppelin speakers. A quick history lesson for you. B&W first released their Zeppelin models around eight years ago with the Zeppelin. This speaker used an iPod dock (yes, remember those?) to play its music. Then came the Zeppelin Air, which used the iPod dock again, but this time integrated with Apple’s AirPlay. Still this was quite limiting.

Now they have released the new Zeppelin Wireless, with a whole host of ways to be able to connect your audio devices. Everything that you expect from Bowers&Wilkins is pumped into their new speaker. You can even find the 90mm mid-range drivers wrapped in their FST technology brackets. There are two tweeters at each end of the Zeppelin shape too, which follows in the footsteps of their 800-series speakers where the tweeters have very limited room to work. This heightens audio quality somewhat to bring extremely clear high frequencies.

The main drivers responsible for the bass reproduce enough thump to be heard over the music, but holds back, giving you a rich mix of low, mid and high frequencies. We tested a few genres of music, from rock to dubstep, classical to reggae and we couldn’t really find much of a fault with audio reproduction. Even from sources such as Spotify, the upscaling 192kHz/24bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that the speaker pulls off is amazing. Even at lower volumes, the use of B&W’s Digital Signal Processor, it sounds much better than its predecessors and other high-end speakers on the market. This means better control over the bass so it doesn’t overpower any kind of high frequency audio.

The Zeppelin Wireless looks light, as if it’s floating on your kitchen or living room counter. They’ve managed to pull off a borderless chassis which enables the speaker to look smooth on all edges. It’ll look fantastic where ever you decide to place it: the kitchen, the living room, even the bathroom, the Zeppelin will fit any kind of decor.

Connecting the device, admittedly we found to be a little tedious. Because the speaker is for Apple users at heart, connecting the speaker to a wireless router or Android phone took a little longer than I would have liked. There is also only a support app for iOS.

The wireless functions just didn’t seem to want to pair. Although saying that, it’s not limited to just a wireless connection. Now you have Bluetooth AptX and Spotify Connect. You can even use a 3.5mm aux connection to hardwire straight into the speaker.

The new Zeppelin speaker is beautiful and sounds absolutely fantastic thanks to a whole host of audio processors built into its gorgeous frame. Unfortunately the lack of support for wireless which aren’t from Apple and Android devices make it hard for me to justify the price tag, which if you were wondering, is around £500. A little hefty if you ask me. But for any audiophiles out there who want a neat little device, which if you’re using Bluetooth requires very little setup hassle, then this speaker is definitely for you.

 

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Stef Murphy

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