Referencing certainly one of the twentieth century’s most notorious catastrophes when christening a modish piece of expertise appears a remarkably daring resolution even now. Back in 2007, when Bowers & Wilkins unveiled its new “Zeppelin” iPod dock (bear in mind these? They appear about as quaint an idea as airships themselves nowadays, however 15 years in the past they had been on the innovative), eyebrows had been raised on the product’s title no matter its simple similarity of form.
But because of each its class-leading ranges of efficiency and its disinclination to trigger any fatalities, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin quickly transcended its dangerous mannequin title and was as a substitute broadly acknowledged as the very best iPod dock round.
“Zeppelin Air” and “Zeppelin Wireless” adopted, however for the reason that latter’s launch in 2015 the Zeppelin undertaking appeared to have stalled. Bowers & Wilkins as a substitute chanced its arm with the “Formation” vary of wireless speakers—however whereas this vary had fewer adverse connotations the place its title was involved, it additionally lacked Zeppelin’s apparent sonic superiority over its rivals.
And so Zeppelin is again, able to problem as soon as once more for the hotly contested title of “Best Quite Expensive Wireless Speaker.”
At first look, it might be 2007 over again. The newest Zeppelin doesn’t have an precise iPod dock, naturally, however the evocative silhouette is simply the identical. And at 8.2 x 25.5 x 7.6 inches and 14.3 kilos, it’s simply as imposing a tool because it ever was. Only the steel pedestal stand, with a dimmable built-in ambient mild (which appears helpful just for establishing whether or not or not you’ve dusted the shelf upon which your Zeppelin is standing), is an apparent departure from the established template. Well, that and the selection of “midnight grey” (for which learn “black”) or “pearl grey” (“gray”) finishes.
On the within the Zeppelin is, as you may think, all enterprise. Bowers & Wilkins is promising genuine stereo sound from this single enclosure, and to this finish the Zeppelin options 5 fastidiously positioned speaker drivers. At both finish of the cupboard there’s a 1-inch double-dome tweeter of the kind that first got here to prominence as a part of the award-winning 600 Anniversary Series vary of loudspeakers. In the centre there’s a 6-inch subwoofer coping with the low-end stuff, and it’s flanked by a few 3.5-inch midrange drivers. These use Bowers & Wilkins’ proprietary Fixed Suspension Transducer expertise that we most not too long ago encountered in a pair of the corporate’s $40,000 800 Series floor-standing behemoths. The 5 painstakingly organized excessive efficiency drivers are powered by a complete of 240 watts of Class D amplification—which, by any cheap metric, must be loads.
Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth are on board for painless and prime quality wi-fi connectivity, and the Bowers & Wilkins Music App provides additional potentialities. It’s a clear, handsome and fairly responsive management app by the requirements of any firm that isn’t Sonos, and it’s right here you get entry to a stack of streaming providers together with (however not restricted to) Deezer, Qobuz, Tidal, TuneIn, Last.fm and SoundCloud. Compatibility with each Amazon Music and Amazon Alexa voice-control are promised quickly.
Also on the “coming soon” record is multi-room performance, with compatibility throughout each the Zeppelin and Formation ranges. In the meantime, although, Zeppelin is a standalone gadget that may be managed through its app or the extraordinarily temporary set of bodily controls on the rear of the enclosure.