Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Review: Up in the air

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Verdict

The aforementioned unique shape but with more of a focus on streaming, the Zeppelin’s comeback is a worthy one with a terrific audio performance and slick streaming capabilities.

Pros

  • Precise sound
  • Plenty of streaming options
  • Striking blueprint
  • Prissy app

Cons

  • Rather large to accommodate
  • No Chromecast
  • Stereo ambitions overstated

Availability

  • United kingdom
    RRP: £699
  • USA
    RRP: $799
  • Europe
    RRP: €799

Fundamental Features


  • Bluetooth
    Tin can stream up to aptX-Hd

  • Smart skills
    Built-in Alexa voice recognition

  • Music app
    Music app integrates streaming services such as Tidal and Qobuz

Introduction

The last Zeppelin speaker to emerge from the Bowers & Wilkins factory was in 2022, and the landscape of the wireless speaker marketplace has shifted enough in that fourth dimension.

Nowadays, a premium wireless speaker that launches without a control app is considered a faux pas. Digital assistants have colonised homes, while the thirst for higher-quality audio has increased.

And so the Zeppelin returns to embrace the digital age. Alexa comes built in and the speaker is entwined with music services then it can be fed a diet of your favourite tracks and playlists.

Pattern

  • Unique looks
  • Needs infinite to operate
  • Elegant, premium construction

You lot could trace the evolution of modernistic wireless speakers through the diverse iterations of the Zeppelin model. From the Zeppelin iPod speaker Dock to Zeppelin Air, Zeppelin Wireless and now Zeppelin, it’s advanced from a speaker with a physical dock to a wholly wireless experience.

And so as the iPod docks of quondam were consigned to the history books, the new Zeppelin ditches physical ports altogether – there’s no iii.5mm jack and no Ethernet. Visually, the Zeppelin remains a looker, with contoured curves and premium fabric cloth merging to create its distinctive silhouette. The housing is an ultra-rigid, FEA-optimised enclosure sculpted to deliver a broad and spacious sound.

Bowers Wilkins Zeppelin side profile

The stand is built in, and integrated into the underside of the body is a downwards-facing LED light. The brightness can be adjusted in the app or switched off completely – later a menstruum of inactivity it turns off anyway. At 650mm wide, the Zeppelin isn’t a wireless speaker that likes to share space. For more than placement options there’due south a £59 wall bracket.

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin buttons

There’s no remote, so on the rear are playback, volume, Alexa Vox Service and Multifunction (MFB) buttons. The MFB can be used to set up the speaker, showtime a Bluetooth connectedness and information technology flashes to denote the speaker’s condition. Hold the Vocalisation Service button to plough off the microphones, if you crave privacy.

In the dorsum of the stand you’ll find the ability outlet, alongside a USB-C service port and reset button. The Zeppelin comes in midnight grey and pearl grey finishes, with the latter looking especially lovely.

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin connections

Features

  • Slick and well-featured Music app
  • Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect support
  • Alexa voice assistance

The Zeppelin is full stream ahead for features – but earlier I get to that, some details virtually what’s within. For the loftier frequencies at that place are two 25mm double-dome tweeters, for the mid-range ii 90mm FST (Fixed Pause Transducer) drivers, and the low frequencies are handled by a 6-inch subwoofer.

Bowers Wilkins Zeppelin top view

Driving all this is 240W of amplification, which is comparatively less than the similarly priced Naim Mu-And so Qb 2 (300W). At its heart is a DAC capable of 24-bit/192kHz – although, currently, the resolution the Zeppelin accepts is 24-fleck/96kHz, which could exist raised through updates.

In that location’s AirPlay two for iOS devices (which also brings multi-room support) and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth (aptX-Hd) for Android. Streaming services are served by Spotify Connect, with Deezer, Last.fm, Qobuz, Soundcloud, TuneIn and Tidal available to be linked to in the Bowers & Wilkins app. Spotify Hi-Fi will be supported when it launches, and with the Zeppelin’s upgradeable digital brain, more services can be added in the time to come.

BW Music app home page iOS

The Bowers & Wilkins Music control app is more featured than the barebones Formation Home app from a few years dorsum. Information technology looks great on iPad Pro, slick in advent and frictionless in utilize. The chief folio is organised into a row of recommendations, recently played content, followed by Bowers & Wilkins playlists and linked streaming services. There’s scope to conform the speaker’southward EQ by altering bass and treble from -6dB to 6dB.

BW Music app equaliser settings LED

Playback in the app extends to play/pause, skipping and book adjustment, with no ability to scrub forrard or backwards. While you lot tin can control content that’s playing in other apps – say, Apple tree Podcasts – they won’t appear in the recently played row, necessitating a jump dorsum to the app to play something else.

Bowers Wilkins Music app Football Weekly

Alexa is built in, and when beckoned the recognisable blue calorie-free appears below the Bowers & Wilkins logo, the far-field microphones picking up requests from across the room. She can play music from services you’ve linked to in the Alexa app (Amazon Music and Spotify) – merely even if you link Alexa to Apple Podcasts, her reach won’t stretch to unsupported apps.

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Alexa

Initial setup takes a petty longer than expected, and booting up isn’t instantaneous, either. Similar a university student who’southward had a dark out, the Zeppelin requires some fourth dimension to wake up. Yet, the combination of the Zeppelin and Music app is an improvement over the Formation app, which is slowly being integrated into the Music app, and multi-room with Formation is all the same on rails for early on 2022.

If you hanker for DLNA or UPnP, they’re not currently supported and for the time being then Bowers & Wilkins seems content with the options offered, so don’t expect Chromecast or Google Assistant whatever time soon.

Sound Quality

  • Large sound
  • Deep bass
  • Well-baked, clear and sharp functioning

The new Zeppelin markets itself as more than of an all-in-one system than earlier, and it delivers a performance that’s in-melody with what nosotros’ve come to expect from the series.

Information technology strikes a rather neutral and precise tone – a sound stripped of fat and filtered to deliver a pure signal. It’s sharp and clear at the top finish, with a business firm and punchy low-frequency performance, and a mid-range that’s crisp and detailed.

It can easily go big and loud, its performance ably filling a medium-sized room; although the Zeppelin’s stereo image ambitions are rather overstated. The Zeppelin produces a large sound, for certain, but the bulk of the action happens in the eye, a sense of outright width wasn’t particularly evident in the music I played.

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin close up

Vocals are reproduced cleanly, with clarity and allegiance. Obongjayar’s coarse and raspy vocalization comes out well in Frens, while Faye Webster’s quiet, trembling speech/singing comes across exactly like that.

You could mayhap argue that the Zeppelin’s more stark approach robs voices of some emotional depth and warmth. Anya Taylor-Joy’s voice in Downtown Downtempo from the Last Night in Soho soundtrack is stripped make clean and laid bare. Nonetheless, a counter-argument is that the Zeppelin refuses to add any colour, preserving the subtle details and intonations for a revealing vocal functioning.

Depending on the track, there are occasions where the Zeppelin gets as well excitable. Its sense of system and rhythmic power sideslip, with details – particularly in the background – a little lost as the speaker gives prominence to vocals.

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin size

But information technology’s capable of some delicate subtlety and nuance. The piano in Joe Hisaishi’s Innocent sparkles with a tremendous sense of clarity and naturalism, equally if the piano was right there in front of yous. The speaker’s subwoofer outputs tremendous power: Kendrick Lamar’s Pride offers both dial, weight and depth, without ever becoming too hard or inflexible.

Dynamically, they’re insightful with plenty of divergence from quiet and loud parts of a track, and they’re agile also: Ripples in the Sand from the Dune soundtrack produces an explosive sense of bass that contrasts with the ethereal and otherworldly voice that emerges from the track.

What width there is gives clarity to the separation to instruments in the New Masters/Keyon Harrold embrace of This Is America, and when the vocal descends into chaos, the Zeppelin maintains control over timing and definition of those instruments, the speaker’s sense of rhythm undisturbed. The Zeppelin is a high-quality speaker and it has returned in some style.

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Should you lot buy it?

For a clear, crisp and poised performer
The Zeppelin delivers terrific sound – and, with the Music app, information technology’southward easier than ever to play your music with little delay.

If y’all want Chromecast
At that place’s currently no support for Google’s streaming connection, which may irk Android users who prefer Chromecast over Bluetooth.

Final Thoughts

The Zeppelin lives up to the loftier standards of the previous entries in the series, delivering an feel that satisfies both on the audio front and in usability terms with the Music app.

Some may pine for concrete ports, but the streaming approach makes sense – and with the number of wireless sources and streaming services the Zeppelin plugs into, there’southward enough to encompass most people’south needs. Only the lack of Chromecast stops this from being a one-stop streaming system.

Regardless, the audio performance is big, loud and offers plenty of allegiance to bring your music streaming library to life. This Zeppelin showcases plenty of élan and an sound performance I’d course as terrific.

How nosotros test

Nosotros test every wireless speaker we review thoroughly over an extended period of fourth dimension. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell yous what we notice. We never, ever, accept money to review a production.

Find out more than about how we test in our ethics policy.

Tested over several weeks

Tested with real world utilize

Tested with various streaming services

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FAQs

Does the B&W Zeppelin support Chromecast?

At this moment in time, the Zeppelin does not support Chromecast.

What Bluetooth codecs does the Zeppelin support?

SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX-Hd.

Is there support for Roon, DLNA and UPnP?

At this moment in time, the Zeppelin doesn’t support these features.

Total specs

UK RRP

USA RRP

EU RRP

Manufacturer

IP rating

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

ASIN

Release Date

Model Number

Driver (s)

Ports

Sound (Power output)

Connectivity

Colours

Frequency Range

Audio Formats

Speaker Blazon

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin

£699

$799

€799

Bowers & Wilkins

No

650 x 194 x 210 MM

half-dozen.5 KG

B09JKXFRR2

2022

FP41955

2x 25mm double dome tweeters, 2x 90mm FST midrange, 150mm subwoofer

USB-C (service only)

240 Due west

Bluetooth v.0, AirPlay 2

Midnight grey, Pearl grey

35 24000 – Hz

SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX-HD

Wireless Speaker

Jargon buster

Bluetooth 5.0

Bluetooth v.0 is the latest iteration of the standard, and allows data to be sent at twice as much as speed over previous standards, embrace 4 times as much in terms of distance and transfer eight times as much data.

aptX

Qualcomm’s aptX codec tin can support higher quality audio than Bluetooth alone.

AirPlay 2

AirPlay two is the 2nd generation of Apple tree’s proprietary wireless streaming tech, which is built into all of its hardware products (and supported by many others). Information technology’south designed to pass content from your Apple device – music, video and photos – to a compatible receiver over your Wi-Fi network such as a Boob tube, wireless speaker, AV receiver etc.

Source: https://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/bowers-and-wilkins-zeppelin

Posted by: Sadiyev.com