the wireless speaker that does not go unnoticed

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An iconic audio brand, Bowers & Wilkins usually shines for its massive, amazing-sounding wired speakers. The English firm is back with its iconic wireless model, the Zeppelin. Exit the iPod dock, the speaker signed B&W is reborn from its ashes to offer Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay and Spotify Connect compatibility as a bonus. Is the design worth the musical candle?

Source: FRANDROID - Anthony WONNER

Source: FRANDROID – Anthony WONNER

Known for its high-end and large-format wired speakers, Bowers & Wilkins also thinks of more modest interiors. At the end of 2020, the company presented a new version of its Zeppelin speaker, a stand-alone Wi-Fi and Bluetooth model that stands out in the catalog of the English brand. But which respects the essential criteria: an original (massive) design and premium audio quality.

Technical sheet

This article was made from a product lent by the brand.

A look like no other

Compared to its first version presented in 2007, the new Zeppelin abandons the iPod dock which adorned it then to bet on a real wireless connection and more versatility, just to be more in tune with the technological times. The connected speaker from Bowers & Wilkins is unprecedented in the very premium range of the English audio brand. By his skills, but also by his possibilities.

Source: FRANDROID - Anthony WONNER

Source: FRANDROID – Anthony WONNER

The least we can say is that the Zeppelin stands out from the usual connected speakers. With its very slender design in the shape of a Zeppelin airship, it is rather massive (65 cm long x 21 cm high x 19.4 cm deep) and will especially find its place on a console-type piece of furniture. Its design makes it better to highlight it as a decorative element than to hide it in a shelf (or very large and very wide so as not to block the sound which diffuses over the entire width!).

Be careful, it is nevertheless quite heavy (6.5 kg). But at no time were we afraid that it would tip over. Its weight is very well distributed.

It is covered with a black honeycomb fabric, surmounted by a metal plate on the front displaying the name of the brand. The speaker sits on an aluminum plinth with a light that reverberates below. It is not necessarily essential, but the most beautiful visual effect, and it brings an additional touch of elegance to the whole in terms of finish. In addition, you can adjust this mood lighting to choose the lighting effect on the stand. The general look is extremely neat and we immediately understand that we are dealing with a high-end product.

When the atmosphere becomes more subdued, the Zeppelin draws its integrated light

When the atmosphere becomes more subdued, the Zeppelin draws its integrated light // Source: FRANDROID – Melinda DAVAN-SOULAS

On the back, there are the buttons to control your music. They are five in number: to raise the volume and lower it, play / pause, pair in Bluetooth or mute the microphone of the voice assistant.

Source: FRANDROID - Anthony WONNER

Source: FRANDROID – Anthony WONNER

At the level of the connectors just below, there is a port for the power supply, a USB-C socket (to possibly connect cables with an adapter not supplied) and a button to reset the speaker. But here you have no way of connecting a device by wire (no jack or other), nor even the speaker via Ethernet.

Source: FRANDROID - Anthony WONNER

Source: FRANDROID – Anthony WONNER

Audio : Bluetooth, wifi et AirPlay 2 en soutien

The Zeppelin is a complete stereo system, unlike the usual brand which usually offers speakers to add to an audio device. The speaker features two double dome tweeters (25 mm) associated with 90 mm midrange drivers with fixed suspension (as in the brand’s column speakers), as well as a subwoofer. We find ourselves there with speakers positioned to the left and right of the subwoofer. As always with Bower & Wilkins, they have been positioned in a rigid case to guarantee the best possible acoustic performance and the most precise quality sound dispersion possible.

The speaker supports the Bluetooth aptX Adaptive and AirPlay 2 (wifi). It also supports AAC and SBC codecs.

The sound offered is quite deep and diffuses widely in the room without the need to push the volume. We recognize here the rather balanced sound of the British brand, this time in a more compact size than usual. If you like well-marked bass, you won’t necessarily be served, but overall, the bass, midrange and treble are rather detailed and punchy. To listen to classical, live or acoustic music, jazz or even rock, it’s impeccable.

Installation and use

A simple setup

An all-in-one speaker, the Zeppelin is fairly easy to set up and configure. You plug it in, pair it via Bluetooth to your device and you’re done. You can also do everything directly from the Bowers & Wilkins Music app to enjoy more settings and manage the speaker remotely. It’s pretty quick in terms of setup, with no frills or fine-tuning settings.

Unlike the usual Bowers & Wilkins speakers, the Zeppelin cannot be connected to another audio system. It can be used wirelessly to stream content from your smartphone, tablet, PC or any other Bluetooth device. You can possibly try to do multiroom if you have an iPhone with AirPlay 2 and you can then associate it with other devices. But that’s all. It is designed as an individual loudspeaker for a room. And even for a single device. She can memorize several, but she only connects to one at a time.

Source: FRANDROID - Anthony WONNER

Source: FRANDROID – Anthony WONNER

It’s great for music, but we occasionally experienced some slight lags between picture and sound while watching Netflix.

A minimalist app

You can also take advantage of Spotify Connect which is compatible if you subscribe to the high quality paid offer. From the Bowers & Wilkins app, you can launch playlists, access different services de streaming musical, radios and podcasts (Qobuz, Deezer, Tidal, Soundcloud, TuneIn, NTS, Last.fm). The list is not yet very large, but it is destined to grow.

If you use the app to stream your music, you can also indicate your favorite songs by tapping on the heart. This will allow the app to then make recommendations for playlists and songs to listen to by learning about your musical tastes.

Alexa on demand

Bowers & Wilkins advances a loudspeaker more ” intelligent “ than his elder. For this, it also welcomes Amazon Alexa to be controlled by voice. It’s quite effective and very responsive. Alexa even manages to detect our voice from quite a distance, without the need for absolute calm.

But that’s not all: the speaker has a “digital brain” which will allow it to be updated frequently, in particular to allow a real multiroom, with other Zeppelin or wireless speakers from the B&W Formation range (Wedge, Duo, Bar, etc.).

Zeppelin Pricing and Availability

The Zeppelin connected speaker from Bowers & Wilkins is available in Midnight Gray and Pearl Gray at a price of 799 euros. It is for sale on the brand’s website and with partner resellers such as Amazon, Fnac and Darty.

An iconic audio brand, Bowers & Wilkins usually shines for its massive, amazing-sounding wired speakers. The English firm is back with its iconic wireless model, the Zeppelin. Exit the iPod dock, the speaker signed B&W is reborn from its ashes to offer Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay and Spotify Connect compatibility as a bonus. Is the design…

An iconic audio brand, Bowers & Wilkins usually shines for its massive, amazing-sounding wired speakers. The English firm is back with its iconic wireless model, the Zeppelin. Exit the iPod dock, the speaker signed B&W is reborn from its ashes to offer Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, AirPlay and Spotify Connect compatibility as a bonus. Is the design…

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