Review of Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin (2021): The King of Return

Mention one of the in the 20th century’s most famous disasters when the baptism of a new piece of technology seemed like an incredibly bold decision even today. Back in 2007, when Bowers & Wilkins unveiled the new “Zeppelin” iPod dock (remember that? They looked like a unique concept like the airships themselves these days, but 15 years ago they were available at the top), eyebrows are raised in the name of the product despite its undeniable similarity in shape.

But thanks to both its first-class performance level and the frustration it caused any deaths, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin quickly surpassed the risky model name and is best recognized as the best iPod dock. around.

“Zeppelin Air” and “Zeppelin Wireless” followed, but since its launch later in 2015 the Zeppelin project seems to have stalled. Bowers & Wilkins instead took his arm in the “Formation” range wireless speakers—But while this set has little negative connotations where its name is concerned, it also lacks Zeppelin’s clear sonic superiority over its rivals.

And so Zeppelin is back, ready to challenge again for the hotly debated title of “Best Quite Expensive Wireless Speaker.”

At first glance, it may be 2007 again. The latest Zeppelin doesn’t have an actual iPod dock, naturally, but the evocative silhouette is the same. And at 8.2 x 25.5 x 7.6 inches and 14.3 pounds, it’s the same as installing a device as before. The metal pedestal stand alone, with a dimmable integrated ambient light (which seems to be only useful for establishing whether or not you are pushing or not the shelf where your Zeppelin stands), is an obvious departure from the built-in template . Well, that and choosing “midnight gray” (which reads “black”) or “pearl gray” (“gray”) will end.

The reborn Zeppelin in gray.

Photo: Bowers & Wilkins

Inside Zeppelin, as you can imagine, it’s all business. Bowers & Wilkins promises true stereo sound from this one enclosure, and to this end the Zeppelin has five carefully positioned speaker drivers. At either end of the cabinet is a 1-inch double-dome tweeter of the type that first became prominent as part of the award-winning 600 Anniversary Series range of loudspeakers. In the center there’s a 6-inch subwoofer that deals with low-end stuff, and it’s surrounded by a pair of 3.5-inch midrange drivers. It uses the technology of Bowers & Wilkins ’proprietary Fixed Suspension Transducer that we recently encountered in a pair of the company’s $ 40,000 800 Series floor-standing behemoths. The five hard-working high-performance drivers are powered by a total of 240 watts of Class D amplification-which, by any reasonable measure, should be a lot.

Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth are on board for painless and high -quality wireless connectivity, and the Bowers & Wilkins Music App adds more possibilities. It’s a clean, nice-looking and reasonably responsive control app by the standards of any non-Sonos company, and here you get access to a stack of streaming services including (but not limited to in) Deezer, Qobuz, Tidal, TuneIn, and SoundCloud. The compatibility of Amazon Music and Amazon Alexa voice-control is promised soon.

Also on the “coming soon” list is multi-room functionality, with compatibility with the Zeppelin and Formation ranges. Currently, however, the Zeppelin is a standalone device that can be controlled via its app or the much shorter set of physical controls behind the enclosure.

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