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Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin – Ready for the streaming age

Even smarter, even more flexible – that’s how Bowers & Wilkins is promoting the new generation of Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, a solution whose history goes back a long way. What began as an Apple iPod docking solution is now ready for the streaming age.

The history of Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin goes back a long way. Remember, it was one of the first audio systems in the premium segment to be tailored entirely to Apple’s portable audio player, the Apple iPod. With the latest generation, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is now ready for the streaming age, Bowers & Wilkins promises.

According to the manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins, the latest model is even more intelligent and flexible than previous generations of Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, and it is also equipped to play back hi-res audio.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin – More than 15 years of history…

In fact, it was back in 2007 that Bowers & Wilkins first launched the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin.

At that time, the market for compact all-in-one speakers was dominated by solutions from the IT world, and the classic hi-fi manufacturers completely ignored the emerging market for such solutions.

Bowers & Wilkins was therefore one of the first manufacturers from the classic hi-fi segment to recognise the enormous potential and present a suitable solution with the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin.

At the time, Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin was rightly seen as the ultimate Apple iPod dock solution, taking music playback directly from portable audio players to a whole new level.

With the latest generation of Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, the direct connection of any device plays little or no role at all; this system, according to the manufacturer, is designed entirely for streaming.

  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

Wireless Speaker with Premium Audio Technology

The new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is said to be a complete stereo system in an extremely slim, elegant unit. This new solution draws on Bowers & Wilkins’ experience in developing high-quality loudspeaker systems for both studio and hi-fi applications.

Its drivers, equipped with premium technologies, are arranged in dedicated speaker units to the left and right of the large subwoofer in the centre. The system is driven by amplifiers with a total output of 240 watts.

The high-quality components are housed in a particularly stable, acoustically optimised cabinet whose shape ensures optimum sound performance. The edges of all driver units were manufactured with minimal use of material to ensure excellent sound dispersion. The result is said to be room-filling stereo sound, despite the compact dimensions.

The new Zeppelin is fitted with two decoupled double dome tweeters, taken from the Bowers & Wilkins 600 Series Anniversary Edition. These are each mounted on the outer edge of the cabinet and are completely shielded from vibrations transmitted to the cabinet from other, larger drivers. The result is a spacious, high-precision sound with a wide soundstage.

For the midrange, two 90mm drivers feature Bowers & Wilkins Fixed Suspension Transducer technology, also known as FST, which is used in all Bowers & Wilkins premium floorstanding loudspeakers, including the Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond, which is the preferred monitor loudspeaker at the renowned Abbey Road Studios, according to the manufacturer.

The new 150mm subwoofer adds deep, detailed and refined bass to the system’s open, high-resolution sound. It is placed in the centre of the speaker structure and has been carefully optimised to avoid unwanted cabinet vibrations. This allows for a cleaner and more agile bass response.

  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
  • Foto © Bowers & Wilkins | Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

New streaming platform as a basis

Although Bowers & Wilkins does not openly state it, it is likely to have worked with Austrian specialist StreamUnlimited Engineering GmbH on the central streaming platform for the new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin.

The new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is thus able to access various streaming services directly. The manufacturer lists TIDAL, Spotify including Spotify Connect, Deezer, Qobuz, SoundCloud, last.fm and TuneIn as the main options. The new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin now also allows content in hi-res audio.

Playback can also take place via Apple AirPlay 2 and a multi-room audio streaming option has been announced for spring 2022. This will enable interaction with the streaming systems of the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Suite.

Central control will be via the Bowers & Wilkins Music App, which will be available for Apple iOS and Google Android.

Amazon Alexa integration

The new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin comes with built-in Amazon Alexa functionality, allowing the device to be conveniently controlled by voice command without the need for additional components. Users simply ask Alexa to play the song they want, and the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin should obey their word. As an alternative, direct control is also available on the device, whereby it was decided to place the buttons on the back of the device to make the elegant look of the front as clear and uncluttered as possible.

Bluetooth as an alternative to the network

If you want to use your smartphone, tablet or notebook as a direct source without having to connect it to a network, the new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin offers Bluetooth connectivity. Among other things, the system supports aptX Adaptive.

Familiar design line with new accents

From the very beginning, Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin has been characterised by its aesthetics and uniqueness. But it’s not just a matter of eye-catching design; the shape of the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, as with all Bowers & Wilkins products, is based on acoustic principles. In fact, the new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is a real eye-catcher and is instantly recognisable as such.

The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin will be available in a light and a dark finish – Pearl Grey and Midnight Grey respectively. The speaker is also equipped with switchable lighting, which the manufacturer says creates fascinating light reflections on the metal base.

“We are very proud of the brand new Zeppelin. It is the best sounding, most attractive and smartest Zeppelin we have ever built. It delivers the audio performance our fans have come to expect from Bowers & Wilkins, plus outstanding ease of use and intuitive features in a highly aesthetic product.” Giles Pocock, Vice President of Brand Marketing at Bowers & Wilkins

The new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is expected to hit the shelves within days. As described, there is a choice of two finishes, Pearl Grey and Midnight Grey. The recommended retail price is € 799,-.

Getting to the point

With the latest generation of Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, the British loudspeaker specialist Bowers & Wilkins is preparing a product that has shaped the premium segment of all-in-one systems since 2007 for the streaming age. It is pleasing that the company has relied on tried and tested concepts, and also that it has forged a long-term link with the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Suite.

Price€ 799,-
ManufacturerMasimo Consumer
DistributionBowers & Wilkins
D&M Germany GmbH
A division of Sound United
More about this manufacturer at HiFi BLOG
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and sempre-audio.at, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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