Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) has brought back its iconic Zeppelin, and it’s packed with new features that make it an utterly modern wireless speaker. Priced at $799, the new Zeppelin is available starting October 13 in Midnight Gray (Black) and Pearl Gray (Grey).
The Zeppelin is one of the most enduring designs of the new millennium. The original, which was released in 2006, was a beautiful but extravagantly priced iPod speaker dock. This was followed by the 2011 Zeppelin Air, Zeppelin Mini and most recently the 2015 Zeppelin Wireless. And while the new Zeppelin rests on that unique ellipsoidal shape, it goes much further than its predecessors, both inside and out.
On the outside, the new Zeppelin is a bit taller and a bit narrower than the Zeppelin Wireless, and now features a switchable and dimmable LED light that puts a “halo” on the speaker’s built-in aluminum stand. You’ll find the same top-mounted controls, but now – in addition to the familiar play/pause and volume buttons – there’s also a multifunction button and a dedicated Amazon Alexa button. Yes, the new Zeppelin is given the voice assistant Smart, so you’ll be able to control the speaker’s functions (and everything Alexa can do) with just your voice.
With the Zeppelin Wireless, there is an available wall-mount bracket if you prefer to watch your Zeppelin float instead of on the stand.
The changes aren’t all additions—B&W has removed both the Ethernet and assist-in ports that used to sit at the base of the Zeppelin Wireless.
Inside, B&W has used the same number and style of drivers – two tweeters, two midrange and one subwoofer – but it has significantly increased the amplification power. The wireless model had a total of 100 watts of power, but the new Zeppelin packs 240 watts. It should also have more low-end oomph thanks to a deeper frequency response of 35Hz to 24kHz (previous models could only go up to 44Hz).
Technically, a speaker or set of headphones must be able to reproduce frequencies from 20Hz to 40kHz to be considered fully high-resolution compatible, but in our experience, overall sound quality matters more than pure numbers. Is. What’s more important from a high-resolution standpoint is that the new Zeppelin can be controlled through the Bowers & Wilkins Music app, which includes access to streaming services like Deezer, Cubaz, and Tidal, all of which feature lossless And there are membership levels. Hi-res audio track. SoundCloud, Last.FM and TuneIn are also included, and B&W says more services are being added regularly.
From a connectivity standpoint, the new Zeppelin has Apple’s AirPlay 2, which means the speaker can be added to Apple’s HomeKit smart home platform. It also supports Bluetooth 5.0 with SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive codecs, giving Android users a wireless audio connection that’s almost as good as AirPlay 2. Spotify Connect is also available for direct control from within the Spotify app. B&W is also working on a firmware update that will allow the new Zeppelin to work as part of a whole-home wireless audio platform, which could include other Zeppelin speakers, as well as products from B&W’s Formation family of wireless speakers.