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Bowers & Wilkins resurrects iconic Zeppelin wireless speaker for the streaming age

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin
(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

With phones and TVs updated at least annually, a six-year wait for a product can feel like a lifetime in the consumer tech world. It has been that long since Bowers & Wilkins launched the excellent Zeppelin Wireless, but today – you guessed it – the company is launching a brand-new iteration of the iconic, long-spanning wireless speaker.

The brand-new Zeppelin marks a return to its simplest moniker for its 2021 resurrection, following its 'Zeppelin Air' and 'Zeppelin Wireless' predecessors in 2011 and 2015 respectively. The speaker goes back much further than that, of course, with the 2007-released original flying the flag for the then-popular iPod dock. Unsurprisingly, that feature was ommitted as future generations of Zeppelin embraced newer technologies, and to that end the new Zeppelin has been built firmly for today's streaming age as the “smartest and most flexible Zeppelin” to date.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

Exclusively prioritising wireless streaming over wired connectivity (although there is a USB-C socket for updates), the Zeppelin is compatible with AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth (a relatively new codec that offers hi-res support and which B&W supports in its latest headphones), with the Bowers & Wilkins Music App also a gateway to music streaming services such as Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz, Soundcloud and TuneIn. Alexa voice control is built-in for hands-free operation, too.

While AirPlay 2 offers multi-room functionality with other speakers supporting Apple's wireless connection, B&W will, in 2022, also add multi-room support (not inclusive of stereo pairing) for other Zeppelins and products within its Formation range.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

Not all of the Zeppelin magic is packed onto chips and in software, of course; B&W has implemented driver technologies from its stereo speakers into the Zeppelin-shaped single chassis. The Zeppelin boasts two Decoupled Double-Dome tweeters (as found in the heralded 600 Anniversary Series) as well as 90mm midrange drivers that benefit from the proprietary Fixed Suspension Transducer (FSTTM) technology used in the company's high-end floorstanders. A 150mm subwoofer has been mounted centrally at the heart of the Zeppelin’s structure and optimised to avoid it detrimentally vibrating the cabinet as it operates. These drivers are fed by 240 watts of amplification in total – not bad at all for any size of wireless speaker.

The new Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin is available in two finishes – a dark midnight grey and a lighter pearl grey – and now features dimmable ambient lighting to create a ‘halo’ effect on its metal pedestal stand. The wireless speaker system will be available from 14th October, priced £699 / $799/ A$1199. 

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Becky is Hi-Fi and Audio editor of What Hi-Fi?, and has been part of the team for almost eight years, with her current position preceded by roles as a staff writer and news editor. During that time she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching horror movies and hunting for gluten-free cake.

  • gr8kzoo
    I have the original Zeppelin iPod dock. Any suggestions out there for a bluetooth streaming option with a high quality DAC? I imagine a cheap £15 bluetooth dongle will sound pretty rubbish.
    Reply
  • manicm
    Pity this won’t connect to a tv.
    Reply
  • kdbur
    gr8kzoo said:
    I have the original Zeppelin iPod dock. Any suggestions out there for a bluetooth streaming option with a high quality DAC? I imagine a cheap £15 bluetooth dongle will sound pretty rubbish.
    1st gen Ifi Zen Blu....£130 from Amazon, £80 pre owned from CEX?....I really like Ifi....reasonable prices and great sound. I have ifi desktop dacs/amps and Xcan portable and they suit me just fine but I don't have a zen blu but I think it will be excellent, given the Ifi stuff I have.
    Reply