Going four years between product and refresh is almost unheard of in this day and age, but so it goes with an audio company that tends not to release products unless they’re of a high caliber. The original Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin was released in 2007, back in the days of iPod speaker docks — a product category virtually non-existent in 2015. Since then, all we’ve seen is the Zeppelin Air in 2011, which kept the iPhone/iPod dock but added AirPlay and brought some improvements to sound quality. The new Zeppelin Wireless is better suited for today, with Bluetooth AptX and Spotify Connect joining AirPlay, making it a solid wireless home speaker.
Inside the Zeppelin Wireless there are two 1″ double dome tweeters, two 3.5″ fixed suspension transducer midrange drivers, and one 6.5″ subwoofer. All five units have their own amplifiers — 25 watt amplifiers for each tweeter and midrange driver and one 50 watt amplifier powering the subwoofer, the same setup as in the Zeppelin Air. The digital signal processor is twice as powerful as the Zeppelin Air, while the improved 192kHz/24-bit digital-to-analogue converter inside up-samples compressed digital audio to recreate some of the lost range and restore clarity.
While the outside of the speaker hasn’t changed much — with the shape wrapped up in the name, not much you can do — but Bowers & Wilkins has done a better job of using it to improve the speaker’s performance. The double dome tweeters are put at the far, narrow ends of the speaker to better give you a sense of stereo sound coming from this single speaker. The cabinet itself is thicker and reinforced with glass fiber ribs to make it sturdier and less prone to vibrations that can distort the sound.
To take advantage of the new connectivity features, Bowers & Wilkins has an updated control app available for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows. The Zeppelin Wireless is available online today for an unsurprisingly steep $700 and will arrive in stores on October 15. Keep an out for our upcoming review.