Alexa and Airplay 2 find $800, airship-shaped home in Bowers & Wilkins smart speaker

Enlarge / Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin in midnight grey.

England-based audio model Bowers & Wilkins is providing audiophiles one other journey on its Zeppelin, however this time, there’s a brand new buddy on board. The Zeppelin speaker that was introduced on Wednesday marks the primary new addition to the sequence since 2015. It is flying into the brand new age by integrating Amazon Alexa and a few newer applied sciences for lowering wi-fi latency.

Bowers & Wilkins’ Formation sequence of wi-fi audio system acquired Alexa in 2020, however that is the primary time the sensible assistant will get a ticket for the Zeppelin. For many who would like to not converse to Alexa, the speaker has bodily buttons, too.

Some prefer buttons to Alexa.
Enlarge / Some want buttons to Alexa.

The most recent Zeppelin continues the sequence’ flight towards going utterly wi-fi. Bowers & Wilkins’ unique Zeppelin in 2007 was an iPod dock, whereas the 2011 Zeppelin Air nonetheless had a dock however added Apple Airplay. In 2015, the Zeppelin Wi-fi dropped the dock however provided a 3.5 mm connection. At this time’s Zeppelin has no wired possibility, aside from a USB-C port that is for service solely.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin in pearl gray.
Enlarge / Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin in pearl grey.

Bowers & Wilkins is counting on a few of the newest wi-fi tech to assist guarantee this determination would not end in lag-laden jam classes. iOS customers can join through AirPlay 2, which additionally offers multi-room help. For many who do not use iOS, there’s the aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec. Unsurprisingly, the aptX Lossless extension for aptX Adaptive is not current, as Qualcomm solely introduced it in September.

The model says the brand new Zeppelin is all concerning the “streaming age.” Just like the prior Zeppelin, the brand new rectangular speaker helps Spotify Join. Downloading the Bowers & Wilkins app helps you to management the speaker and use different music-streaming providers, together with the hi-res-focused Tidal and Qobuz.

Bowers & Wilkins additionally plans so as to add multi-room help for non-iOS customers in “early 2022” and steered that it’s going to proceed to replace the speaker’s software program over time.

B&W promises to update the speaker in the future, starting with multi-room support.
Enlarge / B&W guarantees to replace the speaker sooner or later, beginning with multi-room help.

Bowers & Wilkins has outfitted the speaker with a pair of 1-inch double-dome tweeters, two 3.5-inch midrange drivers, and a 6-inch subwoofer for low frequencies. The speaker helps a frequency response of 35–24,000 Hz. In keeping with the corporate’s announcement, the drivers are “organized in devoted left and proper speaker assemblies round a central, massive subwoofer” and are pushed by 240 W in an effort to fill a room.

Bowers & Wilkins thinks that is sufficient to justify a worth improve to $800—$100 greater than the prior Zeppelin, the Zeppelin Wi-fi. After all, there are many Bluetooth audio system for less expensive that additionally provide Alexa, Airplay 2, and the like. Bowers & Wilkins must show its value with sound high quality (particularly round hi-res) and performance.

Be aware: Ars Technica might earn compensation for gross sales from hyperlinks on this put up by means of affiliate programs.

Source link
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart