Initially launched in 2008, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin has long remained one of the benchmarks in the wireless speaker industry. First marketed to ride the iPod wave, the speaker ended up abandoning its dock to fully focus on its wireless vocation by adding Bluetooth to the network connection via wifi / RJ45. It then took several years of development to see the birth of this new Zeppelin cuvée 2021, which intends to regain its status.
To do this, Bowers & Wilkins has drastically expanded the connected possibilities of its iconic speaker by copying a large part of its work carried out on its range of Formation speakers: the Zeppelin 2021 will therefore have access to streaming / web radio services and to multiple personalization parameters via the Bowers & Wilkins Music application in its latest version, and will be able to play 24-bit audio streams thanks to its integrated DAC, notably from compatible services (Deezer Hi-Fi, Tidal, Qobuz, etc.). AirPlay 2 is also making its arrival, which will allow users of the first hour to benefit from the integrated Multiroom functionality while awaiting the integration of the Zeppelin into the Bowers & Wilkins multiroom in 2022. Connection via Bluetooth obviously remains at program, this time with support for the AptX Adaptive codec.
And it does not stop there, since the British manufacturer has decided to make its connected speaker an equally “intelligent” speaker by adding a microphone system and advanced compatibility with the Amazon Alexa assistant. On the other hand, we note a regression in terms of wired connectivity since no input, analog or digital, is offered on this Zeppelin 2021 (the USB-C port is only used for maintenance of the speaker). There are very few changes in design, apart from the appearance of a large removable metal stand and a subtle light strip under the speaker (dimmable and deactivatable).
Bowers & Wilkins didn’t just make their speaker more versatile. The Zeppelin 2021 benefits from a new acoustic architecture which consists of a pair of 25 mm aluminum dome tweeters for the treble, a pair of 90 mm “FST” speakers for the midrange, and a large 150mm woofer responsible for bass reproduction. The whole is powered by a three-way 240 W amplification (40 + 40 + 80 W). All of this obviously promises first-rate sound performance, very low distortion, and above all excellent reproduction of the stereophonic scene.
The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin cuvée 2021 is available today for € 799, € 100 more than the previous one when it was launched 6 years ago.