April 30, 2019
High-end audio company Bowers & Wilkins has announced three crazy expensive multiroom speakers.
The new speakers start from $899.99 – yes, that’s a starting price – and feature some pretty out-there designs, especially with the new Wedge speaker. B&W will be hoping that these new speakers will do enough to blow Sonos’ multiroom offerings out of the water.
However, these new B&W speakers cost significantly more than even Sonos’ most expensive speaker. So, do these new B&W models do enough to justify the premium? Let’s take a look.
Related – see our guide to the Best Sonos Speakers
The Formation Wedge is seen by B&W as the spiritual successor to its iconic Zeppelin speaker, which has been around in one form or another since January 2011(!).
Like the old Zeppelin, the Wedge has a distinctive design – an unusual 120-degree elliptical shape, which should help blast sound into all corners of a room. However, the Wedge isn’t all style and no substance.
For example, the Wedge has an integrated subwoofer for extra bass and angled mid-range speakers for better sound dispersion. And, as with all the speakers in the Formation range, the Wedge uses a proprietary mesh network. This runs separately to your home’s regular wifi network, to make sure your multiroom listening is completely seamless.
The Wedge also supports Apple Airplay 2, Spotify Connect, and regular Bluetooth connections.
The price? Only $899.99…
B&W’s new Duo speakers are probably the strangest-looking of the bunch, with one large central speaker grille and another smaller grille perched on top. They look like a particularly unusual minion from the Despicable Me series (almost).
You shouldn’t be put off by the unusual aesthetics though, as the Duo are should be an incredible set of speakers. The small top speaker grille hides a carbon dome tweeter for excellent sound quality, while the larger grille houses a speaker taken from B&W’s 800-series, which start at over $4,000.
The Duo speakers come in a pair, ideal for creating stereo sound experiences to fill an entire room. B&W is also promising that the Duo speakers, despite being wireless, will be able to offer the same audio fidelity as a traditional wired set up.
It’s a big claim but, at $3,999, we’d expect the Duo speakers to live up to it.
The Formation Bar is B&W’s first attempt at a sound bar. The company has experience in home theater, but it’s never tried to tie-up all that expertise into one ready-to-go package.
The Bar starts from $1,199.99, making it pretty pricey for a sound bar. However, B&W promises that it’ll be able to function equally well as a wireless speaker.
The Bar looks like a stretched-out version of the Wedge speaker, but packs in more small speakers for clearer dialog when watching movies and TV shows, rather than overpowering bass.
However, with the Bar should still create room-filling sound with B&W promising a wide soundstage, thanks to all those small speakers. If you’re after bass, though, you could always pick up a Formation Bass external subwoofer while you’re at it – the Bass is a snip at $999.99.
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