Bowers & Wilkins channels Sonos with high-end AirPlay 2 wireless system

CNET | 4/22/2019 | Ty Pendlebury
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Deep-pocketed audiophiles, rejoice. Bowers & Wilkins claims its new high-end Formation wireless system is the "new standard in whole-home audio."

Similar to Sonos, the market leader in wireless speakers and gear, it promises to unite speakers throughout the home with the help of a proprietary mesh network. But true to its luxury hi-fi heritage, B&W aims higher -- a lot higher. Sonos starts at a reasonable $200 for the superb Sonos One, while the cheapest Formation speaker is $900.

B - W - Formation - App - Multiroom

B&W uses its new Formation app for multiroom streaming but it's also compatible with Apple's AirPlay 2 and audiophile-favorite Roon. The speakers boast a unique honeycomb design unlike anything else on the market.

Formation Duo ($3,999): The flagship of the range, the Duo (pictured top) is a pair of stereo speakers that incorporate technologies from the company's 700 series, including a Continuum cone driver and a top-mounted carbon-domed tweeter. The curvaceous cabinet is constructed from a wireless-radio-friendly material similar to that used in the PM1 monitor, the company said.

Formation - Bar - Nine - Units - Drivers

Formation Bar ($1,199): Nine "optimized" drive units, including 2.5-inch drivers and a dedicated center channel. It offers a digital optical input, though no HDMI, and Dolby Digital decoding only. Despite its similarities to the Panorama, the company said the two designs are different.

Formation Bass ($999): It looks like a D-cell battery, but it's really a subwoofer with opposing 6-inch drivers. It's designed to pair with any of the other Formation products, but it would seemingly work best with the subwoofer-less Bar.

Formation - Wedge - Sonos - Play - Wedge

Formation Wedge ($899): Think a high-end Sonos Play:5. The Wedge features a "120-degree elliptical speaker shape" and a cabinet made in the UK. It includes two Continuum drivers borrowed from the new 600 series.

Formation Audio ($699): If you want to connect audio components to your system, or make your existing hi-fi stream-friendly, you'll...
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