Zeppelin Mini: Bowers and Wilkins' high-end iPod dock gets downsized
By Jeff Salton
November 12, 2009
No longer resembling a Zeppelin like its aptly-named big brother, the Zeppelin Mini iPod speaker system from Bowers and Wilkins still rates as an edgy, stylish design. B&W says the new sound dock delivers everything listeners love about the Zeppelin - advanced acoustic technology, intelligent design and elegant connectivity - but instead of being an almost prohibitive 26 inches wide, the Zeppelin Mini is a mere 12.6 inches, making it much easier to locate on bookshelves or other tight spaces.
B&W’s Digital Signal Processing optimizes the response of each of the Zeppelin Mini’s drive units, adjusting the sound balance depending on the signal. This is designed to bring out the subtle dynamics of your music regardless of how loud you play it.
In order to produce really powerful, atmospheric bass effects, the design aims to allow plenty of space within the speaker for the air generated by the bass units to move around freely. This is a common problem for smaller speakers. The Zeppelin Mini has Flowport, which gives the speaker’s bass driver the air it needs to deliver a big sound from a relatively small space.
B&W says its Zeppelin Mini was developed with exactly the same acoustic engineering principles the company uses to make the speakers in the control room of Abbey Road Studios.
Zeppelin Mini also features a USB digital connection, keeping the purity of the digital signal intact compared with systems that take music in analogue format from the ipod.
Like the Zeppelin, the design of Mini’s docking arm makes the most of the functionality of your iPod, positioning it just above the surface of the speaker at an angle that allows easy tapping of a touch screen or tracking of a scroll wheel. The Mini’s arm also allows listeners to rotate the iPod to the horizontal position – ideal for skipping through playlists using cover-flow, or for playing music videos.
Zeppelin Mini is a versatile speaker system as well and can stream music directly from a computer, from a CD player or be linked to a wireless network. And once it’s connected to a PC or Mac, users can control iTunes directly with Zeppelin Mini’s remote.
The AUX socket at the back of the speaker connects CD and DVD players and MP3 players. You can also use a device like Apple’s Airport Express to make Zeppelin Mini part of a wireless network, streaming music wirelessly from a computer’s hard drive.
Another clever feature - there’s no need to undock an iPod or iPhone if you want to sync it with iTunes or add more playlists - you can do it all through Zeppelin Mini by connecting the speaker to the computer by USB and switching it to standby, which links the iPod directly to iTunes.
Zeppelin Mini works with all the latest generation of iPods, playing and charging touch, classic and nano models. It’s also compatible with all iPhone models, including first generation, 3G and 3GS.
The Zeppelin Mini sells for US$399.95.