September 19, 2007 From the speaker company whose high-end reference units grace the studios at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch and Abbey Road comes a portable iPod speaker dock to drool over. The $599 Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin packs a 5” subwoofer, plus twin 3.5” midranges and two 1” tweeters straight from the company’s famous M-1 studio monitors. Sweet!
So what if compressed audio files don’t reproduce a CD recording perfectly? Bowers and Wilkins’ Zeppelin is designed to bring the absolute cream of speaker componentry to a premium portable iPod platform.
Form follows function – the Zeppelin shape allows the large bass unit to sit in the broad center of the device and the form tapers towards the ends, where the smaller mid-range and tweeter drivers are placed. Three amplifiers drive left, right and bass channels, adding to a sound quality that the company believes will set a new standard for the “made for iPod” market.
While most sizes of iPod can click straight into the spring-loaded dock on the face of the unit, taking pride of place in the two-foot wide design, less fashionable devices can be played through a set of input jacks at the rear of the Zeppelin. An S-Video jack lets you sit the Zeppelin on top of a TV and run a video-out stream from video-equipped iPods to the screen.
Custom tone shaping (EQ to the rest of us) can be set to compensate for different environments where walls might not be available to boost bass frequencies, and a tiny remote can be used, it seems, only to change the volume.
The B&W website for the US$599Zeppelin is almost as impressive and stylish as the device itself; visit it here.