B&W surprises with high-end wireless multiroom

It’s called Formation, and it’s the wireless multiroom speaker system that’s been under development by Bowers & Wilkins for the past three years.

The loudspeaker maker unveiled the first five of what is expected to become an extended multiroom product family in the US yesterday, claiming high-end performance and advanced proprietary technology.

The Formation range will initially consist of the Formation Duo, a high-end two-way standmount speaker designed to be used in stereo applications, and the Wedge, a standalone wireless speaker that could be considered the successor to the trend-setting Zeppelin.

In addition, there’s an advanced soundbar and a wireless subwoofer. A Formation Hub allows wired source components such as CD players and turntables to be linked to the wireless system.

Wireless connection is via a proprietary mesh network system developed in conjunction with EVA, the Silicone Valley company that bought B&W back in 2016. It’s able to stream content at 96 kHz/24-bit resolution, in line with its high-end sonic aspirations.

As one would expect, the Formation system offers full UPnP streaming capability, as well as integrated access to popular streaming services. Spotify Connect has been confirmed, but given its high-end aspirations, expect Tidal and Qobuz to be on the streaming services list, too.

The Formation products will also support Apple AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth 4.1 with apt-X HD, while Roon Ready certification allows full compatibility with the popular music management system. Control of the system is via a dedicated app, available fro both iOS and Android devices.

There’s a B&W Formation app, available on Android and iOS, for controlling the system and streaming music services, as well as support for Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon Ready, aptX HD, Bluetooth 4.1 and 96/24-bit high-resolution audio.

The B&W Formation system goes on sale in the US this week, with Europe to follow at the end of the month. South African availability is a given, but launch date and pricing have not been confirmed.

HFX Systems