The amazing Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo Speakers. As a renowned brand in the Hi-End audio field, Bowers & Wilkins is an absolute classic, having created numerous unforgettable speakers for audiophiles, including the B&W 801 & The Nautilus speaker.
The Bowers & Wilkins Formation series is a highlight of this British audio manufacturer. The series includes bookshelf speakers, all-in-one stereo speakers, a soundbar, a subwoofer, and wireless audio sources.
The subject of this review is the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo. The first integrated system from the venerable British loudspeaker manufacturer. The $7699-per-pair Duo is a self-contained playback system that needs no components other than a source. That source can be as simple as a phone or tablet streaming music from your library or from a streaming service. Keeps it simple.
The new Formation series is crafted by Bowers & Wilkins using their unique Formation wireless technology. For this review, let’s first look at Formation wireless technology. This technology allows different speakers within the Formation series to maintain a connection speed as low as 1 microsecond without affecting the home network bandwidth.
This ensures that users can move between different spaces in their homes and experience uninterrupted audio performance while listening to other models within the Formation series.
Inside each Duo incorporates two 125W Class D amplifiers, with the crossover and other signal processing performed in DSP. DSP crossovers permit any filter characteristics, along with the ability to correct for driver behavior. In addition, DSP crossovers obviate the need for signal-robbing capacitors and inductors between the amplifier output and the drive units; the amp output is connected directly to the drivers’ voice coils.
The arrangement also means the system is bi-amped, another advantage. And the driver designer knows what amplifier will be driving his product, and the amplifier designer what speaker the amp will be driving. Consequently, this crucial interface can be engineered as a unit to work together optimally.
The Duo immediately impressed with its smooth tonal balance, full bottom end, and wide dynamics. But the Duo had an almost startling clarity and alacrity through the midrange that elevated the performance beyond what one would expect from a system of this price.
The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo Speakers transparency and presence were simply sensational, giving vocals and lead instruments a lifelike immediacy and tangibility. The Duo’s clarity and transparency overcame a slight reduction in upper-midrange harmonics to present images that were fully fleshed out tonally and spatially. In fact, the Duo had an almost spooky sense of presence.
I have not heard a powered speaker that delivered every frequency with upmost precision, the bass is absolutely incredible, I could quite easily say these speakers could be my end game. The setup so easy and the fact there is only 2 cables required (power cables), one to each speaker and that’s it. Every track I played was incredible the solidity and composure of every album was spooky, never did it sound thin, and never did I feel like the music was missing anything.
My wife and I spent the whole weekend listening to these amazing speakers going from album to album without skipping tracks no that portrays how good these speakers are.
We love the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo Speakers. If you think they are expensive speakers, yes they are. However, considering to get this clarity you would need a really really good integrated amplifier, subs and speakers, plus don’t forget the streamer, then you would be close or probably end up spending more. These speakers are a bargain at any price.
Specs & Pricing
Type: Wireless active loudspeaker system
Driver complement: 6.5″ woofer, 1″ dome tweeter
Frequency response: 25Hz–33kHz
Integral amplifier power: 125W x2, Class D
Connectivity: Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon Ready, Ethernet (RJ45 or WiFi),
Dimensions: 7.8″ x 15.5″ x 12″
Weight: 23.4 lbs. each
Price: $7699; stands, $1699
Bowers & Wilkins Wireless Technology
The wireless technology at the heart of the Formation series creates a mesh network between all components in the system. This proprietary network can reportedly transfer data at ten times the rate of existing wireless systems, making it robust for high-resolution audio. The network also has much lower latency (lag time) than existing wireless networks, which translates to tighter synchronization between speakers.
Latency is the time it takes for data to be transmitted from a server to a client device and back. According to Bowers & Wilkins, existing wireless systems introduce a continuously variable latency drift between the left and right audio streams. The magnitude of this left/right latency drift is reportedly equal to physically moving one of the speakers in the stereo pair forward or backward by 1.5 meters—you can imagine the effect that would have on sound quality.
By contrast, Bowers & Wilkins’ new wireless technology reportedly has a fixed latency of just 1µs, an order of magnitude lower than existing
wireless systems. In addition to improved sound quality, the new network is said to be very robust as well as very easy for consumers to set up and use.
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Have a great long weekend / Deano, Bensan, Toki & Simon.