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From the front face, all you see is the cloth grille and its sheen and shadows as the light plays off its facets. Press play. I closed my eyes and dropped my pen and paper, no need to note anything more. Instead I got the best experience using the Spotify App on my iPhone to connect directly to the speakers via Spotify Connect, or using Roon. This is good, since the Formation Bar ships with no remote control—instead, it uses your TV remote's controls. Bowers & Wilkins impresses with the sound of their latest wireless speaker, Formation Wedge. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The event went off without a hitch, and it was exciting to see a small bookshelf take on center stage. Although I am blessed with an incredible reference listening setup, it’s complicated. Relatively easy to operate. That said, the bass depth you get from the speaker is more of the rich and full variety, and less of the thunderous sub-bass you might expect. The crossover is done in the digital domain, which provides an interesting upgrade path, allowing B&W to continually improve the speaker using firmware updates. B&W claims that at 5 microseconds, you cannot hear any time shift between the left and right. Shifting gears, I listened to “Baby Mine” from Bonnie Raitt. Amazon Echo Show vs. Google Nest Hub: Which Smart Display Should Be in Your Home. In addition to the Duo bookshelf speakers, the formation offers other pieces in their mix. Contributing Editor Tim Gideon has been writing for PCMag since 2006. I can imagine someone who has their Duos in one location where they listen, and their turntable and records in another location. When missiles hit Harrison Ford's hideout later in the film, the explosion and subsequent gunshots are crisp and full, while the music in the scene has some ominous deep bass that is delivered with solid depth, but it is not a subwoofer-like depth. The system can stream up to 96kHz/24-bit audio, as it should for this price. My feet were tapping, and my head moving, and no other notes were required. I think they must have sold a few pairs of Duo’s that night. Through the Formation Bar, they pack a solid punch, and there is excellent clarity, but the rumble you might hope for is dialed back. So the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar fills this reviewer's heart with joy because it redefines what soundbars can look like, with a design that's simply stunning. Orchestral tracks, like the opening scene from John Adams' The Gospel According to the Other Mary, sound excellent through the Formation Bar. It's also worth noting that the volume on the Bar itself can max out before you've reached maximum volume on your sound source. Expensive fun, no connections. No, it wasn’t my Alexia’s, not the same level of detail, texture, and dynamics and grip, but it wasn’t a slouch and most people wouldn’t notice. The Formation Series are either going to work or not work for you depending on what you plan to use as content. No cables required outside of a power cable. We would cut over and listen on the reference rig, and it was immediately obvious the heft, weight, and detail from the big rig, but those little bookshelves definitely left a great impression. No damage was done, and they held up like champs. I cranked the volume in Roon to 82.2 and the bookshelves were still pushing, but my ears were asking me to dial back. Please look into the Linn Series 3 “wireless” speakers. On Jay-Z and Kanye West's "No Church in the Wild," the kick drum loop receives a solid high-mid presence, allowing its attack to retain its punchiness, while the sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat are again more implied than fully delivered. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Of course, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth streaming in the mix, there are plenty of ways to connect, but this is still a head-scratcher of an omission. Available in either black or white, the cabinets are sculpted from two pieces of a polypropylene/wood fibre-based material known as Formi, fused together from front to back in clamshell style with a dampening element in between. Spotify is my go-to for playlists, and integration was seamless. Behind the grille, the Formation Bar packs three 1-inch double dome tweeters (arrayed left, center, and right) and six 2.5-inch midrange/bass drivers (arrayed in left, center, and right pairs). The first screen found the Formation Duo, followed by providing my wireless information, then by pressing the formation button on the left and right speakers to identify them, and voila. This resulted in a background that was a touch noisy and not as quiet as I am looking for. For a smart speaker or an all-in-one Bluetooth option, that might cut it, but for $1,200, the lack of an HDMI connection is absurd. Ouch. Unique styling; Excellent wireless/streaming support; Support for 24-bit/96kHz files via Roon; A very compact form factor for Formation Bass; Great bass performance from Bar and Bass; B&W Home app is very user-friendly Please support this website by adding us to your whitelist in your ad blocker. The clarity of dialogue is top-notch, and music is delivered with a wonderful richness, but the thunder isn't as present here as some will wish, particularly when the Death Star gets obliterated. That said, the built-in rubber footing kept the speaker totally stable during testing, and it looks just as striking on a tabletop as it does on a wall. Our verdict. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! The design starts with a B&W Continuum woofer that was used in both the B&W 705 and the larger B&W 805 D3. https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/bowers-wilkins-formation-bar. Simply connect your favorite turntable, CD player or another device to its audio input, and you can stream that to any Formation device on your network. One of my favorite test tracks is “Yulunga (Spirit Dancer)” on the “Into the Labrinth” album from Dead Can Dance. One of the unique features of the formation series is the ability to easily move the audio from one zone to the next by simply pushing the Formation button on the device you want to pull the music over to. That's good news, because the soundbar gets incredibly warm when it's up and running. Bowers & Wilkins keeps the control panel somewhat hidden—it's on the top of the rear panel of the speaker, so that it can be seen from above, but not when facing the speaker dead-on. Sans s’éloigner du monde de la haute-fidélité, Bowers & Wilkins lance une nouvelle série de produits sans fil appelée Formation. I love the industrial design of the Devialet Reator, but have only listened to to the briefly. On y retrouve une paire de haut-parleurs actifs, un haut-parleur autonome qui vient remplacer le célèbre Zeppelin de B&W, une barre de son, un caisson de basses et un convertisseur de musique numérique. B&W seems to have worked some magic as the speakers are rated to go down to 25hz in an incredibly small cabinet. It was not as quiet as the big rig, but with the power conditioner in place, it wasn’t noticeable. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time. The B&W Duo’s spent a majority of their time in my reference room, placed just inside my Wilson Audio Alexia Series-2. First off, we'll note that the Formation Bar can get quite loud—this is a powerful soundbar, even without a subwoofer. The DSD version used is great, the vinyl release is spectacular. Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio Reviewed Andrew says the new B&W Formation Audio is the only way to bring legacy audio devices into the new wireless Formation ecosystem… Wireless Connectivity was rock solid to my Ubiquiti Unifi wireless network (It’s the best networking gear we’ve tested). If you don’t own it, you should buy it now. The Formation Audio serves as a 24/96 A to D converter for analog sources you connect to it, as well as supporting digital sources via Toslink. The only controls it uses are volume up, down, and mute—this is a process you go through in the app during setup (or you can opt to skip). I think they are right up your alley. Have you heard the Devialet Reactor ? If I closed my eyes, I would how expect these speakers to be 3 to 4 times in size. I dropped it back in place and that more quiet background returned. Bill Callahan's "Drover," a track with far less deep bass in the mix, gives us a better sense of the Formation Bar's general sound signature. For this review of the Formation range, we focused on the B&W Formation Duo speakers and the B&W Formation Audio network streamer. This includes streaming that source to other rooms in your home. Catching the eye with its unusual design, it offers a measured, room-filling performance. The ends of the bar are capped with circular metallic pieces emblazoned with the Bowers & Wilkins logo. There are six amps total, each delivering 40 watts, and the frequency range of the system is 40Hz to 28kHz—a respectable level that still leaves plenty of room for the addition of a subwoofer. Keep an eye on your inbox! With its trademark decoupled tweeter on top, the B&W Duo won’t be everyone’s cup of tea aesthetically, but there’s no denying that it has style. You enter through an unmarked door to a small dimly lit room that was used as access to an old bank vault. It was in the lower octaves where the speaker really shined with the bass sliding under everything. In a scenario in which you are starting up a movie after not having used the Bar for a bit, it detects the sound source, eliminating the need to tap the Form button. For package this size, they did not disappoint. On Saturday, February 29th, I headed over to Do The Vault Speakeasy. These appear to be a tour de force; Linn claims “best wireless speakers in the world.” Half again the cost of the Formation Duos. On music with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife's "Silent Shout," there's a more palpable sense of power and bass—the drivers seem louder at top volumes, and the bass depth is more profound. But at $1,199.99, it's priced uncommonly high, even for a top-tier model. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. The higher register percussive hits and acoustic strums on this track are delivered with a lovely clarity, and the stereo separation is quite apparent—the length of the Formation Bar, and the location of the left/right tweeters, allows for a full, wide stereo image. My friend Dan Teisan works as a recording engineer as well as a local Seattle musician for “Late September Dogs.”. The Formation Bar ships with an optical cable to connect to the optical input on its rear panel, as well as a power cable (that is rather short considering the connection is in the middle of the soundbar and thus the need to run 25 inches before it's even cleared the edge of the speaker). Its oblong shape is reminiscent of the B&W Zeppelin, if it had been stretched out, narrowed, and cut like a precious stone. Up top of the Formation Duo, you will find the same carbon tweeter from the B&W 705 series. The front face, all you see is the cloth grille and its sheen and shadows as big! 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