We hearken to the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo wi-fi audio system – CNET

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The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo 

Bowers & Wilkins

I am a sucker for model, so even earlier than I heard the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo I used to be prepared for one thing particular. Duo tops its all-new Formation line, which incorporates the only speaker Wedge ($899, £900), Bar (sound bar) ($1,199, £1,000), Bass (subwoofer, $999, £900) and for patrons in search of expanded connectivity choices, the Audio ($699, £600) wi-fi hub. That final one allows you to join analog sources (turntable, tuner, and many others.) to the Duo and combine the audio system with a multiroom residence system. The Formation Duo retails for $three,999/£three,499 a pair.

The Duo encompasses a 1-inch (28mm) carbon tweeter sourced from the Bowers & Wilkins 700 Collection audio system, and the 6.5-inch (165mm) Continuum woofer from the higher-end 800 Collection audio system. The 2 Duo audio system join to one another wirelessly, and Duo has two 125-watt amplifiers, so whole amplifier energy for every speaker is 250 watts. It is a midsize stand mount speaker, 15.5 inches (395mm) tall, and it weighs a considerable 23.four kilos (10.6 kg).

Duo wi-fi options run to the standard suspects, Bluetooth four.2, AptX HD, Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Spotify Join, and it is a Roon Prepared design; Duo’s connectivity is proscribed to Community by way of RJ-45 Ethernet or Wi-Fi. So whilst you will not discover USB, optical or coaxial digital inputs, or any analog connectivity on the Duo audio system, you’ll on the Formation Audio. Then once more, the Duo is almost definitely for use solely as wi-fi audio system, and people house owners don’t have any want for the Audio. One concern: Audiophiles could discover the Duo’s most 96kHz/24-bit digital audio decoding talents not high-resolution sufficient. Audiophiles who would favor 192kHz or larger decision are out of luck. Contemplating the Duo’s high-end aspirations, that shortfall could also be a deal breaker for some patrons.

Listening to Duo

The Duo did not conform to my expectations of what a high-end Bowers & Wilkins speaker feels like. That is to not suggest it is less than snuff, simply that the Duo is barely extra mild, and fewer about extracting the final iota of element from the sound of music than the 700 or 800 Collection audio system do.

I did not discover at first, however once I seemed nearer, I noticed that the Duo is a sealed, acoustic suspension design! Each different Bowers & Wilkins speaker in my reminiscence had a bass port. Perhaps that is one cause why the Duo sounds completely different, I do not know.

The Grateful Useless’s dwell, all-acoustic Reckoning album from 1980 broke freed from the audio system’ places within the CNET listening room to supply a close to holographic soundstage. The vocals and guitars have been full-bodied and candy. It is simply among the finest sounding ‘Useless albums, and the Duos made that abundantly clear. 

Seventeen-year-old phenom Billie Ellish’s Do not Smile At Me album places her uncooked expertise on show as a composer and vocalist. The sound is typical for a recent recording; it may be harsh and vibrant on many audio system, however with the Duo I had no complaints. The sound was freed from edge or glare; the Duos have been straightforward to hearken to for hours at a time.


The Duos

Bowers & Wilkins

To judge bass prowess I popped on the Isle of Canine movie soundtrack, it is loaded with massive pounding bass drums and percussion devices. The drums weight and energy sounded finest at reasonably loud playback ranges, once I pushed the amount rather a lot larger the Duos strained to maintain up.

Music with plenty of deep bass is usually a “stress check” and positive, the Duos might play loud, however I most well-liked their sound at extra relaxed quantity settings. It is a small speaker in spite of everything, so including the Formation Bass subwoofer could be a sensible transfer for patrons craving most bass influence.

What about wired audio system?

If you happen to’re OK with wired audio system, I would suggest contemplating a set of Bowers & Wilkins 705 S2 audio system paired with a Peachtree Nova 150 built-in amplifier (at present $1,499) as an alternative of the Duos. The amp’s way more beneficiant and versatile connectivity suite could be one cause, and I’ve a powerful hunch the 705 S2/Nova pairing would sound higher than the Duos, and price the identical.

That stated, the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo could be simply the ticket for patrons trying to find high-end sound from untethered audio system.


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