Zeppelin Air iPod speaker dock review, Bowers & Wilkins
Zeppelin Air iPod speaker dock review, Bowers & Wilkins
They don’t call it the Zeppelin for nothing. The Zeppelin Air iPod speaker dock from Bowers & Wilkins is big in stature and large on sound. This audiophile speaker dock system outputs high-quality audio with exceptional bass to fill your bachelor pad. The airship style, Zeppelin Air iPod speaker dock offers convenient docking of your iOS device or stream your audio wirelessly from your device with AirPlay. You can even use iTunes from your PC to stream your music and audio wireless to the Zeppelin Air!
The Zeppelin Air is a fully active 2.1 audiophile dock system equipped with class D amplifiers outputting 150 watts, 4×25 watts + 1×50 watts and Bowers & Wilkins Flowport® technology and advanced DSP/Digital Signal Processing. The Zeppelin Air utilizes an upgraded DAC capable of producing 24bit audio at 96kHz. The bass is not overwhelming but rather complimenting and thickening the audio up beautifully. This audiophile dock can take over the room with sheer volume. The unit lacks any type of controls outside of on/off and volume rocker style button, but mostly we found it convenient to use the iOS device to control the volume. The Zeppelin Air’s audio quality shines when coupled with high definition audio.
Upon unpacking the thoughtfully cloth wrapped Zeppelin speaker dock at Pinstripe Magazine, we are immediately reminded of why Bowers & Wilkins named this beauty the Zeppelin Air. The unit measures at 6.8 inches H x 25.2 inches W x 8.2 in D and weighs 13.5lbs, that’s 173mm H x 640mm W x 208mm D and weighs 6.2kg for all of our readers outside the United States. Inside the Zeppelin are 2x 25mm or 1 inch Nautilus tube aluminum tweeters, 2x 75mm or 3 inch mid-range drivers and 1x 125mm or 5 inch sub-woofer. The Frequency response is 51Hz – 36kHz ±3dB, with a Frequency range of -6dB at 36Hz and 42kHz. The unit is sturdy and with the rubber coated base, is very stabile on a counter-top or shelf. The elegant glossy backed airship style unit’s speakers are covered in black cloth with stainless steel trims holding true to Bowers & Wilkins minimalistic and modern aesthetics.
The size of this audiophile unit isn’t the only reason to call it the Zeppelin, the completely redesigned dock system produces wonderful, robust sound with plenty of volume to fill a room and set the mood. You will be impressed by the bass output from this elegant piece of art and the clarity when listening to your audio although this unit is geared more for overall performance and highs are not as high as they could be. As with any audiophile quality product, play high-quality audio, like Apple or FLAC lossless audio files and the Zeppelin will reward you with rich, dynamic sound that will help you rediscover your music.
Make sure to dock your iPod prior to turning the Zeppelin Air on, then grab the remote or use the iOS screen to play your audio. The Zeppelin is a dock too, you can charge your iPhone or sync it to iTunes if you connect the unit to your pc via usb cable. We probably would not recommend docking the iPad in here but the beauty is you don’t need to, just use AirPlay over your network and use your iPad or iOS device from anywhere in your networks range.
A small but visible LED indicator located at the front side of the connection base tells you what state the device is in at a glance; Red when the unit is in stand by or turned off, flashing purple for waiting/connecting, flashing amber for ready, blue when the unit is in use. The remote is almost identical to the remote for the MM-1 Multimedia speakers. Enable the iOS device and be recognized by the Zeppelin Air by using the input switching button on the remote. You don’t really need the remote except to use the AirPlay input switch button, just as well since it’s pretty small and easily lost. Stick it in a drawer with your other remotes.
You can set up Zeppelin Air to stream your music using airplay over your network from your PC or MAC. Simply plug the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air speaker dock with the provided CAT 5e cable to access the UI (user interface) on your browser to set your network password. The Zeppelin unit can be accessed via local IP address on your home network just like your access your router or modem. Log yourself in, enter the proper credentials and set up Zeppelin Air for use on your wireless network. Set up was easy and instant or us with no particular glitches to speak of. There was a small delay when waking the device but nothing to write home about. The unit was stabile and performed consistently on our wireless N network and MAC/PC/iOS devices.
What’s even better is you can use Apple AirPlay to stream audio right from your iPhone, iPod or iPad without having to dock it in the Zeppelin! If you own multiple Zeppelin Air speaker docks you can play your music in any room, or all rooms at once! We enjoyed testing the unit, we found it very convenient for use as a dock station and enjoyed streaming Sirius XM radio from the iPhone 4s to the Zeppelin Air wirelessly. You may want to disable your ringer, as we received a call when we were jammin away and nearly had a heart attack from the phone ringing!
If you are interested in synchronizing your iOS device with iTunes when docking, simply keep your Zeppelin Air connected to your PC or MAC via Ethernet cable. The unit will conveniently go into standby mode after 30 min of sitting idle and when you want it, just start playing something on your iOS device and the Zeppelin will wake itself up. The only wires you’ll get in this unit are a power cord and an Ethernet cable which you really only use once unless you intend on synching your devices through the Zeppelin.
The Zeppelin Air iPod speaker dock system from Bowers & Wilkins is stylish and appropriate for any modern living space, from your bachelor pad to your office to your bedroom or living room. The unique airship style audiophile speaker dock fills the room with rich, detailed sound with plenty of bass to thicken up your audio and entertain you and your friends.
Zeppelin Air from Bowers & Wilkins is available $599.95
-Photos by Ronald Lee