‘ve been a big fan for Bowers & Wilkins for years, having outfitted several rooms with their speakers. I recently discovered they’ve announced a new iPod speaker system, as the baby brother of their award-winning Zeppelin speaker system. The Zepplin mini seems interesting, as they’ve again lowered the price point to help put B&W quality into the hands of everyday consumers. The speaker begins shipping October 20th, for $399 and I hope to pick one up shortly thereafter and will be sure to post a review.
Here’s the official B&W announcement – Posted on Monday, 14 September 2009 @ http://blog.bowers-wilkins.com/theinsider/?p=179
Bowers & Wilkins’ iconic Zeppelin redefined what could be expected from an iPod speaker system. Digital music needn’t be harsh, brash, or unpalatable – it can be delivered in glorious high-fidelity. Plus, the device that provided this amazing sound could be a thing of beauty. Two years and an unprecedented collection of glowing reviews and prestigious awards later, Zeppelin is joined by Zeppelin Mini.
Zeppelin Mini attains the same high standards in sound quality and design set by Zeppelin, but in a more compact form. It is reduced in size, not in sound, and has amazing volume levels for such a diminutive package. It’s ideal for lounges just like its larger sibling, but it can easily be slotted into a bedroom, kitchen, or student digs.
Key differentiating features include an updated docking arm. On the original this innovative solution worked incredibly well, allowing hassle-free mounting of any iPod, and easy access to Apple’s user-friendly interface. These qualities remain, but the addition of USB connectivity allows Zeppelin Mini to bypass the analogue output stage of any iPod, providing access to the very best digital sound an iPod has to offer.
From this beneficial acoustic starting point Bowers & Wilkins’ decades of experience producing the very best speakers for demanding customers such as Abbey Road Studios, and advanced Digital Signal Processing combine to create a sonic experience that belies the compact stature of Zeppelin Mini.
The recent work Bowers & Wilkins has undertaken in the area of DSP-intensive projects such as the in-car system for the new Jaguar XJ have provided knowledge and advances found in Zeppelin Mini, in the same way the legendary NautilusTM informs all Bowers & Wilkins current speakers. For example, a key Bowers & Wilkins technology such as FlowportTM combines with digital advances such as Digital EQ to provide a clean, room filling sound, with base levels that have to be heard to be believed.
But Zeppelin is about more than amazing sound – it has been hailed by many as a design classic – and the iconic design of the original is reflected in the Zeppelin Mini’s subtle curves. Add to this the attention to detail in terms of materials and construction that Bowers & Wilkins is justifiably famous for and it’s a worthy addition to the Zeppelin family.
There are major design advances, too, including an updated version of the docking arm. On Zeppelin Mini it rotates 90 degrees, allowing you even easier access to your music through the Cover Flow menu system. You can also watch videos and enhanced podcasts in this manner.
The Zeppelin Mini also adds the ability to stream music direct from your PC or Mac via a dedicated USB socket. This allows you even more flexibility in terms of how you play your music, and any computer system will benefit from the improved sound quality and digital processing that Zeppelin Mini’s advanced Digital Signal Processing and drive unit technology offer. This USB connection also has the advantage of letting you synchronise your iPod or iPhone with your computer.
As Bowers & Wilkins has proved with Zeppelin, constant attention to iPod developments and customer demands through the medium of freely available firmware upgrades allows Zeppelin users to keep pace with new technology. This level of support will again be key to the continued success of Zeppelin Mini.
Zeppelin Mini boasts all the quality of the original Zeppelin, but in a more compact package perfect for smaller spaces.