Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo Wireless Speakers Unveiled - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-22-2019, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Bowers & Wilkins Formation Duo Wireless Speakers Unveiled

As part of its introduction of the formation Suite line of wireless audio products, Bowers and Wilkins unveiled the Formation Duo wireless speaker system. This is a stereo pair of high-end Bowers and Wilkins speakers that have built-in amplification and high-res wireless capability built on the company's proprietary wireless platform. With an MSRP of $3999/pair these are the most expensive offering in the lineup, and an ultra high-end alternative to products like dual Sonos Play:5 speakers or other similar "bookshelf size" stereo pairable wireless speakers.

As part of the buildup to the announcement of the speakers, I took a trip to England and visited the Bowers and Wilkins factory for in-depth discussions with engineers and such. The long story short is that to maintain the fidelity required for proper stereo imaging, you need wireless speakers that stay in sync, that don't drift. I am sympathetic to this argument, having noted the inadequacy of some other wireless systems when attempting to play stereo music. Small fluctuations in timing will distort what would otherwise be a "perfect" stereo soundfield. The Bowers & Wilkins solution to this was to increase the precision of the synchronization to just 1 millisecond.

These are easily recognizable as Bowers and Wilkins speakers, they feature the separate "tweeter-on-top" design that is a signature of the brand's higher-end offerings, with a carbon dome. Frequency response is listed as 25 Hz to 33 kHz. I heard a pair demoed during my trip and can attest that these are the real deal. This is complete high-end system that performs all the tricks you expect from pricey audiophile speakers, miniaturized and made self-contained. Toss in a Formation Bass sub for an extra grand and hey, it's party time.

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post #2 of 7 Old 04-22-2019, 07:58 AM
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They're wireless... minus the power cords! That was always the funny thing about wireless speakers to me.

(Still, B&W has always had some of my favorite designs in speakers, and these are amongst them.)
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-22-2019, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post
They're wireless... minus the power cords! That was always the funny thing about wireless speakers to me.

(Still, B&W has always had some of my favorite designs in speakers, and these are amongst them.)
It is much easier to plug them into a power source than run to the AVR

Does each speaker have its own power cable, or do they connect to each other and then have 1 single power cable? (I'm thinking about the vizio 5.1 speakers).
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post #4 of 7 Old 04-22-2019, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mattopotamus View Post
It is much easier to plug them into a power source than run to the AVR

Does each speaker have its own power cable, or do they connect to each other and then have 1 single power cable? (I'm thinking about the vizio 5.1 speakers).
In this system, each has its own power cable, they are not tethered to each other, instead it relies on the ultra tight timing of the wireless connection (the referenced 1 millisecond sync) to maintain fidelity in stereo (no drifting).

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post #5 of 7 Old 04-22-2019, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattopotamus View Post
It is much easier to plug them into a power source than run to the AVR
I'm guessing that's room dependent. In my bedroom I have binding posts directly behind my L/R speakers that run to my AVR, but no power outlets.

I realize I'm a special case. ^_^
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-23-2019, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirpie View Post
They're wireless... minus the power cords! That was always the funny thing about wireless speakers to me.
Here we go again.
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-23-2019, 07:04 PM
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i would love to hear these in my living room where i have some recessed shelves. i would worry that they would sound terrible when enclosed in a cabinet type area where i have my outlets. it is really hard now to run wiring this particular area now as the space was not designed for audio. these speakers otherwise make sense in an area like that.

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