Is there any difference in sound quality between this and the original model? Does it sound better over airplay or through the iphone?

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air Speakers with 30-Pin Connector

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air Speakers with 30-Pin Connector

Product No Longer Available

9 Answers from the Community

  • Best Answer:

    It is different to the current one. It uses a new DAC that improves distortion and it now goes louder still than the old. It's also got new drive units to improve the sound even better. It takes a lot of technology and parts from the MM-1's which sound incredible so it should be a good improvement on the current speakers.

    As for the difference in AirPlay and iPod/iPhone direct, only time will tell. Everyone in our office bought an original Zeppelin but we all had very different experiences with interference noise from the iPhones on the units. My gut feeling is that I'd rather do AirPlay if my Wi-Fi is good enough but my current experience of AirPlay from iPhone to Apple TV is not good with constant dropouts and in some cases a total stop. Hopefully, iOS 4.3 final build will solve these issues.

    I think I would wait for reviews and user experiences before jumping in. It's on my shopping list but I'll be waiting a month or 2 for the dust to settle before parting with that kind of money.

  • Despite the obvious aesthetic similarities between the original Zeppelin and the B&W Zeppelin Air, internally the Zeppelin Air has been completely redesigned and produces a dramatically improved acoustic performance over the original Zeppelin.

    Its fully active 2.1 design means that all five drive units are individually driven by audiophile class D amplifiers. Flowport technology and advanced Digital Signal Processing has dramatically improved the bass performance, and the DACs have also been upgraded, with new 24bit-96KHz capability for improved performance.

    In essence the Zeppelin Air will produce a more refined sound over the original Zeppelin, whether audio is being streamed wirelessly via Airplay or whether an iPod or iPhone is being docked.

  • Since the mid and tweeters have been changed (I believe for cheaper ones), the mid drivers are now smaller, and from the pictures in the B&W brochures, side by side, the older mid drivers look of much higher quality. However, the bass IS better controlled, no more chuffing noise in the new one. So, I think having now owned both, the new one has better bass response and seperation, the older one has better mid and treble sound. And two things: the black plastic back looks and feels cheap. The polished steel on the first one is pure class. And secondly, where did the weight go?? That can't be good, a high end speaker is HEAVY, and needs to be to isolate the vibrations. I wonder if B&W is pulling a fast one on us, there is almost 4 pounds lost in the new one. I am going back and forth between taking it back and getting the old one again. I just don't know what to do. Any of you have both and see what I am talking about?? So, I think the older one, playing jazz, or vocals, is better. Bass heavy songs, the newer one. I am frustrated, and debating the pros and cons.
    Do I think the new one sounds 4 times better as B&W says? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Does the new one feel and look cheaper, but the same price? YES!

  • I spoke to B&W on Tuesday this week and there engineer answered a few questions for me and assured me that the sound quality was much better and"crisper" than the original i purchased,sounds very promising.

  • B&W has made a few changes, opting for smaller mid-range drive units, which it reckons will allow for better audio dispersion, letting the Zeppelin do a better job of flooding the whole room with noise. There are five units in total hidden in the Zeppelin's rounded body four 25W units and one 50W unit.

    Around the back, the speaker covers have a dappled, golf-ball-style texture to them. B&W reckons that covering the casing in these little dimples reduces air turbulence around the speaker port. Pumping out serious bass produces plenty of air movement, so the idea is that this texture will reduce the annoying noise you get when the port is shaken around by a build-up of air.

    and there is no loss of quality for Airplay at all.

    Hope that Helps.

  • The sound quality is better than the original, but it is not night and day. The bass is a bit tighter and has less distortion. Also the treble is more refined and clear. I have not noticed any difference between airplay and straight plug and play sound quality. The main factors that affects sound quality is placement of the system and the quality of the compressor format.

  • Yes, they say it is higher quality sound, the inside has been redesigned and it now has 150watts instead of 100, The sound quality over air play is the same as docking the device, as over airplay it is a uncompressed file so no quality is lost.

  • b&w say there are 4 more amplifiers in this model, one for each unit. In the original zeppelin they were all controlled off one amp.

  • Quality hasn't changed but the dock is more powerful than the old one. The quality over AirPlay is the same as docking the phone.