Portable Audio

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin iPod Amplified Speaker Dock System

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

The Zeppelin is 25.2" wide by 6.8" tall by 8.2" deep and weighs a hefty 16.5lbs. It has impeccable build and feels very sturdy due to its polymer and steel construction. There are sleek contours, minimal amount of buttons (volume up/down and power), a black cloth grille, and the backing is a highly polished stainless steel. Each of the Zeppelin's sides feature a 1" aluminum dome tweeter and a 3.5 " glass fiber cone driver. The tweeter design on the Zeppelin features B&W's exponentially diminishing tweeter tubes that are used to absorb rear radiations. It's a modification of the same design that's used in B&W's famed Nautilus speaker line. In the center of the Zeppelin, B&W's patented Kevlar reinforced driver technology is used in a single 5" driver to handle the low end frequencies. The Zeppelin chassis features a ported design and there are dual ports on the back of the unit. Power for the drivers is supplied by dual digital 25w amps for the mids and highs, and a single digital 50w amp for the 5" bass driver. The Zeppelin's unique shape, which in my household earned it the nickname "bean speaker", is shaped that way for more than just aesthetics. The tapered enclosure, is designed so that the front baffle size is reduced in proportion to the size of the right and left mid drivers and tweeters. With less baffle surface area, sound-wave diffraction effects coming from the drivers are reduced.

The Zeppelin will tilt slightly upward as it rests on a table but B&W has included an rubber stand for more upright positioning if it's desired. The Zeppelin can also be wall mounted by using an accessory available from B&W. Whichever room I had the Zeppelin in, it always had a top notch contemporary look to it.

Right in the front of the Zeppelin extends out a chrome plated arm that curves to match the front contour and holds the iPod firmly in place. This is one of the best iPod interface docks I have ever seen. Not only does the arm feature a spring loaded mechanism that adjusts the 30pin connector to accommodate the variations in the different iPod sizes but it's also discrete enough so that the iPod can be manipulated in the same fashion as if it was resting in the hand. This is really how people want to control their iPod s because it's so familiar to them. As for iPod compatibility, the Zeppelin will provide sound to all the makes of the iPod (including the iPod Touch and iPhone) and will provide charging for all but the earliest of iPod models. There are a lot of various iPod docks and many of them need adapters to accommodate various iPod s so B&W gets some much deserved Kudos for this particular feature.