One of the hottest audio products in recent years is the Wi-Fi wireless speaker, and Bowers & Wilkins (B&W for short) made a strong entry into this field by launching the Formation series of wireless speakers.
The series includes the stereo bookshelf speaker Formation Duo, the unique-shaped standalone speaker Formation Wedge, the compact speaker Formation Flex, the subwoofer Formation Bass, the TV soundbar Formation Bar, and the wireless audio adapter Formation Audio.
Today, I will introduce the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge Wireless Streaming Speaker from the renowned British audio equipment brand Bowers & Wilkins. Its minimalist design is equipped with two tweeters, two mid-range drivers, and one subwoofer, offering support for high-resolution stereo sound up to 96/24 bits, creating a personalized soundstage just for you.
Unlike traditional audio systems, the Formation Wedge Wireless Streaming Speaker can easily play music through a mobile app and Bluetooth. Additionally, it allows customization of treble and bass, putting the power to adjust your listening experience in your hands. The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge is undoubtedly the most impeccable choice regarding wireless audio playback.
Design The Formation Wedge breaks away from people’s traditional understanding of audio aesthetics. When viewed from the front, it appears as an oval shape, and from above, it resembles a seashell, forming a fan shape.
The surface is covered with a black fabric mesh interwoven with diamond-shaped patterns, resembling the lines extending from the surface of a seashell. The top of the device features a sleek black glass panel, which conceals touch-sensitive buttons. The back is encased in a sturdy wooden shell. In addition to the black version mentioned in the article, B&W offers a silver performance for consumers.
The dimensions of the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge are Height 254mm x Width 281mm x Depth 260mm, with a weight of 6.5 kilograms. It is recommended to place the Formation Wedge on a sturdy surface for added safety. The control panel is located on the top of the Formation Wedge, and when not powered on, there are no visible displays.
Once powered on, the control panel on the top of the Formation Wedge displays the function buttons, including the Form button (also an indicator light) at the top, volume+/- buttons, and the play/pause button. However, since most functions can be controlled directly from a mobile phone, the need for using these physical buttons is limited.
The back of the Formation Wedge features a wooden design, enhancing the overall texture. Still, one must also be careful not to cause collisions that could damage its high-quality appearance.
The inner and outer sides of the Formation Wedge adopt a curved design, enabling it to emit sound in a 120-degree direction, creating a three-dimensional stereo effect. Due to its weight of 6.5 kilograms, extra care should be taken when moving it. Flipping it over and using the wooden surface as a grip for more stability is recommended.
B&W didn’t design the Formation Wedge in a seashell shape without reason. The main purpose behind this design is to achieve 120° sound dispersion. Simultaneously, the internal structure of the speaker consists of five units. In the center is a powerful low-frequency driver capable of reaching bass as low as 35Hz.
A pair of stacked mid-range and tweeter units are on the left and right sides. The tweeter units are dual-layer aluminum decoupled tweeters with a critical threshold of 37kHz. The mid-range units are FST mid-range drivers, eliminating unwanted resonances and delivering pure and clean mid-range frequencies. The total power output of all five units amounts to 240W.
The bass frequencies are non-directional, and the speaker can be placed in various positions without significant impact. Placing the Formation Wedge at the center allows the low-frequency energy to radiate in all directions evenly. On the other hand, the mid and high frequencies have strong directionality.
To achieve maximum coverage within the 120° range, Formation Wedge evenly positions the two sets of mid-range and tweeter units on the left and right sides of the speaker.
Moving on to the ports located at the bottom of the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge, from left to right, there is a Type-C port, a power input, an RJ-45 Ethernet port, and a RESET button. Most regular users only need to use the power input, RJ-45 Ethernet port, and RESET button.
The Type-C port is primarily for engineering and servicing purposes. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the Formation Wedge also supports 2.4G Wi-Fi connectivity. However, if the Wi-Fi signal in the environment is weak, it is advisable to use the RJ-45 Ethernet port for faster and more stable connections.
To address cable management, the Formation Wedge has cable channels beneath the bottom layer, ensuring that cables are neatly organized and protected from being crushed by the speaker. This post is from HiFiReport.com.
For those who wish to mount the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge securely, there are screw holes on both sides to facilitate fixing. Specialized wall brackets can be purchased separately for this purpose. When placed on a flat surface, the Formation Wedge features anti-slip strips at the bottom, suitable for typical indoor tiles or wooden floors.
Considering that the Formation Wedge supports Airplay 2, Qualcomm aptX HD, Mesh network technology, the ability to synchronize with multiple speakers, and high-fidelity music with a maximum of 96 kHz/24 bit, we highly recommend users opt for the unrestricted Wi-Fi connection.
In streaming media (online music), 96 kHz/24-bit is considered high-quality audio, with a bit rate often exceeding 1 Mbps. With its higher bandwidth and longer transmission distance, Wi-Fi outperforms Bluetooth in handling 96 kHz/24-bit audio transmissions. Moreover, the Formation Wedge supports Mesh network technology.
Currently, many wireless speaker solutions on the market involve connecting all devices to the router and transmitting over the 2.4GHz frequency, increasing the router’s load and leading to delays between devices. However, the B&W Formation Wedge utilizes Mesh technology, establishing 5GHz connections between speakers.
That ensures stable connections when multiple devices are accessing the network, minimizing the chances of disconnection and latency issues. It perfectly addresses the problem of unstable connections and delays in multi-room scenarios.
Furthermore, smartphones can access the wireless network through the Wedge after the Wedge connects to the network. That effectively strengthens the wireless network signal at home, preventing speed drops and lag when switching between networks. This is one of the highlights of a Mesh router.
The process is straightforward if users choose to connect the Formation Wedge via Wi-Fi. Use the “Bowers & Wilkins Home” mobile app to add the speaker to the Wi-Fi network, and then music can be streamed using Airplay or other compatible methods.
Before getting started, you must download the Bowers & Wilkins Home APP, which is available for iOS and Android platforms. The Formation Wedge supports various encodings, including AptX HD, AAC, and SBC, and it can deliver high-resolution stereo sound up to 96/24 bits. As a result, whether you’re using iOS or Android, you can enjoy the exceptional audio quality it offers.
To begin pairing, ensure your phone is connected to the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network. The Formation Wedge must also be connected to the same 2.4GHz Wi-Fi domain. It’s important to note that Formation Wedge only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, so keep this in mind.
Once the connection is successful, you can pair and play music through AirPlay, Spotify, Roon, Bluetooth, and more. The Formation Wedge supports popular streaming services like AirPlay 2, Spotify, and Roon and even comes with a complimentary 60-day Roon trial for those who have yet to experience it.
After setting up the Formation Wedge, you can view the connected devices and perform system updates through the APP. If you have other Formation series devices, you can add them as well. Choose to connect different Formation speakers in various spaces, synchronize and enjoy music, and fill every corner of your home or environment with high-quality sound.
Once you access the APP’s Formation Wedge settings, you can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth for music playback.
If you prefer not to use Bluetooth, you can opt for AirPlay, enabling wireless playback even without Bluetooth activated. However, remember that your mobile device must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the Formation Wedge to use AirPlay.
From the moment the Formation Wedge is connected to Wi-Fi, the most captivating experience is its 120° sound dispersion. B&W’s design does not disappoint, as the unique shape and well-placed speakers allow the Formation Wedge to distribute sound evenly within the 120° range. While walking around the speaker for about one-third of a circle, there is no noticeable difference in volume.
Moreover, the sound is exceptionally loud and audible even at a distance of 20 meters from the speaker, and when placed on the same table as the speaker, one can feel the vibrations from the subwoofer. Thanks to the 120° sound dispersion and high volume capabilities, the Formation Wedge is well-suited for placement in the living room or study corner, eliminating the need to occupy the valuable central position in the space like some other speakers.
In the song “City of Stars,” where the balance between vocals and background music is crucial, the Formation Wedge’s precise crossover allows for a clear separation between the vocals and piano, making the male and female voices of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone distinct.
In “Turkish March,” using the 96 kHz/24-bit audio quality, the Formation Wedge’s sound quality is exceptionally well-presented. The bass depth becomes significantly deeper, and the performance of different instruments becomes clearer, fully showcasing the advantages of high-fidelity audio.
I recommend users choose high-quality music when streaming media to appreciate Formation Wedge’s capabilities fully.
- HIGH-RESOLUTION STEREO SOUND - Powered by (2) 1" double-dome tweeters, (2) 3.5" FST midrange drivers, and (1) 6" woofer with an 80W Class D amplifier, the B&W Formation Wedge Portable Speaker delivers big, room-filling audio for your movies, music, and TV
- LOOKS AS GOOD AS IT SOUNDS - The unique 120-degree elliptical cabinet houses the 5 angled drivers for enhanced sound transmission and clarity. Place the speaker on a bookshelf, stand, or table - it looks artistic and adds an elegant touch to your decor
- SYNCHRONIZED MULTI-ROOM STREAMING - Play the same song in every room, or play different songs from different sources in each room with the iOS/Android compatible B&W Music App. The speaker allows state-of-the-art music streaming at 24-bit/96kHz resolution
The B&W Formation Wedge wireless speaker revolutionizes traditional Bluetooth speakers, often suffering from power consumption and continuity issues during audio transmission.
Bluetooth transmission may require audio compression to reduce bit rates for continuous streaming, resulting in compromised audio quality. In contrast, the Formation Wedge utilizes superior Wi-Fi bandwidth for audio transmission, coupled with MESH connectivity technology, which reduces the delay between other wireless speakers in the home to just 1 microsecond.
The 120° sound dispersion angle and high volume capabilities make the Wedge perfect for placement in the corner of the living room or study without occupying the precious central position that other speakers may require. In an era where technology products are becoming increasingly homogeneous, Bowers & Wilkins again brings consumers a speaker with a completely new design and concept.
The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge’s seashell-shaped design allows sound to radiate to every corner of the room, providing ample volume even when placed in the corner of the living room. Its excellent separation of highs, mids, and lows results in a refreshing and immersive vocal performance. If you’re looking for other types of wireless speakers, the Formation series offers a variety of products for everyone’s preferences.
B&W Formation Wedge Specifications
- Height: 232mm (9.1 in)
- Width: 440mm (17.3 in)
- Depth: 243mm (9.6 in)
- Net Weight:
- 6.5kg (14.3 lb)
- Technical Features:
- Apple® AirPlay 2® technology
- Spotify® Connect
- Roon Ready
- Bluetooth In
- Digital Signal Processing (DSP)
- Digital Amplifier
- Dynamic EQ
- Wireless Music System
- Drive Units:
- 2 x 25mm (1 in) Double dome tweeter
- 2 x 90 mm (3.5 in) FST midrange
- 1 x 150mm (6 in) Subwoofer
- Frequency Response:
- 35Hz to 28kHz
- Amplifier Power Output:
- 2 x 40W (tweeter)
- 2 x 40W (midrange)
- 1 x 80W (subwoofer)
- Input Voltage:
- 100V – 240V – 50/60Hz
- Power Consumption:
- Below 6 Watts (Sleep)
- Network (RJ45 Ethernet or WiFi)
- USB – service only
- Bluetooth® v4.1, Class 2
- aptX HD
- AirPlay 2 Compatibility:
- iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 11.4 or later
- Apple TV 4K or Apple TV (4th Generation) with tvOS 11.4 or later
- Mac or PC with iTunes 12.8 or later.
- Cabinet Finishes: