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Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

Powered speaker system for iPod® and iPhone®

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  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    (iPhone not included)

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    (iPhone not included)

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    (iPod not included)

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    (iPod touch not included)

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    (iPod touch not included)

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    (iPod touch not included)

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

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  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    Back view

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    Dock detail (iPod not included)

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    Front right view

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    Profile (iPhone not included)

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    Remote

  • Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

    Side view

Item #: 749ZEPP
 

Review Summary

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Original price $499.99
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Our take on the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

by Ralph Graves
Bowers & Wilkins

Innovative industrial design meets uncompromising audio fidelity

Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) brings over 40 years of studio speaker design experience to the Zeppelin, and it shows in both the unique look and the outstanding performance of this iPod/iPhone speaker system. You'll enjoy extraordinarily detailed sound, with clear highs, accurate midrange, and full, natural bass — more like what you'd expect from separate stereo components than an all-in-one speaker system.

B&W Zeppelin

Dock your iPod on the elegant Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin and enjoy full, rich sound.

A sturdy, stainless steel arm holds your iPod out from the Zeppelin's body. This lets you grasp the player in your hand naturally when you're using its click wheel or touch screen to queue up songs. The system's tone-shaping controls are available right from your iPod's main menu — when you place your player on the dock, a new option called "Speakers" appears on its screen. A palm-sized remote gives you control over basic functions like volume, play/pause, and track skip.


Zeppelin Side View

The Zeppelin sports an attractive chrome finish and a unique docking arm that holds your iPod.

Built for superior sound quality

The Zeppelin's unusual shape isn't just for good looks. Its rounded, tapered ends minimize the cabinet surface area around the built-in speakers, which helps ensure smooth response and a wide, spacious soundfield. A dampening layer sandwiched between the cabinet's stiff polymer inner casing and heavy stainless steel cover eliminates sound-muddying vibrations.

Zeppelin back view

An internal subwoofer with rear-firing ports is driven by its own amplifier for accurate bass.

Advanced driver technology

This system uses a pair of aluminum dome tweeters to produce crystal-clear highs, and rigid glass fiber woofers for accurate midrange detail. A built-in Kevlar-reinforced subwoofer with back-firing ports delivers deep, rich bass. Three high-performance amplifiers — one for the left channel, one for the right, and a dedicated bass amp — reproduce your favorite music with authoritative, room-filling sound.


From the review Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Lifts the Party

"The Zeppelin created an expansive sound stage. The effect is difficult to describe, but to me it sounded like the music had room to breathe. Sounds that were supposed to be concentrated in different channels were clearly separate, while blended ensembles presented a smooth spread from left to right."

— Ralph, Blog Editor and A/V Writer


See more info on this item

Highlights:

  • powered speaker system for docking iPods and iPhones
  • for all docking iPods, including 160GB iPod classic, 5th generation iPod nano, and 3rd generation iPod touch
  • compatible with iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3GS
  • two 1" tweeters and two 3-1/2" midrange woofers
  • internal 5" subwoofer with rear-firing ports
  • 25 watts x 2 for midranges and tweeters, plus 50 watts for subwoofer
  • polished stainless steel construction
  • minijack auxiliary input accepts both analog and optical digital connections
  • composite and S-video output for connection to a TV
  • USB port (for firmware updates only)
  • remote control
  • AC power cable
  • weight: 16.5 lbs.
  • 25-3/16"W x 7-13/16"H x 8-3/16"D
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

Hands-on research from the Crutchfield Labs (what are the Labs?)

Product Research
What's in the box?

Download owner's manual

  • Powered speaker system for iPod/iPhone
  • Wireless remote control
  • CR2032 Lithium battery (installed in remote)
  • 9.75' AC cord
  • Owner's Manual
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Important Safety Instructions
  • Warranty booklet
  • On-line registration brochure

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team — they open the box, verify contents, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

Features

Overview: The Bowers & Wilkins (B&W) Zeppelin is a powered speaker system made for iPod and iPhone with an airship-inspired design. It features a standard iPod dock connector, as well as a 3.5mm auxiliary input and a USB Type B connector. The included composite and S-Video outputs let you stream video to your TV from your iPod.

Speakers: The Zeppelin is equipped with five high-quality drivers:

  • Tweeters: The high frequencies are handled by a pair of 1" aluminum dome tweeters. The sound is enhanced by an adapted version of B&W's trademark Nautilus tweeter tube.
  • Midranges: The unit features two 3.5" cone midranges, made from highly-optimized glass fiber.
  • Woofer: The single 5" woofer features an oversized magnet, a 4-layer voice coil, and a Kevlar-reinforced cone. The woofer is mounted in the center--the deepest part of the Zeppelin's sleek enclosure--with rear-firing ports on each side.

Amplification: Powering the speakers are three high-quality digital amplifiers with a total of 100 watts--one for the bass, one for the left midrange/tweeter combo and one for the right. The single woofer is driven by a 50 watt amplifier, while each pair of midranges and tweeters is driven by a 25 watt amplifier.

iPod Compatibility: The Zeppelin has been certified "Made for iPod" and "Works with iPhone", which means that it has been designed to connect specifically to iPod and iPhone, and meets Apple performance standards. This unit has varying levels of compatibility with most all iPods, from simply connecting the iPod's headphone output to the Zeppelin's Auxiliary input to audio and video streaming from the Internet. The iPods are separated into 5 groups, depending upon the level of performance:

  • Group A (non-docking iPods): iPod 1st and 2nd generation, iPod shuffle 1st and 2nd generation. These iPods can be connected by their headphone outputs to the Zeppelin's Auxiliary Input. The Zeppelin cannot control or charge these models.
  • Group B (with non-compatible dock): iPod 3rd generation. Although this iPod has the iPod 30-pin dock connector, it cannot be charged by the Zeppelin. Connect by the headphone output to the Zeppelin's Aux input.
  • Group C (docking iPods): iPod mini, iPod 4th generation. Docks to the Zeppelin's iPod connector and charges. Volume control on the unit and with the remote, but not on the iPod. Track controls are available on the iPod and using the remote control.
  • Group D (docking iPods): iPod classic, iPod 5th generation, iPod nano (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation). Same as Group C, but adds volume control on the iPod. Video-capable iPods can output video through the Zeppelin's composite or S-Video outputs.
  • Group E (Touch screen iPods/iPhone): iPod touch (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation), iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS. Volume control on the unit, on the iPod, and with the remote. Track controls on the iPod and with the remote control. Audio and video streaming from the Internet. Videos are output through the Zeppelin's composite or S-Video outputs to your TV. (Zeppelin's software may need to be updated in some cases to enable some functions.)

iPod/iPhone Compatibility Chart: The Zeppelin is compatible and supports the following iPod/iPhone model functions (as of Jan. 2010):

iPod/iPhone Model Generation Media Type Control Type Display Type Charge
Audio Video Speaker Dock iPod/iPhone Song/Artist Text Track Info
dock connector 3rd N N N N N N N
clickwheel
color
4th Y N Y Y N N Y
mini 1st Y N Y Y N N Y
2nd Y N Y Y N N Y
video 5th Y N Y Y N N Y
classic 80GB Y Y Y Y N N Y
120GB Y Y Y Y N N Y
160GB Y Y Y Y N N Y
nano 1st Y N Y Y N N Y
2nd Y N Y Y N N Y
3rd Y Y Y Y N N Y
4th Y Y Y Y N N Y
5th Y Y Y Y N N Y
6th Y N Y Y N N Y
touch 1st Y Y Y Y N N Y
2nd Y Y Y Y N N Y
3rd Y Y Y Y N N Y
4th Y Y Y Y N N Y
iPhone 2G Y Y Y Y N N Y
3G Y Y Y Y N N Y
3GS Y Y Y Y N N Y
4 Y Y Y Y N N Y

Note: Apple iPod/iPhone software updates may change functionality results. If you download a newer software version, you may need to reset the device and your iPod/iPhone to regain functionality. If this doesn't work, you may need to revert to the older software version or wait until an newer software update is available.

Inputs/Outputs: In addition to the 30-pin iPod dock connector, the Zeppelin offers other inputs and outputs on the back panel:

  • 3.5mm Auxiliary Input: The 3.5mm mini-jack allows you to listen to an external audio device. The input is compatible with both analog and digital (via optical mini plug) signals. The iPod dock has priority over the Aux input, therefore, any connected iPod must be un-docked before you can listen to a source connected via the Aux input.
  • Composite and S-Video Outputs: You can playback videos stored on your iPod to your TV through the composite and S-Video outputs. You can also stream video from the Internet to your TV when a WiFi-capable iPod touch or iPhone is docked.
  • USB Connector: The Type B USB port allows you to connect the unit to your computer for downloading software updates to the Zeppelin.

Controls: The Zeppelin offers power and volume control on the top of the unit, but no track playback controls. When docked, the iPod is positioned at an angle that makes it easy to select tracks or change settings, as if the iPod was in your hand. The supplied wireless remote offers power and volume controls, as well as play/pause, next track, previous track, and select. When playing back a device using the auxiliary input jack, the remote's play/pause button acts as a mute button. Remote dimensions: W=2.041", H=3.129", D=0.958"

LED Indicator: The Zeppelin has an LED indicator on the front panel to give you the status of the player at a glance. The indicator illuminates in a range of colors to indicate different operational conditions.

Audio Settings: The Zeppelin offers no bass or treble controls on the unit. When you place the unit with its back against the wall, the bass level is boosted, and more so if it is in a corner. However, when you dock a Group D or E iPod into the Zeppelin, an extra item called "Speakers" appears in the top-level menu. The "Speakers" setting has a tone control option which allows you to adjust the bass output. The default setting (Bass 0) should be used when the Zeppelin is on an open table. The Bass -1 setting should be used when the Zeppelin is against a single wall, and Bass -2 when placed in a corner to compensate for the added bass boost from the speaker's positioning. Personal preference settings (Bass +1 and Bass -3) are also provided. The selected EQ setting is retained for any other iPod you dock, and to any second source connected to the Aux input. It is recommended that the EQ settings in the iPod or iPhone itself be turned off.

Taking iPhone Calls: If you have an incoming call while the iPhone is docked, the iPhone will ring through the Zeppelin and mute the music. The iPhone does not send the call audio to the dock connector, so you cannot hear the caller through the Zeppelin. You must either remove the iPhone from the Zeppelin to take the call, or leave it docked and turn on the iPhone's internal speaker to use it as a speaker phone.

Optional Wall Mount: The Zeppelin can be mounted on a wall if you desire. A dedicated optional wall mount bracket is available from the manufacturer.

 
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Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Reviews

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5 out of 5

Form and Function

Written By mikeK, fishers Indiana on Sunday, March 13, 2011
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
As an avid Non technical audiophile I can only definitively say two things about this product...it's gorgeous and it sounds great!
The style is both futuristic and retro which I am aware is an oxymoron and the sound is Pure with a capital P...I put this unit in my den which has a great system already in place with terrific floor speakers...after listening to the B&W, I don't know what to do with the now obsolete component system.... Every 10 years or so A product comes out that you will never throw away or forget, this is that product....

2 out of 2 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

Outstanding Product

Written By Karu, Bethesda, MD on Thursday, October 28, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
This is absolutely a first class IPod speaker, which I highly recommend.. I was deciding between the Bose SoundDock 10 and the B&W Zeppelin and after having recently sampled the Bose, I'm confident I made the right choice. Unfortunately, the SoundDock 10 exaggerates the bass, which results in an unnatural sound. The Zeppelin on the other hand replicates all frequencies in the way artists had intended with no distortion even at max volume. It's no wonder, being that B&W incorporates technologies in the Zeppelin used on their high end 800 & Nautilus series speakers. The unique design as well as the fit & finish are also first class. All in all it was money very well spent on a very high quality product..
4 out of 4 people found this helpful
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5 out of 5

A-w-e-s-o-m-e and then some!

Written By Ray, Smithtown, N.Y. on Sunday, July 11, 2010
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
 
A MUST HAVE!! Upon hearing this futuristic-looking honey, I realized it was worth every penny. Sound quality is stellar. Bass response superb. Channel separation phenomenal. High volume levels can't distort the sound! It'll blow you away! I give this beauty five stars,but it rates 12 out of 10 on the WOW- factor scale.It has quite a hefty build to it. This ain't no portable, but it is sonic paradise. Heaven anyone?
6 out of 7 people found this helpful
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