About the Bowers & Wilkins Formation 3.1 Home Theater System
High-performance home theater sound with a wireless twist
High-performance home theater sound with a wireless twist
Bowers & Wilkins have a long history of making high-performance speakers. Their expertise is on display with the Formation Bar and Bass wireless TV sound system.
The slender, stylish Formation Bar delivers exceptionally clear and accurate sound. And it has state-of-the-art wireless music streaming built in, with support for high-res audio up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution. The wireless Formation Bass included in this package fills out the bottom end of the spectrum with deep, tight bass.
Built for high-performance sound
The Formation Bar has a total of nine speakers, configured in three channels. Each channel includes a 1" double dome tweeter and two 2-1/2" woven glass-fiber cone bass/midrange drivers. The dedicated center channel ensures crisp, clear dialogue.
The Formation Bass features dual side-firing 6-1/2" woven glass-fiber woofers with rubber surrounds, mounted horizontally and firing in opposite directions. This dual-woofer configuration provides deep, distortion-free bass. Built-in Dynamic EQ optimizes bass performance in real time.
Wireless music options
The Formation Bar features Bluetooth 4.1 for playing audio sources from a wide variety of apps on your mobile device. Built-in aptX HD and AAC decoding provides high-quality music streaming from compatible devices.
Spotify Connect is built-in, too, so you can easily stream from this popular service if you have a subscription.
Built-in Apple AirPlay 2 technology lets you play audio directly from your iPhone®, iPad®, or Mac® computer through the Formation Bar. That includes soundtracks from YouTube® videos and Netflix movies.
Roon-compatible for serious music lovers
The Formation system is also compatible with Roon, a subscription digital music player for your smartphone, tablet, or computer. It gives you multi-room audio playback for all your Formation devices and more.
Roon accesses your digital music collection from your iTunes library or NAS drive. It also works with your TIDAL subscription. Roon lets you do deep dives into your music, showing artist bios, photos, reviews, and lyrics. Roon can also suggest other artists and songs based on your selections, making it easy to discover new music you'll enjoy.
A rich history of audio excellence
Founded in England in the 1960s, Bowers & Wilkins is known worldwide for their innovative hi-fi speaker designs and their premium headphones. Crutchfield is proud to offer a diverse selection of products from this legendary audio brand.
- 3-channel sound bar
- three 1" double dome tweeters and six 2-1/2" woven glass fiber cone bass/midrange drivers
- total system power: 240 watts (6 x 40W)
- frequency response: 40-28,000 Hz
- Dolby Digital decoding
- Dynamic EQ optimizes the sound in real time
- optical digital audio input for connection to TV (cable included)
- 48-15/16"W x 4-3/8"H x 4-5/16"D
- two opposed 6-1/2" long-throw bass drivers
- 250-watt Class-D amplifier
- Dynamic EQ optimizes bass performance in real time
- frequency response: 20-150 Hz
- 11-1/16"W x 10"-3/16"H x 10-3/16"D
Streaming music features:
- built-in Bluetooth 4.1
- aptX HD and AAC decoding provides high-quality music streaming from compatible devices
- Apple AirPlay 2 for streaming music from an iPhone, iPod, or computer's iTunes®
- proprietary Formation mesh network for wireless multi-room audio
- up to 24-bit/96kHz streaming audio resolution
- 1 microsecond sync between in-room speakers to virtually eliminate latency
- Roon-ready (subscription required)
Bowers & Wilkins control app:
- free download from Apple® App Store and Google Play
- Spotify Connect built-in (subscription required)
- control multiple compatible Formation speakers to play the same song simultaneously or different songs in different rooms
- customizable speaker and group names
- displays current song and artist information
- control volume and EQ settings
- Roon-ready (subscription required)
- connects to your home network via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi
- Formation Bar wall mount bracket and hardware included
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
What's in the box:
- This B&W Soundbar Package contains 2 individually boxed items:
- Formation Bar:
- Active soundbar speaker
- 6.5' AC power cord
- 39" Optical digital cable
- Wall-mount bracket
- 2 Screws
- 2 Star-washers
- 2 Lock-washers
- Bowers & Wilkins Formation Brochure
- Safety & Warranty Information
- Roon Brochure
- Formation Subwoofer:
- Wireless powered subwoofer
- 6.5' AC power cord
- Bowers & Wilkins Formation Brochure
- Safety & Warranty Information
- Roon Brochure
- Caution Note
Bowers & Wilkins Formation 3.1 Home Theater System reviews
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More details on the Bowers & Wilkins Formation 3.1 Home Theater System
Features & specs
|Number Of Channels||3.1|
|Virtual Surround||Surround mode|
|Optical Digital Inputs||1|
|Coaxial Digital Inputs||None|
|HDMI ARC Input||No|
|HDMI eARC Input||No|
|3.5mm Stereo Analog Inputs||None|
|RCA Stereo Analog Inputs||None|
|USB Type-A Input||No|
|Tweeter||1" Dome (3)|
|Subwoofer Driver||6.5" (2)|
|System Frequency Response||20-28k Hz|
|Sound Bar RMS Power||240|
|Subwoofer RMS Power||250|
|HDMI Video Pass-through Resolution||N/A|
|HDR Video Compatible||No|
|Control by App||Appl iOS, Android|
|Remote IR Passthrough||No|
|Learns TV Remote||Yes|
|Bluetooth Connectivity||Built-in 4.1|
|Bluetooth Audio Playback||Yes|
|Bluetooth Transmitter Mode||No|
|Online Music Sources||Spotify Connect|
|Apple AirPlay||AirPlay 2|
|Files on Your Network||No|
|Built-in Wi-Fi Version||802.11n|
|Mounting Bracket Included||Yes|
|Sound Bar Size (inches)||4-3/8H x 48-15/16W x 4-5/16D|
|Sound Bar Weight||12.1 lbs|
|Subwoofer Size (inches)||10-3/16H x 11-1/16W x 10-3/16D|
|Subwoofer Weight||26.7 lbs|
|Speaker Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Speaker Labor Warranty||2 Years|
|Amplifier Parts Warranty||2 Years|
|Amplifier Labor Warranty||2 Years|
Soundbar & Sub
Active Soundbar Speaker: The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar is an active soundbar speaker that delivers full, immersive, room-filling sound. The B&W Formation Bar features three discrete front channels for Left, Center, and Right. The soundbar's dedicated center channel provides crisp, clear dialogue from your movie soundtracks. The Left, Center, and Right channels of the Formation Bar consist of nine total custom-designed drivers (3 fabric dome tweeters / six woven glass-fiber woofers) born from B&W's legendary loudspeaker technologies that have been optimally positioned to create a wider, all-inclusive, soundstage. The drivers are powered by a 240 watt Class D amplifier with digital signal processing (DSP) and a dynamic EQ that optimizes the soundbar in real-time for great sound at high or low volume levels.
Wireless Powered Subwoofer: The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bass is a wireless powered subwoofer that features a unique patented cylindrical design that enables the use of opposed dual driver technology to reduce distortion. The Formation Bass houses two 6.5" woven glass-fiber woofers with rubber surrounds that are side-firing in opposite directions. The dual 6.5" woofers deliver deep, distortion-free bass. The two 6.5" woofers are powered by a 250 watt Class D amplifier with digital signal processing (DSP) and a Dynamic EQ for optimized bass performance. You'll hear deep bass that is efficient, accurate, and robust.
Optional Wireless Rear Speakers: You can add two Bowers & Wilkins Formation Flex speakers (749FMRFLEX, sold separately) to create wireless rear surround for the Formation Bar& Sub system.
Optical Digital Audio Input: The B&W Formation Bar is outfitted with an optical (toslink) digital audio input to connect to your TV. The optical digital input supports 2ch PCM and 5.1ch Dolby Digital audio signals (it does not support DTS or other audio formats).
Note: The digital optical output terminals of most newer flat-panel TVs only send an audio signal in 5.1ch when receiving Dolby Digital surround sound from the TV's built-in tuner, network connection, or connected USB device; and will output only 2ch stereo from sources connected to the TV via HDMI, or RCA (like your Blue-ray/DVD player or satellite/cable box).
TV Remote Learning: Through the Music Bowers & Wilkins App (for Apple iOS 12.0+ and Android OS 5.0+), the Formation Bar is able to learn and respond to TV remote control volume and mute commands. Some commonly used control functions (such as Volume UP/Down, Play/Pause) are also available via touch buttons on the Formation Bar's top-panel.
Note: The B&W Formation Bar is primarily intended to be configured and controlled using the Music Bowers & Wilkins app (for Apple iOS and Android). The Formation Bar does not come with its own remote control.
Bluetooth Audio w/ aptX HD: The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar features built-in Bluetooth 4.1 with support for wireless audio streaming (A2DP). You'll be able to wirelessly stream stored music, music apps, and other audio content from your Bluetooth-enabled source device (such as your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer) to the soundbar speaker. You'll continue to use your Bluetooth-enabled source device to control playback functions and view song/artist info (album art).
- Supported Codecs: In addition to support for Bluetooth's standard SBC audio codec, the Formation Bar supports AAC for higher quality playback from Apple iOS devices, as well as support of aptX HD for 24-bit/48kHz audio playback from compatible devices. aptX HD supports 48kHz/24-bit LPCM audio over a Bluetooth wireless connection for a "better-than-CD" listening experience.
- Multi-Device Pairing: Up to eight Bluetooth devices can be paired with the soundbar, but only one can be connected and used at a time. The Formation Bar does not support auto reconnection with previously paired Bluetooth devices.
Note: The Formation Bar will require a network connection and the Bowers & Wilkins Home app to complete to complete the pairing process of your Bluetooth-enabled source devices.
Auto On/Off: The Formation Bar will automatically turn on when it senses an audio signal from either its optical digital input, network connection, or a paired Bluetooth device. The soundbar will automatically power off after twenty minutes of no audio signal and no operation. The included Formation Bass will automatically power on and off with the Formation Bar.
Mounting & Placement Options: The Formation Bar & Bass system offers flexible mounting and placement options for the active soundbar speaker and wireless powered subwoofer.
- Soundbar: The Formation Bar can be centered directly under or above your TV screen. The soundbar can be placed on a shelf, table or piece of AV furniture using its integrated table-top stand (pre-installed). It can also be wall-mounted using the included wall bracket (the pre-install table-top stand will need to be removed).
- Subwoofer: The Formation Bass should be placed on the floor in reasonably close proximity to your wirelessly paired Formation speaker it is partnered with. The wireless powered subwoofer should be placed in front of the listening position or to the side of the listening position. The Formation Bass should not be located behind the listening position.
Note: The Formation suite of products are not moisture resistant, as they are not designed to be used in high-humidity or moisture rich environments. Positioning a Formation product in a moisture rich environment such as a bathroom or sauna, could cause damage to the product that would not be covered under its manufacturing warranty.
Network Multiroom Audio
Wired & Wireless Network Connectivity: The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar supports a wired (Ethernet) or wireless (WiFi) network connection. The Formation Bar is equipped with an RJ-45 LAN jack for a wired connection to your network router. It also offers built-in WiFi (2.4GHz) for a wireless connection to your network router. By connecting the Formation Bar to your network, you gain access to select online music services, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, Roon, and B&W's proprietary Formation Wireless Multiroom Audio Eco-System.
Note: The Music Bowers & Wilkins App (for Apple iOS 12.0+ and Android OS 5.0+) is required to connect your Formation Bar to your home network and also to establish connection with other Formation Series speakers in your home.
Music Bowers & Wilkins App: The Music Bowers & Wilkins App (for Apple iOS 12.0+ and Android OS 5.0+) provides simple setup and control from your compatible Apple iOS or Android mobile device. Use the Music Bowers & Wilkins app to connect the Formation Bar and other Formation Series speakers to your WiFi network. The app also lets you access select online music services, while also controling basic functions - such as Source Selection, Volume Up/Down, as well as Bass & Treble of the speaker. In addition, the app lets you create a wireless multiroom audio mesh network with other Bowers & Wilkins Formation speakers for a whole house audio experience. You'll be able to control each Formation Series speaker in your home through this one application on your compatible Apple iOS or Android OS device. Software and firmware updates are also enabled through the Music Bowers & Wilkins app.
Formation Wireless Multiroom Audio: The Formation Bar is part of Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series of products (sold separately - see Accessories Tab) that can be used together to create a wireless multiroom high-resolution audio system. B&W Formation Series products wirelessly connect together through a proprietary mesh network, independently from your WiFi network, to ensure 24-bit/96kHz high-resolution audio performance throughout your home. Each Formation Series product dynamically chooses the optimal path to route audio-data between products, in order to ensure a robust streaming experience with near perfect speaker synchronization (1 microsecond sync between speakers).
- Number of Speaker Groups: You can have up to six Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series speakers on one wireless mesh network. You can group Formation speakers together and play the same audio source through each speaker or have different audio sources playing through each speaker.
- Compatible Sources: Tidal, Tune In, Qobuz, NTS, Soundcloud, Dash, Spotify Connect, and Bluetooth audio are supported by Formation wireless multiroom audio. Roon & AirPlay 2 are not compatible because they are independent and alternative multiroom audio platforms.
Notes: Click here for Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series support page.
Online Music Apps: Within the Music Bowers & Wilkins app for Apple iOS 12.0+ and Android OS 5.0+) you can access select online music services; including Tidal, Tune In, Qobuz, NTS, Soundcloud, and Dash. You'll also have browsing and playback control, plus song/artist/album information (including album art) from the Music B&W app for the listed online music services. The Music Bowers & Wilkins app even gives you cross-service personalized track and playlist recommendations, plus exclusive access to curated Bowers & Wilkins content.
Alexa Voice Control Compatible: B&W has added support for voice-control via Amazon Alexa to their Formation Series. This new Formation Skill is a convenient way to wirelessly stream music and control the Formation product via an Alexa-enabled device (sold separately) using only your voice. You'll be able to use Alexa to access and control additional online music services such as Amazon Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, iHeartradio, and Tune In (Tidal, Qobuz, NTS, Soundcloud, and Dash are not supported by Alexa). In addition to an Alexa-enabled device (sold separately), you allso need to install the Alexa app (for Apple iOS 11.0+ and Android OS 6.0+) on your compatible smartphone or tablet device.
- Volume Controls: You can ask Alexa to increase or decrease the volume (0-100) on a specific Formation Series product or in a particular room. You can also ask Alexa to mute or unmute your music.
- Playback Controls: You can ask Alexa to playback a compatible online music service, a specific artist, or music genre on a specific Formation Series product or in a particular room. Alexa can also be used to control basic playback functions such as Play/Stop, Pause/Resume, Previous/Next Track, and Fast Forward/Rewind. You can even ask Alexa "what's playing" to be told the song title and artist.
- The B&W Formation does not feature its own built-in microphone and requires a separate Alexa-enabled device (such as the Echo; sold separately) to use voice control.
- Only music services that have been certified to work with the Formation Series are supported; other services may appear but will not be supported.
- Alexa playback control is music service dependent (the music service must support the same features). Click here for a full updated list of Amazon Alexa Formation Series Skills.
Spotify Connect: The integration of Spotify Connect will enable Spotify Premium users to instantly select and wirelessly stream music to the B&W Formation Bar from within the Spotify app (Apple iOS or Android). Spotify is a digital music service that gives you on-demand access to one of the largest music libraries in the world (over 15 million tracks and counting). Spotify makes it easier than ever to discover, manage, and share music with your friends. You can browse music by artist, album, track, or most popular; and create your own music library with customized playlists.
Apple AirPlay 2: AirPlay 2 is an advanced and easy-to-use wireless multiroom audio platform for iTunes, Apple Music, and other compatible Apple iOS apps. With AirPlay 2 you can play any sound from your Apple iOS device (running iOS 11.4 or later) or Mac computer (running OS X 10.13.2) on the B&W Formation Bar and other compatible AirPlay 2 components throughout your home. You will also be able to ask Siri-enabled devices (like your Apple iPhone, iPad, or Watch) to control playback of your Apple Music on the Formation Bar. You can choose to play audio in one room, play the same audio in grouped rooms, or play the same audio in every room (you can control and group directly from Apple's Music App and Home app on your Apple iOS device). If you are an Apple Music subscriber, you can even play different music in different rooms (you can control and group directly from Apple's Music App and Home app on your Apple iOS device). You can even watch videos and movies from YouTube and Netflix on your compatible Apple iOS device or Mac computer with perfectly synced audio on the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Bar.
Roon Ready: Roon is a feature rich music library and playback application that compiles all the music files available to your network and makes them easily available to play across all your B&W Formation Series products and any other Roon enabled audio devices. Roon manages digital music files (including FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, and DSD) collected on hard drives and networked storage. It can also watch your iTunes library, and optionally integrate with the Tidal and Qobuz music streaming services. Roon is available for mobile, laptop or desktop devices. When you open the Roon app, it will display your complete audio library together with its metadata and artwork along with all the available Formation and Roon enabled devices. Simply select the music you wish to play and the Formation or Roon device in which you want to hear it on.
Note: To use Roon you will need a Roon Core running on the same network as the Formation Bar and other Formation Series products. The Core is media server software that runs on your computer, NAS, or turnkey appliance (like Nucleus or ROCK - sold separately), located on the network within your home.