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Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio

Wireless audio streamer with Apple AirPlay® 2 and Bluetooth®

Item # 749FAUDIO

Make your audio gear part of a high-resolution multi-room audio system with the Formation Audio wireless hub.

Make your audio gear part of a high-resolution multi-room audio system with the Formation Audio wireless hub.

Item # 749FAUDIO

In stock
$699.99

Other options

About the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio

Make your current gear part of a high-res wireless system

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio can make your audio gear part of a high-resolution multi-room audio system. Use this wireless hub to feed streaming music sources to your home theater receiver or a pair of powered speakers. Or send audio signals wirelessly from a connected receiver, phono preamp, or CD player to Formation speakers throughout your home.

Make your current gear part of a high-res wireless system

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio can make your audio gear part of a high-resolution multi-room audio system. Use this wireless hub to feed streaming music sources to your home theater receiver or a pair of powered speakers. Or send audio signals wirelessly from a connected receiver, phono preamp, or CD player to Formation speakers throughout your home.

The Formation Audio has 24-bit/96kHz streaming resolution to deliver exceptionally clear and accurate sound. Formation components and speakers create their own patented, robust mesh network. This ensures proper bandwidth for high-res audio streaming, without overtaxing your home Wi-Fi® network, as well as near-perfect speaker synchronization.

Analog and digital connections

You can connect the Formation Audio to just about any kind of traditional audio component. That includes home theater receivers, CD players, powered speakers, or a turntable with built-in phono preamp. It has both RCA analog stereo inputs and outputs. The hub also has an optical digital input and coaxial digital output.

Simple multi-room app control

Formation wireless speakers and components are easy to use, thanks to the Bowers & Wilkins Home app. Download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play to your smartphone or tablet. The app walks you through the setup process. It also lets you add other Formation components and speakers easily as you build out your multi-room audio system.

You can assign room names to your Formation products, group them to simultaneously play the same song, or play different songs from different sources in each room.

Wireless options

The Formation Audio 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 speaker systems connected to the Formation Audio. 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.

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Product highlights:

  • 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
Connections:
  • analog RCA stereo audio input and output
  • Toslink optical digital audio input
    • supports 2-channel PCM up to 24-bit/96kHz (not compatible with Dolby Digital/DTS)
  • Ethernet port
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
General info:
  • Roon-ready (subscription required)
  • connects to your home network via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi
  • requires AC power, cable included
  • 8-9/16"W x 1-13/16"H x 11-5/8"D
  • weight: 2.2 lbs.
  • warranty: 2 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • MFR # FP39705

What's in the box:

  • Wireless audio hub
  • 6.5' AC power cord
  • Bowers & Wilkins Formation Brochure
  • Safety & Warranty Information
  • Roon Brochure

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More details on the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio

Stacey B.

Features & specs

Connections
Ethernet Port Yes
USB Port No
Aux Input RCA
Phono Input No
Digital Input Optical
HDMI Input No
Headphone Jack No
Subwoofer Output No
Wireless Features
Bluetooth Built-in 4.1
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Wi-Fi Bands 2.4 GHz
Audio Specs
Max. Digital Audio Bit Depth 24-bit
Max. Digital Audio Sample Rate 96 kHz
Ecosystems
Apple AirPlay AirPlay 2
DTS Play-Fi No
Chromecast built-in No
Roon Ready
Sonos No
HEOS No
MusicCast No
SoundTouch No
Bose Home Speaker No
WiSA No
BluOS No
Klipsch Stream No
KEF Stream No
Music Services
Amazon Music No
Apple Music No
iHeart Radio No
Pandora No
Qobuz Yes
SiriusXM No
Spotify Connect
Tidal Yes
TuneIn Yes
YouTube Music No
Control
Handheld Remote No
Control by app Apple iOS, Android
Amazon Alexa Optional
Google Assistant No
Other Specs
Width (Inches) 8.5625
Height (Inches) 1.8125
Depth (Inches) 11.625
Parts Warranty 2 Years
Labor Warranty 2 Years

Product Research

Features

Wireless Audio Hub: The Formation Audio is a wireless audio hub that brings Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wireless Audio Technology, as well as Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Roon, and Bluetooth to your existing home entertainment system. Your home stereo system must be equipped with a free analog stereo RCA or digital coaxial input. The Formation Audio can also be used to create a wireless stand alone audio system when linked with a pair B&W's Duo, Flex, and Wedge speakers (all sold separately); as well as one Formation Bass powered subwoofer (sold separately). The Formation Audio is equipped with a high performance analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and high performance digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

  • Analog & Digital Inputs: The Formation Audio features an analog stereo RCA input and an optical (toslink) digital input for connection of an external analog device, as well as an external digital audio device. The analog stereo RCA input is line-level. If you want to connect a turntable, you will need an external phono preamp (sold separately - see Accessories Tab) or a turntable with a phono preamp built-in. The optical digital input supports 2ch PCM up to 24-bit/96kHz (not compatible with Dolby Digital/DTS).
  • Analog & Digital Outputs: The B&W Formation Audio is outfitted with an analog stereo RCA output and coaxial digital output for connecting to your existing home entertainment system. The volume level of these outputs can be controlled from the The Bowers & Wilkins Home app on your compatible mobile device or from your connected home stereo system.

Wired & Wireless Network Connectivity: The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio supports a wired (Ethernet) or wireless (WiFi) network connection. The Formation Audio 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 Audio to your network, you gain access to Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, Roon, and B&W's proprietary Formation Wireless Multiroom Audio Eco-System.

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 Audio 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.

Note: The Music Bowers & Wilkins app (for Apple iOS 12.0+ and Android OS 5.0+) is required to connect your Formation Audio to your home network and also to establish connection with other Formation Series speakers in your home.

Formation Wireless Multiroom Audio: The Formation Audio 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 audio synchronization (1 microsecond sync between speakers).

  • Number of Speaker Groups: You can have up to six Bowers & Wilkins Formation Series products 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 11.0+ 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 Alex 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.

Notes:

  • 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 Audio 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 Audio 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 Audio. 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 Audio.

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 Audio 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.

Bluetooth Audio w/ aptX HD: The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio 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 Formation Audio. 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 Audio 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 Audio does not support auto reconnection with previously paired Bluetooth devices.

Note: The Formation Audio will require a network connection and the Bowers & Wilkins Home app to complete to complete the pairing process of your Bluetooth-enabled source devices.

AC Power with Auto On/Off: The Formation Audio comes with a detachable 6.5' AC power cord that plugs into the back of the wireless hub and into an AC wall outlet or surge protector (sold separately - see Accessories Tab). The Formation Audio will automatically turn on when it senses a wired or wireless audio source signal. The wireless hub will automatically power off after twenty minutes of no audio signal and no operation.

Mounting Options: The Formation Audio wireless hub can be placed on a shelf, table or other piece of furniture. It is not rack or wall mountable.

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

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