If your idea of high-end audio involves a trip to a big box store, you’re missing out.
There’s a whole world of high-end audiophile equipment out there that leaves big-budget brands like Bose, Beats, Alexa and even HomePod in the dust. Bowers & Wilkins
is one of the leading makers that resides in this tier above the rest.
Sadly, despite the brand’s cachet among those in the know, it’s far from a household name. That’s because truly high-end audiophile sound doesn’t come cheap. And because of the price tag, you don’t tend to see much shelf space devoted to Bowers & Wilkins wireless speakers at the places most of us shop regularly.
But here’s the thing: if you can find a specialty audio shop that’s set up to let you listen, run, don’t walk. Your idea of great audio will almost certainly change in an instant.
If you’re happy with your Alexa speaker or that $50 Bluetooth speaker you sling to the beach, this isn’t the post for you. But if you’re looking for something more, here’s our review of some of Bowers & Wilkins’ best wireless speakers.
All of Bowers & Wilkins’ wireless speakers are in its Formation series, and the Wedge
is an impressive place to start. It’s an all-in-one device like the HomePod or the Sonos Play:5, but it’s in a category all its own. B&W designed the Formation series with the ability to stream and play up to 96/24-bit audio. That’s studio-level quality you can’t get from the big streaming services and can’t listen to on competitor devices.
If you’re a real audiophile, though, that difference is palpable.
The Wedge contains five drivers and a built-in sub, and Gear Patrol
notes the sound quality is the standout feature, bringing out clarity and missed details in well-known tracks.
If you’re looking for an ultra-premium standalone speaker that can do all the things (AirPlay 2
, Spotify Connect
, Bluetooth aptX) you expect, plus a few things you didn’t (96/24-bit audio and interfacing with other Formation products) then the Wedge is for you.
One of the Formation series’s best features is B&W’s proprietary wireless mesh network technology. If you have the means to purchase multiple Formation devices, they will work together seamlessly in a multiroom configuration.
The flagship product in the Formation line is the Duo
, which will set you back a cool $3999 for a pair. As a pair, the two speakers form an unparalleled wireless stereo experience. The speaker design borrows elements from other B&W products, including a carbon domed tweeter from the 700 Series and the Continuum Cone from the 800 Series.
Compatible with Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon and Bluetooth, your digital connectivity options are near endless.
For the ultimate 5.1 surround setup, you can combine the Duo with a Formation Bar and Formation Bass (sound bar and subwoofer, respectively). You just might have to take out a second mortgage to do so.
is B&W’s “low-end” option. We always recommend caution with a high-end brand’s lowest-end device. They tend to be an awkward mix of luxury brand price inflation and feature reduction. In other words, you’re still paying a luxury premium; it’s the features that get cut to achieve that lower price point.
That said, the Formation Flex is still pretty impressive. It’s a cylindrical speaker with some nods to Alexa and HomePod, but with a high-end B&W aesthetic. At $449, it isn’t cheap. And it isn’t a proper smart speaker. But that sound quality – it’ll keep you coming back.
The Flex has all the same features as the others in the series – ultra high-quality audio, wide compatibility, and that same proprietary wireless mesh network. The flex is brilliant on its own but can be added to an existing Formation system. You can also pair two Flex speakers for brilliant wireless stereo sound.
Quality Equipment Deserves a Quality Extended Warranty
Upsie offers extended warranties on all sorts of personal audio devices
, including wireless speakers (up to $999.99 retail price). Upsie’s plans are available with either 2 or 3 years of warranty coverage with accident protection. For a small fraction of your purchase price, you can rest easy knowing that you’re protected from defects and from accidental damage, like drops and liquid damage.
And because Upsie cuts out the middleman and the expensive retail spaces, Upsie charges less than the big box retailers for the exact same quality of warranty, and provides amazing customer service!
Ready to get protected? See how affordable Upsie’s
Learn More About Audio Warranties: