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Bowers & Wilkins Releases Formation Suite of Whole Home Wireless Audio Speakers

Bowers and Wilkins Formation Suite

Bowers and Wilkins Formation Suite


  • Product Name: Formation Bar, Formation Wedge, Formation Duo, Formation Bass, Formation Audio
  • Manufacturer: Bowers and Wilkins
  • Review Date: June 04, 2019 00:00
  • MSRP: $1,200 - Formation Bar, $900 - Formation Wedge, $4,000/pr - Formation Duo, $1,000 - Formation Bass, $700 - Formation Audio
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

Formation Bar

  • Drive units
         3 x 1 in double dome tweeter
         6 x 2½ in woven glass fiber cone bass/midrange 
  • Frequency response:   40Hz to 28kHz 
  • Amplifier power output:   6 x 40W
  • Connections: Digital audio in (Toslink), Network (RJ45 Ethernet or WiFi).USB – service only, Bluetooth,Bluetooth v4.1, Class 2, AptX HD, AAC,SBC, Apple Airplay 2 
  • Dimensions (H x W x D):  4.3 in x 48.8 in x 4.2 in
  • Weight: 12.1lb

Formation Wedge

  • Drive units
         2 x 1 in double dome tweeter
         2 x 3½ in FST midrange
         1 x 6 in subwoofer
  • Frequency response:   35Hz to 28kHz - double dome   
  • Amplifier power output:  
         2 x 40W (tweeter)
         2 x 40W (midrange)
         1 x 80W (subwoofer)
  • Connections: Digital audio in (Toslink), Network (RJ45 Ethernet or WiFi).USB – service only, Bluetooth,Bluetooth v4.1, Class 2, AptX HD, AAC,SBC, Apple Airplay 2 
  • Dimensions (H x W x D):  10 in x 11.1 in x 10.2 in
  • Weight:   14.3lb

Formation Duo

  • Drive units
    1 x 1 in Carbon dome high-frequency
    1 x 6.5 in Continuum cone bass midrange
  • Frequency response: 25Hz to 33kHz
  • Amplifier power output: 2 x 125W
  • Connections: Digital audio in (Toslink), Network (RJ45 Ethernet or WiFi).USB – service only, Bluetooth,Bluetooth v4.1, Class 2, AptX HD, AAC,SBC, Apple Airplay 2 
  • Dimensions (H x W x D):  15.5 in x 7.8 in x 12 in
  • Weight:  23.4lb


Formation Bass

  • Drive unit: 2 x 6½ long throw bass unit
  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 150Hz 
  • Amplifier power output: 250W
  • Connections: Network (RJ45 Ethernet or WiFi), USB - service only, Apple Airplay 2 
  • Dimensions (H x W x D):  9.2 in x 17.3 in x 9.4 in
  • Weight: 26.7lb

Formation Audio - Wireless Audio Hub

  • Connections: Digital audio in (Toslink), Analogue audio in (2 x RCA), Digital audio out (1 x RCA), Analogue audio out (2 x RCA), Network (RJ45 Ethernet or WiFi), USB – service only, Apple Airplay 2, Bluetooth, Bluetooth v4.1, Class 2, AptX HD, AAC, SBC
  • Dimensions (H x W x D):: 1.7 in x 8.5 in x 10.4 in
  • Weight:   2.2lb

Bowers and Wilkins have always impressed us with their new releases, whether it be their revamped 600 series speakers or their Zepplin wireless speaker, chances are when a new product is released from B&W it’s going to make news.  So, when B&W announced the release of a whole series of wireless speakers we had to take a second look.  Their newest release is the Formation Suite of wireless audio products for whole home audio.  Like whole home audio products from SONOS, the new Formation Suite of products from B&W will wirelessly stream music to any room in your house that is equipped with one of the Formation Suite Speakers. But of course, since it’s B&W, you’re going to get an updated, tweaked, and futuristic version of whole home audio.

The Formation Suite is the newest and most technologically innovative line of wireless products our development team has ever created. We are setting a new bar in the world of wireless sound, proving that wired fidelity can be achieved wirelessly. The all new Formation Wireless Technology enables a fidelity never experienced on a wireless system before. Now consumers can get the high-performance audio quality that they expect from Bowers & Wilkins with the convenience wireless systems offer. With Formation, we’re taking the superior quality sound Bowers & Wilkins is known for and coupling it with an unmatched, easy-to-use, wireless listening experience, making it the new standard in whole home audio.

- Greg Lee, CEO of Bowers & Wilkins

The Formation Suite will include five products at launch. 

All five products will include a host of new streaming technologies patented by Bowers and Wilkins including:

  • Patented Robust Mesh Network – developed to cover your whole home without impacting your home network quality. Our patented mesh network enables seamless sound and a new industry standard for streaming quality and speaker synchronization.
  • Perfected Speaker Synchronization – imperceptible in-room synchronization of one microsecond between speakers allows them to work in perfect harmony to provide an industry-defining listening experience. It sounds like you’re listening to a live music in your living room.
  • 96/24 Bit Audio Resolution – high-resolution streaming with twice the fidelity than the leading wireless speaker brand that creates denser, richer, best-in-class sound without information loss.

Along with a wireless hub called the "Formation Audio", B&W will include the new streaming speaker technology in four different speaker options. 

Formation Bar

formation bar.jpg

formation bar inside.jpg

With 3 channels and nine optimized drive units the Formation Bar should provide a wide soundstage. We especially liked the dedicated center channel which will help with dialogue over cheap television speakers. The Formation Bar will definitely be a step up from big box store soundbars, and at $1,200 it puts it at roughly the same cost as a high quality bar such as the Bluesound Pulse Soundbar, but we'll have to see if B&W's whole home audio system will work as described until we get a sample in.

Formation Duo

formation duo.jpg

B&W's new Formation Duo come with the same carbon-domed, tweeter-on-top technology and Continuum cone driver as Bowers & Wilkins’ industry-defining wired speakers, but now you can listen to them wirelessly. With a 6.5" woofer and 1" tweeter these small wireless speakers should have a large frequency range. They're measured by B&W from 25Hz to 33kHz, and if the specifications are to be believed they may warrant the $4,000 price tag. Two 125W amplifiers should give the Formation Duo enough power to fill small to medium sized rooms, and if more bass is desired, the Formation Bass described below can easily be added.

Formation Wedge

formation wedge.jpg

The Formation Wedge is a uniquely designed speaker characterized by a 120-degree elliptical shape. The Wedge comes with dedicated full-range stereo sound components.  With five amplifiers powering five separate speakers including a 6" subwoofer, two 3" FST mids, and two 1" double dome tweeters. At $900 it is a step up from the incredible sounding $600 B&W Zeppelin wireless speaker we reviewed a few years ago.

Formation Bass

formation bass.jpg

The Formation Bass is B&W's wireless subwoofer designed to integrate seamlessly into the Formation Ecosystem. The Formation Bass comes with opposed drivers, powerful amplifiers and Dynamic EQ which should provide accurate audio depth and dimension without distortion. In keeping with other whole home audio companies, it seems as if the subwoofer component HAS to be an odd shaped design.  Will this version just roll away when pushed to hard? It does come with two 6" long throw drivers, and when paired with either the Formation Duo or Bar should add quite a but of depth to your system.

Formation Audio

formation audio.jpg

The Formation Audio is a wireless hub designed to integrate your existing system including analog devices into the B&W Formation whole home audio world.   Each of the products in the Formation Suite includes a streamlined user interface, and should take just moments to set up and start playing.

Three years ago, we had the vision to take Bowers & Wilkins 50 years of acoustic history and success and combine it with Silicon Valley automation expertise, creating an amazing user experience that is simple, powerful and incredible to listen to.  Today, it’s amazing to witness that vision come to life, ushering in the next chapter of sound experience. The Formation Suite introduces consumers to wireless sound technology that is unparalleled in the audio space and showcases the true innovation this company is capable of and this is just the beginning. There is so much more to come.

- Gideon Yu, Co-Chairman of Bowers & Wilkins.  

With over 50 years of acoustic expertise we expect to hear great things from the Formation Suite of wireless products.  With Bowers & Wilkins’ iconic audio engineering and the all new patented Formation Wireless Technology, the Formation Suite should bring a whole new level to the idea of whole home audio. 

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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