Bowers & Wilkins go 24-bit/96kHz with Formation Suite

It seems 24/96 is the current version of de facto high-resolution file handling when it comes to wireless fidelity and Bowers & Wilkins along with the likes of KEF are just fine with that. I am too.

Redbook (16-bit/44.1kHz) is great with me thanks – I mean, I certainly like my TIDAL Masters (MQA), my Qobuz 24-bit/192kHz and downloaded DSD music files – but it seems from Internet feedback that many still feel 24/96 is not enough. That they need more to be satisfied. That’s great, to each their own, but since 90 per cent of the music I stream or listen to digitally is below 24-bit/48kHz, I find that beating that drum for 32-bit/384kHz compatibility is a bit tiresome. It’s not like that’s what everyone is listening to, or what everything is available natively at.

Formation Wedge.

But I digress, the news here is that Bowers & Wilkins have invested some serious R&D, tooling and manufacturing coin into this new series of wireless speaker systems called Formation which consists of the standmount two-way Duo at $3,999 USD, the multi-driver soundbar Bar at $1,199 USD, a single speaker Wedge for $899 USD, a streaming network hub called Audio coming in at $699 USD and a subwoofer – Bass – to append to all of it for $999 USD.

Formation Duo and app

B&W has wisely included a Formation app for Android and iOS to configure everything, but left the music to others such as Spotify Connect and AirPlay 2 and Roon Ready (and access to Qobuz and Tidal from therein).

Every unit of the series can be connected to a network via Ethernet or a proprietary B&W MESH network (local network topology where infrastructure nodes can directly connect in a dynamic, non-hierarchical manner with other nodes to best route data to and from clients). Bluetooth of the aptX HD flavour rounds things out.

I plan on hearing some of the Formation Suite in the next week or two at my local B&W dealer – Hi-Fi Centre – and will write about that experience later.

For the full take on this launch, check out Bowers & Wilson website.

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Bowers & Wilkins

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