Join the docks
Setting up the AirPlay function is a one-off affair. You connect the Zeppelin Air to your computer using the supplied Ethernet cable (you don’t need to be connected to the Internet for this), call up a page in your browser and tap in the details that allow iTunes to find it via your Wi-Fi network, and you’re ready to go.
The iPad won't fit in the dock, but you can use AirPlay to stream to the speakers instead
Your iPod or iPhone slots neatly into the dock at the front which actually feels more secure than it looks and it will charge while it plays. If you choose to go the Wi-Fi route (and let’s face it, if you’ve just shelled out £500 on one of these, you will), you simply select the Zeppelin Air using the AirPlay button on your computer’s iTunes (10.1 or later) interface. You can also download the AirPlay app to your iOS device (4.2 or later) which allows you to control playback with a bit more freedom than the basic controls on the Zeppelin’s own egg-shaped remote.
While I didn’t have an original Zeppelin for direct comparison testing, the fact is that the Zeppelin Air sounds terrific, with a muscular, cohesive sound that works hard to make the most of compressed music tracks.
Something you expect from B&W is control, and that’s certainly the case here. Even cranked up all the way (and it certainly gets up to house party levels), there was no sign of crack-up in the bass, and the treble never started to sound ungraciously shrill. It handled the glorious polyrhythmic racket that is the new Ojos de Brujo album with aplomb, pulling out the kind of detail you wouldn’t normally expect from an iPod dock, even with the volume turned down fairly low.
Next page: Sound investment?
Proving that for some people, form and style is more important than performance
What, precisely, is the point of buying an audiophile speaker system to listen to heavily compressed MP3s.
It looks impressive, but jesus-on-a-pogo-stick, £500 for an ipod dock? You can't even connect it up to any other sources, so no CD/SACD/Vinyl support, unless you run it over a 3.5mm jack.
World. Gone. Mad.
I have just purchased a pair of CM9's for my living room (and a couple of Cyrus amps to drive them) and the sound is stunning!
But... I've also had to re-rip my whole CD collection as the new speakers / amps show up all of the faults in the MP3 compression (even at the max bit rate) when comparing it to CD's.
So much so that the iPod has been relegated to the study with our small speakers for background music whilst working. The living room now has FLAC and CD only...
When I saw zeppelin in the title I thought it would essentially be a speaker mounted on one of those toy flying saucers that you can buy. Never mind :-)
With all these means for playing music without docking an iPod/iPhone into the unit then surely it would make sense to be able to detach the dock so its not sat there empty and ugly looking? These things are certainly style as well as substance so it seems a shame that the style is ruined when people use any but one of the possible means of music source. I personally think it and many other dock speakers would look immeasurably improved with the dock as hidden as possible despite the obvious possible retort of access to the controls of the player.
Compresed Audio? In 2011?
Talking rather the opposite tack to Tom 38 above. Why on earth did the review not also listen to some lossless encoded music. Indeed while would anyone bother to listen to lossy encoding on high quality device. You can use an iPod classic, or stream from iTunes on a Mac or PC, and rip everything lossless. I get 500 CDs on my Classic lossless. It is essentially impossible to buy a disk small enough to justify lossy compression. The only justification is a device with flash memory, and these are either toy music players (i.e. a Nano) or multipurpose device intended to be used upon one's person (i.e. iPhone.) Spending £500 on speakers one would hope might involve thinking about the source enough to use a lossless format. The review could have been better, and more useful for addressing this.