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The Zeppelin has one bass driver, a pair of midrange drivers, and a pair of tweeters to create rich, satisfying sound.
No, no, no. We’re not going there. We’re going to resist our temptation for wacky puns and wordplay about the dirigible-inspired name and shape of the Zeppelin. It’s too easy to say that this Zeppelin is no Hindenburg, that you’ll be flying high, that all our songs—from Led Zeppelin and Air Supply, to Angels & Airwaves and Jefferson Airplane—sounded sweet, that music from the Zeppelin floats through the air with the greatest of ease…aw, crap. We went there, huh? Hey, at least it’s out of our system—for now.
There is no denying that this 17-pound iPod speaker produces some of the best audio we’ve heard. Everything from the Zeppelin sounds balanced, from the highs to the lows, and there’s nice, clean separation of sounds where you expect it. There’s a bit of distortion at the highest volume, but the Zeppelin is quite powerful, filling a 300-square-foot room with no problem, so you might never even visit the highest volume levels. Unfortunately, the Zeppelin lacks treble and bass controls to let you fine-tune your music to your taste.
At this price, it would’ve been nice for B&W to include a remote control that does more that provide basic track controls and volume adjustment. The Zeppelin does have S-Video and composite video-out, so you can connect it to a TV and watch your iPod videos. There’s also an audio-in jack for connecting other devices, and a USB port—but the USB port is for software upgrades to the Zeppelin, not for connecting to your Mac and syncing with iTunes. Bummer.
One final nitpick: We love the look and design of the Zeppelin, but we found that the black cloth that covers the speakers tends to attract lint. Pick up a lint brush at your local drugstore to keep the Zeppelin clean.
The bottom line. The Zeppelin will satisfy even the pickiest audiophiles. You can find other iPod speakers that have more features and sound just as good for $599, but if all you want is a splendid-sounding speaker, the Zeppelin is it.
COMPANY: Bowers & Wilkins
REQUIREMENTS: Dockable iPod
Awesome sound. Unique design. Video out.
Limited remote controls. No bass and treble adjustments. Can’t connect to Mac for iPod syncing.