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New at Music Direct: Bowers & Wilkins' Formation Suite
By Bes Nievera

Another entry in a continuing series of articles spotlighting new products and brands announced in our 2020 catalog.

As music lovers, we draw inspiration from a multitude of impulses gleaned from the products we offer – be it a component's look and sophistication, or its immediate sound quality. With Bowers & Wilkins, a marquee brand renowned for its groundbreaking Nautilus Series speakers as well as travel-friendly headphones, the listening experience is always unmistakable. Which is why we're overjoyed to welcome the company's Formation Suite to our lineup. Sculpted with museum-quality design aesthetics and already the recipient of outstanding expert reviews, Formation Suite is a tuned speaker series that speaks to our modern lifestyles while catering to the needs of discerning music lovers with features such as excellent driver selection, wireless operation, powerful amplification, app-friendly performance, and seamless integration.

Formation Duo, a handsome stand-mount speaker pair that epitomizes B&W's ability to deliver sonics without compromise, heads up Formation Suite. That Duo happens to be entirely wireless (save for a needed AC power cord) is only one facet of the speakers' future-leaning heritage. A Carbon domed tweeter-on-top design, famously found in B&W's 700 Series speakers, aligns with a 6.5-inch Continuum driver derived from 800 Series. The driver combination abets two onboard 125Wpc amplifiers to complete the primary objective in delivering transfixing sound. Yet such aural feats represent only a fraction of Duo's capabilities.

Bolstered by cutting-edge wireless technology, each speaker operates on a private 2.4GHz wireless network and requires no additional tethering. WiFi, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon, and Bluetooth compatibility are as easy as tapping on your tablet or phone via the Formation app. It'll set up in moments, and the hyper-fast synching of Formation Duo's siblings – available as you expand the system – makes Duo a perfect listening partner for any room, or as part of a complete 5.1-channel home theater/multichannel system.

Not to be outclassed, Formation Wedge, Flex, and Bar offer their own strengths, and again, impress with audiophile-quality sound. Cased in a 120-degree, v-shaped cabinet, Wedge is a single-box stereo speaker with drivers placed in a unique array. Wedge's eerily terrific stereo playback also gets a boost from a potent 6.5-inch woofer, making it ideal for music lovers whose space limitations may prohibit them from owing a more elaborate setup. The even more compact Flex, sold individually or in pairs, challenges other "can-sized" competitors with a smartly engineered two-way speaker/amp complete with a punchy four-inch woofer. Meanwhile, Formation Bar – a powered three-way speaker (LCR) with three one-inch double-dome tweeters and six 2.5-inch woven glass-fiber drivers all guided by an advanced DSP, powerful internal amplifier, and dynamic EQ – serves as a screen watcher's best friend and Roon endpoint-friendly speaker (as are the rest of the Formation Suite brood) that's downright a pleasure to hear.

As we sat down to audition the products, I was instantly transfixed by the look of these sonic pearls but immediately wondered: Can a sexy-looking wireless speaker go toe-to-toe with traditional wired speakers? The answer is a resounding yes. Whether via vinyl (with a Dr. Feickert Volare and Ortofon Quintet Black fed through ELAC's PPA-2 Alchemy phono preamplifier and Formation Audio network player), or with tracks found on my #BesFest Playlist on Qobuz, TIDAL, or Spotify, each moment with Formation Suite proved revelatory. When paired with the double-driver Formation Sub, the 2.1 and 5.1 experiences drew wide praise from my colleagues for their overall quickness and pace. And, as a mate for Duo, the Sub's robust bass response dramatically increased the clarity and three-dimensionality of all the material.

Of course, rather than take my word for it, why not experience Formation products for yourself? As with nearly every product we offer, your satisfaction is guaranteed with our 60-day audition-and-return policy. Order on our website or call us 800-449-8333 to get acquainted with Formation Suite. To quote Beyonce, it slays!

Connect With @BesNieveraJr via Twitter and Instagram

December 6, 2019

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