Oh. Ohhhh… Interesting.

It’s heavy and shiny and costs as much as a high-end home audio center channel, but the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin will do things to your iPod audio that you weren’t sure she was capable of.

Sure, at $600, it’s more expensive than any iPod, but if you want a $20 speaker system, there’s plenty of those out there that sound like amplified earbuds.

The Zeppelin sounds phenomenal. It weighs in at almost 17 pounds and packs five drivers.

It’s built around a central 5″ bass driver, two 3.5″ midranges and two 1″ metal dome tweeters for those high notes and puts out 100 total watts of power, which is as powerful as any standard home theater setup.

Why the constant comparison to home theater components? Because the Zeppelin acts more like a piece of equipment than a device. It feels more like an antique wood coffee table than a plastic folding card table. The majority of audio components sound “good.” A bunch of them sound “bad.” And then there’s a breed that sounds like what your “always-has-to-have-the-best” neighbor has. The audio quality on the Zeppelin is amazing, and it’s even more amazing that this device was specifically built for iPods.

And if there is to be any complaint about the Zeppelin, it’s that it is 99 percent iPod-centric. Obviously there’s no CD player. There’s no radio. You can plug a Zune or any other audio device in, but then you’re left with this arm in the middle where the iPod is supposed to go.

Maybe that’s not a complaint, because this seems to work just fine. We’re a music consuming world that’s now 99 percent iPod (or iPhone now) centric, so why not plop your pod into something like the Zeppelin?

The remote control doesn’t work that well. There, I issued a complaint. It’s good up till about 10 feet and then it’s hit or miss.

With a product like this, all we’re missing out on here is the fact that we’re still largely using compressed MP3 files that don’t sound as good as pure, unadulterated audio. Do yourself a favor sometime, plug a CD player into a device like this. I did.

Digression over.

The Zeppelin works with iPod Touch, Classic, 4th and 5th generation, Nano and Mini. There’s also an auxiliary input port so that you can plug in just about any device. You can also use composite or S-Video to output video to a television or display.

This is a peach of a product that you should definitely check out.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin on BlastMagazine.com

Technical features Digital Signal Processing
  Digital amplifier
  Switch mode power supply
Description iPod speaker system
Drive units 1x 125mm (5 in) bass
  2x 90mm (3.5 in) midrange
  2x 25mm (1 in) metal dome tweeter
Frequency range -6dB at 47Hz and 22kHz
Amplifier power output 1x 50W (bass)
  2x 25W (midrange/tweeter)
Power input voltage 100V – 240V ~ 50/60Hz
Rated power consumption 20W
Standby power consumption 3.7W
Inputs 30-pin iPod connector
  3.5mm mini jack analogue / optical digital
  USB 2.0 slave (software upgrades)
Outputs S-video (mini DIN)
  Composite video (RCA Phono)
Height 173mm (6.8 in) without tilt pad
  198mm (7.8 in) with tilt pad
Width 640mm (25.2 in)
Depth 208mm (8.2 in)
Net weight 7.5kg (16.5 lb)
Finish Enclosure: Polished stainless steel with black trim
  Grilles: Black cloth

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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