Bowers & Wilkins formation might be the best wireless speakers you've ever heard

After more than 4 years of research and development, luxury audio company Bowers & Wilkins have released an exciting new range of wireless speakers for 2019 that we just had to tell you about. It's called the Formation range.

If you’ve not heard of Bowers & Wilkins before, they’ve been making high-end passive speakers and amplifiers for over 50 years, with their level of sound engineering and distinctive styling appealing to the very core of audio-enthusiasts.  

Their products are trusted by leading recording studios and were even used in the recording of Abbey Road by the Beatles. Their focus has always been to reproduce music exactly the way it was recorded, preserving the track’s integrity and authenticity, with no artificial bass-blaring.


Now it’s 2019, we’ve well and truly entered a new era of listening to music. With a whopping 217 million of us streaming music on Spotify alone, it’s likely streaming music will be the future of listening to music for a very long time to come. 

The problem is that there are not any wireless speaker options that offer anywhere close to audiophile standard sound quality. 

A lot of folks in pursuit of top level sound quality are forced to experiment with HiFi separates such as passive speakers wired up to a separate amplifier and subwoofer to achieve their listening goals.

This means a lot of wires, a lot of space and fiddling with the components themselves to get the music started. This doesn’t always go down well with other members of the household!

Nowadays, it's possible for all music to be controlled via an app on your smartphone, from wherever you are in your home and Bowers & Wilkins have capitalised on it.

Bowers & Wilkins have created a new range which takes advantage of today’s best possible standards of music streaming (96/24 bit - hi-res) whilst preserving the standard of sound quality expected from wired speakers.

It’s possible to control Formation via Bluetooth aptX, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect or Roon, which is really anyone will ever need to listen to anything on the planet.

As they connect to your WiFi, this allows for seamless wireless control from your smart devices and what we were really impressed about is the fact Bowers & Wilkins have created their own wireless mesh from the ground up.

In layman’s terms, this means the connection between your smart devices and the speakers is as strong and robust as possible, resulting in a lightning-quick response time. 

Bowers & Wilkins didn’t want to accept any compromises when designing their mesh network. They’ve not taken the easy way out by buying an off-the-shelf solution like its competitors. This can result in your speakers being slightly out of sync with each other when music is played on multiple speakers at the same time, which Bowers & Wilkins didn't want to accept.

Similar to when music is played on a stereo pair, unless the 2 speakers are perfectly in sync, you're not going to get a seamless experience. 

The strength of Bowers & Wilkins’ mesh allows its speakers to perform absolutely in sync down to the last microsecond, which is actually wholly inaudible.

Being active speakers, you’re giving Bowers & Wilkins the opportunity to acoustically match the amplifiers with the dynamic drive units so you’re getting the very best performance possible from the speaker.

The set up is unfathomably quick, probably the quickest set up of any wireless speaker on the market and really can be done by literally anyone with a smartphone. All you’ll need to do is run mains power to it, download the Formation app on any app store and follow the on-screen prompts. 

The range consists of an all-in-one speaker, the Wedge, a soundbar and subwoofer (named the Bar and Bass), a HiFi streamer named Formation Audio and finally their flagship stereo pair of loudspeakers, the Formation Duos. 

So without further ado, let’s take a look at each one in more detail.

Formation Flex - £399 RRP

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The Formation Flex is actually the newest speaker to the Formation range, released a few months after the other products.

While this is the most compact speaker of the range, it's also the most flexible and can be used in one of three ways.

- On its own as a powerful, mono speaker

- As part of a stereo pair with another Flex

- As rear surround pair to the Formation Bar to form part of a 5.1 Dolby Digital system

You can also pair the Formation Bass with any of the above configurations to unlock a new world of bass.

Flex makes the perfect entry speaker to the Formation range, and is one of the most premium-looking compact smart speakers on the market in our opinion. The way it has been designed emanates luxury but in a subtle way.

The decoupled dome tweeter is taken from the heritage Bowers & Wilkins 600 series for vocal clarity. The 4-inch woven glass fibre cone couples rich bass and midrange. These drivers deliver a richness of sound that you'd expect from much larger speakers and will certainly rival the Apple Homepod.

We highly recommend as a stereo pair too.

Tech spec

2 x 25mm (1 in) decoupled dome tweeter 

1x 100mm (4 in) woven glass fibre cone bass/midrange

50Hz to 28kHz

Colour choice: Black only

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Formation Wedge - £899 RRP

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Arguably the most distinguishable product of the Formation range is the Wedge. Some might argue this is the successor to the highly esteemed Zeppelin Wireless because in terms of functionality, they are similar, but the Zeppelin model was quite awkward to find space for due its wide dimensions.

The Wedge was designed in this shape to condense the width of the speaker but increasing its depth maintains its prestige sound quality and allows it to output a soundstage well beyond its physical form.

This all-in-one wireless speaker houses the same double-dome tweeter from the 600 series and can fill a large space very easily.

You could make the Wedge the centrepiece speaker of your home as its striking visuals and impactful sound will be sure to draw attention.

We particularly love the little finishing touches of the Wedge from the carefully shaped timber on the back that was actually bent in Worthing, UK to the illuminating touch control panel when it senses your finger is close to it. They remind you that you’ve bought a premium speaker and it's got the sound quality to back this up.

Read our full Bowers & Wilkins Wedge review >>

Tech Spec

2 x 25mm (1 in) double dome tweeter 

2 x 90 mm (3½ in) FST midrange

1 x 150mm (6 in) subwoofer

35Hz to 28kHz - double dome   

Colour choice: Silver or Black

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Formation Bar - £999 RRP

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The Formation Bar is probably one of the most beautifully crafted soundbars we’ve ever seen.

At more than 4 feet long, it’s been designed for use with 55-inch TVs and above. It’s 9 optimised drivers do a fantastic job of capturing every element of your TV audio without missing a single breath.

The soundstage is formidably wide and every detail is picked up with sharp detail, however the one thing we felt was lacking just a touch, was bass. Therefore, if the majority of your content is TV shows with lots of vocals, then the Formation Bar will be ideal for you.

However, if you watch a lot of high-intensity action movies and music, and you have the money to spend on the Formation Bass subwoofer as an added extra, you’re looking at a winning set up.

A simple connection to your TV via optical is all you need to achieve brilliant quality Dolby Digital sound. 

A built-in IR repeater lets you pair your existing TV remote with the Bar, and commands are sent through the soundbar to the TV, meaning the soundbar cannot block the sensor of the TV.

Tech Spec

3 x 25mm (1 in) double dome tweeter 

6 x 65 mm (2½ in) woven glass fiber cone bass/midrange

40Hz to 28kHz 

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Formation Bass - £899 RRP

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The Formation Bass is the subwoofer of the Formation range and can be paired with any speaker or component in the Formation range for additional bass performance that can rival wired speakers.

With dual-opposing drivers to cancel out internal rattle or vibration, the bass has space to breath, resulting in a cleaner bass output than other subwoofers. 

Some subwoofers become inaudible when listening at low volumes, but the Formation Bass’ dynamic EQ still lets you feel the bass at lower volumes, and regulates the bass at higher volumes so it’s not overwhelming.

Our top choice would be to pair the Formation Bass with the Formation Bar to elevate the immersion of your TV, movies and music, however there's no stopping you adding this to any Formation product for a much greater bass output.

Tech Spec

2 x 165mm (6½ in) long throw bass unit 

20Hz to 150Hz  

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Formation Duo - £3499 a pair RRP

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OK, these speakers are worth £3499 (excluding the floor stands) but let us briefly explain why these could be the best investment in audio you’ll ever make.

If you’re the sort of person who takes music more seriously than anyone you know and you love nothing more than to sit down and make music listening an event, then the Duos will be all you ever need and more for many years to come.

If you’re familiar with the Bowers & Wilkins range already, you may be aware of the heritage that the 800 series carries. This continuum cone has been taken from this series, used in the Abbey Road recordings. The tweeters are taken from the legendary 700 series. 

If you’re in the market for creating a wired set up, you may well end up paying more for the passive speakers before you've even got started on the amplifier. B&W have combined the speakers, the amplifiers and the subwoofers that all work perfectly together in one unit while giving you the most convenient method of control.

Its internal subwoofers are more bass than you could ever need so there’s no need to add an additional subwoofer such as the Formation Bass.

We truly feel these are the pinnacle of wireless audio and can offer you something extra special if you're in the market to be wow'd from your music.

Watch our in-depth Formation Duo review on YouTube

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Formation Audio - £599 RRP

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If you're already a Bowers & Wilkins customer or maybe have a set of passive HiFi speakers with a nice amplifier you don't want to get rid of, but are open to injecting it with today's wireless methods of control, the Formation Audio can bring the Formation ecosystem to your existing HiFi.

Stream anything in the world from your music streaming service at the click of a button on your smart devices, whether that's Spotify Connect, Roon, AirPlay 2 or Bluetooth.

Take advantage of multi-room audio and group your Formation Audio with your other Formation products such as the Wedge, Bar or Duos for in-sync party mode!

Want to integrate a turntable with your Formation product? Connect the turntable to the analogue line in on the Formation Audio and listen to your vinyl on any Formation products you choose.

Listening to vinyl via digital always raises questions, but we were extremely impressed with the level of audio reproduction from the vinyl. It preserved the little crackle and feeling of vinyl that you get from analogue.

The Formation Audio is for those of you who already have existing HiFi and want to bring it up to date with today's music services or use with your other Formation products.

View Formation Audio


It's clear the Bowers & Wilkins Formation range has forged a new standard in the wireless speakers market. It gives wired audio enthusiasts the opportunity to take advantage of today's wireless control, while retaining wired, high-fidelity sound and we believe it will win awards in the not too distant future.

Don’t want to pay for your Bowers & Wilkins upfront? Find out how easy it is to spread the cost with our interest-free finance plans.

If you think the Bowers & Wilkins Formation might be the right next step in your audio, then feel free to have a chat with one of our specialists.

View Formation Range

Find out more

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Interest Free >> 

Sonos vs Bowers & Wilkins Formation Comparison >>

Bowers & Wilkins Wedge in-depth review >>