Hands on: B&W Formation Wedge Review

B&W's Formation Wedge is the wireless speaker in B&W's new Formation range and is the successor to the outgoing Zeppelin Wireless

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £899
  • Formation Wireless Technology
  • Black and white finishes
  • Streams 96kHz/24-bit
  • Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Roon Ready
  • Bluetooth v4.1

B&W’s Formation range is a five-model lineup made up of the Formation Duo active speaker system, Wedge wireless speaker, Audio system, Bar and Sub.

With the Duo already looking promising, it was the turn of the Formation Wedge wireless speaker. Following in the footsteps of the popular Zeppelin Wireless speaker, the Wedge is another speaker that attracts the eye with its unusual shape.

And with the Zeppelin Wireless speaker now discontinued, the Wedge steps up to the plate as B&W’s main wireless speaker.

Related: B&W Formation Duo hands-on

B&W Formation Wedge – Design

At first sight the Wedge proves to be an apt name for the speaker; it’s a big chunk of hi-fi. Despite that, its appearance is more sculpted than you’d think – imagine a Fabergé Egg on its side. It comes in either black or white finishes.

At H23 x W44 x D24cm, it’s bigger and deeper than the Zeppelin Wireless, although not as wide. That should make it easier to place in a room, and at 6.5kg it weighs about the same too. Should you want to wall-mount the speaker, it comes with a wall bracket in the box too.

The shape is likely to be the biggest takeaway from the Wedge. B&W has opted for a 120-degree elliptical shape that, in its words, should create a “true stereo effect”.

Formation Wedge

Inside the speaker housing are two double dome tweeter units, two FST mid-range drivers and a subwoofer unit. The mid and tweeter drivers are fully decoupled to isolate them from the effects of the bass driver, resulting in a clearer, less muddied sound.

B&W’s goal for the Wedge is to create a room-filling stereo sound, which is made possible by angling out the drive units to disperse the sound as wide as possible. The drive units are capable of producing far more grunt than the comparable efforts in the Zeppelin Wireless.

In terms of controls, you can operate the Wedge straight from the Formation app. That hasn’t stopped B&W from placing touch controls on top of the unit, with buttons for changing the volume or pausing and starting playback.

B&W Formation Wedge − Features

Like other products in the Formation range, the Wedge is up to date and features most of the current wireless protocols and streaming services. While the Zeppelin Wireless could only pull AirPlay out of its box of tricks, the Wedge is au fait with AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect.

Formation Wedge

Controls on top of the Wedge wireless speaker

It’s also Roon Ready, with Bluetooth v4.1 and the high-quality aptX HD codec supported. Dynamic EQ is possible through the app if you want to tweak the audio settings.

Around the back is an Ethernet connection and a USB port for servicing only. There’s no room for the 3.5mm analogue connection with which the Zeppelin shipped.

Related: What is AirPlay 2?

Since the Formation products are able to create a mesh network with each other, the Wedge could be partnered with the Formation Sub for more low-end performance.

With bit rates supported up to 24-bit/96kHz, the Wedge is happy to be fed high-res tracks, but for the purpose of the demonstration tracks from Spotify were played instead.

Related: What is aptX and aptX HD?

B&W Formation Wedge − Sound

The Spotify streams sounded impressive. Bat for Lashes’ “Laura” was summoned from the music streaming service and the sound was bigger than you’d expect from a speaker of that size, easily capable of filling the room. In this instance, the Wedge was able to go loud without losing a grip on clarity or detail.

That track was followed by Billie Ellish’s “You Should See Me in a Crown”, and here the dynamics stood out. The composure of the Wedge in dealing with the track’s highs and lows was impressive, with the tonality of the song coming across well. Bass was pronounced, but not forceful. It will be interesting to see how the Wedge performs with songs that have greater oomph in this department.

Formation Wedge

Moving on to “Moonlight in Vermont” by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, the Wedge’s performance was smooth. The most impressive aspect – and it shares this quality with the Duo – was in capturing the character and intimacy of the track. The difference in vocal intonation between Fitzgerald and Armstrong was captured wonderfully well and accurately.

The last track played was Hot Chip’s “How Do You Do?” – and this is where the Wedge tripped up a little. The performance was big, loud and full of energy, but almost too much. The energy of the track threatened to make playback messy. After the track finished my first thought was that the Wedge could do with the volume being turned down for frenetic and fast tracks that require a more sure-footed measure of control.

First impressions

Much like the Duo, the Wedge formed a favourable impression with its performance. Again, it will be interesting to see how the Wedge performs beyond the playlist that B&W offered, but the speaker sounded great and filled a room with ease.

So far, the Wedge looks and sounds like a talented successor to the Zeppelin Wireless.

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