Mr. Splawski, B&W finally offers wireless loudspeakers. Do you think this launch is just in time or already too late?
It‘s not about whether you cross the finish line first or last, but whether you‘re doing the right thing. Bowers & Wilkins now introduces the Formation series, a complete HighRes multiroom system. With the stereo speakers, sound bar, subwoofer and wedge, we offer our customers a true high-end system that is easy to expand upon. The customer can now make his quality decision from among all the systems available on the market.
How long did your developers puzzle until they were satisfied?
Exactly, they have fiddled until they were absolutely satisfied (... laughs). In order to be able to transmit several music signals simultaneously with the precision and synchronicity required for audiophile reproduction, our developers have developed a radio technology specially optimized for this purpose. This allows us to hear all audio signals with a previously unattainable accuracy and synchronicity between the individual loudspeakers and between several rooms without delay.
What where the biggest obstacles?
One of the challenges was to determine from the many possibilities and exciting new product ideas a powerful line-up for the global launch in over 60 countries. The effort required to launch such a large number of new products at the same time on a global scale should not be underestimated. The development of a reliable software-based high-end system is also a major challenge.
What makes your approach special?
To meet the high demands of our customers on B&W sound was only possible with specially developed new technologies. Automatic updates for all Formation products will offer new functions and even greater ease of use in the future. All existing formation systems will therefore always be automatically kept up to date. This guarantees the best possible user experience and continuous product improvement at all times. With Formation Audio as an intelligent interface (with digital and analog inputs and outputs and 24 bit/96 kHz resolution) to existing HiFi and high-end systems, a convenient and cost-effective entry into the fascinating world of HighRes streaming and new media is offered. This can also be the starting point into the new Formation world, which can easily grow according to the wishes of the customer.
What importance do you attach to the new Formation Series?
It is of paramount importance to B&W. It represents our new platform, which combines the advantages of the analog and digital worlds. It is our ultimate offer for all customers who are looking for the best possible sound with an extremely high ease of use and flexibility that is highly futureproof. Modern listening habits on the road and at home place different demands on a playback chain or the individual device than a few years back. The almost unlimited choice of music via the mobile Internet and streaming services offers our customers a level of comfort that they would not want to do without at home in their familiar surroundings. Formation is the perfect answer for every demanding customer.
How will the system develop further, e.g. with regard to surround use?
As I just mentioned, yes, the Formation series represents a novel platform. It will, of course, continue to evolve. Automatic updates will provide additional features and services. Of course, further development and additions to the product range can be expected. The special attractiveness of wireless loudspeakers for a surround system and their simple installation is certainly an important aspect.
Will there be custom installation systems with this technology?
In our experience, the desire for a multiroom option is always at the top of the list for almost all fixed loudspeaker installations. This possibility can also be realised in the future with our extremely wide range of built-in loudspeakers.
Will other series be actived and integrated into Formation in the future?
The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Suite‘s proprietary new technology provides the platform for many interesting products and attractive opportunities that result from this, along with our existing product portfolio. (But I don‘t want to reveal too much at this point ...)
What were the first reactions of dealers and consumers?
The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Suite has exceeded the extremely high expectations placed on it. The initial reactions from retailers and customers to the design, ease of use and sound experience were phenomenal.