Enjoy impressive sounds with these Bowers and Wilkins Formation Duo speakers. Patented carbon-domed, tweeter-on-top technology provides crystal clear highs, while innovative Continuum cone drivers ensure powerful bass reproduction. These Bowers and Wilkins Formation Duo speakers are compatible with Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections for convenience and have a streamlined user interface for easy installation.
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Pinpoint imaging accuracy and detail resulting from a Carbon Coating on our aluminum Double Dome Tweeter. The closest performance to our Diamond Dome Tweeters.
6.5" Continuum Midbass
Continnum is a woven material that blends control with flexibility. The result is breathtaking clarity and power. Hear voices, guitars and bass instruments in a whole new way.
250 watts total power guarantees delivers big sound from a small cabinet with 125 watts driving the tweeter and 125 watts dedicated to the mid-bass driver.
Our proprietary wireless technology allows Formation products to share music across your home using their own network. All you need is a 2.4GHz home network so you can listen to all your favorite streaming services.
The vast majority of our reviews come from verified purchases. Reviews from customers may include My Best Buy members, employees, and Tech Insider Network members (as tagged). Select reviewers may receive discounted products or points for an honest, helpful review.
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Ease of use, Sound quality
Rated 4 out of 5 stars
Amazing sound with some unfortunate omissions.
Posted . Owned for less than 1 week when reviewed.
Just got my hands on these and lament having to return them. Lets first go with the good. Sonically they are AMAZING it didn't matter what genre I played always leaving me in awe. For a medium to small room you won't need a sub for music playback (which really surprised me). Music streaming was perfect. No lost connections, consistent all the time.
Now the bad (and the deal breaker for me) I understand what B&W was trying to accomplish with the Formation line. Great audio tailored exclusively to the streaming era. First of all I see nothing wrong with that if anything I truly hope speakers like these are the future. The issue I have with the duo is its lack of input/outputs which end up making them less versatile. In my case I wanted to use them also with my TV as the main speakers but the connection isn't seamless, connection drops, the volume isn't consistent with the music streaming volume. I also wish it had a sub woofer input for added flexibility. Because honestly I would prefer to spend sub money on a SVS vs the only option that this system gives you. For the money something as simple as inputs should have been a given and I would have been super happy and kept them.
I would highly recommend these if you buy them for the sole purpose that they were built for. Streaming audio. If you don't own equipment (which I do) or you do and are willing to sell all your gear then these are a great buy. I will be spending this money on a pair of Klipsch Heresy IV for my endgame. And for those who take the plunge you're in for a sonic treat!! Enjoy!!
I have owned these for quite a while and wanted to do a review on these a while back but hadn’t gotten around to it. I have recently seen some of the reviews on the product lately as I have been interested in ordering another pair of these in white! I felt it important to set the record straight. I can agree with some of the points people make on here about the app not being up to or but it is only needs to setup the formation products, after that you use Roon or Airplay. If you are an audiophile or a person who appreciates sitting down and listening to music you probably already use Roon. These are by far the best sounding stereo speakers on the market for the price and simplicity. All I have are the speakers with one power cord connected for each speaker. The Formation audio allows for me to connect my McIntosh CD player and Denon Turntable. Most of the music I listen to comes from Roon via Tidal or Qobuz but if I want to listen to analog sources the Fromation Audio is needed. If you someone who appreciates style as much as you appreciate HiFi you will appreciate these speakers. I love had friends who are musicians over to my home and we have played these speakers and every one of them has been amazed by their sound and detail. These speakers are like hybrid of the 805 and 705 passive speakers that B&W makes but also include the correct bi-amplification. If I were to build a similar system with regular HiFi components and passive speakers I would probably only save a little bit of money but have to deal with having a lot of wires! If you want to have these connected to tv audio just grab yourself an Apple TV and airplay the sound. It sounds a works without delay. This is a great system and I highly recommend them.
I think for $4000 I could have fine tuned the whole stack and gone with a much better sounding system, but I saw the simplicity of the Formation series and decided to give it a try.
The setup was dead simple; downloaded the app and setup the speakers in under 5 minutes. The only problem I ran into was the mounting the stands, since both the speakers and the stands are very heavy and I was scared to drop the speakers, I ended up mounting them on my sofa lying both down. It was by no means a bad experience, just me being paranoid to not damage the $4000! speakers.
The sound was fantastic to my ears. Spacious sound with great imaging, sound stage with width and depth, put on some live recording and it sounds like the band was playing in front of me, and the crowd was around me.
Since this is my first high-end pair of loudspeakers, passive or active, I really don't have anything to analytically compare it to, I felt the speakers output enough bass to not be too lean to my taste, especially since I listen at lower volume most the time. I added to the system the Formation Bass (Great looking unit btw) to provide more low end. The result was phenomenal. Listening to drum heavy tracks with high dynamic range, when the bass kicks in, I feel the bass impact, but not the boominess. Powerful, clean, tight bass.
Mid-range sounds sweet, I don't have any complaints; treble could sound a bit more exciting, but I haven't played with the Treble setting in the Formation app to see if anything could be improved. Overall I'm quite happy with the sound as is.
I use Roon + Tidal for most of my streaming. It's unfortunate all my DSD files get converted to match the Formation Duo, so I could be missing out on sound quality here. Flac and Tidal streaming for the most part are bit-to-bit. My wife streams over content using AirPlay 2 which is very convenient.
Overall, these speakers do cost a ton, 5K w/ the Bass. So far I'm loving the sound, and the all-in-one design, robust wireless playback, and Roon Readiness are the major selling point for me.
I have just bought a pair of Formation Duo speakers, and they sound really good. HOWEVER they will not connect reliably to my new LG OLED TV (although it would be Bluetooth, they would still sound way better than the TV speakers). Left or Right channels would occasional switch off of for a few seconds, and both would regularly drop out for half a second or so. The TV links very well to my headphones via Bluetooth, so it seemed as though the issue might be with the speakers. They will link to my phone OK and I can play music from it via Bluetooth.
So I bought a TROND BT transmitter with a TosLink optical input and it has exactly the same issue with the speakers. I think it might be due to their lack of support for Low Latency aptX (at least I can't find that in the speakers specifications). So, although the sound is great, it seems ridiculous that BT speakers at this price have a flaky BT interface, rendering them unusable with my TV. B&W do not provide any support other than boilerplate questions, and their help line remains unanswered. Not impressed.
Posted . Owned for less than 1 week when reviewed.
My Formation Duo speakers arrived four days ago. For the first two days, my experience matched those of the reviewers that rated the speakers as one star—multiple dropouts and episodes of unresponsiveness. I was completely unable to use Roon with them, although the B&W Music app worked most of the time.
I tried an ethernet cable right away. I restarted and factory reset the speakers several times. That seemed to improve things a little, but the dropouts continued to an intolerable degree for such an expensive piece of equipment.
Roon gave me a hint. Roon provides info on its music files—I soon figured out that hi-res audio files were always dropped but lower-res compressed files would play. The Roon Help documentation emphasizes the importance of a well-tuned and correctly configured wireless system to allow maximum data transfer. Otherwise, dropouts would occur. I decided to put some time into investigating my network performance since I had already tried everything I knew to do with the speakers.
My entire system had been set up by the guys from Magnolia. I had rarely experienced problems, but my AV equipment and computers are hard-wired, so the wireless may not have been challenged by web surfing over an iPhone or iPad. Magnolia had installed a fancy Luxul router and two wireless access points; the Luxul connected to the Internet through an Arris cable modem/router supplied by Spectrum.
While investigating my network, I found the following (in a system that I previously thought was functioning well):
• The Arris cable modem/router had a 2.4 GHz wireless network itself that was transmitting on the same channel as the Luxul access points, possibly producing interference or using bandwidth that could otherwise be used by the Duos. I turned the cable modem wireless off.
• The access points needed firmware updates. I took care of that.
• I found a faulty ethernet connection elsewhere in my network and replaced it.
I also worried about another potential problem. Tidal limits the number of active connections to one. I used to get a warning on my iPhone when I used Tidal while I also accessed Tidal on Roon. (This was before the B&W Duos.) It’s easy to forget to close the iPhone app… so I wondered if the B&W would just not play Tidal streams if I had Tidal open on other devices. I don’t know the answer, but during the investigating period, I just signed out of Tidal and Qobuz on everything.
Finally, I reset Roon and then powered off every device, switch, router, cable modem and speaker for a couple of minutes and then restarted.
Something did the trick! I have had no dropouts or unresponsiveness for almost 24 hours. Roon plays like a champ. Songs that previously wouldn’t play now play beautifully. FLAC 24/192 and DSD256 are converted to 96 or 88.2kHz for transmission to the Duos, where they sound spectacular! I believe they are even better than the B&W 803s floorstanders that have produced great sound in our living room for many years…
So sound quality is unsurpassed. Ease of use would also be fine if your network is configured for maximum data transfer. I hope this helps others to avoid the two days of heartburn that I experienced.
Ignore Older Reviews. The Duos are incredibly good
Posted . Owned for 1 month when reviewed.
I have owned lots of expensive audio equipment and got tired of all the wires and different components. I replaced a Mark Levinson/Linn system with small QBs from Naim. The Qbs are great for what they are, but they lack really low bass and will not play in stereo pairs. In spite of many compliments on their sound from visitors, I wanted better. So, I have been following all the new active, streaming speakers coming out. I was looking for best bang for the buck and that could double for music and movies. I tried a KEF system that kept losing WiFi and Bluetooth signal. The sound was Ok, but not great. The Naims are better, even in mono.
When I returned the KEFs, I listened to these Duos in the BB store, where they were NOT set up in an appropriate location (dumb). I decided to give them a home-try.
Man, what difference the environment made. The speakers sound as good as $100,000 systems I have heard. I expected crystal clear mids and treble, and they definitely deliver, but what surprised me was how much bass they put out. I don’t need a sub as I had thought I might.
These are worth far more than what seems initially an expensive price. Keep in mind you don’t need separates — you already get a streamer, DAC, amps (4), preamp as well as extraordinarily good speakers. Note that a mid-fi amp and a set of passive 700 series B&W bookshelves would exceed the price of these. I am sure you could find a less expensive, less usable system, but it will be nowhere as good as these. And if you were to build a comparable system, with all the same features, you’d spend far more than $4,000 (assuming you buy total crap equipment) and it would like still not be nowhere as good.
As for the older reviews regarding drop-out and the app — B&W has replaced the app, and the new one is quite good. If others suffered connectivity issues, that definitely is not indicative of all Duos, and I suspect is a rare problem, where you could get a replacement pair under warranty in any event.
Give these a try— you WILL want to keep them once you figure out what value they offer.
Posted . Owned for less than 1 week when reviewed.
It’s possible the speaker would sound great, if only you could get anything to play through them. Airplay dosnt work 99 % of the time, the app alternates between saying there are no speakers and there are. There’s an update avaible, and then well no, they’re already updated. No way to control the volume or adjust the sound once they were set up. Can’t get them to play through Roon. I have the Formation audio and connected the tv through the optical, and just sounds like a hug amount of reverb has been added, so sounds horrible, but at least I could get sound to come out. Read about airplay complaints from the initial unveiling of the product, you’d think they’d have that fixed by now, and apparently how bad it is varies by person. This was meant for people who wanted easy to set up and use, they’ve missed the mark. Too bad I will have to be returning these. Useless as speakers until they fix all the connection and software problems.
Sorry to hear that you are having issues. If you have not already, I would recommend contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I use Duo everyday with Roon, Spotify and Airplay on one system and I use a Formation Audio on another system without hiccups. What will not work properly (and we do not recommend trying) is attaching a Formation Audio to your TV and sharing it with another space. This is covered in our support documentation.
The analysis of all aggregated expert reviews shows that the reviewers are positive about reliability, sound, bass quality and design. Editors are less positive about connectivity. Using an algorithm based on product age, reviewers ratings history, popularity, product category expertise and other factors, this product gets an alaTest Expert Rating of 89/100 = Very good quality.
T3Rating, 5 out of 55.0Esat Dedezade on December 13, 2021
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A:AnswerYes you can. Formation Duo wirelessly accepts Bluetooth in addition to supporting a range of streaming services. That said, you still need a wireless network in your home (2.4g connection) in order to use the product, even if you will only ever use bluetooth to playback music.
A:AnswerFormation Duo contains two amplifiers for each loudspeaker. 125W powers the tweeter and another 125W powers the mid bass driver. The speakers can be plugged into any standard electrical socket in your home.