“Where’s the sub?” Those were the first words out of my mouth as I entered Danny Haikin’s office at Bowers & Wilkins in London earlier this year. He just smiled and said, “There isn’t one. That’s just coming from the two desktop speakers.” Then we spent the better part of the next hour talking about music while I got a proper demo of Bowers & Wilkin’s latest masterpiece, built upon the technology incorporated in its Zeppelin models.
Indeed, a few years ago, Bowers & Wilkins wowed the desktop/iPod world with its original Zeppelin and built on that success with the Zeppelin Mini and recently, an upgraded Zeppelin model. My tour of the Bowers & Wilkins factory (full article to follow in a future issue of TONE) revealed a substantial amount of brain trust devoted to the Zeppelin line. The forward-thinking mindset has paid off handsomely for Bowers & Wilkins, which now sells the Zeppelin and MM-1s through Apple stores as well as its own dealer network.
Like the rest of the Bowers & Wilkins range, the MM-1s possess the understated elegance for which the marquee is known. While the $499 price might initially catch you off guard, the first listen proves reassuring. Incorporating a version of the Zeppelin’s DSP (digital signal processing) engine, the MM-1s are a two-way active speaker system that uses a tube-loaded tweeter—just like those in the company’s higher-end models—and a long-throw bass driver. The brochure claims that the MM-1 “is a true hi-fi speaker, shrunk to fit on your desktop,” and is absolutely correct.