Get the most from a Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin

Get the most from a Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin

If you have a Zeppelin, we hope that you are already enjoying the fantastic sound that it offers. But as is always the way with hi-fi, if you put a bit of thought into placement the resulting performance will improve. Small things can make a big difference in audio.

For starters, the more solid a platform you can sit your Zeppelin on the better. We’re not saying it has to be on a dedicated hi-fi rack, necessarily, but as solid a base as you can manage is a good idea. It will pay dividends with the sound.

Also, think about space. As is the case with most hi-fi speakers, a little bit of breathing room does wonders for the sound. In the case of Zeppelin the subwoofer and flowport technology perform better with a little bit of space to ‘breath’. But, as always with hi-fi, a little experimentation will allow you to get the best possible sound for your own taste and the room in which you have the system.

Also, while Zeppelin has what can comfortably be described as a ‘room filling sound’, traditional hi-fi values can help when it comes to where you place the Zeppelin for listening. If you want a high-quality stereo image – where all the musicians appear in the areas of the soundstage where the producer intended them to be, then try placing the Zeppelin directly in front of your favourite listening position – this will work especially well if you decide to use you Zeppelin to boost the sound of your television as well as an iPod speaker.

There’s also an optional Zeppelin wall-bracket. This allows you to free up some valuable shelf space, and also makes it easy to position your Zeppelin below a wall-mounted flatscreen television.

Further adjustments can also be made by using the menu system that pops up on your iPod screen when attached to Zeppelin. A new menu option called ‘speakers’ appears, and from here you can adjust the bass output of Zeppelin to suit your taste. Try it, and see what works for you.

And if you have any more Zeppelin set up tips, please feel free to post them here via a comment, so that others can learn from your experiences.

350 Comments

  • Kieran says:

    Good afternoon Garoa and Dan,

    Thank you for your comments regarding the B&W Zeppelin Air and its retention of bass settings whilst streaming via Airplay.

    In order to resolve the issue you are experiencing please download the latest version of the Zeppelin Air’s firmware, which is available for download on the right hand side of the Zeppelin Air support page on our website as linked to below:

    http://www.bowers-wilkins.co.uk/iPod_and_Computer_Speakers/iPod_and_Computer_Speakers/Zeppelin_Air/Support.html

    For details on how to update the Zeppelin Air’s firmware please refer to the Zeppelin Air’s online user manual, that is available under the downloads section on the support page as linked to above. Page 9 of the manual contains a section with detailed instructions on how to perform a firmware upgrade.

    Ensuring that the latest firmware version 1.1.3 available on the website is installed onto your Zeppelin Air’s should resolve the issue you are experiencing, but if you are still encountering issues please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to help.

    Kind regards

    Kieran
    Bowers & Wilkins
    New Media Product Support

  • Kieran says:

    Good afternoon Iain,

    Thank you for your comment regarding the issue you are experiencing getting audio from only one side of your Zeppelin.

    Firstly, please ensure that the cable you are using is properly connected at both the Zeppelin’s Aux socket, and the headphone socket in your mp3 device.

    It will also be worth ensuring that the cable you are using is not faulty. For your information if the cable you are using is faulty, the cable you require is a 3.5mm to 3.5mm headphone jack cable.

    Please also check that the headphone socket on your mp3 player is clear of dirt and dust and that you are receiving playback as expected if connected to a pair of headphones. In some cases a build up of dirt in the headphone socket can prohibit a secure connection.

    If you have a fully working cable and the cable is connected securely at both ends, it could be the case that the Zeppelin’s Aux socket has developed a fault. If this is the case I would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused, however we will be happy to repair the unit for you free of charge. To do this please contact our UK Contact Centre on 0800 232 1513 and they will be happy to organise a repair for you.

    I hope the suggestions above help resolve the issue you are experiencing. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to help.

    Kind regards

    Kieran
    New Media Product Support

  • UCLAG37 says:

    I just bought the Zeppelin Airplay today. Anyone else having trouble accessing the website 169.154.1.1? This is step #5 in the set-up instructions. Thanks.

  • jayne says:

    i boughg the new air today and cannot set it up to play on a pc wirelessly. it connected to my network after a few attempts, but when i open i tunes, despite following instructions, it doesnt appear as a device anywhere. what can i be doing wrong? the purple light is constant but it wont connect with pc wirelessly.

  • Derek R says:

    HELP!

    I have a Zeppelin and when switched on it just flashes the RED LED. Despite all attempts it just won’t play? Prior to this I seemed to be getting a lot of background noise which sounded like an AM Radio.

    The Unit is just over a year old.

    A real shame as my car Jaguar XF has B&W and it is utterly amazing!

  • David Jenkins says:

    Just purchased the new Zeppelin Air, and has anyone else noticed that the high frequencies, like a trumpet playing, are not as crisp a on the first Zeppelin?? The highs seem a little muted. I know they changed out the tweeters, I wonder if that is why? Anyone else notice this? Playing with no EQ settings on a iPhone 4. Apple Lostless music files from CD’s, not iTunes songs.

  • David Jenkins says:

    i understand now, the Zeppelin Air has the exact same drivers as the MM-1, and a 5″ sub driver. If you look at the pictures of the first Zeppelin’s mid drivers vs. the Air’s mid. drivers, the original Zeppelin’s mid. drivers look to be of better quality, at least from a looks perspective (I may be wrong, but the pictures are telling), I wonder two things: why not use the 1/2″ bigger drivers from the first Zep. and the tweeters? They would fit, we are talking about only a 1/2″ difference in dimension, and the tweeters are the same size. And secondly, where did the extra weight go? If it is true the new Air is more rigid, how is this accomplished by losing almost 4 pounds? My B&W speakers are HEAVY because of the internal bracing to quell resonance, but the Air is MUCH lighter than the first Zep., I don’t get it. Don’t understand that. I am not complaining, just asking. Yes, the bass is MUCH better, no more chuffing, but the treble, I do not hear an improvement in quality. The first Zep. was/is crisper in treble, esp. with jazz music, specifically trumpets, high frequency sonics. Side by side, the old Zeppelin has bass issues with some songs, chuffing issues, the Air does not. But the new Air is not as crisp with high frequencies. Maybe they need a breaking in time, I don’t know, but with B&W saying there is a BIG improvement in sound, I don’t hear it in the highs, or mids., just the bass, and the stereo seperation is better. I just don’t know. I only play AIFF CD recordings, no MP-3′s, no EQ settings. The original Zeppelin had the same tweeters as the 800 series speakers. The new Air does not, it has the MM-1 tweeters and mid drivers, at least from side by side photos provided by B&W brochures. Time will tell, but the major weight loss disturbs me. Any comments from B&W to my concerns would help. And I miss the chrome polished back side, the black plastic is not as classy, but not a deal killer, but that is a personal opinion. I do LOVE the small LED light on the handle, instead of a big one thru the speaker cloth. That was distracting, and an improvement. The “Air” function my be important to many, but I care mostly about the sound, as I work in a recording studio, and will not use the “Air” function. I would love comments, or answers to my questions.

  • Brice says:

    #Jayne

    I have some issues as well with my PC… actually there is a problem with Bonjour which fails to start nearly every time I start the computer… this is why I can’t see the icon in iTunes…

    I don’t have any trouble on my Mac.

    So nothing is wrong with your Zeppelin… it’s up to Apple to solve the issue with PCs!

  • joe says:

    The sound overall is VERY impressive, and at times with the right recordings & apple lossless format are AMAZING! The D/A Converter and separate amps for each driver may account in part for the superior over the original Zeppelin.

    The Sub creates to much bass of which can become muddy at times.
    It may be the cross-over placing too much music on 50 Watt Sub (away from the mids) or a DSP Bass issue.
    The ‘Sub’ takes on more of the music then it can playback cleanly.
    With certain musical passages this ‘thudsy’ like sound is not at all apparent.
    (certain electronic space music or certain rock songs with vocals)

    Reading that people are lowering the bass eq or raising the treble on their ipod is a mistake cause NO Eq should be used with the Zeppelin Air! (needs to be off)
    (this according to B&W, due to its own complex internal DSP)

    Listening to the Rolling Stones “lady Jane” on the Zeppelin Air was s t u n n i n g.
    Playing Robert Plants, Now & Zen album on here was also very amazing.

    The ‘lower end’ sounds over the top sound that often overwhelms the mids!!
    Rating it 3 stars, based on my particular unit had a major glitch popping sound glitch and had to be return and with the low end sound issue mentioned above.
    One last point on the 5″ bass sound issue. I have a 5 year old JBL Radial sound dock (the larger of two they made) and while in every way the Zeppelin Air blows it away and should being it is B&W and 3 times the price.
    Thing is: the low end Deep Clean Punch and lack of getting in the way of the mids, that my Radial produces to my ears is superior to that of Zeppelin Airs ‘Sub’.

    So B&W have produced a product of Greatness here in 2011, but may have let the horses out of the stable before
    it was time to do so.

  • New Media Support says:

    Hi David,

    Many thanks for your comments. In answer to your questions:
    The newer 3.5inch drive units have optimised cone material and geometry offering a more open sound, improved imaging, especially voice, together with smaller magnets reducing weight.
    Glass fibre filled ABS offers better stiffness to weight ratio, another weight reduction.
    The newer tweeters offer a more extended range so perceivable sibilance is reduced, resulting in a less electronic sounding treble, with more organicness
    The original Zeppelin tweeters were trickled down technology from 800 series, but not actual 800 series tweeters.

    We hope this helps.
    Kind regards
    New Media Support Team

  • david Jenkins says:

    BIG PROBLEM,
    The firmware upgrade for the Zeppelin Air is showing a long error message when you try to up-load it to the Zeppelin Air. I have notified B&W USA and UK. Using a new MacBook Pro. The firmware downloads just fine on your computer, but refuses to load onto the Zeppelin Air. Have erased and re-downloaded the firmware 3 times, re-booted computer, it’s running the newest OS: 10.6.7, but refuses to upload to the Zeppelin Air. No iPod or anything attached, power cord disconnected, USB cable connected, while holding down the on/off top button power cord re-attached, white LED showing, then try to download the firmware update, and error message pops up. It won’t work.

  • Damion says:

    How do I stream music from my iPad , iPhone to my Zeppelin 2?

  • gary pancio says:

    I set the zepellin up going through all the steps with no problem. The next day, when I went to play it remotely from my iTunes, it would not play. I checked iTunes and could not find the zepellin logo on the lower part of the screen. I re installed. The next day, the same thing happened. What is going on?? Also, i think the bass (sub) is fantastic. I’m hearing things, bass parts, like never before. Beach Boys Sloop John B….woah! But, the mids…or vocals seem muffled. I will work on placement.

  • rik says:

    Have to jump on the bandwagon here,

    Bass is good on this machine, but a little too much. I find snappy snares and vocals are not very prominent. Sounds like they have been eq’ed out – they seem distant. On the whole the upper-mids are not loud enough.

    As for airplay (which was a big reason I bought it) it’s hit and miss. Was really bad when I first tried the unit so I downloaded and installed the latest firmware. Things are a lot better, but still the Zeppelin air has trouble finding my network and randomly cuts out when streaming. I have a 50 meg connection and my apple TV is much more stable. Don’t mean to moan, but myself and others have paid £500. Hopefully a new firmware is around the corner which should make this unit much more solid to the airplay technology.

  • gary pancio says:

    While working on placement of the zepellin, and listening to Rdio, I noticed the zepellin logo on Rdio, bottom of the screen. I had the Ipod docked. I clicked the logo, switched it to remote speakers and now everything is ok. The logo is also on the lower part of the iTunes screen. I can now stream wirelessly from my computer. I can only say, if you set up the zepellin and have the same problem I was having (logo on iTunes for the zepellin was disappearing after instalation), check your iPad source ….Rdio, iTunes, etc….
    Now to solve the drop outs while streaming……

  • david Jenkins says:

    Re: BIG PROBLEM: My computer operating system was corrupted, there was/is nothing wrong with the Zeppelin Air’s firmware update, it was my computer. I am very sorry I thought there was a problem with the firmware update. Also, PLEASE do the update! It fixes many issues with the Zeppelin Air, and every owner NEEDS to do it.

    Sorry for the confusion, I had no idea my computer was messed up, THANKS APPLE FOR THE 3 BLOODY HOURS OF TIME I SPENT IN YOUR STORE TO FIX THIS NEW $1800.00 MACBOOK PRO!!!

  • gary pancio says:

    What does this firmware update do??

  • Otto says:

    Where can I find Zeppelin’s wall bracket in FL?
    Thanks, Otto

  • david Jenkins says:

    Gary,
    The firmware fixes the setting for the bass setting. For example, if you set it at +1, and turn off the Zeppelin Air, it reverts to 0, it does not remember your setting. If you remove the iPod/Phone, it reverts to zero(0) as well. Also it fixes other bugs. Go the the “support” part of the Zeppelin Air page, and update your Zeppelin Air to the: 1.1.3 firmware update. But download the “owners manual” first, so you do it correctly. the brochure that came with our Zeppelin Air is useless. It fixes other bugs as well, and is explained in the PDF of the firmware update. You really need to do it, ALL Zeppelin Air owner’s need to do it.

  • Lee Webster says:

    Hi Just bought the zeppelin air but for the life of me I cant get it to connect to my router. I am using a PC XP software. I have a belkin n1 vision router and modem. I have tried accessing 169.254.1.1 and just get a blank page with internet explorer cannot display the webpage . Is this 169.254.1.1 address a bowers site or does it have something to do with my router? My routers address is a 192 address not 169. Im very confused works with the eithernet cable but as soon as I disconnet the cable the music stops. Please help

  • Lee Webster says:

    Finally got it to work using my iphone. I must say though I think the original zeppelin sounds better than the zep air. For a start its lighter which rings alarm bells as I am I believer in weight and sound. More weight better sound…. Bass is a little better but the unit sounds a little distorted when it comes to mid range. I also think the original zep sounded better when connected up to a airport express. Overall the switch over has not been great…

  • Bruce says:

    Hi , three weeks ago my unit started to make a strange sound when i switched it on , as time has passed the interference has got worse, now all i have is a flashing red light , the unit is around 18 months old, what should i do ?

  • New Media Support says:

    Good afternoon Damion

    In order to stream music from an iPad or iPhone to the Zeppelin Air, you need to ensure that your device is running an Airplay compatible version of its software and is connected to the same wifi network that you have set the Zeppelin Air up to using the Quick Start Guide provided.

    The Airplay logo should appear in the volume slider controls on the iPad or iPhone provided that the Zeppelin Air has been setup correctly and is in Airplay mode (solid purple LED light).

    Kind regards

    New Media Product Support
    Bowers & Wilkins

  • New Media Support says:

    Good afternoon Gary Pancio,

    Thank you for your kind words regarding the bass performance on the Zeppelin Air. To try and improve the mid range performance, ensure that the iPod EQ is set to flat or off. You can alter the bass settings also by accessing the Speaker menu whilst a device is docked on the Zeppelin Air’s docking arm, reducing the bass setting slightly may help. It would also be worth moving the Zeppelin Air, as if it is in the corner of a room, bass may be magnified and may drown out or ‘muffle’ the mids and vocals.

    In a situation when the Zeppelin Air has dropped off the network for one reason or another, we suggest simply removing the power cable to the Zeppelin Air and re-inserting it. The setup process DOES NOT require going through again provided that it was setup correctly in the first place.

    Alternatively try restarting your home networks router to see if this improves things.

    Please bare in mind that if you are experiencing audio drop-outs and limited connectivity, that the positioning of your router and Zeppelin Air could have an effect. The connection would be stronger the closer the Zeppelin Air was to the router. Other devices connected to the router both wirelessly and wired can also have an effect, so please try experimenting by turning off any devices that may be causing large amounts of network traffic and may be causing interference, to see if this improves connectivity.

    Kind regards

    New Media Product Support
    Bowers & Wilkins

  • New Media Support says:

    Good afternoon Otto,

    Thank you for the comment.

    In order to get a wall bracket for your Zeppelin, please contact your local B&W dealer, who will be able to order/supply you with the correct bracket.

    Please use the “Find a Dealer” locator on our website (under the Support header in the footer of each page), for help in locating your local B&W dealer.

    Kind regards

    New Media Support
    Bowers & Wilkins

  • rik says:

    ” You can alter the bass settings also by accessing the Speaker menu whilst a device is docked on the Zeppelin Air’s docking arm, reducing the bass setting slightly may help”

    I don’t understand where the speaker menu is. Very very confused.

  • rik says:

    Okay – I think I’ve solved it. You have to be running IOS 4.3. I was running IOS 4.2 and the icon never appeared.

  • Lee Webster says:

    Still no resolution from Bowers concerning my nano just useless emails saying how sorry they are. As far as drop out is concerned why when I had my old zep connected to a airport express did I never have a problem. And if anybody thinks that the new zep sounds better than the old then you have a serious hearing problem. The old Zep connected to a airport express via toslink sounded fantastic. Think I will be taking this zep air back to the shop for a refund and switching to bose. This zep of min is deff full of air and not much good quality sound like I thought it would… Seriously let me down.. I have owned Bowers speakers for a long time so dont pull the wool over my ears I know my music and this device does not measure at all..

  • Joakim Holmer says:

    Hi,
    Im having a Zeppelin from 2008 and now using a Iphone 4.
    No sound when using spotify (works when I use the Ipod application).

    Anyone knows what I need to do?

    Thanks

    Joakim

  • Lee Webster says:

    Have done a series of tests to find the best setup for the zepelin air. What I have found is that the unit sounds at its best when its dac is bypassed. This is possible by connecting it to a airport express via a analogue audio lead. This is very disappointing as one of the reason why I bought the unit was the fact that it took raw digital data from the ipod device and converded it to analogue via its so called high quality dac. Unit also sounds a little better when its connected to a airport express digitally via a toslink cable. To me though when its streaming music using its built in wifi module and converting the sound via the dac it suddenly sounds inferior. To me this sounds like a software update could resolve this issue, as the hardware speakers etc sound ok.

    I am still having major issues with dropout though. My zep air will pay about three songs then disconnect from my belkin n1 vision router taking with it all my other devices connections. But when played through a airport express I can go for days without a problem at all. Its ok bowers saying its because your zep is far away from the router etc (mine is less than 5 meters) but why is it that when played through a airport express no dropout is noted. The wifi module on the zep air is a g speed not a n but still it should be ok and if it was a issue why was it manufactured with a g speed module? They say the zep air is data hungry not really its only transmitting sound data which should be under 1mbps so all in all this unit should really work. Yet again this sounds like a software issue which could be rectified.

    So lets see some software update soon please as im still not happy with this unit. I still think having a Bowers app would be a good idea. One could include status data such a connection setting, tone bass settings, etc etc and it would be a good way for bowers to advertise. Come on everything these days has a app..

  • H. Eberson says:

    I walk into the room and put on music on my Iphone, which is on the network that the Zeppelin is connected to also. No icon for the Zeppelin appears. I try closing the app and reopening it. No result. No way to interface in another way, is there? So I use my laptop with Itunes…

  • David Jenkins says:

    Lee’s comments are exactly what i have found to be true. I thought at first it was the smaller mid drivers vs. the older Zeppelin’s, not being of as good quality, now I think Lee is right it’s the DAC, and it DOES sound better connecting Airport Express to the analog audio lead. It’s not the speakers. I am still troubled by the significant weight loss, heavy means more density, which means less issues with the drivers and unwanted vibration. A more solid platform as it were. That is why my B&W 805D’s, while small, are so heavy, the internal bracing to quell vibration. A software update for the DAC is ABSOLUTELY needed. And by no means am I unhappy, I am a HUGE B&W fan, or I would not have $thousands invested in your products. Lee and I are just trying to make your product better! Please take it in that vein, and not as two people just complaining about your product, we, or at least me, and I am sure Lee would say the same thing, we want to help you (B&W) make the Zeppelin AIR the best it can be!

    HUGE FAN OF B&W PRODUCTS,
    DAVID

  • Lee Webster says:

    Thanks David for understanding what I am talking about, and most importantly hearing what Im talking about. I have had this unit for over two weeks now so I have had time to reflect on the sound quality and my views still remain the same. A small unit like this should weigh as much as possible so a few pounds lost are a reason for concern. I think the reason why Bowers got rid of the chrome plate at the back was wifi connection issues. This should not warrant all the weight loss and in my views loss of weight does effect the sound. Like I said Im not really happy with this Zep Air I have now connected it to my airport express and dont even use the internal wifi. This kind of defeats the oject of the ungrade especially when the 1st gen was 100%. Will have to see what becomes of a new software update. If its still the same I will be returning the unit and changing brands. Its a shame because at one time I thought highly of Bowers and Wilkins and over the years have spent a considerable amount of money.

  • karl mcilwain says:

    I have a 27″ imac and was wondering can I play itunes through my B&W zeppelin (not air), if so how? thanks in advance

  • New Media Support says:

    Good afternoon Joakim

    In order to get your Zeppelin playing audio from a Spotify app when docking your iPhone 4, you will need to enable your Zeppelin for playing streamed audio.

    To do this, make sure that the Zeppelin is in standby mode with its red LED, and using the Zeppelin’s Pebble Remote, press and hold the play/pause button. The red LED light should flicker off and then on again, which indicates that streaming has now been enabled. Audio should now play back through the Zeppelin when streaming audio from your Spotify app on your iPhone 4.

    If this does not resolve your issue, please let us know and we will be happy to offer you further assistance on the matter.

    Kind regards

    New Media Support
    Bowers & Wilkins

  • New Media Support says:

    Hi there Karl,

    Thank you for your comment.

    In order to play iTunes on your iMac through the original Zeppelin, there are two ways of connecting:

    1) Connect the Zeppelin to the headphone out socket in your iMac using a 3.5mm to 3.5mm headphone jack cable from the Aux socket in the back of the Zeppelin.
    2) You can stream wirelessly via AirPlay in iTunes to an Apple Airport Express, and then if you connect the Airport Express to the Zeppelin’s Aux socket using a 3.5mm to 3.5mm headphone jack cable, audio will then be heard through the Zeppelin.

    I trust that this answers your question. If you have any further enquiries at all then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help.

    Regards

    New Media Support
    Bowers & Wilkins

  • Larry says:

    Dear B&W,

    I am having glitches when I try to change the volume on either the unit or with the remote during AirPlay with an iOS device. Basically the volume will decrease when I try to increase the volume vice versa.

    Can anyone give me any help with this? Or even just a technical support contact so I can resolve this?

    Thanks,

    Larry

  • Tomasz says:

    Hello,I would like to ask if the original Zeppelin works with Iphone 4? I found many posts on the web that it does not, however here I can read that it does. I want to buy an original Zeppelin as a gift, I know that sometimes other docks show the information that “the dock was not optimized for the Iphone 4″ but after that message everything works. Is that the case with the original Zeppelin? I tested the Zeppelin Air with the Iphone 4 and everything worked and there was no message about optimization. Please help because I have to order the zeppelin soon:) thank you

  • David Jenkins says:

    All,
    Can someone please tell me where on earth I find the: AirPlay app. that is supposed to allow you to control your Zeppelin Air with your iPhone or iPad. I have searched and searched, and nothing at the Apple App. Store. Where is it???? On the Bowers and Wilkins site somewhere? Does anyone know? Does it exist? It’s supposed to be a $free app., and allow you to adjust the volume, tracks, etc. from your iPhone or iPad. I cannot find it anywhere.

    Thanks,
    David

  • joey says:

    Hi there,

    I used to have my zepp air connected with my ipad. it got stolen last week. now i am trying to connect my macbook air with the zepp but its giving me a hard time. i cannot put the cable in my macbook air cause it doesnt fit!

    do i need to reset? or how can i connect cant it be connected with more devices? i mean im also getting a new ipad. but now i cant run any itunes.

    thanks in advanced,

    joey

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