Are you an Apple enthusiast? Attached to your iPod or iPhone? Investigating Apple TV or the new iPad? If you answered 'yes' then you'll love the range of cool new products we've got that build on the strengths of Apples ever expanding universe of options.
When B&W launched the Zeppelin just 3 years ago it immediately laid claim to the 'coolest iPod dock' title. Just as Apple continually improve and upgrade their products, B&W have completely re-worked the Zeppelin to bring it right up to date and make the most of iTune's new AirPlay capability - what this translates to is that you now have the ability to wirelessly stream music from your computer (any computer, not just Apples), iPhone or iPod Touch to the new Zeppelin Air.
We ordered the new Zeppelin Air as soon as we knew it was becoming available in New Zealand. Our first shipment sold out in just 2 days and we've only just got more through. But even in the first few minutes we had our hands on the new Zeppelin it was obvious that it had been dramatically improved. The sound is tangibly clearer and better balanced and all compatibility issues have been addressed. But the real trick is AirPlay.
B&W have made Wireless set up easy and foolproof - it only takes a couple of minutes and once done, you can unplug and move Zeppelin Air anywhere in your house, simply power up again and play, without any need for resetting. The sound quality of music streamed wirelessly (and if using the Apple LossLess setting on iTunes) is superb - equal to that of many accomplished CD playing systems. Likewise with any docked iPod or iPhone, the sound is remarkable given the compact dimensions of the Zeppelin.
Of course the new Zeppelin isn't the only game in town. The Geneva Labs Model M meets Zeppelin head on in the sound quality stakes - it's similarly priced and while not including AirPlay as a built in option, it does feature radio, clock and 3 finish options - all of which aren't a choice with the Zeppelin. And just to add a bit of spice to the mix, we've also now got the latest Geneva M with CD as an option - this neatly matches the Tivoli Music System as an all on one system but also includes the inbuilt iPod dock. And those gloss finishes are so yummy!
Likewise the Sonos S5 speaker system is no less accomplished - recent software upgrades have made the Sonos option even better and again, it's directly comparable with Zeppelin in both price and performance. The real advantage with Sonos is that it's always been a full multi-room music system - it offers you a better range of choices when putting things together and the software is much more comprehensive, yet easier to use than iTunes - but again, it maintains full compatibility not just with Apple & iTunes, but also PCs and almost any stored music - ana now you can use smart-phones other that Apple's to control Sonos via Android. Check out the non-apple couple here
It's also worth noting that with Apple AirPort Express and the new version of Apple TV, it is possible to easily and cheaply set up wireless streaming from Apple and PC. In both cases for under $200! Once you have done this we can really go to town in taking the lossless wireless signal and channeling it via the latest NuForce Icon or FireStone SpitFire DAC and amps to give you further high performance system choices. And of course as we described in our last newsletter to you, docking solutions like the new Cambridge Audio ID100 digital dock or iPod and iPad can make the simple iPod perform in a way that was never imagined just a couple of years ago.
Within this broad range of possibilities it's also worth remembering that sometimes the simplest options work best. With just a single USB connection in, the HRT Music streamers might seem limited but the fact remains that they still represent the benchmark for the best sound from USB at their price and well beyond. Jitter is a dirty word in the world of Digital to Analogue conversion and while there are many ways to compensate for it, the best way is HRT's use of an asynchronous USB connection . In simple terms Asynchronous means the DAC controls the flow (and timing) of the digital audio stream from the computer which minimises jitter and results in better detail retrieval and overall smoothness in sound. If you're connecting directly to your computer or laptop your best choice can be very simple.
The key to making the most all of these choices is finding out what's best for you, and getting the right advice on what's required to make it perform at its best. That's where we come into the picture - we’ve got everything described above running in the shop and know all the ins and outs of setup. Each option has it's own respective strengths and while they all appear similar, there's often more happening than you'll see at first glance. So get in contact with us now to find out how you can enjoy great sound in any room of your home.
While we're featuring B&Ws entry level products in the Zeppelin Air and recently introduced P5 Noise reducing headphones, we are also taking their upper range speakers seriously - right now we have the new flagship 804 Diamond floor standing speakers on demonstration in the shop. If you think B&W have thrown a lot into the new Zeppelin you should hear what they can do when you have a new stereo speaker system at around ten times the price.
The 804 is a seriously accomplished speaker delivering a commanding acoustic presence, thanks to a true three-way design incorporating two Rohacell bass units, a highly refined version of their trademark Kevlar midrange and a diamond dome tweeter delivering pin-sharp clarity all the way up the frequency range. Matched with high quality amplification such as the new PrimaLuna amplifiers, the B&Ws deliver all they promise. Why not call in and hear this for yourself?
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