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New Zeppelin Docks, iPod Sound Explodes

8/20/2007 02:00:00 AM Eastern

High-end speaker maker Bowers & Wilkins unveiled its first iPod speaker system/dock, which borrows design elements from the company's high-end speakers to deliver what the company called "audiophile-grade" quality.

The $599-suggested Zeppelin drops into Apple stores and Apple's Web site in mid-September.

The one-piece, polished-stainless-steel system features three-way speakers and biamplification. It's almost 2 feet wide and features tapered ends that house the midrange and tweeter drivers. The chassis design is a nod to the Nautilus tapered-tube tweeter-loading technologies, which the company said it uses in its 800 Series loudspeakers to enhance definition and clarity and ensure a smooth response and even distribution of sound. "Warmly detailed" treble extends into the ultrasonic region, the company added.

Low frequencies are handled by one center-mounted 5-inch subwoofer with twin rear-firing ports to deliver deep bass extension. It's driven by a 50-watt amplifier. The tweeter/midrange pairs are driven by a separate 2x25-watt amplifier. All three amp channels incorporate proprietary digital signal processing technology to enhance response.

Other design elements from Bowers & Wilkins speakers include aluminum-dome tweeter and audiophile-grade crossover components such as film capacitors and air-core inductors for dynamic, low-distortion reproduction. Glass-fiber midrange cones feature slots filled with resonance-absorbing compounds.

Features include:

  • rear S-video and composite-video outputs to send iPod video to a TV;

  • combination analog/digital mini-jack input to play most non-iPod audio sources;

  • a 30-pin docking port that needs no adapter or interchangeable bases because of its spring-loaded design; and

  • a "floating-arm" dock that lets the user grasp a docked iPod to control its menu system without using the supplied remote.

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