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VINE VOICEon 23 March 2013
I got two of these to replace previous wireless audio speakers.
The sound quality is superb, they sound excellent.
But after a number of years I'm giving up and replacing these, the wireless streaming is too unreliable.

Support from Bowers & Wilkins has been poor.
My units suffer from two problems...
1. They constantly lose their names and revert to a cryptic default.
Their support blamed the Apple network protocols, which seems bizarre for a device aimed at the Apple music market.
2. The audio streaming is flawed, and suffers drop outs.
Again, their support blamed the Apple protocols, and additionally my network. But other Apple devices work flawlessly with no drop outs.

I'm going to look at other solutions, possibly Sonos.
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on 24 January 2013
Before I bought the A5 I had spent far too much time reviewing other products, on various sites, and had almost made up my mind to buy other products on a number of occasions.In the end, having argued with myself for long enough, I went for the A5. I bought this fully aware that it would probably be a pain to install, that it was very expensive, that it was not as good as it's bigger siblings the Zeppelin and the A7, that I really should be buying a good quality micro system and running it off an airport express and above all that I would forever regret not buying a Zeppelin because they are just so cool.
Having said that I am really pleased with this little bit of kit. It was simplicity itself to install, having first down loaded the B&W installation App from itunes onto my Mac Mini, i simply followed instructions on the App. They worked instantly and were incredibly easy to follow. I operate the A5 with an Iphone5 and a mac mini via a Netgear router through my home wifi network. I have to say air tunes is incredibly responsive and the A5 easily keeps up, a small volume change on either the mac mini or the iphone results in an instantaneous response from the A5.
My A5 sits on the counter top in my kitchen in between the kettle and the tea and coffee jars and invariably has to compete with the washing machine, dishwasher, extractor fan, fan oven/grill and general kitchen hub bub. It is so small ( its face is smaller than a sheet of A4 paper) it is most unobtrusive yet is capable of easily handling its own against any background noise.
The sound from the A5 is impressive, with its small size it has a surprisingly good soundstage and lovely bass. It copes well with really complex layers of sound (such as My Bloody Valentine or The Joy Formidable) and is a step up again at dealing with "acoustic" or less complicated music (such as Nick Drake or Agnes Obel). However it really shines when dealing with the more traditional sounding bands: The Stone Roses,The Smiths, The Rolling Stones etc. It is the eager way the unit deals with the punch and depth depth of these recordings whilst being abel to keep the sound of each instrument distinct from the others that made me fall in love with the A5.
It is not as cool as the Zeppelin, but the Zeppelin is much too big and even more expensive. It is not as good as an equivalently priced Micro system from Richer Sounds etc , but it is much smaller and much cooler and only has one cable (power) and the sound really is excellent. I am very glad I stopped arguing with myself and decided to have an A5.
Two notes of caution however: 1, it requires a really strong wifi signal, otherwise it drops out and 2, it requires a decent running in period to sound at its best. Like all top quality speakers its sound should not be judged until it has been played for a good 30 hours or so to bed in.
Also having heard the Bose kit, which is of similar price, the A5 is better as it retains its quality at really low volumes.
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on 31 July 2016
I have both an A5 and A7. I regret both. Expensive but essentially unusable due to frequent dropout when streaming. The router is within 5m, the signal is excellent, and it makes no difference what device I am using to stream - iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iPhone or iPad - or the source of the signal - CD, Apple Music, Spotify, BBC Radioplayer etc. And it's nothing to do with the signal incoming signal as I receive and hear it perfectly on iPhone or iPad or computer. Changing broadband provider (from BT Infinity to Virgin Media cable), and hence changing router and position of router, has not produced any improvement.
I would not buy any more of their products - I feel an expensive replacement exercise coming on.
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on 10 April 2016
Beautiful Speakers and sound, awful wifi connectivity and reliability, oh and rubbish customer support. B&W speakers are now notorious for having awful wifi connectivity. Mine from day one had a drop off/reconect kind of existence. About the nine month mark the volume controls stopped working ,then the on/off switch died. Now it looses the wifi set up after not using it for a couple of hours and has to be resetup from scratch. Called/e-mailed B&W but they don't want to know (they know and don't want to admit it!!). They think they can exist on beauty and sound and the music industry only. They don't realise general customer satisfaction catches up eventually!
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on 27 January 2014
If you get a version that works well with your network then the sound quality and convenience this speaker provides is great. If, however, you have the issues I have had then its utterly frustrating and useless. For example, the speaker can be named so that it can be identified in airplay. Ours would randomly re-set its name back to the default so that when you come to play something from
iTunes the next time it can no-longer find the speaker it was connected to. It can even rename itself while playing music (causing it to stop playing). It can just vanish from airplay when selected as a speaker while powered on and connected. It also fails to appear in airplay even after resetting the router and powering up from scratch.

Speaking to B&W tech support wasn't much help. His final analysis was that it was the location in the room that was the issue that was causing the speaker to not appear in the list of airplay devices, despite the fact that is has clearly connected to the network with no issue (as demonstrated by its LED being solid purple and it appearing in the list of connected devices on the router, and being only about 5 meters away from the router itself). While I could accept that it may be in conflict with something else on my network, this issue was never explored.

Needless to say this device is being returned as not fit for purpose!
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on 1 January 2013
I have just bought the Bowers & Wilkins A5 speaker and it has blown my mind. I was about to by the Bose Sound Link Airplay but once I heard the A5 it was a simply decision, the sound difference was incredible. Added is the fact that the A5 is sleek and stylish compared to other products in the market. I have owned the speaker for a week and already my friends are planning to purchase their own after listening to mine.

I found the Airplay setup super easy once I downloaded the Bowers & Wilkins Setup app, took me 2 minutes to complete. The Airplay connection to my iPhone is very consistant and I am able to connect from anywhere within my 2 story house.

If you are in the market for an Airplay speaker then you have found the best for its size in the market, 5***** from me.
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on 26 April 2014
This feels like a product from a bygone era, all the things that used to piss you off about technology not working.
- Looks amazing
- Sounds ok with a nice depth to the sound
- Doesn't work with BT router
- Support is non existent
- I had the situation where it said I needed a firmware upgrade to proceed but when I went to do a firmware upgrade I was up-to date. Again no support
- It can only store one wifi configuration at a time, so if like me you have one wifi at one side of the house and one at the other you have to take a pen, press the reset and then re-add all the wifi configuration again.
- Drops out sometimes so you have to unplug it and re-plug it in before being able to use it again

From a product like this I really expected more from the product and the company. If I had known about sonos before and shortly after I purchased this I would have returned it as its not worth the money in my opinion and is really a nice box around a very average and frustrating to use product.
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on 18 April 2013
This is a great little product from B&W. I recently bought an iPhone5, which unfortunately made my Klipsch speaker dock redundant, and so i had been on the look out for a new Airplay speaker which would allow me to wirelessly stream my music from my iPhone to the new device. I read a several reviews on the A5, compared the A5 to the A7 in John Lewis (the A7 is too expensive and large for my requirements) and went for the A5. Setting it up was a piece of cake, the instructions that came with the A5 made it all very straight forward and easy. Switching between the sound coming from the device or through the A5 is also very easy to do. The A5 looks fantastic, with a very high quality look and build. The sound does not disappoint. At all. So rich and clear with great bass. It fills my 13 feet by 10 feet kitchen easily with sound, with a quality that does not disappoint. So I'm very happy with my purchase (thought I don't think my neighbour in the flat below would completely agree with this statement :)
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on 12 December 2012
I was recently in the market to update my Bose SoundDock. After doing some research on the net I read a lot about wireless speakers. As I am an Apple fan and have a variety of Apple products I often look on the Apple forums for advice and it was clear that the majority of people were recommending AirPlay products.

The AirPlay market is a minefield as there are dozens of speakers out there. I have a friend who has a B&W Zeppelin which sounds amazing so I decided to take a look and see what they had to offer.

The A5 seemed like a perfect match for me as I needed something small enough to be placed on a coffee table but I didn't want to compromise on sound quality. After seeing a lot of positive reviews on the A5 I decided to take a punt and purchase one.

The gamble paid off! I'm really impressed with this speaker. Setting the speaker up was a doddle. I downloaded the B&W AirPlay setup App on to my iPhone and followed the prompts on screen, I had the speaker setup wirelessly in a matter of minutes. Streaming is so easy, you simply press your music icon, select a track then hit the little AirPlay icon and away you go. The sound quality is the thing that impressed me the most. There is so much clarity and detail, far more than I ever got from my Bose. I can hear things in my music that I never knew existed in the past. The bass reproduction is also fantastic and not over exaggerated like a lot of systems I have listened to.

My dad has also recently just purchased his own A5 as he was so impressed with mine.
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on 28 June 2015
I bought two of these beautiful looking devices for my kitchen and living room after much research online. Sadly neither of them have worked properly since I bought them. The main issue is that they keep losing the AirPlay connection. Sometimes this only happens once every half an hour or so, allowing me to listen to a whole podcast or album uninterrupted. However more often than not it's every 30 seconds, making listening to music or podcasts impossible. As well as dropping the connection both devices seem to disappear from the network every few days. Initially this forced me to do a factory reset, however I finally figured out that unplugging and replugging the devices in seemed to do the job as well. I've followed all the information I could find on support forums about reconfiguring your router, but it's had little or no effect. As a result I've basically ended up with two very expensive book ends and no music in my house, which is very frustrating. I've complained to Bowers & Wilkins but they've been really unhelpful, mostly because by the time I got around to contacting their support people via email (rather than on Twitter) it was already past the 12 month warranty period. As such I'd be very careful buying these speakers, and would probably choose Bluetooth over AirPlay ones instead.
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