Bowers & Wilkins Formation Flex User Manual

Bowers&Wilikins-logo

Bowers & Wilkins Formation Flex User Manual

Bowers & Wilkins-Formation-Flex-IMG

Welcome to Bowers & Wilkins and Formation Flex.

Thank you for choosing Formation. When John Bowers first established Bowers & Wilkins he did so in the belief that imaginative design, innovative engineering and advanced technology were keys that could unlock the enjoyment of audio in the home. That belief continues to inspire every product we design and in Formation has found its most advanced expression yet. Formation Flex is a network connected, wireless active speaker that provides extremely high performance reproduction of Formation audio streams. Formation Flex is primarily intended to be configured and controlled using the Bowers & Wilkins Home app. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Some commonly used control functions are also available via touch buttons on the Formation Flex top panel. It is only possible to install and configure a Formation Flex using the Bowers & Wilkins Home app. Formation Flex will enable you to:

  • Listen to audio from streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Roon.
  • Listen to network stored audio files.
  • Listen to audio over Bluetooth from appropriately enabled Bluetooth source devices.
  • Listen to audio from devices such as turntables (via a phono preamp) and CD players that are connected to a Bowers & Wilkins Formation Audio.
  • Listen to audio, such as Inter net Radio, from Airplay or Bluetooth compatible services and apps.
  • Listen to audio playing anywhere in your home on any Formation device connected to your home network.

The Bowers & W ilkins Home app is required to connect your Formation Flex to your home network and also to establish a connection with ot her Formation products in your home. The Bowers & Wilkins Home app also provides some control and configuration functions during use. Before you begin your Formation Flex installation please download and install the Bowers & Wilkins Home app on your iOS or Android device. The Bowers & Wilkins Home app requires iOS V11.4 or later, or Android V8.1 or later. Bluetooth, and W iFi services must be enabled on your iOS or Android device. You will also need to know your W iFi network password.

Note: Location Services must be enabled on Android devices during the Formation setup process. This is because Formation products use a low power form of Bluetooth (BT-LE) for service communication which on Android devices is only switched on when Location Services are enabled. Bowers & Wilkins do not use any location services data for marketing purposes.

Formation Flex Carton Contents

Formation Flex
Mains power cable set appropriate for your territory
Document pack

Installing Your Formation Flex

Formation Flex can be used in a range of situations — as a single mono speaker, as a compact stereo pair, or as rear surround speakers in a 5.1 home theatre setup. When used as a stereo pair, your Formation Flex should be at least 1m (3ft) apart and a similar distance from the listening area. If the speakers are positioned too close together, the stereo reproduction may lack scale; if they are too far apart, the stereo focus may be weak. There is no need to angle your Formation Flex inwards towards the listening area however doing so may tighten the stereo focus. Diagram 1 illustrates basic speaker positioning.

Bowers & Wilkins-Formation-Flex-Fig1


When used as rear speakers in a 5.1 home theatre configuration, your Formation Flex should be placed as close to 120 degrees from the front centre speaker as possible, as shown in Diagram 2. Your Formation Flex requires a mains power supply to operate so must be located within reach of a mains socket. If your Formation Flex is to use a wired connection to your home network it will need to be located within reach of an appropriate network (Ethernet) cable. If you decide to place your Formation Flex on a shelf, ensure that the shelf is easily able to support the weight.

Like the vast majority of speakers, your Formation Flex radiates sound energy not only forward but also to the side and r ear. Consequently, if your Formation Flex is positioned close to room boundaries, or particularly in a corner, bass may become over emphasized. If you find that bass from your Formation Flex is too prominent, moving it to an alternative position may be beneficial, however you can also adjust the bass level via the Bowers & Wilkins Home app Settings menu.

Bowers & Wilkins-Formation-Flex-Fig2

Connections

In addition to a mains power socket your Formation Flex carries an Ether net socket for connection to a router should a wired network connection be preferred to wireless (WiFi).

Note: The USB socket located on the Formation Flex rear panel is intended for service and diagnostic use only. It cannot be used for any other purpose.

Switch On and Off

With all connections made, and the Bowers & Wilkins Home app installed on your mobile device, your Formation Flex is ready to be setup. Your Formation Flex has no mains power switch and, following a short start-up routine, will be operational as soon as it is connected to mains power. It will play an audio prompt when its startup routine is complete. When a Formation Flex that has not been pr eviously used is first switched on it will automatically enter setup mode to enable its connection to your home network and to any other available Formation devices. Setup mode is indicated by a slow amber pulse illumination of the Form touch button .

The Formation Flex will also appear in the Bowers & Wilkins Home app as available for set up, either on the initial app page, or after selecting ‘Add Formation product’ from the app Settings page. Your Formation Flex manages its operational state and power consumption entirely automatically and will switch to a power saving mode after twenty minutes of inactivity. There is no need ever to switch off your Formation Flex, however should you wish to do so, simply disconnected it from mains power. Your Formation Flex will retain its settings without mains power. You can restart a Formation Flex by a short press and release of the reset button located on its rear panel. Pressing the button will switch the Formation Flex off and on again. All settings will be retained when your Formation Flex restarts. You can also restart your Formation Flex via the Bowers & Wilkins Home app Settings page.

If you wish to reset your Formation Flex to its default settings, press and hold the reset button for five seconds. On restart, your Formation Flex will enter setup mode. All settings will be deleted when your Formation Flex resets. You can also reset your Formation Flex via the Bowers & Wilkins Home app Settings menu.

Network Setup
  • With your Formation Flex in setup mode, with its Form button illumination pulsing slowly amber, launch the Bowers & Wilkins Home app on your iOS or Android device. The app will guide you with prompts though the setup process.

Note: Formation Flex employs a Bluetooth connection to the device running the Bowers & Wilkins Home app during the setup process. Bluetooth signals have a relatively short range and can be interrupted by room boundaries, so we recommend that your Formation Flex and Bowers & Wilkins Home app device remain in close proximity during the setup process.

  • The Bowers & Wilkins Home app will first search for Formation products in setup mode and display a screen inviting the selection of one. Tap to select your Formation Flex. If you have already set up a Formation product and are adding an additional one, select ‘Add Formation product’ from the app Settings menu.
  • The Bowers & Wilkins Home app will next invite you to name the “Space” in which your Formation Flex is to be used. A list of default Space names is provided but you can also create your own. When you have selected, or created, a space name, the app will ask you to touch the Form button on the top of your Formation Flex to confirm the selection.
  • If a wireless network connection for your Formation Flex is to be used, the next setup stage will connect your Formation Flex to your home WiFi network. The app will ask you to confirm the correct WiFi network and ask you to input its password. Alternatively, if your Formation Flex is connected to your network r outer using an Ethernet cable, this stage of the setup process will be bypassed.

Note: If you already have other Formation products connected to your WiFi network, Formation Flex setup will not require you to input the WiFi password.

Bowers & Wilkins-Formation-Flex-Fig3

  • With WiFi network configuration, and Space selection complete, your Formation Flex is ready for use. Your Formation Flex will play an audio prompt to confirm successful set up.

Bluetooth Setup

You can connect your Formation Flex to a Bluetooth enabled audio source device, such as a smartphone, to play audio over Bluetooth. Your Formation Flex must first be “paired” with the Bluetooth audio source device. Once you have completed the Formation Flex network setup, open the Bowers & Wilkins Home app Settings page, and select the Formation Space that you wish to pair a Bluetooth device with. Next select ‘+ Pair a new device’ from the Bluetooth menu and follow the app instructions to complete pairing. Your Formation Flex will play an audio prompt when pairing is complete and its Space will become available to the paired Bluetooth device for audio playback.

Note: Up to eight Bluetooth devices can be simultaneously paired with each Formation space, however devices will not connect and play to paired spaces automatically.

Using Your Formation Flex

The Basics

You can use your Formation Flex to play audio from streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal, from the Roon music library service and from internet radio via an appropriate iRadio app. If you have further Formation devices connected to your network, a Formation Audio for example, conventional audio sources connected to it will also be available through your Formation Flex.

Spaces

Spaces are a core concept of the Formation product family. A Formation “space” is a room or a specific area in your home in which you listen to music. Each space can include different combinations of Formation products. The possible configurations are displayed in the Diagram 4.

Playing Audio

The Bowers & Wilkins Home app enables you to select and play any available audio source or stream. However, in much the same way that conventional audio source playback requires initiation through a play command, Formation streams must be first initiated through their own gateway app: the Spotify app for example, or a music library app such as Roon. Each gateway or library app will list your Formation Flex space as an available playback device using Airplay, Bluetooth or in the case of Spotify, Spotify Connect. Once audio streams are playing on the Formation network they can be selected via the Bowers & Wilkins Home app or via the Formation Flex top panel Form touch button . Touching the Form button will cycle though the available streams and sources.

Formation Flex Top Panel Controls

Your Formation Flex has touch buttons on its top panel that provide play/pause control, volume adjustment and source/stream selection.

  • Touching the Play/Pause will alternately stop and restart audio playback.

Note: Play/pause will only operate if the stream source has play and pause functions that can be accessed through Bluetooth or network connections.

  • Touching volume up or down will adjust the local volume of any network stream or local source. Pressing and holding the and buttons will continuously increase or decrease volume.
  • Touching the Form button will cycle through and play the active streams and sources available to the Formation Flex.

Form Button illumination

The Formation Flex Form button illumination changes to indicate a variety of operational states. The illuminations are displayed in Diagram 5.

TV Space configurations

Bowers & Wilkins-Formation-Flex-Fig4

Music Space configurations

Bowers & Wilkins-Formation-Flex-Fig5

The Bowers & Wilkins Home App

With your Formation Flex configured and connected to your network, the Bowers & Wilkins Home app will open to its Home scr een where the Formation Flex space and any other available Formation spaces will be listed. Tap on a Formation Space to select fr om any available streams or inputs. If there are no streams available, open a streaming app, Spotify for example, and select an item to play, then select the Formation Space from the list of available playback devices. Now, when you return to the Bowers & Wilkins Home app, the Spotify stream will be listed on the Formation Flex Space page. The Bowers & Wilkins Home app Home page has a Settings icon in the top right cor ner. Tap the icon to open the app Settings menu. The Settings menu provides options to configure and reset your Formation devices and re-name your Formation Spaces. App and Formation device firmware updates are also initiated from the Settings menu.

Finding Your Way Around the Bowers & Wilkins Home App

The Bowers & Wilkins Home app will search for available Formation Spaces when opened then display its Home page with the Spaces listed. Beneath each Space the app will display its curr ent activity. Tapping on an active Space will open a “now playing” screen that enables volume and play/pause control. The ‘now playing’ screen also provides an ‘Available Spaces’ option that enables the str eam playing in the selected Space to be transferr ed to another Space or played in multiple Spaces. The ‘A vailable Spaces’ screen also provides the opportunity to control volume, both globally across all Spaces, or in individual Spaces.

The Bowers & Wilkins Home app Settings page is opened by tapping on the settings icon. The initial Settings menu lists each space and the number of Formation devices present in each one. Tapping on a Space listed in the Settings menu provides access to its Space and Formation device settings. Tap the Space name to access the Space settings and tap the device name to access the device settings. The device settings available will depend on the device in question.

Note: If the Settings icon on the Bowers & Wilkins Home app displays a yellow dot this indicates that a Formation firmware update is available. The firmware update process is initiated from the Settings menu. You should always aim to keep the Bowers & Wilkins Home app and your Formation devices up to date with the latest version and firmware. Not only will this help ensure the most reliable performance, it will ensure that you benefit from new Formation features.

Formation Music Streams and Sources

Using Spotify

Use your phone, tablet or computer as a r emote control for Spotify. Go to spotify.com/connect to learn how. The Spotify Software is subject to third party licenses found here: https://www.spotify.com/connect/thirdparty- licenses.

Using Airplay

Airplay enables audio apps on Apple mobile, laptop or desktop devices to stream material over a network to Airplay compatible speakers such as Formation Flex. Airplay enabled apps will display the Airplay icon. To use Airplay, open the audio app you wish to use and select the music you wish to play. Tap on the Airplay icon to display a list of available devices followed by the Formation Space you wish to use.

Note: It is possible to stream audio via Airplay on multiple devices simultaneously, however the playback quality and synchronization may then depend on the capabilities of your home network. If you wish to play material simultaneously in more than one Formation space, synchronization can be greatly improved by selecting multiple spaces through the Bowers & Wilkins Home app.

Using Roon

Roon is a feature rich music library and playback app that compiles all the music files available to your network and makes them easily available to play across all your Formation Spaces and any other Roon enabled audio devices. Roon is available for mobile, laptop or desktop devices. When you open Roon it will display your complete audio library together with its metadata and artwork along with all the Formation Spaces and any other available network audio devices. Simply select the music you wish to play and Formation space in which you want to hear it.

Note: It is possible to stream audio from Roon on multiple devices simultaneously, however the playback quality and synchronization may then depend on the capabilities of your home network. If you wish to play material simultaneously in more than one Formation space, synchronization can be greatly improved by selecting multiple spaces through the Bowers & Wilkins Home app.

Using Bluetooth

Bluetooth enables audio apps on mobile, laptop or desktop devices to stream material over a wireless connection to compatible hardware such as the Formation Flex. To use Bluetooth, ensure that the required Formation Space is selected in your device Bluetooth settings
menu, open the audio app you wish to use and select the music you wish to play. Tap on the playback devices icon to display a list of those available followed by Formation Space you wish to use.

Cleaning

Should your Formation Flex need cleaning you can wipe its top surface with a clean, lint-free cloth and brush its grille with a soft brush. If you wish to use any cleaning fluid, apply it onto the cleaning cloth and not directly onto the Formation Flex. Test a small area first, as some cleaning products may damage some of the surfaces. A void products that are abrasive, or contain acid, alkali or antibacterial agents.

Support

Should you require further help or advice regarding your Formation Flex please visit the Formation support site here www.bowerswilkins.com/support.

Environmental Information

This product complies with international directives, including but not limited to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in electrical and electronic equipment, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and the disposal of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). Consult your local waste disposal authority for guidance on how properly to recycle or dispose of this product.

Bowers & Wilkins-Formation-Flex-Fig6

DOWNLOAD PDF LINK

Formation Flex Manual

https://www.bowerswilkins.com/en-gb/product/wireless-speakers/formation-flex

Leave a Reply