I purchased a Formation Flex speaker for my kitchen, to supplement my Roon endpoints in the living room and dining-room. I have a few observations:
- Roon sync is not reliable yet with the B&W Flex
The other end-points are a dcs bridge and ropieee devices, and they stay in sync. The Flex frequently gets out of sync. I have to pause and restart to get everything back in sync.
I increased the Resync Delay and that seemed to help. I worked my way up to 500ms. The problem still happens during normal listening, but it’s more infrequent.
This has been a disappointment. With reliable sync, grouping the Formation products into stereo/multi-speaker configurations would be impractical, while grouping them into other Roon zones is workable but unreliable.
- Wifi doesn’t work well
The Flex speaker failed to join my wifi network.
I have thermostats and idevices and tvs and printers and sonos and misc all happily on the network, I’ve never had this problem. So I used an old, spare airport-express to bridge the Flex onto my network.
The documentation warns that B&W disallows most punctuation characters in Wifi passwords. I think that’s my underlying problem, but I don’t know. I did contact support, but they weren’t helpful and the conversation devolved quickly to Wifi minutae that hadn’t troubled any other consumer devices here.
- It sounds “ok”.
I think the price of this speaker is comparable the price of my Paradigm Shift A2s, active powered speakers without Roon or wireless (and 8-10 years old). The Flex speaker is much smarter, but that stuff isn’t working well (as described above). But the sound of the Paradigm is much better- it’s more than twice as big, it has much better bass, the speakers can be trivially paired with an RCA cable, etc.
The sound/dimensions of the Flex are more similar to an entry-level Sonos, a basic speaker than can be satisfying in the background for most consumers but is a little anemic for anyone that’s serious about music.
If I were to look again, I guess I’d have to look at the higher priced Naim components, see if Bluesound have resolved their own Sync issues, or just stick with more Ropieee bridges until these products mature a bit.