B&W Flex Formation Out of Sync with Bluesound Flex and Unverified By Roon

I have Roon build 1.7. Macbook Air (2011), 4GB Ram, Intel i5 1.7Ghz, 25GB free on drive and it is running on a eero mesh network that has been running perfectly for over 2 years. I stripped the laptop of all its software to make sure it’s devoted as much as it could to Roon. Still, I might be undergunned. Please advise. Also…

Yesterday, I bought a new B&W Formation Flex and placed it in my kitchen which already had a Bluesound Flex. The two speakers were playing fine, but then they came out of sync with each other. Is this because they are not the same manufacturer? In my living room I have a Bluesound Power Node 2 and I set he clock priority on this to “highest” as suggested by another user.

Also, on the Roon app is says that the new B&W Flex is “unverified” and might not function properly. B&W says on its site that it is Roon compatible. True? Lastly, is there a way to group two speakers and have one master volume slider that turns both up and down at the same time? Thanks for your help.

When you were playing to the two speakers had you grouped them in roon?
The zone grouping shows when you click on a zone icon. Paperclip type thing at the top.

Yes I have them grouped in the same zone.

Hello @Evan_McGlinn,

The Bowers & Wilkins Formation Flex are still undergoing Roon Ready certification, so you may experience some issues as the Roon Ready integration on the device is not in its final form.

I’ve passed the report about the grouped zone sync to the QA team to see if they can reproduce with our in-house hardware. I will keep you in the loop with the results of their testing.


Thanks John! I sent another post about the Nucleus that I purchased today that will not boot. Thanks again


May I ask your personal experience of Bluesound Flex vs. B&W Formation Flex? I originally devoted myself to HEOS ecosystem but now I plan to switch, partly thinking to go back to SONOS but really looking for superior sound quality system like Naim Mu-So series, Kef LSX, and B&W Formation series even though it will take much longer time for me to build my speaker collections (due to their relative cost).

Did you make a choice on your new system - I am researching a similar choice LSX or formation?

Yes. I went for Formation Wedge originally. Recently, I’ve purchased Formation Flex Pair and Bass. That’s how much I am liking Formation Series (mainly sound signature).

Kef LSX has great reviews but I wanted to have multiroom capability/ecosystem. This includes single speaker, powerful stereo pairs, and potential home theater setup. I know Roon can be potential interface to allow different brands interact like same ecosystem, but I have a personality of single brand preference whenever I can. Also, mainly against Kef LSX, my personal reason was if I really wanted to have the best sounding stereo wireless, B&W Formation Duo trumps Kef LSX (at least that’s what I gathered from various reviews). Not that I will ever purchase that but it’s just an option I have.

With it, B&W and Naim were the two main choices for me at the end. Though I didn’t have local store to check Naim, but I got chance to listen to B&W at local store. Given their free return policy, I went for B&W first (and was going to try Naim if I didn’t think B&W was insufficient). But I love their clear/pure sound signature; however, this may not be preference for all.

At similar price, between one Formation Wedge and two Flex Pair, I actually prefer Flex pair as it provides true stereo separation. This was a bit surprise as I really liked Formation Wedge and primary reason for Flex Pair & Bass purchase was just try as recently they had discount in US. But these sounded better, so I moved Wedge to my office, and Flex Pair + Bass is now in my living room. Having said this, Bass feels really expensive.

Potential challenge/downside for Formation series is lack of analog input in main speaker units. You can add these by purchasing Formation Audio unit. B&W rep told me latency is under 40 ms which is better than Bluesound and Sonos built in Aux In latency. However, I have not found a reason for me needing Analog input so far. Roon and Airplay 2 covers all my need. If you have Android, Bluetooth here is AptX HD capable so Hi-Res can be streamed.

Many reviews take out point from Formation series due to lack of Home App function. This is true. For setup, Formation series is easiest and interface is clean and simple, compared to HEOS or Sonos (I own/owned). However, currently B&W Home App won’t let you play music directly within the App (Planned to add this feature in early Q2 2020). However, I now have Roon Lifetime subscription (purchased because of B&W Formation), this does not impact me. Roon interface as all here knows is superior to any speaker app. Only downside is Roon does not support Amazon Music HD which is my primary music source, so here I have to use Airplay 2.

Thank you for the reply - just what I been looking for !!!
I was tossing up between the LSX and pair of flex (bass to follow if needed) I have just bought into the whole roon/qobuz eco with a nucleus, so from the app and connections the B&W “shortcomings” are a non issue. My mobiles are all android so I am set on that side.

Smallish room just need good sound and minimal fuss and cables!

Really appreciate your input - Now if we roon will support Amazon HD we will both be smiling !
Looks like a visit to B&W store tomorrow :slight_smile:

Funny one: i do have multiple B&W formations products. Had also the sync problem with zone/groups. Speciality: if you define under formation a wedge and a bass as one unity; this could also lead to problems. Today i was listening to a zone with 2 speakers. Sync problems. Did play with the DSP and i did change a different preset in the DSP, wow the sync problem disappear. so somehow the sync problem seams to be in the Roon DSP!!

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:

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

I had similar problems, before i did check and reconfigure the whole wifi. afterwords it was working stable. watch out, the formation do create 2 invisible wifi networks (one 5 and the other on 2 ghz ). check, whether they are near the channel of your wifi.

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