I own two of them. They do sound great, and can play pretty loud for a radio of their size. I would take a tivoli over a Wave radio anyday
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I was recently looking for a mini system for the bedroom and listened to the Tivoli set-up with the two speakers and cd player module and in spite of my high expectations my wife and I were really unimpressed. We listened to a Boston Acoustics, a Denon and an RCA (wood woofer) system that were all much better and more balanced sounding. I found the Tivoli to be really compressed sounding in the midrange and tizzy in the treble. Just my opinion but it only took us a few seconds to decide that for the money we could find something much more enjoyable. I think the Denon will win.
I have a tivoli PAL and think it is great. It is the portable battery powered version of the Tivoli radio. Although it only has a single speaker, you can use it as a seperate tuner in a stereo system as the mini-output is stereo. The tuner is much better than the tuner in a typical modern HT receiver IMHO. For $100, it is a nice portable radio.
The tabletop radios I've compared are the Bose, the Cambridge Soundworks 88, the Tivoli and the Boston Acoustics Recepter.
If what you want is the best sound for the money, I'd recommend the Boston, especially since they're available refurbished at audioadvisor.com for about half price. It has the best tuner, at least for my reception area, and very well thought-out controls. I'd put the Cambridge Soundworks and the Tivoli next in line for value and sound, then the Bose.
The Recepter doesn't have auxiliary inputs and is mono but the sound is incredible and I find it's all I want for casual listening.
I have a Model Two in my office. I purchased a Model One for my girlfriend's office. We both love the sound quality and the cherry wood cabinets. My boss has a Bose Wave in his office and my Tivoli smokes the Bose. He wants to buy a Tivoli.
The Tivoli radios really perform on Public Radio stations, such as classical or jazz.
I bought a Tivoli clock radio and returned it. Terrible functionality and disappointing sound, but the speaker configuration is different in the clock radio than in the standard table radio. I bought a Cambridge Soundworks instead but I hate it too. Sounds terrible and is hard to use. I miss my old Proton except for its hum problem.
Make that 8 out of 11! I own a PAL and have purchased at least 4 (have lost count) Model Ones and PALs for gifts and prizes at office Christmas parties. I even bought a Model One Signature for my business partner, and the gloss walnut finish is stunning.
The PAL sees heavy usage in the backyard and on camping trips during the nicer seasons. The built in battery runs a good 6+ hours at half volume on a charge. Very cool.
So, I suppose you could say I'm a fan.
I went and heard the original Tivoli when it came out, guess that's the Model One. Not only did I feel it failed to live up to Tellig's predictable hype, I thought it really sounded just plain bad and irritating -- certainly different but no better than a Wave, probably worse in ways though I suppose not as big a ripoff. Still, to me it looked and felt disappointingly cheap for the money as well. Didn't understand what all the fuss was about, haven't bothered checking one out since. In my kitchen lives Mr. Kloss's Advent Model 400 from the 70's which I'll take over that Tivoli anyday. (Satisfied owners please forgive me, and flame away if you must, but it ain't nothin' 'cept one guy's opinion...)
Tivolis work very well as desktop or kitchen counter or nightstand radios or as a tuner input to a stereo system. They sound their best in nearfield listening situations. As mini systems, in even a small bedroom, the Tivolis do not work out as well. They are just too small sounding. You would be better off with some of the TEAC mini components and some NHT Absolute Zero speakers.
Narrod: I appreciate your equanimity. However, I am only talking about the Tivoli used as a casual table radio -- it goes without saying that no one here would ever consider it (or a Wave for that matter) to constitute the centerpiece of a real system, although there definitely are lay listeners out there who do exactly that (and in fact are usually rather proud of it, and good for them if they're happy in their ignorance -- an audiophile's life should be so simple).
My surprise is at how well-regarded the Tivoli apparently is among many audio perfectionists, when I've heard a number of boomboxes and older table radios I find more listenable. The most flameworthy aspect I suppose I left unspoken: That I suspect the reasons a lot of audiophiles seem to approve of the Tivoli basically boil down to an aura cultivated upon its sedately retro styling, the fact that it's been advertised and reviewed in audiophile mags, and the Henry Kloss legacy -- plus perhaps a touch of the old reliable anti-Bose sentiment as well (imagine the reaction if Bose made the Tivoli instead) -- so the mediocre sound gets justified accordingly.
When I went to audition the Tivoli, it was with the hope of buying. I left shaking my head instead, but maybe I've been spoiled be getting to hear the original KLH and Advent models. Of course even those can't qualify as offering true high fidelity, but I was hoping some sonic progress had been made in 30+ years, not just putting the tuner on a chip and reducing the speaker and cabinet size...
Well, clearly we don't all hear the same. As I said, I own
three of them and think they provide exceptional performance for the cost. I especially like the portability and signal capturing capability of the PAL. I will probably buy more in the future and have no hesitation in recommending them to others. I will offer that the Three is my least favorite from a sound perspective. I suspect it is because of the top mounted speaker not being optimum placement. I don't believe they are as good as the great radios of the past. All, in my opinion, are superior to the Bose and the Cambridge.
When I was growing up, we had a rather large Zenith table radio. It was in a wood enclosure with small feet. It had tubes of course and was a two-way. A bit bass heavy but, damn, it sounded great.
Gunbei, I've had a few of those Protons and gave some as gifts. Mine developed an irritating hum, which is apparently a problem they have. Proton has given up the ghost, but basically the same radio is still sold (or was a couple of years ago) under the Sangean label. I bought one but there was the hum so I sent it back. Maybe I shouldn't have. This Cambridge Soundworks thing I have is not good.
Last year, I was in a hotel in Paris and there was a Bose Wave in my room. I put it on a local classical station. I have to say, it sounded very good to me. Go ahead, throw me out of here, but it's true.
Sure, I'll kick you to the curb Dan -- but not for acknowledging that a Wave can sound better than a Tivoli, for the class of hotel in Paris you get to stay in!! ;^) (I've recently given in to reality and made the move up from Motel 6 to Super 8 [where I go, not Paris!], so at least I usually *do* get a clock radio now...) Man, it probably wasn't even chained to the tabletop!
i went all-out and bought a tivoli clock radio with the stereo speaker and TWO subwoofers (using a splitter cable readily available at Best Buy). all this is set up on either side of my bed on nite-stands. i listen to alot of jazz late at nite and can reach over and tune the radio blind after becoming familiar with the dial. the radio will not do classical music that well, but piano, vibraphone, sax, vocals, are all extremely convincing to my ears; with the subwoofers string bass has excellent pitch-definition. the radio will not play louder than a certain point, which is fine by me, but it won't go into any noticeable distortion either. the cherry wood veneer to my eyes much nicer and more elegant than plastic; the fit and finish is of a very high quality. the tuner's sensitivity is remarkably good, even without a high-end external antenna. of course this set-up isn't very cost effective, but it serves the music and has an almost furniture-quality aesthetic that- i don't think- has any real competition.