CES 2013: Tivoli Audio

In May of last year I reviewed the Tivoli iSongbook portable stereo radio system and liked it quite a bit, though it took some warming up to. Small portable radios are something InnerFidelity should have a focus on, but I admit that it's difficult to know what benchmarks devices like this should achieve to be characterized as excellent in their category. I suspect there's no substitute for significant experience with products in the category...which is why I stop by the Tivoli Audio booth at every CES.

This year, Tivoli is jumping on the wireless bandwagon with numerous models now Bluetooth enabled. While Bluetooth is a complex and rapidly evolving standard and, it seems to me, you never quite know how good the transmitted audio quality will be from one device to the next, it's also a widely adopted standard and likely provides compatibility with the widest range of hand-held devices. To be truthful, I've got a lot more confidence in the sound quality of a cable.

Fortunately, Tivoli seems to understand that quite well and includes "old fashioned" wired inputs on their Bluetooth enabled products. In fact, Tivoli seems to understand the desires of an audiophile quite well and some of their models can be configured with a separate speaker for better stereo separation, and a sub-woofer to fill in the bottom end. I'm gonna get my hands on one of their Bluetooth enable portable PAL speakers sometime soon for review and as a reference for evaluating future Bluetooth speakers (of which there are MANY these days), but I'll also work through the entire line over time as my experience with other Tivoli products is that they do a bang up job in this category.

natal's picture

I've had the PAL for 12 years but brought a Model 1 last year.   Personally feel the PAL is more balanced sounding.  The Model 1 seems bass heavy in comparision especially voices sounding unnatural.  

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If you're interested in dipping your InnerFidelity toes into portable radio waters, you can't go wrong by checking out the Sangean ATS-909X. The Sangean firm has been turning out better and better products over the last few years, and now is highly regarded by radio enthusiasts, shortwave radio listeners, etc.

Besides being stylish and well built, the ATS-909X has FM RDS capability, better than average shortwave reception, and smooth, clear sound on AM, FM, and shortwave. I've been very impressed with mine for the money.

The size and style of the ATS-909X lends itself well to both home and portable use. 

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