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Tivoli Model One

 

From Hi-Fi World - December 2012 issue

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Fm? Not Arf!

 

No DAB in sight, just FM, AM and a touch of Bluetooth, Paul Rigby reviews

the Tivoli Model One BT.

 

It’s quite a refreshing change to review a new, luggable, radio and not to see the DAB logo imposed upon it, but that’s the case with the Tivoli Model One BT. Available in Walnut veneer with beige control fittings, Black Ash/silver, Black Ash/black silver, white/silver, and Cherry/silver, spanning 114x213x133mm and weighing in at 1.86kg, this so-called table-top radio will receive a Bluetooth signal from any device that is capable of sending it, typically a Bluetooth equipped phone, computer or notepad.

 

Connecting the Tivoli via Bluetooth is relatively simple. The input selector, which also features, FM, AM and Off, is turned to BT on the Tivoli and it pairs with any Bluetooth device. More prosaic features also include a rotary volume control, a station tuning indicator and rotary tuning knob on the front with a power socket, FM internal/external antenna switch which can improve aerial performance for some, external FM and AM aerial connections, a headphone out and AUX in plus a record output on the rear.

 

SOUND QUALITY

AM suffered hiss, only one or two stations being easily recognizable and usable. Turning to FM I tuned into BBC Radio 2 and listened to The Temptations’ on ‘The Way You Do The Things You Do’. Both trumpet and sax were quite transparent in nature. There was a payment for this apparent clarity with the Tivoli being a tad clinical, especially within the upper mids and during percussive cymbal strikes, within the treble. Nevertheless, this aspect of the presentation was not a major concern and only really became noticeable at high volumes. Bass was minimal, which was no big surprise considering the size of the included speaker, although upper bass tones were musical and relatively tight.

 

Moving to BBC Radio 3 and a selection of operatic arias, the Tivoli took the higher quality signal in its stride, showing that this radio had audiophile capacity to spare. A conglomeration of male tenors could have produced a confusing blancmange of voices but the Tivoli was able to separate each successfully, despite the single speaker. Midrange detail was superb, enhanced by the quality of the supplied aerial which produced no noticeable hiss. The supporting orchestra had a definite placement on the mono-structured soundstage which added to the sense of depth of the performance. 

 

Speech was then considered, via BBC Radio 4. Within many radios, vocal performance is sometimes masked by a lifted bass that can muffle vocals, especially during low volumes. Via the Tivoli, human voices were packed with texture and, more importantly, a contrast which made word recognition easy. This was enhanced by well structured bass  that gave strength and projection.

 

Playing Bluetooth-derived music – via EAC-ripped WAVs on my iPhone 5 – Skunk Anansie’s ‘Hedonism’ was lively with a surprising amount of detail illuminating secondary percussion such as the tambourine while the vocal combined power and fragility and bass provided a meaty support, considering the size of the Tivoli’s speaker. 

 

Stacey Kent’s jazz vocal track, ‘Les Eaux De Mars’ maintained the Tivoli’s impressive clarity. All background, analogue instruments were available to the ear. Percussive rim shots and cymbal work was crisp and sharp while guitar was melodic and rhythmic, accompanied by a solid bass line 

 

CONCLUSION

The Tivoli Model One BT is surprisingly effective as an FM/AM radio. Bass might go AWOL on occasion but there is enough low frequency performance to provide drive and foundational support, while mids and treble are delicate and detailed. 

 

Bluetooth is also effective and relatively easy to initiate while performance is satisfying. There is a touch of the clinical at high volumes but that is more a reflection of the included speaker and I’m nit-picking to highlight the fact. The Tivoli is a remarkable performer for the price and the specification. 

 

 

MODEL ONE BT  £199

A compact, well made radio with a detailed sound and an easy-to-use Bluetooth link that allows you to broadcast music from a variety of devices.

 

Tivoli

+44 (0)800 047 0487

www.tivoliaudio.co.uk 

 

FOR

- clarity

- detail

- design

- tonal palette

 

AGAINST

- bass light

- slightly clinical

 

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