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From Hi-Fi World - May 2014 issue

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Clocking On

Tony Bolton finds his morning alarm call brightened by the new Tivoli,

Bluetooth-equipped, clock radio. 

 

 

Over the last few years I have seen and heard Tivoli radios at friend’s houses and also at hi-fi shows, and have formed quite a good opinion of them – but have never had the opportunity to live with one in my own space. This situation recently altered when I received a Model Three BT (Bluetooth) clock radio to review.

 

Sharing the same overall styling as the Model One and Two table radios, the Model Three BT has a 3-inch, full-range, long-throw driver mounted on the top of the casework. This measures 114 x 212 x 133 mm, so it leaves plenty of room on a bedside cabinet. It can be finished in the cherrywood veneer of this example, or walnut, black or white. The fascias for the latter two choices come in white, whilst the veneered models have either a beige or this one’s silver taupe frontage. 

 

The fascia is occupied by a conventional clock face on the left, the 5-to-1 geared tuning dial  on the right with volume and source/power knobs in the middle.  A green power light and a yellow tuning indicator light sit between these two knobs. 

 

Below the clock face are buttons for the alarm and a twenty-minute sleep timer. 

The alarm is set by rotating the rim of the clock anticlockwise. If the selector switch is set to a Source, this is the sound that will wake you up. If the source knob is set to Off then a buzzer sounds through a speaker at the back of the cabinet. 

 

This little speaker sits alongside sockets for a subwoofer and the matching stereo speaker connection, (the Top-Firing Speaker is available separately from £79) an Aux In and Rec Out. The 12V power supply plugs in at the back and there is also a headphone socket.

 

The set-up instructions are quite comprehensive and it took only a few minutes to connect my MacBook Pro via the Aux/Bluetooth connection (it uses a Finnish Blugiga Bluetooth connection called A2DP, version 2.1 + EDR) and to be enjoying my iTunes library, as well as the wealth of material available on the internet, through this rather capable little device. There is also a Tivoli radio App that can be downloaded from the App Store.

 

Over the next few days I spent a fair amount of time listening to various radio channels at different times of day, and was constantly impressed with the reception capabilities, as well as the overall sound quality. 

 

Using AM, the Tivoli pulled in transmissions from France, Germany, Italy and Spain, although the latter was somewhat prone to interference, whilst the FM reception was generally loud and clear with no noticeable hiss.

 

There are no tone controls, but the overall sonic balance was good, with enough extension at each end of the frequency range to allow both bass notes and the swish of high-hats to be enjoyed. 

 

With a 3 inch driver, this machine isn’t going to cause earthquake-inducing bass, but it was taut and tuneful (a subwoofer is available for £119). The mid-band had good definition with vocals being well enough projected that even the most slovenly of a singer’s diction was comprehensible.

 

The opening paragraph of the instructions say that the makers “believe the Tivoli Model Three BT to be one of the finest AM/FM clock radios available”.

 

In this case, I would fully endorse that comment. The sound is excellent for the size of the unit, and the usability and finish are first-class. 

 

Admittedly, £249 is not cheap for a clock radio – but in this case it buys you something that oozes that slight air of understatement which often defines a top-quality design.

 

It also has the solidity of build and operation that inspires confidence in its longevity. Overall then, I feel this is an excellent product that is well worth investing in.

 

Tivoli Model Three BT clock radio £249.00

 

 

OUTSTANDING - amongst the best 

 

VERDICT

A well thought-out and excellent sounding device with a Bluetooth connection which complements the fine radio selectivity.

 

FOR

- easy to use and set-up

- sensitive and selective tuner

- Bluetooth enabled

 

AGAINST 

- nothing

 

Tivoli Audio

+44 (0)800 0470487

www.tivoliaudio.co.uk

 

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