Tivoli Audio Music System

Tivoli Audio, famous for its iPod friendly FM radio systems have upped the ante and created a £600 table top stereo, but can the sound match the price? We get listening to find out.

Cased in polished wood, the Tivoli Audio Music System is heavy and well-built. In fact, if we were to score the radio on looks, the Music System's retro design scores very highly. The polished wooden case, the weighty design, and the large display on the front in-between the speakers all give it great presence on your table top.

As for features there is plenty here as well. The unit comes with a CD player, a FM radio, and alarm clock mode although disappointingly no DAB digital radio.

Tivoli to their credit have never really opted for DAB, instead preferring Dr Tivoli's very precise engineered FM tuner to deliver the goods.

For the i-Audio it works perfectly, however here and the dial has been lost and you get the feeling that you've been cheated; "What you mean I've got to tune it?".

Coming with an array of buttons that allow you to preset stations, control the CD functionality and change the source there is plenty to press. Failing that there is of course the remote control, which gives you even more buttons to press. Those who don't like buttons should avoid.

Audio comes in the guise of two speakers at the front positioned about a foot apart. The Tivoli Audio Music System offers three sound settings; Mono, Stereo and Wide. Wide tries to trick you into believing the sound is coming from two speakers further apart than they actually are and this surprisingly does work, well, to some extent.

As for the equaliser, the only option is on or off and bass and treble controls are also rudimentary.

Verdict

Overall performance is disappointing considering the cost of the system. Sound seems to vibrate even at low levels and it's certainly not a match to the Denon systems, for example, or to Tivoli's cheaper i-Audio offering.

Stressing this further is that even though the default setting is Wide, in the instruction manual it suggests this isn't the best option for getting the most out of the system - Stereo is - however every time you turn it off, it will revert.

If we were grading on build quality alone the Tivoli Audio would do quite well, as it is, sound is really important too, that combined with the lack of DAB and an expensive price tag and we feel for the money, this just doesn't quite live up to the promise.