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Tivoli SongBook Radio Review


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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Peter Kline

Peter Kline

    Screenwriter



  • 2,409 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 09 1999

Posted December 14 2004 - 06:05 AM

I recently received the Tivoli AM/FM SongBook portable radio. As are other Tivoli products, such as the PAL, this unit is well constructed and designed in a attractive retro way. This unit has a digital display/tuner and 5 buttons for pre-programming FM or AM stations. It also has two seek/tune buttons for "manually" going through frequencies. The PAL radio has an analog tuner/dial. Comparing the two units, they have similar mono sound and sensitivity. FM sensitivity is a hallmark of Tivoli radios. Any station in stereo can be heard that way by plugging in stereophones. All in all a nice unit. However, there is a major flaw (in my opinon). The display has a very narrow viewing angle. About 45% vertical (much less in the horizontal). It is designed to be viewable when looking at the radio head on at 90 degrees or tilting the radio forward but not when tilting backwards from the 90 degree position. This makes no sense as when one wants to put the radio on its back or on one's lap to change stations or adjust the volume the display info disappears. If the 45 degree angle was the opposite - being able to view the display tilting away from you, it would make more sense. Tivoli tells me that this is the way the display works. They say it's used for other products. Well, good grief! It doesn't work on this radio. I have a PAL radio and a Model Two stereo table radio and they perform flawlessly. At $160.00 this pricey radio is lacking. Back to the drawing board methinks. (and back to Tivoli for a refund).

You can view the radio at:
http://www.tivoliaud...p?productid=177

UPDATE: I spoke with Tom DeVesto, owner of Tivoli and he will be looking at my radio to see why the display is poor. It may be defective although a customer service rep at Tivoli told me he pulled two radios to look at and they both had the same display as mine. A look at all the LCD products at a Sharper Image store provided me with an idea that the Tivoli display is cuckoo. They all had perfect visibilty no matter how you held the product. I should get an answer next week.

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Peter Kline

Peter Kline

    Screenwriter



  • 2,409 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 09 1999

Posted December 20 2004 - 07:05 AM

My SongBook has been given the look over by the people at Tivoli and they proclaim the display is what they want. So, to reiterate you can view the display head on but tilt the radio backwards to change the volume or stations using the buttons on the front and the image disappears. Tilt the radio towards you and the image stays sharp and clear until you cannot see the display window anymore. Talk about bass ackwards. It's obvious that Tivoli would not admit a problem, even though I mentioned that a slew of LCD products available at Sharper Image do not have this limited viewing angle - including some radios. My suggestion would be to stay away from the product unless you enjoy annoyances such as this. The PAL is a much better value, as it even comes with rechargeable batteries - something you have to buy for the SongBook yourself (add about $18.00 to the cost then). Sometimes a successful company such as Tivoli loses its way in a new product. This is such a case I think. I'll be interested to see if some of the reviews mention this display peculiarity.