Tivoli SongBook
Tivoli Audio
SongBook is a great-sounding portable clock radio
By Columnist
msnbc.com
updated 1/17/2005 1:19:46 PM ET 2005-01-17T18:19:46

If the people at Tivoli Audio make the best table radio, the best two-speaker stereo radio, the best clock radio and the best rechargeable portable radio on the planet, what can they do for an encore?  How about the absolute best-sounding portable clock radio of all time?

I hope I’m not starting to sound like a broken record (pun intended) but Tivoli Audio has introduced their SongBook AM-FM radio and, once again, it’s a product that raises the bar for audio quality and performance in a small product.

The SongBook is a medium-sized portable at 6.125 by 7.3125 by 2.0625 inches and weighs 1.75 pounds. The plastic case has a rubberized coating so that the radio is weather resistant.  That does not mean it is waterproof, but you can safely use it outdoors.

The circuitry is quite sophisticated for a portable: an independent FM front end, dual multi-element ceramic IF filters, and stereo trap filters provide reduced noise and greater FM selectivity. And a 9 KHz/10 KHz switch for AM radio reception lets you use SongBook outside of the United States.

There’s an additional stereo mini-jack input (in case you want to plug in a CD, TV, computer, MP3 or iPod) and an output jack for a set of stereo headphones.  My favorite feature is the rear keyhole cutout so you can mount your SongBook on a wall. 

This is the first Tivoli radio to use a digital readout instead of an old-fashioned round tuning dial, and it lights up blue when you need extra visibility. (Another new Tivoli product, their Sirius/AM/FM clock radio, also shuns a dial for digital.)

Also a first for Tivoli is a built-in digital alarm with a sleep timer, making this a nifty (if somewhat bulky) portable clock radio. You can tune into your favorite AM and FM stations manually using up and down arrow buttons and then save them to one of five memory buttons on the front.

The SongBook comes with an external power supply brick and can also be powered by a set of 6 alkaline batteries (not supplied).  But new for Tivoli, there’s now another option. You can purchase a bunch of NiCad or NiMH AAs and recharge them in the radio. Just flip the switch in the battery compartment and your SongBook will automatically keep the batteries at peak condition.

I’m happy to report that the one thing that the SongBook has in common with all the other Tivoli radios is the quality of the sound coming out of the 2-inch round speaker.  In a word – it’s fantastic.  Based on 30 years of working with audio pioneer and legend Henry Kloss, Tivoli founder and CEO Tom DeVesto has come up with a radio design that sounds better than all their other models.

The SongBook is one amazing portable clock radio. As a matter of fact, it’s an amazing radio period. I’ve even plugged it into my home hi-fi system and used it as an FM tuner.  It sounds that good.

Tivoli’s SongBook comes in seven colors (black, blue, white, red, yellow, green and sliver) and sells for $159.99. That may seem steep for a portable radio, but it’s not that much for a portable clock radio that makes music like a huge home hi-fi system. It can’t fill a huge auditorium with glorious sound but can do wonders in a bedroom or den.  As you might have guessed by now, the SongBook is highly recommended.

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