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Tivoli Audio Model One Digital :: First Impressions
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Volker Weber    


Everybody knows the Model One from Tivoli Audio, designed by the late Henry Kloss. Although many consider it a modern classic, Model One itself incorporates visual elements similar to Kloss' legendary KLH Model Eight table radio. Tivoli Audio was founded by Tom DeVesto. He moved on to create Como Audio and launched a Kickstarter campaign.

Tivoli Audio has evolved from building the simple Model One to make lots of different products. The Model One Digital is play on the original Kloss design, unfortunately without the good parts. There isn't a mechanical switch to turn it on/off but this small button that you can press, long press or turn. The ring around the display also turns so you can tune into an FM station, but both are completely without feedback. Everything just happens on the screen. It looks like a round display but it isn't. It's rectangular display inside a round bezel.


The new device has the same proportions like the model one, but it is slightly larger.


The back is completely different. There is an aux in, but no rec out (fixed) or headphone out (variable). While the Model One has an interal power supply and can be also be run on 12V/0.8A, the Digital version needs its external power supply which feeds 15V/1.5A. There is also a MicroUSB service port and two buttons for Setup and Party Mode. Party Mode gives you an indication that this device can join a group of devices to play the same music. Since I have but one of them, that is not something I will be looking into.


Model One Digital can play from many sources:

  1. Via Antenna it is an FM or a DAB+ radio
  2. Via Bluetooth it is just a speaker
  3. Via Wifi it can stream from TuneIn, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and QQ Music, or music stored on your Android ir iOS device. It also has Spotify Connect.

This versatility is the good news. The bad news is that this device isn't easy. Model One was easy, Model One is complicated. There is an app to control it, but that needs a lot of work. And I will need to write at least one more review since I cannot get everything to work, even after putting two hours in. I fail at very simple things. The clock for instance. Do you remember the old video recorders that used to blink with 00:00? I feel this level of stupid.

What I can get to work is FM radio, which works nicer on my Model One. No DAB+ so far. Spotify Direct works over Wifi, so does internet Radio with TuneIn. But when I switch the device off and back on, I am back in FM radio and need my smartphone to get any of the other options to work. When I launch the app, it tells me I have no radio. I have set it up a few times but learned to just wait instead. It will eventually find it.

More bad news: it hums, the display is unreadable in daylight, it never turns completely off. Yes, I have the latest firmware.


But here is the killer. The Sonos Play:1 simply destroys the Model One Digital in every single respect but FM radio. It's way easier to setup and operate. I think it is prettier, it sounds way better. Make that wayyyyyyy. And that is before Trueplay Tuning. And last but not least, it's also cheaper.

But I am not giving up. Stay tuned (sic).

Mar 15, 2017
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