World mu­sic to your ears

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology - FRIK ELS frike@fin­week.co.za

IF YOU, LIKE MANY of us, are tired of hear­ing the same bor­ing boy band on lo­cal com­mer­cial ra­dio sta­tions or are suf­fer­ing the iPod ef­fect – never ven­tur­ing be­yond your own col­lec­tion – then Tivoli has the an­swer.

Tivoli Au­dio Net­Works’ ra­dio is a com­pact com­bi­na­tion of com­puter, ra­dio and alarm clock that al­lows you to lis­ten to In­ter­net ra­dio sta­tions, stream mu­sic over your home net­work and lis­ten to tra­di­tional ra­dio sta­tions at the same time.

The Net­works can tune in to up­wards of 25 000 pre-set In­ter­net ra­dio sta­tions – a list fre­quently up­dated – ei­ther by sort­ing them by genre, lo­ca­tion or (for the US-cen­tric among us) by call let­ters. Mon­go­lian punk rock, Chilean jazz or BBC Ra­dio doc­u­men­taries – no prob­lem, the Tivoli has them all.

Of course, when you talk about In­ter­net ra­dio in a South African con­text the ques­tion of band­width al­ways comes up. That’s where Net­works scores: it sounds fine even on a 384Kbps ADSL line. The de­vice uses some­thing that called su­per­buffer­ing to en­sure smooth play­back. No in­di­ca­tion yet as to what the im­pact on your monthly band­width cap will be.

Tivoli has ap­plied its usual el­e­gant touch by mak­ing the NetRa­dio look as much like an old style ra­dio as pos­si­ble and, apart from the small LCD on the front, it’s suc­ceeded. As with all Tivoli prod­ucts the im­mer­sive sound pro­duced by the Net­works be­lies its small size.

There’s one catch – and it’s a big­gie. The rec­om­mended re­tail price is R7 500 and for stereo an ad­di­tional speaker is an­other grand. You re­ally have to be a ded­i­cated Tivoli fan or have an in­te­rior-dec­o­rat­ing fetish to make this worth the cost. How­ever, in a world where too many prod­ucts do too many things badly, find­ing some­thing that’s bril­liant at one thing makes it worth the moolah.

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