World music to your ears
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.