on June 28, 2004
I'm sure there's lot of people like me would love to have a good sounding radio right on their desk, where it's easy to adjust the volume (when a phone call comes in), and be able to easily tune it to different stations as your mood suits.
I don't have the space for a big boom box, nor do I care to blast the sound real loud in my home office. I also don't need flashing lights, a graphic equalizer, or the numerous other features you seem to find on most other radios these days.
The Tivoli Audio Henry Kloss Model One table radio was exactly what I was looking for. It's unobtrusive on even a crowded desk like mine, yet it puts out sound that belies the small size. I also really liked the simplicity of design -- just three knobs (power, volume, and tuning) and a couple of indicator lamps (power on and signal strength). It has a retro look that's simple and very clean.
The FM tuning knob with 5:1 gear ratio allows you to really "ease into" a station, and a corresponding LED glows brightest when the signal is strongest. I actually find it to be easier to use than a digital tuner, and much more precise. I found that I didn't even miss not having presets. I've been able to tune in stations clearly with this radio that I cannot get on any other radio I own.
The speaker is small (3"), but puts out very clean sound, with a nice bass boost from the port in the bottom of the case.
The real hardwood case is a nice departure from the particle board and plastic that most electronic products are made from today.
The unit weighs about 4 lbs., and feels substantial in your hands when you hold it.
Do I wish it had a tone control? I don't miss it at all. The sound is so nicely balanced without it, and adding another knob would take away from it's simplicity of design and operation.
At around a hundred bucks, you can certainly pay less for a radio, but I think you'd have a tough time finding a unit that is so compact, simple, and great-sounding at any price. I'm planning on having this around for a long time.
I think a lot of young people may feel that this radio doesn't have enough bells and whistles, but I'll bet there's a lot of middle-aged businessmen like me that would love to receive this radio as a gift. I think it's something that would be truly appreciated, and used daily for many years. What more could you ask for for a hundred bucks?
on December 19, 2006
Several years ago I inherited a KLH 21--the inspiration for Henry Kloss' current Tivoli Model One. It is among my most cherished possessions, but sentiment aside--this radio is an advancement of the KLH "original" in nearly every aspect.
Audio tonal quality is much like "beauty"--it's in the eye (or ear) of the beholder. Considering the price and genre of this radio--I consider its audio fidelity to be exceptional--powerful and very pleasing. I prefer its design objective that incorporates ONE superior amp and speaker--opposed to TWO lesser channels for stereo. I've never been able to rationalize a "stereo" design where the speakers are separated by only eight-inches of face-plate!
FM RECEPTION: I own way more than my fair share of radios. Is this product on par with the classic $1500-dollar McIntosh MR-78? Not at all, but remember--Amazon is asking you for a mere $120 to own this radio. Within all reasonable considerations--FM performance is excellent. I suspect the criticism of FM reception you read here is due to a couple factors that are not the fault of this radio. First, NO GOOD FM TUNER can tell the difference between a weak distant station and all the "RF trash" generated within your environment by computers, "smart" appliances, and security systems. In fact, a superior tuner is MORE prone to such interference. Secondly, EVERY GOOD FM TUNER requires a good antenna--lose that included 12-inch "rat tail". I use a C Crane "FM Reflect" tuned wire dipole which terminates directly into the 75-ohm coaxial external antenna connector on this radio. FM sensitivity, selectivity, and capture ratio are very good. I routinely receive distant signals with good quality, and I have NEVER seen this radio overload from a strong local signal at a reasonable distance from its transmitter.
AM RECEPTION: My major criticism of this product is ironically my major accolade! Out of the box, this radio is unresponsive to all but the most powerful AM signals, and it IS NOT equally sensitive across the full 540-1700kHz band. This deficiency CAN be rectified with a $40 addition of the Terk "AM Advantage" inductively-coupled loop antenna. Set it atop or beside this radio, and the AM reception character changes dramatically. Maybe there is a "blessing" in this design--as there are NO "whistles", intermod, or overloading apparent on this radio's AM band reception! With the exception of a very few (and expensive) specialty receivers--the Model One provides the finest AM audio I have found in a mass-market radio. If your option for music lies on AM, you will be very pleased with this radio!
My favorite feature is the very smooth 5:1 geared ANALOG rotary tuning. It's generally accurate, and the wide bandspread and variable-intensity tuning light make it a joy to use. Analog tuning is technically superior in EVERY respect to today's commonplace "digital" tuning. Inconvenient? Maybe ever so slightly, but worth the minimal effort.
FINE PRODUCT... An easy FIVE-STAR recipient!
on January 31, 2005
I was looking for a radio that would look good on my kitchen counter and receive a variety of non-commercial FM radio stations.
This radio does both very well. I bought the white/silver color and it looks good in the kitchen. Except for one small FM station, the reception has exceeded my expectations. The music sounds great. It's a little too "bassy", but with the volume turned up, the sound from one small single speaker radio is amazing and fills the room with a rich sound. I also like the fact that you can plug in a real antenna.
My frustration is when someone is talking on the radio. In addition to music, I like to listen to news (mainly NPR) and sports. There is way too much bass when someone is speaking. As other reviewers have said, it would have been great to have a bass and treble control.
So the bottom line for me is great for music and reception, but poor for someone speaking (news, talk radio and sports).
My wife tends to ride me a bit about my expensive tastes in relatively high-end audio equipment. She thought her $20 GE radio was plenty adequate, even for an NPR junkie like herself. Seeing that the Kloss Model One is the radio sold by NPR at its website store, I gave her one as a gift. Now she claims that the prospect of waking up to its warm, rich sound is enough to make her look forward to getting up in the morning. In fact, she's beginning to agitate for two more identical radios for additional rooms in the house.
My own feelings about the radio are a bit more toned down but positive. In most similar radios "stereo" is an exuse to use cheap speakers. This monaural unit, on the other hand, features one carefully tuned and balanced speaker (the weight of the magnet itself testifies to its superior quality), reminding some of us that the "improvement" of stereo over monaural "hi fi" can be illusory at best. The sound is full, rich, and complete over the entire sonic spectrum. Moreover, the absence of tone controls encourages the listener to trust the engineers' judgment rather than waste time on equalizer switches. (I'll confess that personally I miss the ability to increase the treble and roll back the bass, which is too strong even without the gratuitous add-on "subwoofer.") Finally, the tuning knob is the smoothest and most accurate, not to mention the most finger friendly, that I've used.
Pure functionality, elegant simplicity, and noticeable attention to quality (especially the wood cabinet) make this the one to own. Add a CD player, and you have a mini-component system built around a sensitive, responsive tuner and carefully tuned speaker. Add another speaker, and you've got a stereo system (a supplement that, according to Consumers' Reports, makes this a better-sounding radio than the Bose, Boston Acoustics, or Cambridge competitors)--but at the expense of some of the compactness and economy which is undeniably a big part of this item's understated appeal.
on March 24, 2004
I was sure I would be disappointed with this radio given all the rave reviews I had read about. After all, it simply couldn't be that good, could it? I am quite happy to say that I was wrong, it is every bit as good as everyone says. I am full of admiration for the engineers who worked on this little marvel.
My listening is 95% classical, so my attention is always focused on the sound being natural, detailed, and musical. The Model One starts out with the best FM tuner on the market (hands down), which pulls in signals cleanly, even weak ones. My immediate reaction upon first hearing the sound was surprise at the details that were present in the music over an FM signal. I had always imagined that the reason my radios sounded so poor in the past was that the FM signal simply could not hold enough detail. The Model One proved this reasoning quite wrong, there is a lot of music in the FM signal. In fact, I could effortlessly pick out every instrument in the orchestra on this radio.
In the beginning, I was not overly impressed with the low frequencies produced by this radio. But then, I had simply set the radio down on an old desk, and could feel the desk vibrating in sympathy with the low frequencies from the radio. So I went to Home Depot and got a very heavy piece of ceramic tile to place under the radio to prevent the table from siphoning off all the bass. The difference was dramatic. This radio produces a LOT of bass. Very clear and musical bass. The elephant from Saint-Saens' Carnival of the Animals placed the string bass right in my room, I could swear. I found that when I placed the radio about 8 inches from a wall, the bass was even further enhanced. Other reviewers like to marvel at how much bass there is coming from this tiny radio, but I am much more impressed by how tight and musical the bass actually is. This is not to take anything away from its very clear and reliable treble range; it is just that one can't help noticing how small the radio really is, and with all that bass, and .... well, you know.
This is by far the most value I have ever gotten out of this little money for a piece of audio equipment. The Model One is very, very, sweet and musical, and this description is true for its entire remarkable frequency range. I listen to it about 9-10 hours a day, and weeks after the first listen, I still catch myself looking up from what I was doing at that moment to admire its sound.
on February 9, 2004
This is an excellent little radio. Its diminutive dimensions belie the extremely rich, full sound that the Model One produces. Unadorned by all of the knobs, switches, levers, lights and other inputs that clutter most modern radios, it has an appearance that could be described as retro, even austere by the standards of today's gadgets. With just three knobs to tinker with (Off/FM/AM; volume, and an analog tuner), it's refreshingly simple to operate, a fact reflected by the Owner's Manual being not much more than the size of a postcard. Tuning is extremely easy and accurate, facilitated both by a 5:1 gear ratio on the tuning dial - allowing you to make very fine adjustments - and by a light on the front panel that gradually brightens to indicate the best signal strength. Tuning on this radio is actually a pleasure - I find myself spinning the dial for the sheer enjoyment of seeing what I can find.
Anybody interested in the Model One should also take into account what it is not. First off, it's not stereo but mono. Those who simply cannot tolerate a radio without stereo should consider its big brother, the Model Two (essentially the same radio with an extra speaker). But the Model One being in mono is not so much of a limitation as a deliberate design choice: excellent sound in a single, small package. That being the case, this is the perfect radio to unobtrusively fill space-starved locations, like the kitchen or office, with superb sound.
Unfortunately, a few flaws in the Model One prevent my giving it 5 stars (I'd give it 4.5 if I could). As another reviewer has noted but I think is worth reiterating, the volume dial is extremely sensitive on the low end. This can be pretty frustrating, as the slightest twitch of the finger on the dial makes for significant volume variations at the lower volume settings. As a result, I spend more time than I think I should making tiny adjustments in the bottom 10% of the dial, while the remaining 90% remains largely ignored. My only other complaint, albeit very minor, is that plugging a CD or MP3 player into the unit disables the radio, and the only way to reinstate radio play is to physically unplug it. This seems to be a function that could and should have been on the front dial and would have avoided unnecessary wear and tear on the rear inputs. As I understand it, this was remedied on the Model Two.
Despite its minor shortcomings, the Model One is a fantastic little table radio. If you're looking for a compact radio that delivers amazingly full and rich sound at a reasonable price, it's a fine choice.
on January 19, 2005
I was hunting for "just a radio". No CD player, no components, no extras, just a radio. I hadn't purchased a radio in years. I was dismayed by what I saw "out there" (I shop locally, not on the internet). The plastic, the cheapness, the gaudy styling, the prices, none spoke to me. Then I saw a display of radios in my local TV repair shop. I paused, I smiled. Here was a radio which, figuratively, spoke to me. I was drawn to its aesthetics.
The shop owner showed me the various models, some stereo, some monaural. He played the sub-woofer. The sound on all of them was fine. I selected the Model One in Hunter Green & Maple. There were four others from which to choose. I am very happy with the purchase.
I have played my radio in my office with various and sundry environmental noises filtering in. It sounded great. I played the same radio in my home at the most quiet time of the day, very early morning. I listened to classical music. The sound was robust and full.
I love the analogue dial. I am from the generation which spent its youth adjusting the car's AM radio dial to just the right frequency, to pull in that just perfect pop song which resonated so perfectly with our mood. At home, late at night, I tweaked the dial to pull in those FM stations from exotic places like Memphis and Chicago hearing blues and jazz, which to my parochial mind were foreign and a little forbidding. Adjusting the dial makes me a participant. Something lost in the push button digital world.
I recommend this radio if you want just a radio. Just a radio with great tonal range, in a naturally pleasing wooden box, with a dial that allows you to participate in your listening.
on January 19, 2005
The Tivoli Audio Model 1 is a very good sounding and beautiful looking radio and that's about it. It does not try to do anything else. The tuner is easy to use with a geared down knob and a solid feel. There is also a light that gets brighter as the station is tuned in more accurately.
Henry Kloss did a great job on this design and everything about the radio is dedicated to function. The cabinet is wooden not plastic and it's also a ported enclosure. This helps out the sound in a big way. It's amazing how good such a small radio can sound. The design is mono only and the idea behind that is simple enough, it made more sense to have one very high quality speaker using the entire cabinet instead of two lower quality speakers with less volume per speaker, it sounds great..
One thing I've noticed on my Tivoli radios, I've also got a Model 3 at home, is that the quality is such that you can really hear the difference in sound between stations. Over compressed or poor quality audio is painfully obvious. Poorly recorded ad spots and DJ's with low quality mics are easy to hear. Put this thing on a good sounding station and it's fabulous.
If you want a great sounding little radio the Model 1 would be tough to beat.
on April 3, 2005
I ordered this radio after reading everything I could find on the Model One. I can tell you I was not dissapointed. The size of the radio is smaller than I expected, but it is definitely well built and more substantial in hand than any other radio I have ever owned.
I live in rural Kansas and reception has always been an issue. This radio brings in my favorite NPR station which is transmitted from 35 miles away, perfectly. I was also suprised to find it tuned in another NPR station, that signal is transmitted almost 100 miles away.
Most of the day I can also pull in other stations located over 120 miles away. I have had the best luck so far just using the built in antenna. Tuning is easy and the sound is full and rich. It is not stereo, but it doesn't seem to matter. I may buy a model two next to see if it provides any distinct advantage.
I have a Sangean that I paid $170 for several years ago, for FM performance the Tivoli beats it hands down, again and again. I would suggest that you "beleive the hype" and buy one of these if you enjoy turning the tube off and listening to some radio for a change.
on June 7, 2004
I have a slight variation on the black-finished radio here; mine has an all silver front. Probably a custom model for Restoration Hardware stores. Anyway, it's a beautiful radio with incredible sound. It gets better reception than any other FM radio I've had in my office (24th floor of a tower in downtown Minneapolis), getting more stations than I ever knew existed. The sound is full, and loud! Really, that's my only issue with this radio. On a desktop in an office setting, it's pretty tough to adjust the little volume knob to a quiet enough level for daytime background listening. It's awesome when you crank it up, but I don't want to disturb my coworkers.