- Brand Name: Tivoli Audio
- Model Number: PALIPOD
- Item Height: 6 inches
- Item Length: 11 inches
- Item Width: 6 inches
Tivoli Audio iPAL Portable Audio Laboratory AM/FM Radio, Silver/White
- Portable, iPod-matching AM/FM radio with high-end 2.5-inch speaker
- Automatic frequency control locks onto station for clear reception
- Built-in NiMH battery pack delivers up to 16 hours of play
- Auxiliary input with stereo mini-cable for connecting to iPod
- Measures 3.69 x 6.25 x 3.86 inches (W x H x D); 1-year warranty
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Its compact size makes the iPal an excellent MP3 player companion.
While the iPal is functionally identical to Tivoli's multicolored line of Pal-powered speakers (offered on Amazon.com in Electric Blue, Pearl White, Sunset Red, Basic Black, Neon Yellow and Spring Green), its white and silver casing is designed to complement the iPod MP3 player. At 6.25 inches high and just under 4 inches wide and deep, the 3.5-pound unit is small enough to slip into a backpack, but it's a little hefty for a briefcase.
The iPal's single rotary dial handles tuning for both AM and FM stations. Testers didn't expect to have much to say about something as mundane as a radio tuning dial, but the iPal's is truly unique. The dial is designed to move between stations at a speed that's a bit slower than the speed at which the user turns the knob. We found that this ratio dialing technique makes it far easier to tune stations accurately and quickly. Little touches like this really set Tivoli products apart.
The iPal's radio tuning ratio dial is smooth and accurate.
The back of the unit sports a telescoping antenna that has the solid, metal construction reminiscent of older transistor radio antennae. A standard 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is provided here, as is a 3.5-millimeter auxiliary line-in port for plugging in your iPod or other music device. A port for AC/DC power and battery charging is also present. All the ports feature handy, attached rubber plugs that keep out the elements when they're not in use.
The base of the iPal houses a rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery pack that, when fully charged, delivered a respectable four hours of listening at moderate volume levels. The iPal's rechargeable batteries give it a leg up on many other portable speaker solutions; gone are the days of hauling around an armada of disposables. Tivoli claims that the battery pack does not suffer from the dreaded memory effects that afflict other types of rechargeable batteries.
At first, we were skeptical about the performance of a small, one-speaker unit that offers only monaural sound. The reality is that most small, portable two-speaker systems don't allow you to place the speakers very far apart anyway, and the iPal's rich, resonant sound more than made up for its lack of true stereo separation. Plus, the iPal is an elegant box with no cumbersome speaker cords to fuss with when you're entertaining on the go.
We plugged the iPal into the kinds of audio devices folks tend to use these days--an iPod, a laptop and a portable CD player. We came away impressed with the iPal's performance with all three. Highs were crisp and clean, while mids and lows were accurate, with a fullness that surprised us. "Could this kind of sound really be coming from this little box?" we asked. When we really pumped up the volume, there was noticeable distortion, but at normal to high volume levels, the iPal excelled. For casual listening, indoors or out, the iPal is a great way to let others hear that iPod library you've been slaving away to build.
We were also pleased by the iPal's tuning accuracy. Tivoli says this is the result of the unit's automatic frequency control (AFC) technology. Whatever witchcraft is behind this tuner, we were impressed. Tivoli adds that the iPal can be used as a component tuner via the headphone-out port--not a bad idea given its quality and accuracy. --Joshua Gunn
- Small and portable with great rechargeable batteries
- Simple, elegant design
- Great sound
- One of the more expensive portable speaker solutions
- Cone-shaped tuner and volume dials might be challenging for larger hands
Top Customer Reviews
The Tivoli iPAL is a portable AM/FM radio that is powered by an internal (and customer replaceable) nickel metal hydride battery. It includes an earphone jack, an auxilliary input jack and external power jack. There is a telescoping rod antenna for FM reception and a built-in ferrite coil for AM. The controls are simple: a volume control, a band selector with OFF position and a tuning control. There is also a green LED indicator light that tells you when the radio is on and the charging/discharging state of the battery. The controls have a very high quality feel to them and are easy to operate. The knobs fit firmly and are not loose or flimsy as on many lower priced radios. The tuning knob has a 5:1 ratio reduction gear which moves the dial pointer more slowly with respect to the tuning knob. This makes fine tuning easier. The cabinet is made of very solid and rigid plastic. The whole unit has a weighty feel and a sturdiness that most radios lack at any price. One gets the impression that daily use will not wear this unit out. It has a very tidy appearance. There are no projecting parts other than the controls. The rod antenna folds down into a groove in the back of the cabinet so it is totally invisible when not in use. There are no fake aesthetic features like on many boomboxes that are designed to make it look like something more than it is.Read more ›
I was shocked at first at how small it was when I opened the box - (especially after reading about how big it was on other reviews) it's a dinky little bookshelf speaker - how could it possibly get good sound? But it does. Volume is controlled both on the speaker, AND on the iPod, and cranking it up all the way made it quite loud, and no hint of distortion was to be found. Very rich sound.
However, it *is* mono, and it's noticeable that the sound is coming from only one source, and it's less "dimensional" than a stereo system. A hint - the sound is better if it's coming from in front of you, so that you can hear it equally in both ears.
I still gave it 5 stars, because it's not *supposed* to be a stereo system - it's meant to be easily moveable from room to room, or tossed in a backpack (but not a briefcase), or whatever, and still provide EXCELLENT quality sound, and it delivers perfectly.
About one year later the rubberized coating began to peel (a well-documented problem) I contacted Tivoli and they offered to replace the unit. I was ecstatic! I waited about 6 weeks to send the unit in (making a cross-country move). When I emailed for shipping instructions, they reneged on the offer!
I was furious with them. It's one thing to have issues with it; even great product can fail. The customer service issue is what irks me. Their reasoning was that the person who originally offered me a replacement no longer worked for them. It shouldn't matter, I had an email from Tivoli telling me they would replace it. Instead I was told I could send it in and pay parts and a service charge to have the case replaced.
This is just horrible service for a (now) $220 table radio!
Here is the original letter:
Thank you for taking the time to email us. I'm sorry to hear that your PAL is peeling. Tivoli Audio strives to manufacture quality products that our customers will enjoy for many years. Therefore, I am happy to replace your unit for you!
First, please fill out the attached return authorization form in its entirety and email it back to me. Once I receive your completed form I will then finalize your authorization and instruct you on how to proceed.
If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. Otherwise I thank you for choosing Tivoli Audio and I look forward to receiving your completed authorization form soon!
Tivoli Audio, LLC
The Seaport Building
70 Fargo Street Suite 903
South Boston, MA 02210
Also, many of the ipod boomboxes don't let you navigate the ipod menu when you insert them. This one attaches with the included plug/wire, so your ipod is tethered, not inserted, therefore accessible. No batteries to worry about either, as you simply recharge it. I recharged mine overnight and never ran out of juice over the course of an 6-7 hour constant play.
I did buy the ipal carrying case offered on amazon. I used the strap on the carrying case to hang the tivoli right on the ribs of the beach umbrella! Then I just put my ipod in a ziploc bag, left the zipper open just enough for the plug for the tivoli to fit through, and could click around from my chair!! Don't laugh about the ziploc!! I know it isn't fancy, but I could see through it, use the click wheel through it, and keep out the sand/mist...all for the price of about 1 cent!
The tivoli now sits unobtrusively in my kitchen where I alternate radio and ipod. I couldn't tell if the colored radios come with the ipod input jack or not, so I just ordered the white one...I would have preferred another color, but I still completely love it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great sound in a small package. The affinity of the radio is terrific. I charge it from a min-solar panel, and the battery lasts for hours, and hours. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Kelly Green Technology
I now have three of them. Best ever radio on the market. Superb quality.Published 10 months ago by Walt or Carol Hoefer
The battery doesn't last more than 2hours, maximum,but the sound is quite acceptablePublished 12 months ago by NORTON KNOPF
Exactly the same as my old PAL in appearance and performance. Satisfactory in every respect.Published 12 months ago by James Breznay
This was a replacement for my well-worn PAL radio which I bought in 2001 and enjoyed TREMENDOUSLY for 11 years. The price doubled, and the quality went down. Way down. Read morePublished 12 months ago by E. W. Cusack