Tivoli Model One Digital Gen 2 practice test

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The Tivoli Audio Model One desktop radio became an instant classic upon its arrival. With its furniture-grade wood cabinet, delightfully retro analog knobs for adjustment, volume and source selection, and warm, rich sound, it remains a popular choice for people looking for a source of music and music. simple and elegant radio.

So when Tivoli announced in 2017 that it was going to update the Model One for the digital age, I had high hopes that it would be just as satisfying to use and listen to as the original. Unfortunately, this did not turn out to be the case. A poorly executed mobile app resulted in a confusing and limited set of streaming options, which ultimately undermined the entire ‘digital’ aspect of the $ 350 Model One Digital (MOD).

Simon Cohen / Digital trends

Fast forward more than three years and Tivoli is back with a second generation Model One Digital. It looks identical on the outside but comes right back to the drawing board for its streaming capabilities.

Does this new version correct the flaws of the original? I think so. But does it stand up to new competitors from Sonos and Bose? It depends on how much you like the look.

Same body, different soul

Tivoli Model One Digital Gen 2 rear panel
Simon Cohen / Digital trends

It’s really impossible to tell the two versions of the Model One Digital apart just by looking at them. The high-quality wooden surround, the fabric-covered speaker, the power-source-volume combo button and the tactile aluminum “MOD ring” that allows you to access the speaker functions – they are all from return.

Sadly, the same goes for the small square color display that sits in the middle of the MOD ring. In 2018, I said I wish he took up all the space in the ring, and I still feel it today.

On the back, you’ll find the 3.5mm auxiliary input for analog audio sources, a micro USB port for factory servicing, a setup button, and a mute button. The presence of the mute button on the back panel seems like an odd choice – it’s not easy to locate with just your fingers, and yet it’s something you’ll probably want to use quite often.

I guess Tivoli didn’t want to change the rear panel layout from the original Model One Digital, so it replaced the Party Mode button (which you could use to share listening sessions with other wireless speakers. Tivoli, but it never worked reliably) with the mute button.

Overall, however, the second generation is just as attractive to look at as its predecessors – which is important when spending that kind of dough.

Wireless well done

Tivoli Model One Digital Gen 2
Simon Cohen / Digital trends

Tivoli’s biggest mistake with the original MOD was thinking that it could deliver a Sonos-style multi-device, multi-source, and multi-room experience. The Tivoli Audio ART application used to do this was messy, difficult to navigate, and did not support a variety of popular music streaming services.

This was made worse by the fact that unless you were a Spotify listener, there was no other way to stream to the MOD over Wi-Fi. Bluetooth was much easier to use, but was done at the detriment of sound quality.

The new MOD eliminates the ART app. Instead, Tivoli has outsourced the MOD’s Wi-Fi streaming capabilities to Apple (via support for AirPlay 2) and Google (via support for Chromecast). The result might not be as complete as a Sonos speaker, but it works, is reliable, and easy to use.

Setting up the MOD gen 2 as an AirPlay or Chromecast speaker (or both!) Is a snap. For AirPlay, the MOD appears in your iOS device’s Wi-Fi list as an available AirPlay speaker. For Chromecast, you need to use the Google Home app. It takes a few more minutes, but once the MOD has been added to your home, you’ll be able to control its volume and group it with any other Chromecast speakers you might have.

Since virtually all music streaming apps support one or both of these Wi-Fi technologies, you’re sending a wide variety of music to the MOD in the best possible quality.

Now with a remote control

Tivoli Model One Digital Gen 2 remote control
Simon Cohen / Digital trends

Another big improvement to the 2nd gen MOD is the inclusion of a full remote control. The slender remote has buttons for every function, including easy access to six assignable radio presets. As there is no longer a dedicated app, all parameter changes are made on the MOD itself and the remote control allows you to access them via the parameter setting button.

If you plan to use the MOD as a bedroom speaker, the remote is a must have, allowing you to place the speaker anywhere, while you control it from your bed (or wherever there is). has a site line to the MOD).

Pro tip: The instructions don’t tell you, but the four-way directional buttons can be used to play / pause and skip forward / backward when using Bluetooth, AirPlay, or Chromecast.

Solid sound, no settings

Tivoli Model One Digital Gen 2
Simon Cohen / Digital trends

Tivoli takes pride in the sound quality of its products and the new Model One Digital is as satisfying to listen to as the original, analog Model One. That is, you get a rich, warm sound signature and lots of volume. In fact, the MOD gets incredibly loud if you want it to, and without any distortion.

But the acoustic setting tends to favor the bass and treble and can leave the mids a bit muddy at times. For this reason, I would have liked Tivoli to have included a way to tweak the MOD’s EQ, but alas, it doesn’t.

As with the original MOD, the best sound quality is through one of the two Wi-Fi options. Bluetooth doesn’t sound bad at all, but there is an extra layer of depth when using Wi-Fi, in especially when streaming from a service like Tidal, which gives you lossless audio options.

Conclusion

Tivoli’s first attempt to take a classic design like the Model One and reinvent it for the age of digital streaming music didn’t go very well. But the Model One Digital second generation gets almost everything you need by taking advantage of reliable Wi-Fi platforms like AirPlay and Chromecast.

I still think it’s too expensive, especially compared to products like the Sonos One or the Bose Home Speaker 300, but if you like the tabletop radio heritage of the Model One Digital, it might be worth asking what Tivoli asks for.

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