Tivoli Audio NetWorks Global Radio

Dave Bullard
20 November, 2010
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Tivoli Audio NetWorks Global Radio

Audio Dynamics, www.tivoliaudio.com.au

Pros 

Great sound, design and build quality

Cons 

Non-intuitive interface; silly speaker connection; price

$1199

Reviews

Reviewers at Australian Macworld haven’t been having the best time with DAB+ digital radios, finding it difficult to pick up stations in various areas reputed to have the best signals. So it wasn’t with a great sense of optimism that I unpacked the Tivoli Audio Networks Global Radio.

Thankfully, it picked up digital radio stations loud and clear … most of the time. But this isn’t the Tivoli’s fault, as I live in an area where digital radio is hit one day and miss the next.

The NetWorks isn’t just a DAB+ radio, either. It also delivers FM radio, internet radio (via built-in Wi-Fi or Ethernet), will stream music from your Mac and has an alarm clock function.

Looks-wise the NetWorks owes much to the Tivoli Audio heritage – a simple box with simple controls and a round speaker grille. It’s made of solid wood and available in Black, Stone Grey and Ocean Blue.

On the front of the radio unit, above the speaker grille, is an LCD screen, while on top is a button that pushes for Power, Mute and Snooze, and twists for Volume. There’s a remote control for all other functions but, should you lose it, the rear of the unit has matching controls.

It’s a stereo system, so besides the ‘master’ unit there is also a separate, matching speaker box. Both boxes contain 3.5in drivers.

The way the satellite speaker hooks up is puzzling – the 4cm-long speaker connector is plugged in upwards, which means it protrudes from the bottom of the radio, making it slightly wobbly.

Setting up the NetWorks to tune in the FM and digital radio stations and connect to your Wi-Fi network for internet radio and music streaming is not intuitive – you’ll need to have the manual handy at least for the first time you use it.

Once you’ve hooked up the NetWorks to your Wi-Fi network, internet radio is available via a list provided by Tivoli.

Setting up the digital radio stations is fairly straightforward, but I couldn’t work out how to set the FM stations. There was nothing in the manual to tell me how to do it.

Similarly, there’s nothing in the manual to tell Mac users how to enable music sharing to the NetWorks, but it can be done on your Mac by adding your iTunes Music folder to the Shared Folders list in Sharing > File Sharing.

Once you’ve set everything up, you can’t help but be impressed by the sound. It’s full and well-rounded and just lovely to listen to.

Australian Macworld’s buying advice

Tivoli would have a better product with a few more dedicated buttons on the NetWorks body to make operating it easier. That said, if you don’t mind a fiddle, have $1200 to spare and are after an audio system that gives you heaps of options and delivers great sound, then have a look at the NetWorks.

This review originally appeared in the October issue of Australian Macworld magazine.

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