I think you are missing the point of the whole Tivoli ethos! To say that you should be aware of a single speaker is a little unfair - these radios etc are superb quality and to be honest you are hard pushed to find any real difference. The quality of sound is top notch and the item as a whole is very well manufactuered and stylish.

Tavoli also sell separate speakers to add to the unit to make it stereo.

I guess it's all down to personal choice.

Posted by Keith on June 9, 2004 at 10:50 PM (PDT) Comment 1

Nowhere on Tivoli's site or the iPAL's packaging is there any indication that the device is capable of coupling with a second speaker, or that the company sells a second speaker to make the iPAL perform in stereo. They apparently do so for the Model Three, and can add a subwoofer to the Model Two, but do not offer add-ons for the iPAL (or PAL).

Regarding "Tivoli ethos" and being hard pushed to find a real difference between stereo and monaural sound, we'll have to agree to disagree. That Tivoli sells second speakers and subwoofers for their other products suggests at least a minor contradiction in any "ethos" they might be said to have, and that we're not the first people to prefer more than one channel of audio at a time.

Edit March 2005: iPodlounge has deleted a collection of negative and derogatory comments from "audiogeek" on our site, which we discovered have been posted by a writer for competing publications. As he has trolled and posted obnoxious comments in a number of threads, picking fights with our readers and editors, he has been banned from the site, and we strongly oppose his repeated mischaracterizations of various products and our editorial opinions. This comments thread was affected by his posts, and has therefore been modestly edited. If any of the other comments below do not make sense in the context of these deletions, we apologize.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on June 9, 2004 at 11:35 PM (PDT) Comment 2

The PAL is a superb little device, one that always worked well with my iPod, regardless of the new sympathetic colour scheme, its intended as a portable travel radio, with an external input.

So comparing it to speaker products specifically designed for the iPod is probably a little unfair. For what it is I think the PAL is great, and the fact you can plug an iPod in to it is really a nice bonus.

Don't get this device if you are obsessed with stereo, though do if you want an increadible sounding portable radio that you can use with your iPod, I can heartily recommend it.

The PAL cannot be paired with other devices, HOWEVER the standard Tivoli has the same inputs as the PAL and can have multiple speakers, but is not portable.

For what they offer in sound quality for size, these speakers make the Creative Portable Speakers sound like paper cups. If you want something you can hear with good base reproduction and a good range I'd go for the PAL any day.

It made my holiday!

Posted by Jamie Harrison on June 10, 2004 at 12:03 AM (PDT) Comment 3

We got my mom a PAL about a year ago to use around the house, and I must say that it is an incredible portable radio. It has great battery life and the sound is remarkable. You won't notice the mono sound unless you're really looking for it. When I'm at my parent's house I like to use charge my ipod in its cradle, attach my iTrip and use the PAL (moving from room to room as needed). The sound comes in very clear and I would never complain. As for the newer iPAL, i can't really comment, but I don't image this to be an excellent portable speaker. It would probably work well in an office or just for around the house users (indoor or outdoor), but I would suggest the inMotion as a better travel alternative.

Posted by Matt on June 10, 2004 at 6:00 AM (PDT) Comment 4

could you connect two ipals mabey????

Posted by BIGP on June 10, 2004 at 6:50 AM (PDT) Comment 5

How about the volume?
Even though the speaker looks small, is it strong enough to provide decent souding music in an environment like a patio or noisy pool deck?

Posted by Ned on June 10, 2004 at 7:04 AM (PDT) Comment 6

With full, rich mono I can hear yo yo ma actually breathing during the Cello Suites. From the whisper of extra graininess in frank's voice I can tell he smoked a camel before he recorded Angel Eyes. Don't insult Henry Kloss like this.

Posted by langdonauger on June 10, 2004 at 7:20 AM (PDT) Comment 7

While I've been drooling over Tivoli products for years now I could never get myself to buy one. That is not because their producs are bad in any way, I think they are excellent, it is just the prices they ask in Europe. The PAL/iPAL sells for $129, but in Europe the official price is 199, which is about $240. It should be more like 105... Now I would gladly pay 129 for the increased effort to add 240 compatibility, shipping, tax and everything, but I have a strong feeling that a $111 difference is ridiculous.

Posted by Oliver :) on June 10, 2004 at 7:25 AM (PDT) Comment 8

240V that is, sorry.

Posted by Oliver :) on June 10, 2004 at 7:27 AM (PDT) Comment 9

Ned: Yes, it is strong enough to provide more than decent-sounding music in those environments.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on June 10, 2004 at 7:46 AM (PDT) Comment 10

It appears that we differ in our interpretations of "truly portable" and "fair." From our perspective, the iPAL offers limited portability - surely not in the same league with the lighter, less voluminous inMotions, which are themselves larger than other options.

When we think "portable," we (and we believe, average people - who by definition are not "audio geeks") think iPod, Game Boy, Palm/Pocket PC, et cetera, devices that can be tossed into a bag or pocket and used as easily away from home/office as in it. The iPAL's milk carton-like weight and volume prevent it from being something that the average person would commute with, take on a trip (except perhaps in a car), or carry around during normal daily activities. So in these senses of the words "truly portable," we see the iPAL as being far closer to a home-bound piece of audio equipment than one that people will carry around.

A few people here have mentioned that they feel that it's "portable" because they can carry it from room to room of their house. Of course, you can do the same with many small speaker sets, the Creatures included, though at some point one draws a line and says "when it's 35 pounds and I have to roll it on a wagon around the house, I'd sooner leave it in one place."

Regarding fairness, we continue to believe that it's entirely "fair" to point out where any product falls on the separate price, performance, and portability spectra, as we did above. While we understand that you would have liked us to offer greater praise for the iPAL (such as to trivialize its lack of stereo sound and proclaim it a great portable speaker option), our view is - as we stated in the review - that its size limits its portability and its single channel (though clear) audio limits its appeal. And thankfully, you don't need us to re-write our words. You can write whatever review you'd like to write of the iPAL, and we'll write ours.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on June 10, 2004 at 1:59 PM (PDT) Comment 11


enjoyed the iPAL review. found much of your commentary insightful and germane.
i certainly share your view that the iPAL has a richer, more sophisticated sound signature than the more expensive, though more svelte and functional, inMotions.
however, it is my hope that iPod enthusiasts with an appreciation for quality sound will not be discouraged by your hesitation to refer to the iPAL as "truly portable". i, personally, find it pretty easy to lug around by the hand grips or toss in my bookpack. i think many of your readers would feel likewise, especially considering the european availability(and hopefully forthcoming us availability) a of a sharp little leatherette "PAL/iPAL" case w/ 2 side pockets that appear large enough to stow the iPod, the cable and the dock.
otherwise, i feel you've represented the product quite well.

Posted by peter fillion on June 10, 2004 at 4:44 PM (PDT) Comment 12

The PAL is at least as portable, and more compact, than a CD player and a half dozen disks. Sure the PAL wont fit in you pocket (unless you're trying to impress the ladies smile ) but it is certanly portable.

The audio solution for GameBoy type of portability is called "ear buds". Portable speakers -- even the inMotion -- are meant as a listening station in the home or office... or deck or boat, or beach. To that end the PAL is most definately portable. And as far as traveling is concerned, I think my shaving kit takes up as much space in a suitcase as my PAL.

So when is the PAL not portable? I don't know. Maybe in the same circumstances when a 20oz Coke is also considered not "portable". And the Coke doesn't even have a decent speaker. smile


Posted by Eric Myers on June 11, 2004 at 4:41 AM (PDT) Comment 13

I had the PAL long before I had the ipod. I have used the PAL principally as a durable radio with decent sound quality for use outdoors while on the deck, gardening, etc.

I now use it together with ipod/itrip and find it to be a good resource for outdoor dinners with guests, with the ipod and itrip keyed into a locally vacant FM slot; just select a playlist, enjoy the evening and forget about having to deal with the music.

In this context, no one is paying close attention to sound quality, but everyone has always enjoyed the musical accompaniment.

Posted by ps on June 11, 2004 at 5:07 AM (PDT) Comment 14

I've had a PAL for over a year now... a white one. It does everything it claims to do. One thing not always mentioned is that the tuner within is a stereo one. Yes, if a broadcast is in stereo then you can hear it that way by plugging in headphones or using the PAL as a tuner in your stereo system. As it gets more FM stations then most higher priced tuners it is a bargain in that regards. T

Posted by Peter on June 11, 2004 at 5:25 AM (PDT) Comment 15

Is it hard to find a "Blank" station to use with the iTrip considering the iPal's tuner locks onto the strongest signal?

Posted by Josh on June 11, 2004 at 7:31 AM (PDT) Comment 16

Jeremy is right.
The PAL radios are not really portable compared to solutions like the inmotions or the Sony T-77s. Sure they sound a lot better if you don't need stereo separation (I use the T-77s with my laptop as well, and could do the same with the inmotions and get the stereo sound the song/DVD is mastered for), but there are compromises!
Get over it audio geek! I'm glad Jeremy has the balls to say what he believes is right and the contradictions you speak of are in your imagination.
That being said, the PAL is almost good enough to lug around. Wish it had a worldwide adapter and REGULAR batteries.

Posted by saniko on June 12, 2004 at 4:20 AM (PDT) Comment 17

are you people really such suckers for marketing?

just b/c a company says "overwhelming demand" for its product doesn't mean anything. unless you work for tivoli and know that they've sold 100,000 of these things, you're in no position to judge sales based on marketing claims.

and what is this cult of henry kloss malarkey and being in 'awe' of the pal? get over yourselves, it's just a stupid speaker, not the next coming of the lord.

Posted by roger on June 12, 2004 at 8:17 AM (PDT) Comment 18

did the lord even come the first time, or is the bible a clever marketing ploy?

i highly doubt that tivoli would delay shipping the iPAL to their customers as a "marketing ploy".

as to the "cult of henry kloss", kloss is generally acknowledged as the pioneer of the acoustic suspension speaker, a technology that remains the staple of sound reproduction, to this very day...

with any due respect, i find your commentary a pretty lame attempt at levity, and, as such. not really appropriate to this discussion of jeremy's review.


Posted by peter fillion on June 12, 2004 at 8:49 AM (PDT) Comment 19

"nor does either offer a cable specific to the iPod's line-quality Dock Connector - widely considered to be the cleanest audio signal one can draw from Apple's hardware"

did your iPAL review unit not come with an "iPod white" mini jack cable? (though, contradictorily, you mention it as included)
while the jacks are not gold-plated, and i doubt the wire is oxygen free, i feel you've misrepresented tivoli's attempt to address
the iPod dock connector's line out as an input. they've done this at no extra charge above the standard PAL's pricing.


Posted by peter fillion on June 12, 2004 at 1:00 PM (PDT) Comment 20

"But there's no getting around the facts that the iPod is a stereo device, and that by mixing its two channels of audio together, the iPAL's clean single speaker takes as much away from music as other portable accessories do by using two or four muddier speakers"

would not that same logic dictate that we must all listen to music in our homes through a 32 channel soundboard?

i, personally, feel the 2 channel mixdown would be insignificant to the average user.


Posted by peter fillion on June 12, 2004 at 1:06 PM (PDT) Comment 21

I purchased my PAL more than a year before I purchased my ipod, and have found the two to be a near perfect match. I disagree with the original review on two points; stereo separation, and comparing it to the creatures in terms of portability.

First, as has been said before, I chose the PAL over other portable choices because despite being mono rather than stereo, it provides much fuller and accurate sound than anything else in its pricerange, with a fantastic tuner to boot. For me, it is more a replacement for a small "boombox" than an ultra-portable device. I have yet to hear stereo sound from a portable device that compares to the mono sound of the PAL. Nevermind the fact that useful stereo imaging requires ideal placement of the speakers relative to the listener, not usually realistic nor a priority in a portable device. If I want great stereo sound on the go, that's what great headphones are for.
As for portability, comparing it to the creatures is just ludicrous. The creatures are intended to be installed in one place, with a/c power nearby. Yes, you can move them, but I can nearly as easily move my amplifier and full size speakers around. With the PAL, you have an all in one unit with excellent battery life that moves easily from the kitchen, to the bathroom, out to the shop, out to the deck or pool. Try doing that with the creatures.

Posted by zhenya on June 13, 2004 at 6:18 AM (PDT) Comment 22

I think people are missing the most imporant aspect of the iPAL (which is actually native to most Tivoli products) which is the amazing radio tuning capabilities.
The PAL can pick up almost any radio station because it has a special chip that eliminates the "fuzz" sound between stations. Not only is this convenient, it also makes it very easy to distinguish among close and weak stations, and to hear each with relatively good clarity.
While I don't think anyone could claim to put this in the same category as the inMotion speakers in terms of portability, neither can the sound quality be compared. For those of us who carry backpacks or other large bags when going to the park, beach, etc., this makes an excellent product for listening to music, whether from the iPod or just the radio.
I highly recommend it for anyone who prefers functionality and sound quality to an aesthetically-pleasing form.

Posted by chris on June 13, 2004 at 9:37 AM (PDT) Comment 23

I am astonished by the quality of sound that my Tivoli PAL provides as a radio or atached to my ipod. None of the other portables (I have tried many) come even close.

Posted by jagged on June 13, 2004 at 9:16 PM (PDT) Comment 24

I don't know if anyone mentioned it, but the pal's geared-down tuning knob is a real pleasure to use. Very smooth. I have a brown pal (wish they had one in tan with brown knobs though, like my model one), about a year and a half. I take it with me in my briefcase every day. It's been on windy beaches numerous times, and poolside a lot. The battery pack is probably due for replacement...charge only lasts a couple hours now. I think it is a fitting legacy to the model 8, 21, 400 etc...BTW has anyone seen the model two knockoff being sold at Target for $49? I think it is an Emerson. Did Tivoli license that? It's black and silver, no rubber feet, lighted dial, knobs feel awful...didn't get to hear it tho...

Posted by langdonauger on June 14, 2004 at 5:29 AM (PDT) Comment 25
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