Tivoli Audio iPAL AM/FM Radio | iLounge

Reviews

41

Tivoli employees (audioengineer, peter, etc.)

Please quit clogging up this great site with anonymous marketing messages and crazy defenses of this product. The Tivoli radio seems like a nice product but it is hardly portable, stereo, or even a product that has any but the most remote association with iPods. I think Jeremy went out of his way to give a more than fair review of a product that probably should not even have been reviewed here to begin with. And for Tivoli employees to clog up this message board this way is simply unacceptable.

iPod Guy

Posted by iPod Guy on June 15, 2004 at 4:48 PM (PDT)

42

^Word ^Word (read with one eye closed then the other, to simulate reading in 3D stero separation)

Posted by ilcaffedio on June 15, 2004 at 6:49 PM (PDT)

43

My Sony TV set in my dorm room has two little speakers built in and an image widening mode for the stereo sound. Even though the speakers are only 9 or 10 inches apart, the wide separation is easily heard when sitting across the room 10 feet away. When the TV show is only mono, the effect disappears. When the TV show has stereo, the sound is spread in a pattern much wider than the TV set itself. I'm sure there must be similar ways to spread out the sound for small music speakers. Even my tiny computer speakers make a very big stereo image and they are only a couple feet apart which doesn't disappear when I move far away from my desk. I hate listening to mono. I can't imagine why anyone would prefer to.

Posted by TomMcKinnon on June 16, 2004 at 4:03 AM (PDT)

44

Jeremy,
Thanks for the post. I'll bet you never in your wildest dreams thought there would be this much controversy over a review. I think it's safe to say that the iPAL will not be for everybody. It's nice to know that there is one more choice of items to pick when looking at iPod accessories. As you can see, there are many different opinions on the whole stereo vs. mono thing. I for one don't mind a single speaker as long as it sounds good. I don't have the PAL but I do own it's bigger brother the Model 1. And while it's not a full blown stereo system I knew that going in. I do have a very nice Stereo/Home Theater system for when I can sit down for a while. This brings up another topic. I'm sure people will disagree but I feel that unless you are centered between the speakers "in the sweet spot" you won't get the full benefit of the stereo recording. Using this theory, it doesn't matter much if say you are moving about in the back yard. Like I said earlier, this product won't be for everybody.

You know what would be cool though? If the "10 - 16 hour battery" could be utilized by the iPod. Even if it extended the iPod battery an hour or so. That coupled with a line out from the dock connector would be a nice touch.

Posted by Tom on June 17, 2004 at 8:51 AM (PDT)

45

lol what does this have to do with the ipod? just the name? there are tons of portable speakers out there.

Posted by spirit on June 18, 2004 at 1:05 PM (PDT)

46

The ipal is nice, but I'm looking for a sports boombox that I can take to the beach and plug in my ipod and play songs. The only ones I have found are either very large boomboxes (e.g. Sony's large boombox), or construction site boomboxes with an input. They are either too large or not a sports model made to be more durable. Anybody know of a good sports boombox that is ipod compatible?

Posted by Roger Dunham on June 24, 2004 at 8:10 AM (PDT)

47

I was wary of buying a mono speaker, but then I listened to it.

The pal's sound is in an entirely different league than InMotion or the Creative portable speakers. The sound is far richer, warmer, and more musical. (Then again, if I leave my Sony monitor headphones sitting on my desk, they sound better than the InMotion speakers--I really liked the design but was very disappointed in the sound.)

As for portability, I bought the iPal as a portable speaker. I take it all over with me--kitchen, bathroom, living room, outside, etc. It's coming to Asia with me next week. Obviously it's not as portable as headphones, but who commutes with a loudspeaker on a daily basis? The pal is designed to give great sound in a fairly small package, and it does.

Even my wife loves it--she got over the fact it cost $130 within seconds of me turning it on.

Basically, if you're looking for portable speakers, I think it's by far the best. As for mono v. stereo, just listen, compare it to the other options, and decide. In my opinion, it's not much of a contest.

PS: In any reasonable world, how could the fact that it predates the ipod be a reason not to buy it? It's not like Altec didn't target the ipod market when it designed the inmotion--this criticism seems totally irrelevant.

Posted by Adam on June 28, 2004 at 12:43 PM (PDT)

48

As far as portability goes, the PAL is smaller than the smallest boombox, and sounds a hell of a lot better. The NiMH battery is great--lasts long and is replaced cheaply. No more buying C batteries.

I connect the iPod to the PAL with a sik, and I also use the PAL for my laptop. The thing sounds great. I agree that its sound is of an entirely different nature than the sound of crappy portable speakers like the inMotions. There are more situations that call for something like the PAL than for the inMotions, which seem to be only good for certain kinds of travel.

Posted by Questioner on June 28, 2004 at 6:57 PM (PDT)

49

If I could make one small criticism: the PAL needs a position on the switch for the aux input. As it stands, one must unplug the aux device to listen to the radio.

Posted by Questioner on June 28, 2004 at 6:58 PM (PDT)

50

Ehm.... is it possible to create a stereo system, by connecting two ipals together with a modified stereo cable?

Posted by Iceberry on August 20, 2004 at 4:29 PM (PDT)

51

iceberry,
i'm sure it would be possible, though rather expensive, and certainly less "portable".
however, if the system you are envisioning is intended for home use only, you would do very well to check out tivoli's "model two" (a 2-piece stereo version of their acclaimed "model one", the non-portable precurser to the PAL and iPAL)
by adding the "model subwoofer", you'd have spent about the same amount as 2 iPALs + cable, but you'd have a truly killer mini-system for externalizing your digital music collection.

Posted by peter fillion on August 21, 2004 at 7:26 AM (PDT)

52

For those that appreciate good sound...it's a no-brainer...get the iPal. Also, both are portable, I can't think of a situation where the inmotion speakers would be any less (or more) easy to transport. In both cases, it's a slight inconvenience ('cuz, hey, you can't just clip it on your beltloop!). The quality of sound and AM/FM tuner of the iPal makes it the hands down winner over the inmotion. Don't fret the 2 speakers of the inmotion speakers, it's not necessary since their so close together. The 1 speaker of the iPal does the job and more for a mobile speaker. Listen to them both, and I think you'll agree!

Posted by Drew on September 12, 2004 at 11:07 PM (PDT)

53

I've got a PAL (pre-white), and it is the _perfect_ listening solution for certain conditions:

Outdoors, such as on my terrace on in my back yard, where you'd never hear stereo separation without having two speakers far apart;

In my basement, when excercising, where the terrible sound of the basement/garage would kill any stereo, and where the oomph of the PAL is exactly what I need.

While I wouldn't choose it as a primary speaker for my iPod for home or office listening - I plug mine into a stereo with "real" speakers, the PAL is truly the ideal device for specific situations. Many of the comments, and the review, try and make it out as good or bad for _all_ situations; this is simply not germane to a review of such a device.

Posted by Kirk McElhearn on September 16, 2004 at 11:12 PM (PDT)

54

Hi...
I gonna change the subject a little !!
Question is...I own the inmotions....
i am not happy with the quality or volume of sound these give (even for portables) !!
No bass..too much top end..and can only be listened to at a low volume !
Now i am looking for better products !!
I am very tempted to buy the bose sound dock ...but i have NOT heard these yet...
ipal looks like a decent choice too...
could some1 please let me know what is the BEST and LOUDEST prtables out ther to buy...no expense spared ??
Cheers
Chris

Posted by Chris Barlow on October 30, 2004 at 5:37 AM (PDT)

55

I just received my iPAL today and I noticed that both AM/FM or while using the auxiliary input, I hear a faint background noise that remains constant even as the volume increases/decreases. Is this normal or do I have a defective unit?

Thanks,
Michael

Posted by BacMan on December 16, 2004 at 2:59 AM (PDT)

56

Not wishing to repeat my posting in the IM3 review (but I'm going to anyway !) ...

I tested the IMs, IM3s, JBL OnTour and finally settled on the iPAL.

There is no argument here really ... if you don't mind tinny sound and want portability, go for the IM3s (unless, you have an iPod Photo like me, which doesn't fit into the IM3's dock). The IM3s are the best of a disappointing bunch of 'portable speakers'. Yep, they are portable, but at the expense of sound quality. They may also technically be stereo speakers, but if their sound is poor it doesn't matter.

In comes the iPAL - ok, not quite as portable, but I bought it with the bespoke iPAL leather case, with 'pockets' for both iPod and headphones/3.5mm cable / iTrip. I upgraded the interconnect to a Kimber Cable and the sound is stunning from such a 'small' unit. Ditch the i/c and opt for the iTrip and tune in the brilliant FM tuner, and you effectively have a remote control (your iPod) with a display!

The mono sound from the iPAL is far, far better than the IM3s / JBL solutions, fact. Good, rich mono will always sound better than poor stereo in this 'portable' arena. Look at the UK success of Roberts radios ... As an amateur hifi buff, I was advised to go for good quality speaker cable rather than 'bi-wire' with cheap cable. The advice was good, as the sound was noticeably better than my cheaper bi-wired cable. And in much the same way here, with a portable speaker system, mono can sound better than stereo.

The only drawbacks are the slight extra size (but the convenience of a case that stores all the gear cannot be underestimated) and the lack of AA type battery support (although the internal rechargeable battery is ideal for me).

If sound quality is more important than size, buy the iPAL. If you need something small, then from my simple sound tests, the IM3s were the best. Unless you have an iPod Photo ... then maybe you should try the JBL Ontour.

Whatever, if you buy the i/PAL, you certainly won't be disappointed by the sound.

Dave

Posted by Dave Chadderton in Lincs, UK on December 23, 2004 at 2:23 PM (PDT)

57

Just to add another user opinion to the fray, I purchased a PAL several days ago, and technical issues aside, the fact that it uses a monaural speaker seems entirely negligable, especially in light of the beautiful quality on both the bass and treble end of things. The size of the speaker, when seen and held in person, also seems entirely portable to me. I can comfortably carry it in one hand, or even between thumb and forefinger if I really wanted to, without any discomfort or danger of dropping it. The only thing I would keep in mind is volume concerns, as there is some heavy distortion at the highest volumes. Granted, however, that the highest volumes are ridiculously high for what one would expect from this sort of speaker, and one could still expect to fill a quiet room very loudly without any loss in quality, or even provide fairly well-audible sound for a chatty courtyard within, say, 15 feet before reaching the threshold of distortion.

Posted by Nick L. on February 7, 2005 at 2:40 PM (PDT)

58

I found it to be both good and bad. Having read so many notes I listen to most of the Tivoli line last week. My criterior is sound first and size and mobility a distant second. That said I didn't feel the two channel model two offered much advantage. And in the store felt the pal was a good value compared to most offering from imotion, jbl and bose that I heard. Yet once at home with the ability to raise volume past half way was significant distortion and a real let down. And have since returned it. I have since heard a monitor used in recordind industry that was perfect for anyone looking for sound quality. Both Roland and Edirol makers of recording equip co market a series of power speakers from 7 to 20 watts. I bought the 10w pair from a local store for under $ 130 and the sound is exceptional. Hands down superior to Tivoli, jbl, bose and imotion.

Posted by JClampet in No. Jersey on March 7, 2005 at 10:18 AM (PDT)

59

I have a few Tivoli products and the PAL is great, with or without the use of my iPod.
Sound is fantastic! FM/AM radio of excellent quality in all aspects. Love the fact it is weather resistant makes for worry-free use at the beach, pool, etc. Comes in many different colours. Simple to use. And when I'm not using the PAL with the Ipod or the beach, etc. It's small size (relatively) and weather resistance, and internal battery, and FM/AM reciever makes for an excellent radio in the bathroom for when i want to get the morning news while getting ready. Plus, in the guestroom make a simple radio for all to enjoy and requires no instruction to use.
So, for all it uses, quality and sound I find the PAL an excellent addition, and not just for the use of an iPod only.

P.S. Tivoli now offers the iSongbook for the use of the iPod and offers stereo. have a look at the Tivoli website.

Posted by Evileye on August 9, 2005 at 10:57 AM (PDT)

60

Whoa! We certainly have lots of Tivoli users just looking at this thread. But when did Tivoli increase the prices to $149.99? That's more than 10% price hike. The ipod phenomenon does significantly impact supply and demand of thousands of accessory and electronic companies that support this little beauty. While most speakers out there show a trend of prices actually decreasing while newer and better speakers come out in months time, Tivoli went the opposite direction and increased their prices. I guess they must be loving their revenue and they know consumers will still purchase despite the additional $20 hike. I must be a sucker because I did just purchase mine for $149.99. Can you at least throw me the mini stereo cable for that price? Everyone should get a stereo cable regardless of the PAL color they choose since a good percentage of us will be connecting this with another player. I got the pink PAL.

Posted by cocktailchick on October 9, 2005 at 11:03 AM (PDT)

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