Tivoli Audio Model 2 Digital review

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8.8Expert Score
Style and substance

With a stunning, refined design, the Tivoli Audio Model 2 Digital looks and sounds great, though lacks broader functionality for its price.

Design
9
Performance
8.5
Pros
  • Looks fantastic
  • AirPlay 2 and Chromecast support
  • Solid audio quality
Cons
  • Not intuitive to setup
  • Bakcground noise at high volumes
  • No extra wireless features or app

My wife and kids like to tease me about how excited I get by speakers. I can understand why — I have dozens of speakers around the house, from Sonos soundbars to Google Home Mini pucks to old iPod docks.

So there was more inevitable teasing when I unboxed the Tivoli Audio Model 2 Digital. At least to the point when my wife saw it, and said, (probably involuntarily), “Oh. That’s nice”.

It is a stunningly crafted speaker. In a home dominated by the metallic grills of Sonos speakers, the Tivoli’s gorgeous wood finish stands out in the best way.

It’s not perfect, with its limited control options. But if you’re after a premium AirPlay or Bluetooth speaker to listen to your music at home, then the Tivoli Audio Model 2 Digital looks and sounds great.

The Model 2 Digital under a lamp

Design

You have to admire the retro stylings of the Model 2 Digital. You can pick up the Model 2 Digital in one of three different colour designs: walnut/gold, white/silver, and black/black. 

I tested the walnut/gold version, and it really is stunning. Tivoli’s designers have smashed the look of this speaker out of the park.

The walnut wood panelling surrounds the outside of the speaker, with a soft gold front grill that’s later cut from anodised aluminium resting over a black speaker fabric.

Measuring in at 12.3 × 25.2 × 15.8 cm and weighing 2.2 kg, it can be placed either upright or horizontally. 

The bottom right of the speaker houses the speaker’s main controls, with a single dial and button that overlays a single LED strip designed to mirror the diagonal speaker grills.

The colour of the LED indicates what mode the speaker is in. White means it’s ready to use, Green is Wi-Fi mode, Blue is Bluetooth mode and Orange is Auxiliary mode.

Around the back you get the power input, a 3.5 mm audio input jack and a USB port for servicing. It’s a shame you can’t use the USB for anything else, though.

There are also buttons for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. These are only used to put the speaker into pairing mode for those connection types.

Despite supporting both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi audio, there’s no app control or ability to balance the sound through an app. In fact, while Tivoli offers an app, it doesn’t actually work with this speaker.

Close up of the grill of the Model 2 Digital

Performance

The Tivoli Audio Model Two Digital looks great, but how does it sound? Also pretty good, funnily enough.

The speaker’s new 3/4-inch tweeter and 3.5-inch full-range driver deliver full-bodied sound across a wide range of musical tastes.

Cranking up Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue to full volume showcased a fantastic range, with the baselines clear and distortion free. 

At maximum volume, Davis’ trumpet was almost too loud to listen too, piercing through my eardrums into my brain. 

I found that at high volumes, the continual tapping on the cymbal on the album almost sounded like white noise, leaving the mid-range lacking in a way I didn’t hear with the Sonos Ace headphones.

I noticed it again in sections of music without a robust mid-range. Songs like Led Zeppelin’s Moby Dick sounded stunning at regular volume, but with the volume cranked up, there was a low background hiss over the drum solo.

But I found most music sounded full and warm, particularly compared to my usual Sonos One, and much better than my bedside Echo Pop.

Connectivity 

The Tivoli Audio Model 2 Digital works with Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and regular old Bluetooth.

But it’s not intuitive to set up. I had to consult the manual to get everything up and running to learn what each of the colours meant on the speaker, and I’m someone who never uses the manual if I can help it.

That said, the speaker can also connect through Google Home, so if you’re invested in the Google ecosystem, maybe this is the best way to go.

I also can’t find any indication you can pair two of the speakers together to create a stereo pair, either on the Tivoli website or in the manual. I only had a single speaker in any case, so couldn’t test it anyway. 

But pairing two speakers into a stereo pair is a pretty common feature, and would make sense for a Wi-Fi enabled speaker to be able to do.

top down front view of the speaker

Verdict

The Tivoli Audio Model 2 Digital is a pretty straightforward speaker, delivering iconic style and solid audio.

If that’s all you need from your speaker, then this is a solid option. For the asking price you’ll get a speaker that looks fantastic, and sounds good too.

But if you’re looking for features that are commonplace in competing speakers, like stereo pairs, multi-room audio or even just mixing the EQ through an app, the Tivoli Model 2 Digital won’t deliver.

That’s obviously by design, and there is a charm to the Model 2 Digital’s simplicity. But for the asking price, and the features you get from a similarly priced Sonos or Bose speaker, it seems like Tivoli missed an opportunity here.

Where to buy:

Product disclosure

Tivoli Audio supplied the product for this review.

Author

  • Nick Broughall

    Nick is the founder and editor of BTTR. He is an award winning product reviewer, who has spent the last 20 years writing, editing and publishing technology and consumer content for brands like Finder, Gizmodo and TechRadar.

    View all posts
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