Price (RRP): $1,199
Manufacturer: Tivoli Audio
Stylish, and surprisingly smart, the Tivoli Audio Music System Home is a sort-of-retro-but-not-really all-in-one music system for the home.
Tivoli Audio Music System Home features
The Tivoli Audio Music System Home is kind of unique. It packs a stereo amplifier and stereo speakers into a box that’s 410mm wide, 221mm tall and 165mm deep. In there also is CD player, a network music player, a Bluetooth receiver and a full radio receiver.
Let me pause on that full radio receiver for a moment: it has DAB+, FM and AM. It is extremely rare to see AM included in a device that also offers DAB+.
The body is supported by four angled aluminium legs. It’s available in a walnut, black or white. The review unit was walnut, which meant it had a wraparound walnut veneer (or is it full timber? I couldn’t be sure) on the sides, top, bottom and back. At the back is an Ethernet connection, a 3.5mm analogue audio input and a 3.5mm line output. There is not an optical digital audio input, so the most natural way of connecting a modern TV is missing. There’s a connection there also for the included AM antenna and another for the pre-attached telescopic antenna for the DAB+ and FM tuners. You can undo that one and connect a cable for an outside antenna.
And, of course, since it’s 2019 the unit supports Bluetooth. It also supports network audio, but not Apple Airplay.
The four short legs upon which the unit rests aren’t pre-installed. They have a kind of spring-loaded catch to hold them in place. Jamming them in far enough for this to grab took a bit of effort.
I put off setting up the Wi-Fi network for a while and just plugged in Ethernet. But later when I was trying to explore the Alexa compatibility, I could find no settings in the app to get it going so figured I’d better see if it worked with a Wi-Fi connection.
The documentation says that to setup Wi-Fi and to set up Alexa you have to install the “Tivoli Audio Wireless App” on your iOS or Android device. I went to the app store. There is no “Tivoli Audio Wireless App”. Nor is there one in the Play Store.
But there was in both stores a “Tivoli Audio ART App” and a “Tivoli Remote”. Which one? The latter’s details were clear about which models it worked with, and the Tivoli Audio Music System Home wasn’t among them. So, the ART app it was. A little reluctantly. In the App Store it has a rating of just one star out of five. In the Play Store it gets a mediocre 2.5 stars.
Still, you do what you have to do.
Setting up Wi-Fi on the Tivoli Audio Music System Home
Setting up Wi-Fi used the common method of connecting to a temporary Wi-Fi access point established by the Tivoli Audio Music System Home. Then you tell it which access point you want it to use (2.4GHz only) and feed it the network password. That worked well. When I returned to the ART app, it said that a new firmware was available. Did I want to update it? Yes, but it still took a little digging around in the app menu to find the place to do it. The upgrade took about ten minutes, principally due to a fairly slow download.
Which raises the question: why wasn’t the upgrade offered when I was using the wired network connection?
Then it was time to set up a Zone. Tivoli Audio wireless stuff can be operated in zones. This zone consisted of one speaker. The app gave a mini tutorial and suggested I select a music source. And there was the setup function for Alexa. This required activation.
When activated, “Party Mode” doesn’t work. That’s a mode where you have multiple Tivoli speakers. Party Mode takes over them all so that they play the same music, regardless of zone settings.
Activating Alexa turned out to involve downloading and installing another firmware update. This one seemed to take longer.