Tivoli Adds Stereo Bluetooth, First Headphone


New York -

Tivoli Audio

is launching its first pair of headphones and its first two tabletop radios with stereo Bluetooth.

The company also unveiled its first Bluetooth receiver, which adds stereo Bluetooth streaming to its existing tabletop radios and to any other audio device with an aux input.

To bring a curated selection of 100 Internet radio stations to Bluetooth-equipped products, the company developed its first Internet radio app for Apple and Android mobile devices.

Tivoli has no plans for Apple's Wi-Fi-based AirPlay because Bluetooth is simpler to use, and Bluetooth can be used in portable products away from a home Wi-Fi network, said Tivoli CEO Tom DeVesto here at a press conference.

Tivoli plans more Bluetooth-equipped radios in the future. In fact, DeVesto said he wouldn't be surprised if "all products" from Tivoli have Bluetooth in the "very near future."

As part of its Bluetooth debut, Tivoli is launching Bluetooth-equipped versions of its existing PAL portable AM/FM radio with rechargeable battery and its existing Model One AM/FM tabletop radio. The radios will continue to be available without Bluetooth as well.


The new Bluetooth-equipped radios are the portable AC/DC PAL BT Radio at a suggested $299 and the $259 Model One BT table radio. Both ship in July. The versions without Bluetooth are priced at $219 and $149, respectively.

The Model One BT is available in a variety of wood finishes, and the PAL BT Radio is available in multiple colors. The Model One BT, like its non-Bluetooth cousin, is a 4.5-inch by 8.37-inch by 5.25-inch mono radio that accepts an optional matching outboard speaker to deliver stereo.

The Bluetooth receiver is the $149 BluCon, a 1.1- 2.91- 2.8-inch receiver that is also available in a variety of finishes, including wood finishes. It ships in late summer at a suggested $149.

All of the Bluetooth products feature Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, stereo A2DP profile, PIN-less pairing and minimum 30-foot Bluetooth range. Range can extend up to 75 feet. All models store the IDs of eight different Bluetooth devices in memory, though only one Bluetooth device at a time streams to the Tivoli products.

The company's first stereo headphone pair lacks Bluetooth but features active noise cancellation. The $159-suggested over-ear Radio Silenz comes with solid-wood ear cups to tap the "acoustic advantages of natural woods" to deliver more natural sound, said DeVesto. The headphones ship in June.

Each padded ear cup features a 40mm driver and ability to rotate 90 degrees and up for storage in an included travel pouch. Active noise cancellation lasts for up to 50 hours on one AAA battery. A defeat button temporarily switches off noise cancellation, fades the audio, and amplifies voices to hear conversations or announcements over a plane's PA system.

The headphones come with gold-plated 3.5mm right-angle stereo plug, airplane adapter, and wired control unit with volume control and pocket clip.

Tivoli does not plan to offer a line of headphones, choosing instead to focus on one model that "looks different and sounds good," DeVesto said.

As for the company's first Internet radio app, the Apple version is already available for free, and the free Android app is due in a couple weeks. Devices loaded with the app can stream the audio content of 100 Tivoli-selected stations via Bluetooth to any playback device equipped with stereo Bluetooth.

The app's interface adopts the design of the company's Model One table radio and provides users with a curated selection of 10 genres, each with 10 radio stations from around the world chosen based mainly on the Internet radio stations most often played by consumers on the company's tabletop Internet radios. The stations were also selected based on content, reliability of signal and streaming quality, said DeVesto. The stations accessed by the app could change over time, he noted.

In other comments made during a question-and-answer session, the CEO noted that Tivoli generates 65 percent of its revenues outside the U.S. because "the dealer networks that used to exist" in the U.S. to explain quality audio products are "pretty much gone." The Tivoli company once generated a "huge" amount of business through Tweeter, which is out of business, he said. Tivoli also sold through Circuit City, which is also out of business. The audio company tried sales in Best Buy stores through kiosks that displayed Tivoli products, but salespeople weren't around to talk them up, he said.

In the U.S., Tivoli sells through some A/V specialty stores as well as through The Conran Shop, which sells furniture, lighting and accessories. Tivoli also sells through Room and Board, which also specializes in furniture and accessories. Authorized online retailers include Amazon and Crutchfield.

Tivoli also sells its products on its web site and in one company-owned store opened outside Boston about 1.5 years ago. Tivoli delayed the opening of additional company-owned stores because of the economy but is considering a store in New York City, London, or both, DeVesto said.

In Europe, although specialty A/V stores are also going by the wayside, Tivoli has been able to open up distribution there to the many independent design outlets and high-end furniture stores, DeVesto said. "In the past year, we fortified our presence in Europe" and opened up a headquarters and warehouse in The Netherlands to serve the continent, he said.


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