Tivoli Audio SongBooks Are Modernist Bluetooth Boomboxes
Released nearly two decades ago and well ahead of the era of streaming, the original Tivoli Audio SongBook was a portable 1.75lbs AM/FM radio outfitted with a lone speaker and telescoping antenna – a compact travel radio reflective of a different time and listening habits. Tivoli has recently revived the SongBook with the announcement of not just one new speaker, but two Bluetooth sound systems featuring the melodious moniker, each designed to evoke the stylings of the past while delivering the music streaming features expected of today.
Designer and CEO of Tivoli Audio, Paul DePasquale says the new SongBook was inspired by industrial designs from the 1970s and 1990s – everything from kitchen appliances, consumer electronics, and of course, home audio. And it shows, with a simple approach to listening.
“I wanted the product to feel like something I would have loved to have growing up in the 90s,” DePasquale explains. “Adding the analog approach to the equalizer, power functions, and sources brought to life a familiar joy in user experience, which is simple and fun.”
The resulting “newly evolved” SongBook’s aesthetic is indeed a tactile reinterpretation of the original radio, and one strongly evocative of the most beloved and nostalgic audio designs: the radio boombox.
Available now in two sizes, the first SongBook weighs 6.7lbs and measures 12″ x 9″ x 5″ – roughly the size of the boombox stereo some of us remember from our analog youth. Instead of popping in cassette tapes or CDs, the retro-styled speaker now connects to sources both wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, and Chromecast, or directly using a 1⁄4”/ 6.35mm auxiliary input.
You won’t ever have to worry about changing out enormous D size batteries to power this portable speaker as it’s equipped with an internal fast charging battery that ekes up to 10 hours of battery life per charge.
Tivoli also offers a second SongBook MAX, a larger iteration equipped with a beefier 4″ subwoofer for the bump in the trunk low end, 4″ midrange driver, small .75″ tweeter positioned in the center, and two 50-watt amps. Weighing 11.5lbs and measuring 15″ x 11″ x 6″, the MAX edition is more to lug around, but offers a bigger sound with its size. There’s also an FM radio tuner if you like to “stream” music the old fashioned way, with the option to program up to 5 station presets.