Sunday, November 25, 2007

Old School Radio

My mother-in-law gave me an early Christmas present that I find very intriguing. At first, I didn't know what it was, but a closer look at the dials revealed it was an AM/FM radio. However, the style was 1960s, though it showed no signs of wear. Well, it turns out to be a bit of old and new put together.

My mother-in-law won it in a drawing at the local classical music station (KBPS: not to be confused with a PBS blab radio station) and didn't really have a use for it. The radio is a Model 1 from Tivoli Audio and Henry Kloss was a designer of the radio. Who was he? Well, you can read more by clicking his name, but he is considered one of the foremost audio designers of the 20th century.

This radio with a little 3 inch speaker has a very warm sound with crisp highs and surprisingly full lows for a system with no subwoofer and only a solitary speaker. I am quite impressed. Excellent speaker technology could account for the high frequency response, but the low frequency and slight overall reverb appear to be generated by a cylindrical port (hole) in the housing with gathers and amplifies the sound.

I hooked my computer output to the auxiliary input port of the radio, and even low quality MP3s with too much compression sound much better with the one speaker than they normally would with my stereo computer speakers.

Tivoli has stereo, clock-radio, and Sirius satellite radio models available in addition to the simple tabletop model I have. If you are not into the retro look, there are more modern stylings of each model available.

Happy listening.


The Moody Minstrel said...

21st-century mp3s getting played through a mid 20th-century audio device and getting superior sound:

I R O N I C ! ! ! ! ! !

Then again, there's a reason why a great many "real" guitar players still prefer amplifiers that rely on vacuum tubes (technology which dates from the turn of the 20th century), and some of them even continue to swear by 1950s models.

That's a neat-looking device, nostalgic and yet just plain attractive at the same time.

Dean Wormer said...

I've been thinking about using an old t.v. box with a flat screen lately. It doesn't seem like it would take to much work to install and the retro look would be cool.

Don Snabulus said...


Microelectronics have not been the boon for acoustics that had been promised. I know a few musicians with that attitude.


If you want old TV boxes, I know a guy with more than he really needs. ;)

Dave said...

Retro TV! Like, you put furntiure polish on it..

I miss my Marshall Vacuum Tube based guitar amplifier. The difference in sound between that amp and any hybrid device leaves no comparison.

DewKid said...

How about a flatscreen tv that emulates an old tube tv? It would take several minutes for the color to come in, and then when you turned it off, there would be a bright dot in the middle of the screen for about an hour. Oh, and the on/off switch would be a 6-inch metal bar in the upper right-hand corner. No remote.


DewKid said...

Oh, and it would make that noise when you turned it on:


The Moody Minstrel said...

Coming up next from the Dewkid catalog:

analog ndaus.

The Moody Minstrel said...

(They look kind of like a regular ndau only bulkier because of all those heavy, military-spec electronic components. Moreover, the eye is ASCII graphics. Some audiophiles claim the analog "ndau" sound has a warmer, smoother quality, while others swear the more modern, digital version has more acoustic resilience.)


Don Snabulus said...



Ndau eyes are watching you.

(20+ year old inside joke alert)

Don Snabulus said...


Vacuum tubes are also resistant to electro-magnetic pulse. The amplifier may be the only device running after a nuclear explosion.

No need to go acoustic after disaster strikes!

Pandabonium said...

I like it. Very clean design and wood looks great. Reminds me of the days when "Danish Modern" furniture was in vogue.

Anonymous said...

Actually, that is a very cool looking radio.

I like it!


Hiya, Bug!

Swinebread said...

Retro is in man

Dean Wormer said...

If you want old TV boxes, I know a guy with more than he really needs. ;)

Does he have a personal iron forge? Because that's what I'm really in the market for.