Category Archives: WiFi Radio

The new Tivoli Model One Digital has AM (for Australians only)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares the following article from The Sydney Morning Herald (my comments follow):

Australians like AM radio, but it’s just about impossible to find a good quality digital radio with AM. Lots of digitals get FM, so why no AM?

It’s because Australia is an unusual market for radios. We’re not like Asia, Europe, Japan and America where practically all radios are designed and manufactured. These places have large populations in high densities, and one population hub is seldom far from the next. The range limitations of both digital and FM are seldom an issue.

But in Australia we have digital broadcasting only in the capital cities, meaning Brisbane’s digital radio stations are 900 kilometres from the next nearest in Sydney, leaving about 800 kilometres of dead air between. Digital can’t even hold between Sydney and Canberra. FM lasts a bit longer, not much. But with good old AM you can listen to Darwin from the Nullarbor Plain when the conditions are right. Through vast tracts of Australia if you don’t have AM you don’t have radio.

So Gary Tye’s challenge when he took on distribution of the Tivoli brand was to convince people in Boston that Australians will actively seek out and buy a digital radio with AM. They took a lot of convincing.

And so the $449 Tivoli Model One Digital is now available with AM, as well as FM and digital. But only in Australia. Caravanners around this wide brown land will rejoice; there’s at last a good sounding digital radio that will work anywhere.

[…]The sound quality is, as a very honest department store salesman observed, good but not great. I remember the original as being better. The bass can become ragged down low and the definition gets a bit fuzzy at high volumes, but for filling a study, a kitchen or indeed a caravan with good music the Tivoli does an entirely respectable job. It’s not on a par with a Wave Radio but it costs half as much and sounds better than the vast bulk of radios, be they digital or analogue. And it has AM.

It also has Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Wi-Fi to get internet radio. There’s Bluetooth and you can hook in your phone or music player with a cable to the 3.5 mm auxiliary input.

Click here to read the full article at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Thanks for the tip, Dennis!

I owned the original Tivoli Model One and loved it. I recently gave it away while thinning the herd here at SWLing Post HQ. Though it was an elegant, simple radio with excellent audio characteristics, so is my Como Audio Solo which essentially replaced the Model One.

While the Model One Digital is appealing in many respects, reviews are lukewarm at best. Customers complain about the proprietary app, the audio being too heavy on processed bass and the overall performance not matching that of its predecessor.

While the Model One Digital is a “WiFi” radio, it doesn’t seem to connect to any of the streaming radio station aggregators we radio enthusiasts rely on to tune to our favorite obscure local stations on the other side of the planet. It appears to only connect to paid music streaming services and one’s own local digital library (though please correct me if I’m wrong about this!).

Post readers: Any Tivoli Model One Digital owners out there?  I’d love to read your reviews!

Ivan reviews the Sangean WRF-28 WiFi radio

The Sangean WFR-28 WiFi Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan (NO2CW), who writes:

Hello, I posted on YouTube my review of the Sangean WFR-28 FM and Wifi Internet radio receiver.

In particular I was able to sideload my directory of English Language broadcast stations from over 100 countries using their “Favorites” menu. It now sounds like the good old days of shortwave …almost. I can listen to the morning traffic report in Singapore, local news from Guam, afternoon talk show from Gibraltar and a nighttime DJ from Uganda – all in English.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thank you for sharing this in-depth review, Ivan!

I’m still very pleased with the WFR-28 which I reviewed many months ago. For now, I believe the WFR-28 is the best value in WiFi radios (currently $115 on Amazon–affiliate link).

Of course, a number of personal assistant device like the Amazon Echo also stream radio via the TuneIn Radio aggregator, but since these devices rely on voice commands, some stations can be difficult to call up. I still prefer a proper WiFi radio/Internet appliance like the Sangean WFR-28 or Como Audio Solo.

Thanks again, Ivan!

The 8th Edition of the Worldwide Listening Guide

I’m very pleased to have received the 8th edition of John Figliozzi’s Worldwide Listening Guide (WWLG), the latest, most updated version of the excellent guide I’ve often reviewed.

SWLing Post readers know that I’m a huge fan of the Word Radio TV Handbook (WRTH); it’s my go-to guide for radio frequencies and schedules.

Figliozzi’s Worldwide Listening Guide is my go-to for programming and content, not only helpful on the shortwaves, but especially handy when tracking online content.

Indeed, the WWLG is a unique guide–there’s nothing quite like it on the market. As I’ve said, you may want a copy of the WWLG in your shack, especially alongside your computer or Wi-Fi radio.

WWLG: The Content DXers Guide

Like many SWLs, I’m something of a “Content DXer:” I love chasing obscure programming––news, documentaries, music, and variety shows, anything the broadcasting world has to offer.  For this, I often turn to Wi-Fi radio.  Wi-Fi radio offers the discerning listener the ability to track down fascinating regional content from every corner of the globe––content never actually intended for an international audience.

Digging into local content via a WiFi radio isn’t nearly as challenging or fun (for me, at least) as scanning the shortwave bands in search of elusive weak signal DX or pop-up pirate radio station. Though my WiFi radio offers an easy and reliable way to “tune” to online content, the actual content discovery part is quite difficult.

Truth is, there’s so much content out there–tens of thousands of stations and shows–it’s hard to know where to start!

This is where the WWLG comes in: Figliozzi exhaustively curates more than 4,000 programs (!), indexing their airing times, stations, days of broadcast, program types, frequencies, and web addresses. Additionally, he sorts the programs by genre:  arts, culture, history, music, sports, and more. And Figliozzi also includes a well-thought-out directory of at least forty genres.   In short, this directory has helped me not just locate, but identify, programming I would never have known about otherwise.

Frankly, I’m not sure how Figliozzi manages to curate such a vast assortment of programming.  But I’m happy that he does, and especially, that he offers it for the SWL’s benefit––!

As I’ve said many time before, the WWLG  has become a permanent reference book in my shack, alongside my trusty WRTH. There’s a surprising amount of information packed into this slim, spiral-bound book…enough to keep even a seasoned content DXer happy for years.

The 8th edition of Worldwide Listening Guide can be purchased here:

The Como Audio Amico and Musica via Kickstarter

The Como Audio Amico

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Ally, who writes:

Saw this and wanted you to know about it since you mentioned loving his past Kickstarter [for the Solo WiFi radio].

I backed the Musica model instead of the Amico since it still has 18 days left and it had a CD player in it but thought you would like the portable Amico

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/819585793/como-audio-amico-portable-multi-room-wifi-music-sy

Thanks for the tip, Tom!

If I didn’t already own the Como Audio Solo, I would grab the Amico. It appears to be nearly identical to the Solo–save, in a vertical orientation–and includes an internal rechargeable battery option.

Here’s a full list of its specifications and features:

  • Multi-room: play different sources in every room or sync them all together
  • Internet radio accessing 30,000+ stations
  • Spotify
  • Bluetooth with aptX
  • High performance FM Tuner 
  • DAB+ (International version only)  DAB+ upgrade and VAT is included in shipping cost
  • NFC Android Bluetooth connection
  • DLNA WIFI Music player allowing easy navigation and playback through a USB or network-shared library of music files including AAC+, MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC
  • High-Res inputs: 1 analog and 1 USB
  • Dual alarm clock functionality
  • Snooze function
  • Sleep Timer
  • 2 X 30 watt RMS amplifier, <1% THD
  • 3″ woofer with four layer voice coil
  • 3/4″ dome tweeter
  • Independent Remote Control
  • Universal Switching Power Supply 110-240V

I continue to be very pleased with my Como Audio Solo–it pretty much lives in my radio shack and I use it daily to catch up on my favorite news and music sources. I distribute the Solo’s audio throughout the house with my SSTRAN AMT3000 AM transmitter–admittedly, an old school version of Como’s “multi-room audio sync”–!

When I need a battery-powered portable WiFi radio these days, I read for my Sangean WFR-28–thus, the Amico would be a pretty pricey impulse purchase for me at this point!

The Como Audio Musica

I find it fascinating Como has also introduced the Musica model which includes a CD player–somewhat of a unique feature in 2017.

Here are the Musica specifications and features:

  • Multi-Room: play different sources in every room or sync them all together
  • Internet radio accessing 30,000+ stations
  • Integrated music streaming services: Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Napster, Amazon Music* (*Available Winter 2017)
  • On-board single slot-loading CD player engineered to meet stringent car audio standards
  • Supported CD formats: CD, CD-R, CD-RW/MP3/WMA
  • Bluetooth with aptX & AAC
  • High performance FM Tuner
  • DAB+ (International version only) – DAB+ upgrade and VAT is included in shipping cost
  • NFC Android Bluetooth connection
  • DLNA WIFI Music player allowing easy navigation and playback through a USB or network-shared library of music files including AAC+, MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC
  • Ethernet connection
  • High-Res inputs: 2 analog, 1 optical
  • Dual alarm clock functionality
  • Snooze function
  • Sleep Timer
  • 2 X 30 watt RMS amplifier, <1% THD
  • 2 X 3″ woofer with four layer voice coil
  • 2 X 3/4″ dome tweeter
  • Independent Remote Control
  • Universal Switching Power Supply 110-240V
  • Dimensions: 405 mm W x 143 mm H x 165.5mm D (including antenna)
  • Weight: 9.3 lbs, 4.21 kg

I still have (quite literally) hundreds of CDs. While many have been converted to AAC and MP3 formats, there’s still something to be said for CD audio fidelity and enjoying a proper album format.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a Como Audio device, you might consider the new Amico and Musica via Como’s Kickstarter campaign.

Grace Digital Mondo+ Kickstarter

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Ally, who writes:

I remember that article you wrote about Wi-fi radios and just saw this Kickstarter on Facebook that may interest you:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1209003580/mondo

[T]hey are saying it is supposed to ship out sometime next month. [S]ome of the things it has –over the old Mondo–is Bluetooth 4.1 and Chromecast built in.

Thank you, Tom! Here’s the product description from Kickstarter:

The home audio market is evolving, and Grace Digital is leading the way. We combined the latest Wi-Fi audio streaming technologies from Google, added Bluetooth audio streaming, and over 30,000 AM/FM/HD radio stations from around the corner to across the globe. The Grace Mondo+ can even be controlled by the Google Assistant on devices like Google Home, the front panel controls, free smartphone apps, or the included remote control. We wrapped the technology in a beautifully crafted cabinet, and drive the audio with custom made speaker drivers and high performance class D digital amplification, ensuring the best possible listening experience in a perfectly compact design. We hope you love the Mondo+ as much as we do!

This is an “all or nothing” campaign, meaning it’ll have to be fully funded for the production run to become reality.

As a Kickstarter supporter, the pricing is in line with the Grace Digital Mondo (we reviewed last year).

I am still quite happy with my Como Audio Solo, so will not plan to back the Mondo+ at this time. If I was interested, I would splurge for the $174 Early Bird package which includes a Lithium Ion battery pack. Shipping could be as early as April 2017.

Check out full details and a video on Kickstarter.

Thanks, Tom, for the tip! I would certainly welcome a review of the Mondo+ from any Kickstarter backers!