• An absolute retro galore in looks and experience
  • Comes in funky colours for you to choose from
  • AUX In and Headphone Jack port makes it a versatile speaker
  • The whole construction from the ground up and overalls, feel good
  • Portable for you to bring it anywhere and rechargable


  • The price tag will make you think twice
  • The DC port charging will bring the part to a halt if the battery is finished

Tivoli Audio entering the Malaysian market does give consumers the option to go for other brands and even pick a speaker that fits their tastes and needs. That said, for over a month, we have been working on the Tivoli Audio PAL BT Review. While it is a straightforward product to review, this will be rather insightful content in more ways than one, I hope.

Tivoli Audio PAL BT Review

Design: The “Retro” Experience

The Tivoli Audio PAL BT is a compact speaker with a design that’s reminiscent of the past and works well for today’s digital age. We received the all-black finish PAL BT which is pretty clean and reminds me of the Multimedia Speakers we used to have on PCs back in the early 2000s. You do have other colours to choose from, totalling 7 options to choose from. The entire speaker is constructed out of a hard polycarbonate shell and is weather-resistant (Rated at IPX4) – so, it can handle some splashes.

On the front, it sure does have a captivating design with these dials, a knob and a metallic grill where the driver is hidden. The dial on the left acts as a mode switch from FM/AM/Bluetooth and the right is the volume control. On the top, you have the FM/AM Tuner dial which has all the frequency numbers on it, which does take you back to a time when these types of radios were the jam.

The dials are solid and robust which is what I’d expect from a quality speaker like such. Most users opting in for the Tivoli Audio PAL BT would be signing up solely for the looks – tuck it away in a bookshelf or at a minimalistic café type of setup and it belongs there, perfectly well. Since it is small and portable, you can carry it around anywhere you want. There are ridges for the speaker so you can hold the speaker without it slipping away.

Input and Connectivity is Pretty Neat

On the back is where the Tivoli Audio PAL BT you’ll find all the connectivity and inputs, starting with the Antenna – which folds inwards and can be extended. Then, you see a bunch of silicon plugs that cover the ports on the back are the DC IN (9V/2A) port to charge the speaker, AUX In and Headphones Out.

We have seen far too many Bluetooth speakers and some big enough to have ports but lack them. This is a decent speaker input – with AUX In, you can pair it to other audio devices and with the Headphone jack, you could either listen to the radio through your headphones (weird I know), with the help of the Bluetooth connection, you could practically use the headphone jack to listen to music or connect it to a much bigger system and the PAL BT as a receiver of sorts.

Funny enough, I did try all of it and it works so well that I can see this being an interesting device for music to bring around. Well, probably not to listen to FM via my headphones, although sitting by the beach to do it does sound nice.

The ports are covered with white silicon plugs, which are a lot flimsy, and I can see them breaking away in a short course of time. So, just make sure to handle it with care. It would have been nice to colour-code the silicon closures with the same colour as the speaker and use a much better silicon plug.

As for connectivity, you are looking at a speaker that connects via Bluetooth v5.0 and supports the basic SBC and AAC codecs – which is sufficient for such a speaker.


Truth be told, the PAL BT feels like the barebones of a speaker with only two simple ideas in mind – keeping most of the experience analogue with legacy ports and being that trusty speaker that you don’t have to fiddle or crack your head over. Before I talk about this, let’s get the listening experience out of the way.

The Tivoli Audio PAL BT isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind because it’s a mono speaker, expect to lose some level of detail in every song. But that is out of the way, I do like how it sounds with my music played via Bluetooth – it can get loud with very minimal distortion at its peak volume.

We tried Broken Whisky Glass by Post Malone – the initial part of the song with no background music does translate well albeit has a bit of a narrow sound stage. At the 1:40 mark with the bass kicking in, you will realize that Bass isn’t its strongest suit. It’s present but less pleasant and translates to a more trebly response. The overall listening to this song felt average at best with lacklustre moments which is expected for such a configuration.

Moving on to a pop-rock style song, we listened to Haim’s Los Angeles from Women in Music Pt III. Honestly, this is the type of music this speaker excels in – priority on the vocals, followed by the drums and the “grainy” noise profile you hear in like older audio that gives character to the music. From the beginning till the end, it was nice. The lows exist, the mids are average and the trebles are okay.

Listening to more Alt Pop/Contemporary R&B, we tried BANKS’ Meteorite from Serpentina. The low frequency in this music is present but barely there to make a difference, the vocals are consistent enough that you can hear well and the other instruments, you hear it but there are some overlaps here and there. You can hear the speaker doesn’t present well at the “deformed voice tuning” part of the songs (3:14 mark). Then we have vocals with reverbs which you can hear on a better speaker but this one it sounds flat.

Finally, we wanted to try one specific type of song with this speaker to see how it does: Teach Me Tonight by The McGuire Sisters. Once again, I will say this – the Tivoli Audio PAL BT excels in this type of song because it feels like you are listening on a Gramophone. The vocals are fantastic, with good instrument presence and the light drums/percussions are there.

After all that listening, I can say that the PAL BT does well with songs that have an emphasis on the mids and highs more than the lows because when you hear songs like Nevertheless by The Mills Brothers, you can see the speaker struggling with the lows – you can hear some distortions even. Another good example would be You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen – you’d want to listen to something that grasps you into it but the speaker doesn’t allow you to enjoy Leonard Cohen’s Baritone. Call it a “Canned” listening experience.

So, if you choose to have a “casual” listening experience with the PAL BT, it’s alright. Think of it as a better alarm clock speaker. It’s the exact driver you find in the Model One. Oh, and FM, works.

What could be better?

The Charging Interface

My biggest gripe with this speaker: is the Charging Interface. Since it uses a barrel connection, say you run out of battery when you’re out using it at some picnic or whatever gathering. Tough luck friend, you can’t charge it. Not something I am a fan of. Although, credit where it’s due, the speaker battery lasts for a long time – more than 12 hours we feel.

Lacks the Ability to set in Stereo

Again, since it’s a vanilla speaker – if you have two of these, you can’t do a stereo setup. However, Tivoli did say something about a speaker that could do that is in the works – but we aren’t sure when it will happen.


For what the Tivoli Audio PAL BT does, it is an adequate “daily” speaker and more importantly, sells very well on the idea of taking things slow with its retro look and appreciate everything the speaker offers. Over the month, I have to say that it felt effortless for me to just pick the speaker up, turn it on and listen to songs. To make it smart enough, I used my Chromecast Audio (sadly, it’s hard to acquire one now), connect and use it.

But here’s the kicker: this beautiful retro speaker which can be acquired in other colours, costs RM 1,199 which is a mega tough pill to swallow. Get it if it goes on sale or if you really want this for its looks and the “legacy” (for the ports), which I have to say, takes the cake – if you get it in the other colours they offer.

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