Tivoli Model Satellite
Tivoli Audio's specialty is high-quality table radios, so we were more than a little curious about its new Sirius radio, the Model Satellite ($299 list). It's also the first satellite radio we've tested that receives AM and FM radio, and it doesn't hurt that the Model Satellite is a beautifully built component. As with all such products, a $12.99-per-month Sirius subscription is required to access satellite programming.
The Model Satellite measures a compact 4.5 inches high, 8.4 inches wide, and 5.25 inches deep and shares the handsome styling and real cherrywood cabinet of brethren such as the Model One and AM/FM radios. Its proprietary AM/FM tuner and smooth-turning tuning dial are likewise identical to the sort featured on the other Tivoli radios, but the big, blue, easy-to-read Sirius display, which keeps you informed about the Sirius channel, artist, and song title in play, is a clear departure.
The radio can store up to 20 Sirius presets, in four banks of 5 each, but it can't store AM/FM presets. When you turn the radio off, the display reverts to your choice of a digital (numeric) or analog alarm clock. A 3-inch speaker is mounted in the on the top panel, under a protective metal grille.
Its front panel is crowded with a bunch of buttons and knobs--17 to be exact, and we found the controls' labeling and frequency markings barely legible under low-light conditions. Curiously, the included remote controls only the radio's Sirius related functions, not volume or AM/FM tuning.
Overall sound quality is miles ahead of that of everyday tabletop radios, though we noted that the unit's Sirius sound is no better than its FM--although once you've locked onto the Sirius signal, it's always 100 percent noise- and interference-free. That said, we found AM and FM reception above par. The radio can run off either the included external AC power pack or an optional 12-volt DC (car or boat) adapter.