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Tivoli Audio Model Three review: Tivoli Audio Model Three

Connectivity choices are downright generous for a tabletop radio. You get a headphone jack, an auxiliary input, and a mix input (the latter for intermingling audio from an external device, such as a computer, with the Model Three's radio signal), all of which are standard 1/8-inch stereo minijacks. The auxiliary inputs mean the Model Three doubles as a speaker for your iPod, or any other connected device that has a standard headphone jack; you need only supply a standard patch cable. Spring for another $99, and you can get Tivoli's matching Dual Alarm Speaker ($99) that gives you stereo sound, as well as a second clock/alarm. If you just want stereo and don't need the second clock/alarm, Tivoli offers the Companion Speaker ($49). There's also a matching compact subwoofer, the diminutive Model Subwoofer, to extend the bass response. It's $79.

While the Model Three is a great AM/FM radio, it has one big flaw: the alarm clock. The clock itself is fine, but the analog alarm leaves a lot to be desired, especially if you're used to a digital system. Setting the alarm (you can wake to standard beeps or to your favorite station) is simple enough--just rotate the indicator on the clock's bezel to the wake-up time and press a button to activate the alarm. But it's a 12-hour system, so it'll activate twice a day unless you cycle it fully off in the morning, then back on again just before bedtime. And the snooze button works only a handful of times, so especially drowsy users might find themselves late for work until they acclimate.

The Tivoli Model Three is a great solution for anyone in the market for an upscale tabletop clock radio. If you're looking for a more robust alarm, however, check out the Boston Acoustics Recepter. It loses the retro "woody" look of the Tivoli, but the Boston's digital design offers a solid dual alarm that's perfect for the bedside table--and it sounds great, too.

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