Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Tivoli Audio Model Three Analog Alarm Clock Radio

The Tivoli Audio Model Three ($299.99) is a bit of an odd duck. It features the same Henry Kloss designed AM/FM radio circuitry as the original Model One table radio, but with the addition of a quartz analog alarm clock. A battery powered clock, at that. The benefit of battery power is that you're immune to power failures (the Model 3 beeps instead of playing the radio if the power's out). The analog alarm dial is also a breeze to set; rotate the clock bezel counterclockwise until the desired wakeup time is shown and press a button to activate the alarm (with an accompanying LED indicator light). There's a 5 minute snooze feature and a 20 minute "sleep" function if you're the type who likes to nod off to the sound of music.

So far, so good, but there were a couple of not-so-clever design decisions that went into the Model Three. First and foremost, there's no excuse for including a battery-powered clock at this price. If you forget to replace the AA battery on a regular basis, the day will come when the clock decides to conk out in the middle of the night -- with dire consequences. There's no earthly reason to require a separate battery for the clock mechanism except that it's a few cents cheaper than powering the clock directly from the main circuit board, especially when this unit commands a $180 premium over the standard Model One.

A second complaint is that it's impossible to read the tiny text around the controls in subdued lighting. This is a device intended for use in bedrooms, which are not typically known for blinding white lights unless you're in the adult film business.

The third strike against the Model Three is a fairly minor quibble: the unit is monaural unless you add an external speaker. It still sounds great, but I expect stereo at this price. You can purchase a second speaker for $74.99 or buy your partner a second speaker/alarm module for an extra $179. That's a phenomenal amount for a $5 battery powered quartz clock mechanism,  even if it comes packaged in a nice wooden case.

All in all, you're far better off purchasing the $119.99 Model One and a traditional LED clock/radio instead. You'll still get to enjoy genuine Tivoli Audio sound, but without the expensive and poorly thought out alarm clock. It's a pity, because an integrated analog clock dial really appeals to me.

Tivoli Audio Model Three Clock Radio


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