Gadgets for humans

Tivoli’s beautiful $200 speaker isn’t ready for the outdoors – or anywhere, really

All style, no substance

Price $ 199.99 ProductGo Andiamo by Tivoli Audio

Tivoli Audio has been making gorgeous looking speakers and music systems for nearly 20 years now, using materials like wood and leather in their retro designs. It’s taken a slightly different approach with its new Andiamo Go Andiamo speaker, which looks like nothing else on the market.

It also costs a hefty $200, which is a lot more than you’d pay for most wireless speakers. And while I love the way this speaker looks, it’s not going on holiday with me anytime soon. Here’s why.

Design

The Go Andiamo has a large circular aluminium case, about the circumference of a CD – but it’s 5.5 cm tall and weighs 0.7 kg, so it’s not exactly tiny. However, it looks good enough that you’ll probably find a way to fit it in your luggage by ditching some ugly stuff you own.

Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal

The leather strip encircling the body has buttons embossed into it, and it also extends into a handle. You’ll find basic playback and Bluetooth pairing controls, as well as inputs for a 3.5mm AUX cable, and a 12V DC adaptor.

Wait, what?

That’s right, you can’t charge the Andiamo with any sort of USB cable – you’ll have to use the chunky adaptor that’s included instead. Who’s got room for that in their backpacks? What happens if you fry your adaptor? What year is this?

Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal

You also don’t get things like support for calls, aptX streaming, or a way to charge other devices via USB. So, if nothing else, this baby should sound great, right?

Wrong.

I played several records through the Andiamo in different environments, and came away unimpressed. The sound profile pushes treble past the point that the drivers can handle them gracefully, while the bass is underwhelming. As a result, you get sharp – and at times, harsh – output that makes you want to turn the volume down. Literally the opposite of what a good speaker should do.

I’m also concerned about taking this leather and pristinely-finished-metal speaker outdoors. I don’t know how it’ll fare when it encounters splashes of water or wine at a picnic, if it’ll survive bumps and drops on a hike, or if other gear in my bag will scuff it up. Maybe, I thought, it’ll fare better on the home entertainment console in my living room.

Credit: Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Kinda. It obviously didn’t get damaged while it was just lying on a wooden surface, but the thin rubber molding at the bottom of the speaker wasn’t enough to prevent it from rattling and causing a racket when I fired up some rock and metal albums.

We typically conclude our reviews by describing what sort of people would find this especially useful or enjoyable. But between its design choices for a portable speaker, its dependence on a non-standard adaptor, poor sound quality, and high price, the Andiamo is hard for me to recommend.

What else is out there?

If you want a classy outdoor speaker that’s actually worth listening to, try the compact $150 Harman Kardon Traveler. Or check out Chinese hardware maker Lofree’s $100 Poison speaker, which nails retro styling and sounds fairly decent. Anker’s $60 Soundcore Flare is likely more durable than those two, and comes with an omnidirectional speaker for 360-degree sound. Oh, and I really liked Jam Audio’s $60 Zero Chill, which is not only splashproof, but also tucks its own charging cable away in a compartment at the bottom.

If you’re still keen on the Andiamo because you’re shallow and want a sexy looking speaker, head over to Amazon US, where it’s available for $200, or find it on Tivoli Audio’s site.


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Published September 18, 2018 — 11:23 UTC

Price $ 199.99 ProductGo Andiamo by Tivoli Audio