Miss the feel of classic audio kit? Tivoli Songbook and Songbook Max bring retro knobs and sliders to modern Bluetooth speakers and DAB radios

One of the things a lot of modern audio kit lacks is touchability: as lovely as it is to get amazing sound from a system, it’s just a bit less fun when there aren’t sliders to slide, knobs to rotate and switches to flick. So I’m intrigued by the new Tivoli Songbook and Songbook Max, two portable Bluetooth speakers with lots of touchability and some unusual audio features too.

The Songbooks were inspired by hardware of the 1970s and 1990s, and are an evolution of the firm’s previous Songbook radio that was discontinued over a decade ago. They’re both designed to be portable, and they’re certainly striking looking: the green version looks like it was torn from a US Army Jeep, while the cream color option looks like it should be sat next to one of those 70s drinks trolleys with a half-globe on top of it. But don’t let the retro looks fool you, these are thoroughly modern devices.

Tivoli Songbook and Songbook Max: key features and specs

Tivoli Songbook MAX

(Image credit: Tivoli)

The Songbook comes with a 3.5-inch full-range driver, a 3.5-inch woofer and twin 40-watt amps, so it’s capable of some serious volume. At 6.7lbs it’s lighter than it looks, and it’s also a lot lighter than its larger sibling. That model, the Songbook Max, comes in at 11.5lbs so it’s more transportable than portable. But the payoff is that you get a 4-inch subwoofer, a 4-inch mid-range, a 3/4-inch tweeter and twin 50W amps for even more sound power.

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