tivoli audio pal bluetooth speakers summer portable speakers gear
All you need is good music, a beautiful backdrop, and a lazy summer disposition. (Nicolas Maloof)

A High-Tech Radio with an Old-School Look

In praise of summer’s original combo deal: clear tunes and swimming holes.

tivoli audio pal bluetooth speakers summer portable speakers gear

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Growing up in Sedona, Arizona, my friends and I were true pros at shirking responsibility. We spent entire days in the national forest building BMX trails, and in the summers we’d hang around swimming holes.

One of the best was Grasshopper Point, a couple of miles up Oak Creek Canyon. The place has since been recarved by floods and placarded with warnings so the tourists won’t sue, but at the time it was our secret slab of rock, a place where the world couldn’t catch up to us.

So the day we graduated from high school, we did what countless teenagers had done before us: we stole some Coors from our parents’ refrigerators and went to Grasshopper Point. We popped an Oingo Boingo tape into our Pioneer boom box—the one that would get moody and cause Danny Elfman’s voice to quaver—and, naturally, we played our music loud, singing along in the most unskilled way, and waited for the nearby girls in string bikinis to come talk to us.

The digital age might have rewired our brains, but the world still has its swimming holes. And like a campfire without marshmallows, a creek just isn’t a creek without good friends and music. Now, however, we have iPhones that hold five billion of our favorite songs and Bluetooth speakers that can play them all day.

Like the rechargeable Tivoli Audio PAL BT ($300). It weighs less than two pounds and sounds as clear as our creek was back in the day. Plus, you don’t have to toss out a bunch of D cells, you won’t risk mangling your Dire Straits cassettes, and, as you can see here, the throwback design is timeless and sexy. I can almost picture it back on Oak Creek—although, I now realize, those girls were never going to talk to us.