Excessive expectations are a huge problem for the modern gadget industry. It often happens that a well-known producer promises “golden mountains”, and on the whole comes a passing product. The more interesting is the new speakers from the totally unknown company RIVA. Before their test, we had no special expectations, but the devices were able to surprise.
Let’s get acquainted with the company from the very beginning. The founder of RIVA is Ricky Farr, who recorded and released the best Live versions of albums of such bands as Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.
To us on the test came a whole box, which had two columns Arena and Festival, a battery for one of them, as well as a glass stand. With the Arena, that Festival is paired with three power cables (with plugs for different countries) and documentation. The battery does not only come with paper, but the stand comes with a good set of screws and hexagons for assembly.
Design, quality of materials
Riva design reminds Bose, only with a lot of varnish on the surface. Both models look stylish and minimalist. The entire front part of the Riva Arena is covered with a metal grid, behind which are hidden three speakers with a total power of 50 watts.
From above the column controls are played: play/pause, volume, rewind. The latter carries the function of pairing over Bluetooth and the inclusion of streaming audio.
On the back side is the thread for the stand, mini-jack, USB for audio playback (MP3, ALAC, APE, FLAC, FLAC HD, HLS, WMA, RTSP and PCM / WAV) and charging of portable devices, a switch for use in paired with a battery or from the network, as well as a two-wire power connector.
Riva Festival looks like a stretched Arena – all the same, only in a larger and oblong case. Inside behind the grid are already hiding not 3, but as much as six loudspeakers (3 woofers and three tweeters).
The differences are still in the presence of an additional optical digital input.
There are two colour solutions: black and white. The quality of the materials, the fitting of parts and the overall assembly is good, it is a product of the premium segment, and it feels no worse than the reference Bose, Klipsch, Bang & Olufsen, Harman-Kardon, and others.
The big problem with all such speakers is that, despite their compact size, they continue to be home-made and work from the network. I have already written many times that compact multi-room systems would become much more popular if there were a battery inside. Riva did just and sensibly – they released acoustics for the house, but at the same time as an accessory to it, you can connect a battery that allows you to listen to Arena outside the house until 20 hours. The question is settled, and everyone was happy: lovers of listening to music at home and those who often listen to music on nature, the beach and other places.
On convenience, there are no complaints. Small Arena takes up little space and allows them to be placed almost anywhere, and the big Festival feels great on the glass rack. On the latter, it is possible to hide the cable.
The setup of the multiroom system is very simple. You need to connect the models to the network, wait until the diode on the top flashes white, download Google Home to your smartphone, go into it, select the column and indicate which room it is in. So with each, and you have in the application there will be a whole list of rooms and columns that you can combine. By the way, it is possible to connect up to 32 speakers. The most valuable thing is that the system works stably even with a weak Wi-Fi signal. Also, the speakers work on AirPlay, DLNA, are compatible with Amazon Echo and support voice control. Developed a proprietary application RIVA Wand, which allows you to remotely control a multiroom system. It also selects the source of the play, whether it’s a smartphone, a network storage, a computer, or just a USB flash drive. Personalization is available in the form of playlists, performers, etc.
Also, there is Bluetooth as an alternative method of listening to audio, but the speakers support direct connection via Wi-Fi in Away Mode, which allows you to send sound to them, for example, from a smartphone without using a router. The bandwidth of Wi-Fi is much higher than that of Bluetooth.
Among the applications that support streaming, it’s worth noting Google Play Music, Deezer, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, Apple Music, Pandora and others.
Very vivid, detailed and beautiful – approximately so you can describe the sound of the Riva speakers. The most interesting is that at least one Arena is turned on. Still, the sound will be excellent, as for such a small device. The manufacturer praises Trillium’s proprietary technology, the essence of which is that the speakers output the signal of each channel one by one, and thus a truly wide sound is achieved, as if by 360 degrees. And this is one of those marketing moves that work.
The sound is very clean and loud, and when playing from a USB flash drive, you can even count on the Hi-Res level, as lossless formats in the 192/24 standard are claimed. Before that, I used Bose SoundTouch 10, Urbanears Stammen / Baggen and Sonos Play: 3. Honestly, none of these columns and approximately falls short of even the Riva Arena; I’m already silent about the Festival. When you have at least two speakers, they can be combined into a stereo pair, so one column will work out the left channel, and the second one, which will achieve a pronounced stereo effect.
With a group setup, when all the speakers play in different rooms, it seems that you are in a small concert. The most important is that at maximum volume the sand does not appear, and the sound remains clean, the high-frequency range may be slightly falling, but this is forgivable at ultra-high dB levels.
It was possible with Riva Arena to attend the filming of the clip – the column served as a vocalist for the recording of synchro. A high level of loudness, even in a noisy place, gave a positive result.
If you are looking for a system with several speakers, then think about the right arrangement, what racks are needed and so on. I would recommend a big festival at one of the corners – in this way the highest quality level of the bass is reached. And Arena can be safely put on shelves or hung around the TV, the main thing is not put in closed or semi-closed places – boxes, for example. So the sound will not be so saturated.
PROS: sound, functionality, assembly and design, ease of connection, the ability to connect the battery, good ergonomics
CONS: A glossy finish on the top of the speakers
Verdict: It has crystal sound, functionality, assembly and design. Multiroom system is easy to connect and enjoy it. Pleased with a battery that you can buy separately.