Riva had their own suite somewhat tucked away from the rest of the convention center crowd. Located just across the way from the hustle and bustle of the South Hall in the Westgate hotel, the up and coming wireless speaker manufacturer was causing a little bustle of its own.
Being registered for CES under its parent company, Riva wasn’t even a name you could look up in the CES directory. But that didn’t stop the manufacturer from packing their room full of interested parties, eager to check the latest updates to the growing loudspeaker line. Their adaptations to the growing segment are pushing forward in the proper direction, taking several queues that can be seen across other wireless audio executions at CES. The big idea here is wireless speakers that can be arranged anywhere in a house, in any configuration. While we have yet to see true wireless setups hit home theater in a 7.1 surround fashion, almost every manufacturer in the category would love to nail that one down first and Riva is definitely on the right track for success in multi room environments.
In speaker terms, configurations begin with the new Wand line. The Wand 100 offers up 6 transducers in a 3 channel design (two side and one front facing). This allows it to act in a stereo configuration when individually placed in a room somewhere, or in full mono as stereo channel in a larger setup. Even better, there is a battery supply option available so you can take your favorite songs out to the porch with you on a whim. Wireless connectivity sees all the usual mainstays like Airplay, DLNA, and Bluetooth but where the real magic comes in (and the biggest challenge) is the control. Riva was showing off a centralized phone app at the show that was still a work in progress but seemed to be making solid traction in the right direction. Through it you can assign speakers their role, their feed, and more with the touch of a button. Each speaker is also capable receiving a wired analog or digital connection (WAND 100: analog and USB, WAND 300: analog, optical, USB) which in turn can be used to stream to the rest of the system. The center channel-ish Wand 300 sports a total of 10 tranducers and is even beefier than the already-robust Turbo X produced by the company. The 300 was on display in the room at CES with a glass of water resting on top of the case to show off the structural ingenuity of the design. I have seen a similar demo in the high end rooms of hifi loudspeakers before, but never for a wireless device of this size. It may be worthwhile to note that the original Jawbone bluetooth speaker I reviewed years ago created such massive vibrations during playback it could have been used as a back massager.
There is even an adapter to incorporate any current wireless speakers you might have from the company into the mix. The live demo I heard at the show was pretty impressive. Low end response from Riva’s products has always been pretty good considering the size, as is the overall sound quality. Much can be gained in the digital realm with proper execution, it will be interesting to see what the final product looks (and sounds) like when things get a little more flushed out.
Riva is also putting out a soundbar ($199) powered with the same 3-channel “Trilluim” approach as the Turbo X Bluetooth speaker. From the company website: “Unlike physical left-right speakers, the Turbo X does not exhibit off-axis comb filtering because of Trillium™. This creates a wider listening area with locked center image location which means every seat is the best seat in the house.”
The new Wand series is tentatively priced at $249 for 100 and $499 for the 300. Expect to see all the new products hit the street around September of this year.
More info: http://rivaaudio.com