Last year, I reviewed the Turbo X premium Bluetooth speaker by Riva Audio. It was a stellar portable speaker with sound that landed it at the top of my 2015 list of portable speakers, taking top honor for audio quality.
Two knocks against the Turbo X were its size and price, and Riva Audio has addressed both of these with the Riva S premium Bluetooth speaker. I’m not going to go through a full review because the Riva S is very much a smaller scale version of the Turbo X. Like the larger speaker, it has seven drivers (although slighter smaller and with 30 Watts of power instead of 45), it has a big 13-hour battery that can also recharge your devices, it has killer audio modes including Trillium Surround and Phono (for directly connecting a turntable), and the same premium look water-resistant case with proximity-sensing buttons.
In some ways, I actually prefer the sound of the Riva S. It can’t go quite as loud, but it still offers impressive volume that stays usable right to the maximum level, and the Riva S audio seems to have a little more warmth than the Turbo X. Oh, and the velvet-lined ballistic nylon carrying case that costs extra for the Turbo X is included with the Riva S.
In short, it looks and sounds great. At 7.5 x 2.5 x 2.6-inches and 1.5 pounds, it’s more portable than the Turbo X, and the $249 price tag is more affordable as well. Riva added a Party mode that lets two devices take turns playing DJ, so you could even conceivably share the Riva S between two kids. Not my boys, mind you, that would last about five minutes, but the capability is there. There’s also a new gold and white option, because who wouldn’t want a gold speaker to go with their gold iPhone? Actually, the gold and white is pretty sharp looking…
The killer feature of the Riva S is one that’s going to make you open your wallet, though. Or, at least, make close friends with another Riva S owner.
You can now pair two Riva S speakers wirelessly for true left and right channel stereo. The “Truewireless” process is simple and the results are spectacular. I’ve tried the stereo trick with inexpensive speakers and the sound difference was night and day compared to a single unit–there’s just no way to truly replicate the kind of separation you get with multiple units in a single case, even with a handful of drivers and surround technology. With speakers as capable as the Riva S, the pairing results in a combination that could easily become your primary sound system, with a combined 60 Watts of amplification pumping music (or video/gaming audio) through a combined six 40 mm full range drivers and eight ADX custom dual piston bass radiators.
While this two speaker configuration does push the definition of portability, you can always leave one at home when you’re on the go.
If you’re in the market for a new premium Bluetooth speaker, put the Riva S on your short list. On its own it’s an excellent speaker with long battery life, excellent sound quality, water resistance, and a host of useful features. If you have the budget for it and you appreciate quality audio, you’ll be pretty impressed by what a pair of these portable speakers can do working together.
Disclosure: Riva S speakers were provided for review purposes.