Riva Wand Series Speakers Review
The Good
  • Great sound from mid-range volumes
  • Will look wonderful in a home setting
The Bad
  • Distorts somewhat a louder volumes
  • Top plastic could easily scratch on transport
  • Extra battery for the Arena costs too much
4.4Overall Score

So Riva has launched their new Riva Wand series speakers – made up from the larger-than-life Festival model, and the more portable, but still great sounding Arena model. Both speakers form part of the Wand Series, and can be used together to fill an audio space. Riva are branding these as multi-space, meaning they can be used both indoors and outside, and can be paired together to create an even wider stereo soundstage.

Both speakers follow the same kind of design. A grill that wraps around the outside body, with a high-grade gloss plastic finish on top and bottom. All of the buttons including volume and skip track, as well as the wireless options can be found on top. There is a silver band that separates the grill and top to give it some stylish trimming. Both speakers look equally as great, and come in both black and white variants, with my personal favourite being the white finish. The speakers are very high quality.

There are a huge amount of audio streaming functionality here, with the most common being a Bluetooth connection. But there is also the opportunity to use Wi-Fi, DLNA, DDMS, Apple AirPlay, Google Home and Bluetooth, and can also take advantage of 24-bit/192kHz high resolution audio for that much better sound. The RIVA app does a great job at keeping these speakers pumped full of music, and is laid out very clearly.

The Arena speaker, the smaller of the two houses six ADX drivers, two on three of the four sides, as well as two passive radiators to really drive a decent amount of bass to each track we listened to. Although the music was great, I can’t really fault it, I wanted to hear a little more from the higher frequencies. Those high hat and cymbal sounds you know? They were a little overpowered by the vocals and even the amount of bass that came through, and I think that’s down to the lack of a tweeter inside. All music relied on a 61mm driver and passive radiator on each side. This speaker doesn’t like loud unfortunately either, and would be perfect for casual at home in your study or bedroom casual listening.

But things are a lot different with the Festival. Music here is booming. Bass is solid, and can handle its own, even at higher volumes. Each track we listened to sounded full of life, but the arrangement of instruments still stayed a little muddled. There were no times we could pick out individual instruments, the quieter ones like. Bass however is very deep, and listening to hiphop and even some dubstep was quite enjoyable. It wasn’t loud either, and only slightly overpowered the other instruments, at louder volumes though. Riva though has done a great job in controlling the various levels of each frequency. There are tweeters present this time for those quieter, higher frequency range instruments.

I loved the sound, don’t get me wrong, but I would have liked a little more separation with each instrument on the Arena speaker. But from what we heard from Kendrick Lamar, The Beastie Boys and the Arctic Monkeys, we couldn’t complain really. Each sounded loud and proud and could easily fill a party atmosphere.

What more, having the ability to use the ad-hoc networking option to link up to 30 of these together really impressed us. If you’re in a field having a party, get your mates to bring their Riva Wind Series speakers along, and you could easily have something as loud as a Festival stage, hence the name. Plus, the Arena speaker can have a £200 optional battery to keep the music pumping for up 20 hours.

Now with the use of multiroom, it almost feels like Riva has fallen slightly short of the quality of Sonos. You can see in our video I had trouble getting these hooked up to my home network, opting instead for Bluetooth connection from my phone. Sonos’ setup, when I experiened that seemed a little quicker and was more seamless getting it hooked up to my wireless network. Saying that though, it’s still nice to have on the Riva Wand Series speakers, and even the ability to have the ad-hoc network for when you’re away from your home WiFi is wonderful. Both speakers sounded great for what we pumped through them, and both speakers look absolutely beautiful and very stylish. The Arena speaker currently retails at £224.99 while the Festival comes in at £449.99. You can find more information on the Riva website.

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Stef Murphy

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