Riva have just launched a new range of speakers, known as the Riva Concert and Riva Stadium. Both speakers are built for wireless streaming around the home, but also offer a range of other features, most notably voice support from Amazon Alexa.
The speaker stands no taller than the original Riva Arena we took a look at around a year ago. It stands at 7 x 4.5 x 5 inches in size which is pretty identical to its older sibling minus the added battery pack on the bottom. Design wise everything is very similar looking with the white ends and silver mesh grill. The Riva Concert is more square than the Riva, but the colour aesthetic is similar. On top however they’ve replaced the hard glossy exterior and clicky buttons with a rubberised version, with rubber buttons to boot.
What’s nice about the speaker is the fact it looks quite fresh. The Arena had more of an off-white finish while the new Riva Concert is more like an Arctic white finish. It would definitely brighten a room and make it look very modern. There’s also a black version available too. I can see the rubberised buttons and top over time could get a bit grubby. Not calling you dirty, but natural finger oils could cause some disturbance to the lovely aesthetic.
So what are you getting with the Riva Concert speaker? Inside you can find more or less a 360° speaker setup, so no matter where you are in the room, you will be able to hear audio. Without cracking open the speaker itself, the box shows off its drivers down three of its four sides. The speaker sounds absolutely fantastic, and can even handle some bass-centric tracks at higher volume levels without distorting. I’ve been using it daily for background music in my kitchen, and I must say the amount of detail in my music is really quite special. Even at lower volumes, the Riva Concert manages to push out even the smallest of high-hat hits. Brilliant stuff.
Now setup was a little ropey at first, as now Alexa is built in, it requires a whole new app. I had to download the Riva Voice app which was easily done. On entering the app, I was greeted with a prompt to connect to the speaker using my phone’s wireless signal. Okay, simple enough. From here you’re told to name the speaker and then find a WiFi signal to connect the speaker to inside the app. This is where the problems started. The app wouldn’t find any WiFi signals at all, when my phone WiFi option was picking up me and my neighbours’ boxes. Solution? The Riva Voice app was being blocked by a hidden notification on my phone asking me if I wanted to stay connected to the Riva Concert speaker. Of course I said yes to this and then the WiFi routers list burst into life! So be warned. Watch out for what dreaded notification.
From then on connecting the speaker was a cinch. Click you respective signal and enter the password and you’re connected. You’ll hear a tonal prompt telling you everything has worked which was a nice touch for the setup.
I then wanted to look at setting up grouped speakers, but couldn’t work out why I couldn’t see either of the speakers in each app. The Riva Concert was set up using the Riva Voice app, while my older Arena speaker was setup using Google Home and then the Riva Wand app. Whether I’m completely clueless about WiFi speakers is one thing, but I could not for the life of me get these two speakers to talk to one another. I set up a group inside the Google Home app, and stuck my Riva Arena inside. This then prompt my Riva Wand app to see the group. Cool. But then when I tried to get Google Home to discover the Riva Concert speaker, nothing showed up.
But strangely, the Riva Concert speaker appears inside the Riva Wand app as a separate entity. But there’s no way inside the Riva Wand app to add the Concert speaker to my home group. Very odd situation indeed, as I would like to be able to play Spotify through all of my Riva speakers at once so I don’t lose any music listening time when going from room to room in my house. If I had several Concert speakers, then this would probably be a lot easier as it could all be done from inside the Voice app. Or, the Riva Concert is so new, that it’s not compatible with Google Home at the moment. Not sure on a solution yet.
With all that in mind, I would definitely still recommend the Riva Concert speaker for your wireless speaker set up needs. It sounds absolutely wonderful with all types of music you throw at it, thanks to its trillium technology. Setup was a little ropey thanks to that stupid notification and grouping speakers together with older models proved problematic. However, it’s built like a tank, is splash and dust proof so it can be kept in your kitchen and you wouldn’t need to worry about getting water on it, and it looks good. They’re retailing for around
The Riva Voice app found the speaker pretty much straight away which made setup fairly painless. Once it was connected to my home WiFi myself and others connect to the same network could play music from Spotify or directly from the phones. However, trying to use the Riva Concert speaker as part of a home group is impossible. I own both an Arena and a Concert and they both use different apps, and the Riva Concert cannot be found inside of Google Home. Amazon Alexa is also a part of the Concert speaker, though you need the Alexa app installed on your phone to experience the full benefits.