This is not the first Bluetooth speaker I have used, Oh no, I also have the Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Multimedia speaker as well, along with many others, but this is the first that claims to be a multi-room speaker.
Now there is a lot of chat online about Sonos being the bee’s knees, when it comes to these sorts of speakers, lucky for you lot, I have no idea, so this review will be purely about this speaker and not comparing it with anything else. Don’t forget though there are many other brands out there including a shed load of unknown brands, that most likely offer crap sound and crap speakers, so best to keep to what you know, like Samsung and LG, just to name a few.
RIVA ARENA is the compact multi-room “+” wireless speaker in the award-winning RIVA WAND Series that delivers Stereophonic Sound for an unrivalled audio experience and modern lifestyle compliment. Perfect for music enthusiasts craving a LIVE audio experience in the home, office or outdoors with the optional 20+ hour battery pack. – Taken from Amazon.co.uk
This speaker offers Best-in-class connectivity options: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect, AirPlay, DLNA even a 3.5mm audio jack connection, who used one of those these days.
So first comes to why I wanted a speaker like this? Well for one I wanted a better sound scape for my living room, we already have the Goodmans Bass Sound systems for movies and TV, but wanted something to pull around the sound in all directions and this offered exactly what I wanted. Plus we currently have no set up around the home to listen to music without turning on a PC, so this speaker was something I could use with my phone and TV that can cast my listening sounds to.
So it first came to the sales of the speaker from the shop floor, when you first see the speaker, sometimes out on display with packaging sometimes just packaging, so how does it sell itself.
Well there is nothing on the front apart from a front facing picture of the speaker, on one of the sides though you can see that the speaker has speakers to pull around sound on all three sides, and what looks to be a control station on the top. They also like you to know that the speaker is compaiable with iPod, iPhone, iPad and Android devices with Chromecast built in from the likes of Spotify, Deezer, Google play and tunein.
Moving to the other side comes to the features:
- Multi-room “+” Wireless Audio systems
- Unlimited Music Streaming Services including Spotify, Airplay, Chromecast built-in and many more
- Open connection technology: Wi-Fi, DDMS, DLNA, Airplay, Chromecast built-in and Bluetooth
- Supports 5GHz/2.4GHz Wi-Fi Frequency
- Supports indoor and outdoor use
- Plays Hi-Res Audio up to 192 KHz
- RIVA WAND APP
- Stero Speaker Settings
- Splash=proof design
- 5mm Audio input, USB Playback and Charge out for phones and tablets
- Optional Battery Available
- Connect up to 32 devices and play with or without Wi-Fi.
Unboxing my new speaker is easy, you will find on top a small box which holds the power cable, on top of the box is all the manuals, and underneath the box in the speaker itself, protected and packaged nice and snuggly, this speaker is not going to see any damage.
So speaker is out, let’s look at its design, it rectangular in shape, the speaker only comes in two primary colours white or black, which sucks as I would have loved a red version. Looking from top down, you can see the control panel, Play/Pause, Volume up/down, forward/ backwards and source change. Moving around the back s tripod mount, 3.5mm audio in, USB connection, home and away mode and obviously power in.
What is home and away, simply put it home, means the speaker/s connect up to the Wi-Fi, away they don’t. When using the Away Mode its best to purchase, on top of the price of the speaker, the £75.00 battery pack which gives you around 20hours of life. The battery pack is very easy to fit, just attach under the speaker roll back the silicone flap and click together done.
The speaker is rather big and with the battery pack it is even bigger, it is splash proof, but I feel due to the size of the speaker, it would be more suitable for home use or around your mates, differently not carried around in your bag, it is pretty damn heavy.
Everything is controlled via apps, mine is with Google Home, Spotify, Amazon Music and Deezer, if you are using the RIVA Wand App, and you can use music from a source, like a media server or drive. Personally if you have Wi-Fi or a shed load of data just stream it from one of the favourite apps.
When it came to using the speaker for music, movies and gaming, I found the BASS was amazing, really powerful, even the high tones and mid tones all shone through with clarity and precision, all in glorious stereo sound. Thanks the drivers being on three sides, you never miss a pulse where ever you are standing in the room. The best thing about using an android phone, and Google Home, is that you can set up more than one speaker, so you don’t need to just have loads of RIVA speaker, you can purchase cheaper ones, linked them together and how a really good multi-room experience. From what I know iOS users are stuck with using RIVA speaker only, Airplay 2 should fix this, when its finally launched.
So we now come to my final thoughts I guess, and I love it, not for carrying around, but in the home for great quality house, with pumping bass for those tracks that I love to listen to and piss off the neighbours with, this speaker bunches about it size. Android users are going to love this speaker more that’s for certain, and the ability to cast a whole load of apps to the speaker is a bonus.
Compared to my Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 Multimedia speaker, this little speaker punches it right out of the park, and then sits on it. What I would like improved upon, would be its weight to make it more suitable for carrying around, maybe an option to purchase the speaker with a battery, even if the battery was small and did not last that long (10hrs) and the 20hrs one could then be purchased separately. The one final feature, communication controls, I want to be able to say, turn on, off, volume down and up etc… just an idea.