The Riva Turbo X is a wireless Bluetooth speaker that seems to defy physics. Usually, I am unimpressed when it comes to testing “another” Bluetooth speaker since they are all mostly lackluster. Fortunately, Riva Turbo X is the exception! From the moment you turn it on and start listening, you’ll be amazed just how much room filling sound it can generate. Even more surprising is the sound is detailed and well-balanced.
Let’s back up a bit and tell you a little bit about the company, which you probably never heard of. Riva Audio is a new lifestyle audio brand led by globally known audio expert, Thomas ‘Rikki’ Farr. He says, “Riva was created to deliver amazing, dynamic and powerful music to a generation that is currently listening to a diluted, over-processed, unkind reproduction. We will bring back the truthful purity of that music. That is our promise.”
Listening to Riva’s Turbo X was a welcome pleasure, and the more I listened the more I was impressed what this little portable Bluetooth speaker could do. It plays clean and crisp, and can also play quite loud without distorting.
Bluetooth pairing was straightforward, with the added help of a voice that tells you when Riva is paired and fully charged. Basically it’s a talking speaker. Then there is a companion app that turns your smartphone into a remote control. But you’ll mostly use the track/volume controls from your music streaming app unless you want to turn “T” for Turbo mode or “S” for surround mode.
Turbo mode is a bass boosted, higher volume setting that actually revs like a car engine when pressed so you know it’s on, but you’ll immediately hear the difference and it’s just plain fun for a dance party or to get more room filling sound. When Turbo mode is off, obviously bass is lower, but greater musical details are uncovered. Interestingly, this little speaker easily filled an open floor plan room in either mode. Riva also recommends different placement options, depending on room layout, size or musical preference to get maximum performance.
Although, I would have like this speaker to be cheaper than $349, it’s hard to argue with what it offers. Out of the box, Riva Turbo X looks like a high-end, well made product with speaker drivers on all four sides. It looks so good, I didn’t even realize it was also water-resistant and safe for use outdoors at the beach or pool. Its got the glossy finish of home audio speaker with extra durability to be used anywhere. That’s right, it’s rugged and portable with a 26 hour battery to easily get you through a weekend trip. And you can fully recharge it in 2-3 hours.
As much as I liked Turbo X, there are some convenience features I would have preferred. For example, microUSB charging would be easier than the lugging around Riva’s DC charging adapter. However, I was told this trade-off was made to speed up recharging. Next, I would have liked a daisy-chaining feature to enable multi-speaker connectivity for whole-home wireless audio. Finally, Bluetooth range could be longer than 33 feet. Although, I heard a rumor the latter two features may be coming in a second generation model.
The Riva Turbo X has some bonus features too. There is a “surround” mode option that is fun try out. A color coded battery indicator on the back of the device changes from green, orange, to red when battery drains. Its USB port can provide device charging on-the-go. There are proximity sensors for power on. Speakerphone capability with microphone is built-in. Finally, there is a Phono Mode. That’s right for all you vinyl addicts, you can connect a turntable to it through the 3.5mm input. Although, I’m not sure many would use this feature, it’s interesting to know the level of detail the audio engineers thought about when designing this product.
Needless to say I liked Riva Turbo X, I liked it a lot. There is simply no better sounding speaker of its size that can beat it.