So first the Bose Home Speaker 500 (yeesh, that name) came for the Sonos One. But it's hard to stay on top for long in the market we call "smart speakers with Alexa that sound a lot better than Amazon Echo speakers" and now the Riva Stadium (a bigger speaker that is more of a direct rival to the Speaker 500) and Riva Concert (more Sonos One sized/priced) are here to try to take the throne. Phew.
I've not heard either speaker yet – they'll be on show at IFA 2018 but that is currently a building site. However, all Riva's wireless speakers to date have sounded excellent. The guy who set up the brand – Rikki Farr, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Riva Audio – is a real pioneer of rock audio, having put on the Isle of Wight festival and then done concert sound for the likes of Hendrix, Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.
He's also among the most flamboyant tech CEOs I've ever met, so it's odd that Riva's stuff is always so visually understated. Sound-wise, however, they are loud and they are mighty fine. In fact they're so loud that Riva even insists on spelling them in all caps: "RIVA CONCERT and RIVA STADIUM".
The brand's first voice-controlled speakers, the Concert and Stadium pack in all the usual Alexa goodness, with voice control of Amazon and Spotify music streaming services. You can also send sound to them via Bluetooth and AirPlay, and they're multi-room capable, as well as giving you the option to use two as a stereo pair (although each speaker individually already outputs stereo). High-resolution audio is supported (24-bit/192kHz), as are networked digital audio files via AirPlay or DLNA. There are also USB and 3.5mm inputs.
You can also use all the thousands of Alexa Skills to control your Hue bulbs, call an Uber, hear the news and weather, get your sporting team news, etc, etc, etc, etc.
“The RIVA CONCERT and STADIUM speakers provide a powerful audio experience that combines high quality sound with smart, voice-forward features,” yelled Pete Thompson, Vice President of the Alexa Voice Service, over the high-fidelity din of Riva's speakers, turned up to 11. “We’re excited to work with RIVA to bring customers a simple, more natural way to control their music and more.”
Part of Riva's Voice Series of products, the Stadium and Concert are 'designed to play audio as honest and authentic to the original recording as possible… with award-winning, patented Trillium audio technology, which uses three discrete channels to produce true, room-filling sound from a single box speaker… Riva’s superior sound continues with custom-built ADX drivers to help Voice Series speakers produce an authentic reproduction of the music with deep, powerful bass.'
“Riva is delivering the award-winning sound born out of the stadiums, arenas and theaters of the world right into your smart home!" booms Rikki Farr. "We are thrilled to collaborate with Amazon to bring the power of Alexa to the Voice series. Coupled with RIVA’s best-in-class audio and innovative features, these speakers deliver a sound so pure that you can hear the future.”
Oh, and you get a three-year warranty. Pretty sweet, huh?