Riva Concert and Stadium speakers with Alexa AND Bluetooth AND hi-res audio want a word with Bose Home Speaker 500

Two sizes of speaker from a brand fronted by one of the pioneers of live rock sound

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.

Riva Concert: small box, big sound

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.

Riva Stadium: medium-sized box, humungous sound

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?

• RIVA CONCERT (£199) and RIVA STADIUM (£449) will be out in autumn (or 'fall' if you're American)

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."