I’ve been an audiophile for as long as I can remember and have owned my share of turntables, cassette players, CD players and digital music players, along with plenty of amplifiers, receivers and, of course, speakers.
When I was a kid, the rule of thumb was that you needed big speakers for big sound, which worked out well for me since my dad purchased a pair of massive JBL speakers for the home where I grew up. As a young adult, I didn’t have the money or the space for those big speakers, but I did spring for the best speakers I could afford.
Today’s technology has made everything smaller. These days, most of the music I listen to is from my phone and, sadly, it’s usually through some not-very-good earbuds. When I can, I enjoy listening to music through excellent speakers and, of course, have some pretty good ones connected to the receiver in my living room. But I don’t always hang out in the living room. Sometimes I want that music in my study, my library, my bedroom, my kitchen, my patio or perhaps a hotel room when I’m on the road.
And, of course, I don’t want the hassle of wires, which works out well now that I have a Riva Turbo X wireless Bluetooth speaker system.
The Riva speakers don’t put out the same sound as those giant JBL speakers I grew up with, but for the cost, convenience and size, they do an excellent job. As I write this article, I’m listening to a Spotify playlist of Haitian music and I’m enjoying every beat.
The single enclosure has three ADX 60 mm proprietary drivers, as well as four ADX custom dual piston bass radiators, with optional virtual surround sound and a turbo mode that boosts the audio significantly enough to fill a relatively large room.
An Android and iOS app allows you to control the speakers as you listen to music from the phone.
And, if the phone rings while you’re listening to music, the music fades and the Riva turns into a conference phone with a built-in microphone.
It comes with a power cord but it has a built-in rechargeable battery that runs for up to 26 hours, according to the company. There is also a USB charger for your phone or tablet, and both USB and wired 3.5 mm inputs if you don’t have or want to connect your audio via Bluetooth.
Like all Bluetooth speakers, it can also connect to computers. I used it with my MacBook Air laptop to watch a movie and enjoyed the sound that was far more robust than the Mac’s internal speakers.
What I like about these speakers is the reasonable compromise between size and weight (3.5 by 4 inches, and 3½ pounds), the quality of the sound and the fact that a power plug is optional. I tested them throughout my house and in my backyard and they even held up well outside.
My only complaint is the price. At $349.99, the Riva Turbo X is an expensive product, which puts it out of the range of many consumers. Still, if you’re looking for good sound in a small, albeit expensive package, they may be well worth the cost.