Let’s get right to it. If you want a small speaker and want to get as close as possible to hi-fi sound for under £200, the Riva S is what you should buy.
Its tonal fidelity is in another league compared to just about any other speaker of this size and price. Put it next to a rival then feed them a vocal track and the Riva S will give you a seminar on what the singer really sounds like. There’s just so much more texture and sophistication here.
Riva Audio has pulled this feat of engineering off by using more drivers than just about anyone else. There are seven of the things packed into this box, even though it’s no larger than some with four.
It’s a portable speaker for sound nerds, although if you want max power and max volume, you may be left wishing it had that bit more grunt. Top volume is kept at a level that means it doesn’t start sounding strained. Bass is also carefully controlled. The Riva S can deliver a decent thud, but the Bose SoundLink Mini II has a lot more low-frequency output.
The Riva S’s battery lasts for up to 13 hours, and there’s a USB port on the back to let you charge other devices. There’s also lo-fi water resistance. A removable rubber flap on the bottom lets you cover up the ports on the back should the rain start falling while you’re listening to some Skepta and enjoying some egg and cress sandwiches during a summer picnic. UK weather, eh?
The question, then, is what sort of listener are you? Want loud and chunky? Look elsewhere. Want nuance and authenticity? The Riva S is for you.