Best Riva Arena Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021:

The Arena, launched at € 269, inaugurates Riva’s arrival in the world of multiroom alongside its big sister Festival. This small sedentary speaker relies on its wide connection possibilities and on its sound performance. Let’s find out if it has a say in the face of competition that is already well established in the market.

Best Riva Arena Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals & Sales 2021

1. RIVA ARENA Smart Speaker Compact Wireless for Multi-Room music streaming and voice control works with Google Assistant (Black)

2. RIVA FESTIVAL Smart Speaker Mid-Size Wireless for Multi-Room music streaming and voice control works with Google Assistant (Black)

3. RIVA TURBO X RTX01B (Non-charging only works with power cord!!) Premium Wireless Bluetooth Speaker (Black) (Renewed)

Ergonomics

The Arena follows in the footsteps of its nomadic ancestors in terms of conception and design. Like the Riva S and the Turbo X, this speaker has a massive chassis and is protected by a large aluminum grille, as well as two plastic blocks. It benefits from a sober and careful manufacturing. Without being exceptional, the quality of the finishes is very correct. Even if we would have liked a different finish for the plastic because it is sensitive to fingerprints. The set is robust, there is no apparent defect, and this is the most important.

The Riva Arena rests on two large rubber pads which ensure a good hold and with its significant weight (1.53 kg to be exact), it is not likely to move once placed on a piece of furniture. The speaker also incorporates a removable rubber block to place in front of the connectors to protect it. It can thus resist splashing water. Basically, the Riva Arena does not pretend to be used nomadic mode, since it requires a connection to the sector thanks to the cable provided to operate. However, a portable battery, to hang under the speaker, is available as an option (€ 109 when launched) to be able to transport it in the garden, for example.

The Riva Arena offers many control possibilities, directly integrated into the enclosure. On the upper front, there are a total of 5 buttons to manage music playback, listening volume, navigate between tracks, choose the listening source and start pairing wirelessly. All buttons are responsive and a small key makes it easier to find those dedicated to volume.

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As for wired connections, the Arena has a 3.5 mm mini-jack input and a USB A port for recharging mobile devices and playing files on a USB key. Unfortunately, no RJ45 port is present. Wi-Fi (DLNA, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, Chromecast) and Bluetooth are also available for wireless. Small interesting subtlety, the speaker has a switch to switch from Home mode to Away mode. The latter allows, when activated, to create an ad hoc Wi-Fi network for the multiroom when the home network is not accessible.

The speaker configuration is done in a jiffy. Contrary to what one might have thought at first, the speaker does not use the proprietary application to be installed on the network. The configuration of the Arena can be done either with the Google Home app or with AirPlay. In both cases, the procedure is both clear and quick.

The handling of the speaker itself is not as intuitive. We advise you to consult the user manual carefully to quickly familiarize yourself with the control possibilities (in particular dual-use buttons) and the information transmitted by the central led indicator. Apart from the absence of indication when the minimum or maximum volume is reached, we did not find any particular problem of use or any bug during our test period.

Multimedia

Riva’s sound ecosystem is based on Chromecast and the Google Home app (Android and iOS). All the basic options that we have the right to expect for the management of a multiroom system are there: see and configure each enclosure of the ecosystem, organize them, rename them, make groups, see reading sources and manage listening volumes. The navigation is fluid and the configuration is stable. We did not encounter any bug or break during our test period. On the other hand, we expected more on certain points.

First of all, it is not possible to manage the individual level of each speaker in a group on Google Home: the volumes of the different speakers in the group are linked. For example, let’s say you’re playing the same music everywhere for a party. But want to turn down the volume in a particular room to make conversation easier. 

Here it is not possible. To do this, you must set the volume of the speaker in question, either manually via the button on the speaker, or via the Riva Wand application. Note also that if you want to increase the volume of all the speakers after manually changing the volume of one or more of them, you will keep the differences in listening level. To find the same level on all speakers in the group, the volume must first be lowered to 0 and then increased to the desired threshold. We have known more intuitive, especially when it requires juggling between applications …

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In addition, the Google Home app does not allow the possibility of directly configuring stereophonic pairs, even with two copies of the same model. There is a parade with the Riva, but you have to go through the dedicated Riva. Wand application and go to the settings of each speaker. In the “Audio output” section, you must then select “Left” for the left speaker, then select “Right” for the right speaker. Even if the option has the merit of existing, let’s face it, the operation is still tedious.

To continue on the Riva Wand application, it is only used to view the connected speakers and offer some small possibilities for sound control and personalization. In the advanced menus, you can therefore access a simple parametric two-band EQ (bass and treble), a power “boost”, at choice of the stereo broadcast channel and information about each speaker. The application also allows you to choose between certain sources (mini-jack, Bluetooth, internal files on the smartphone, files on the server and on the connected USB key) and offers a browser for certain sources such as the USB key or media servers. On the other hand, if you have a lot of files, the navigation will not be of much use because no search tool is available.

As for compatible services via Google Home and Chromecast, nothing to complain about. There are many services such as Spotify, Deezer, Qobuz, Google Play Music, Soundcloud, Tidal. TuneIn, the application of certain radios (France Inter. NRJ…) and even YouTube – you can find the list on the page dedicated to the. Chromecast Audio from the Google Store . 

Audio

The Riva Arena has three passive speaker / radiator pairs, located on the front, left and right sides respectively. These three channels are powered by an amplifier with a total power of 50 W. The speaker offers a stereophonic rendering, and it is not only by the design that it resembles its counterparts, since it offers an experience sound quite similar to what we have known previously. His approach is not very delicate, but the sound rendering is both musical and coherent, while remaining precise over a large part of the audible spectrum. It is nevertheless necessary to limit the listening volume in order to maintain good listening quality. Note also that the sound is the same in wired connection and in Bluetooth.

The Arena offers relatively deep, punchy and diffuse bass. There is a slight preference at the low midrange around 200. Hz, which flatters the warmth and roundness of certain sources (bass, male voices, acoustic guitar, some percussion …). The feeling of proximity to voices is also enhanced. The latter are also perfectly intelligible and well separated, both by the frequency response, by the precision in this area, and also by the way the speaker diffuses the stereo signal. Indeed, the speakers located on the front face act as a central channel, while the left / right information is broadcast by the left / right sides of the speaker.

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The warm side is also due to the more marked decline in the high mid / treble zone. Despite this decline, there is still an incisive trend initiated by a small peak of distortion in the treble. It boosts the harmonics of certain sources in a way that is not always very pleasant (we can hear it on claps, on the attack of a pick on a folk guitar, on the distortion of an electric guitar, on certain percussions like shakers or the hi-hat of the drums, for example). The use of EQ does not reverse this trend.

As we mentioned above, it is still necessary to limit the listening volume in order to maintain good sound rendering. Indeed, as soon as one exceeds two thirds of the maximum volume, the general precision drops very frankly (the dynamics is found more crushed), one notes pumping effects in the low range and the phenomenon described in the treble intensifies. Below this threshold, the power developed by the. Arena will largely suffice for a bedroom, an office or a kitchen, for example. You can sound larger rooms very correctly if you decide to acquire two arenas, without having to reduce the quality of the playback.

On the side of the latency of communication in Bluetooth, the disappointment is there. Indeed, with more than 470 ms delay between sound and image, it is absolutely not possible to comfortably follow its video content, even with applications that compensate for the delay with this mode of communication (YouTube, Netflix, etc.).

STRONG POINTS

  • Warm and musical sound rendering.
  • Distortion contained over a very large part of the spectrum.
  • Beautiful sound diffusion.
  • Robust / splash resistant.
  • Various control and connection possibilities.
  • Specific Wi-Fi mode.

WEAK POINTS

  • Small incisive aspect in the treble.
  • Speaker power not fully exploitable.
  • High communication latency in Bluetooth.
  • Multiroom management not always very intuitive.
  • Going through the instructions is essential to quickly master the enclosure.

CONCLUSION

The Arena is a compact multiroom speaker that offers a nice rendering and a good sound diffusion given its size. Its rich connectivity and numerous control possibilities will appeal to those looking for more than just a multiroom speaker. It is a pity, however, that the management of said multiroom is not more complete, more intuitive. That we cannot benefit from all the power reserve of the speaker.

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