RIVA Audio WAND + Targets Home Tech Pros with Open API; Takes Aim at Sonos
RIVA Audio’s multi-room wireless ‘+’ WAND Series distinguishes itself from Sonos with open API, Hi-Res Audio, immersive sound, and margins for integrators; retails at $249 and $499 price points.
Calling the system a “multiroom audio ‘+’ (plus) wireless speaker,” RIVA Audio is now shipping its WAND (Wireless Audio Network Design) Series. The customizable multi-room wireless audio system, which is made by Audio Design Experts Inc. (ADX), combines high-fidelity audio with the flexibility to play from any networked or local source. Even more so for integrators, the company touts among its big differentiators from industry leader Sonos that its product offers attractive margins and an open API that allows it to be controlled by any third-party smart home automation system.
RIVA's WAND Series, which uses the company patented Trillium technology, features the compact Arena and full-range tabletop Festival speakers. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirPlay and DLNA.
It can also stream seemingly unlimited audio content with Chromecast built-in and Spotify Connect. The speaker also offers integrated Away Mode, splash resistance and optional battery pack; no Wi-Fi required.
Similar to Sonos, the WAND Series is sold through the custom integration channel as well as online direct to consumers, at Crutchfield, Music Direct and rivaaudio.com.
“We have designed and engineered wireless speakers to stream audio so clear you can hear the future,” says Rikki Farr, founder and chief creative officer, RIVA Audio. Farr relied on his background as a famed concert promoter for the likes of Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and even the early Beatles.
Farr started RIVA because he felt like all the other wireless audio systems sounded like “an elephant’s fart.”
The WAND Series has Chromecast built-in and integrates with the Google Home app. Once connected, users can simply pull up their music library or open a favorite streaming service. They can use the Google Home app to create zones and stream different music throughout the home or business.
The RIVA WAND app offers advanced features including custom listening modes and playback from local music sources such as USB, AUX and optical inputs.
RIVA’s patented audio technology Trillium that helps re-create the live audio experience by using three discrete channels to create stereophonic sound much larger than the actual speaker size. Trillium enlarges the audio image while allowing the signal power of the audio to be reproduced without perceptible compression.
The speaker also has custom-built ADX drivers to produce immersive sound with deep, powerful bass. The ARENA and FESTIVAL speakers are Hi-Res Audio compatible as well, playing music files up to 24-bit/192kHz resolutions. Audio Codecs supported include: MP3, ALAC, APE, FLAC, FLAC HD, HLS, WMA Streaming, RTSP and PCM/WAV.
Open Architecture Speakers
In addition to sound quality, RIVA’s WAND series is designed with an open architecture to help differentiate itself further from Sonos.
Unlike most wireless speakers, WAND offers multiple connectivity options, from a single direct connection to a whole-environment wireless networked audio system that can simultaneously stream to up to 30 devices without acoustic latency.
Users can listen to high-resolution music, networked digital music files, podcasts, YouTube channels, or music services like Spotify and Pandora through multiple connectivity options including Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect, Wi-Fi, AirPlay, DLNA, and Bluetooth.
RIVA’s WAND series Wi-Fi is dual band, supporting both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks for greater robustness and reliability against interference.
The Arena and Festival speakers’ Away Mode offers the ability to create an ad hoc network when no Wi-Fi is available. Arena uses three full-range custom ADX drivers with three passive radiators to create up to 101dB of sound. Festival drives six custom ADX woofers and tweeters coupled with four passive radiators to produce up to 106dB of output without dynamic range compression, while bass plays down to 38Hz.
Both speakers will be available in black with a titanium grille, or white with a silver grille. The Arena will sell for $249 and Festival for $499. The Arena battery pack will be available in black or white and will sell for $99.
It will be interesting to see if RIVA can make a dent in Sonos' dominance in the channel.
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]
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