Riva has had a phenomenal success rate. In a remarkably short time, the company has had hit after hit, first with its highly portable Turbo models (we tested the Turbo X in Issue 133) and now with its models in the WAND system, such as the Arena (which we also tested, in Issue 151). The Festival is the company’s biggest model to date. It’s also the first that doesn’t support a battery, either built-in as standard or as an add-on option.
Like the Arena before it, the Festival is part of Riva’s WAND system, although the subwoofer suggested to accompany both products never materialised. The only option for the Festival now is a pedestal stand. Not that it’s necessary; the Riva Festival is a large loudspeaker perfectly designed for non-audiophile set-ups on tabletops and furniture. Its wide, curved style and top panel controls don’t lend themselves to sitting on a pedestal (it looks top-heavy). However, unlike many of its contemporaries, it has passive radiators firing to the rear (the drive units ‘proper’ fire to the front and sides of the speaker). This means it is best used slightly away from the wall and free from side-wall distractions and interactions. It’s not a free-space design, however, and can benefit from some boundary reinforcement. The installation process does not include any room correction or adjustment.
Like the other models from the brand, the Festival uses Riva’s patented Trillium DSP system to create a stereo sound from a single loudspeaker. And, like the Arena, the Festival can play music files of support up to 24bit, 192kHz resolution. Festival has an inbuilt Chromecast device and an ‘away’ mode, allowing a multiple network of loudspeakers without an available Wi-Fi network.
Chromecast also allows you to access the WAND devices through a range of different options. If you have a smartphone, through one of about a dozen apps. If you have an Android phone, make that about two dozen apps. But the concept is the same; download Google Home and Riva’s WAND apps, connect the speaker to your Wi-Fi network using Google Home apps, the Festival will automatically update its software (should it need to), and then either ‘cast’ music to the speaker, or use AirPlay, or Spotify Connect to create your musical library. You can’t connect the Festival to a home music network unless you route that music through a Chromecast compatible app. I’d go further; don’t even think about using the Festival unless you are willing to join one of the compatible music provider services: Spotify. Riva recommends an initial three-hour run in before playing music at higher volumes, and this is probably a good idea. Not that the sound will necessarily improve over the three hours, but it means if anything shakes loose, it’s likely to do that in those first few hours, and it’s best to do that at sub-cone-frying levels.