Starting Points: Riva Turbo X Bluetooth loudspeaker

ADX/Riva Turbo X


The marketing and design team behind Riva is a firm called Audio Design Experts, Inc., or ADX for short, which is headed by the charismatic rock’n’roll impresario-turned-audio-entrepreneur Rikki Farr. Farr has numerous gold records to his credit, is on a first-name basis with many members of British and American rock’n’roll ‘royalty’, and was, at one point, manager of the Byrds. But these days Farr serves as the Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of ADX—a role he plainly enjoys. But apart from his sheer enthusiasm, what I believe Farr really brings to the party is a keen, intuitive sense for the factors that make for an uplifting and engaging sound—the sort of sound that essentially bypasses the usual high-end audio ‘checklist of virtues’ to appeal to the listener instead on a more direct, visceral, and emotional level.

Helping to bring Farr’s product ideas to fruition is ADX’s President and Chief Engineer, Donald North, whose has played a huge role in shaping not only the Riva Turbo X’s core amplification, driver technology, and user interface elements, but also the two very cool sound processing modes that do so much to give the Turbo X its distinctive voice. Together, Farr and North wanted the Turbo X to be everything any good Bluetooth speaker should be (small, cool-looking, affordable, and easy and fun to use), but also something more. They wanted the Turbo X to be good enough that, for many listeners, it would offer sufficient sound quality to stand in place of a more complicated entry-level music or A/V sound system. If you’re thinking that’s probably too tall an order for any Bluetooth speaker to fill, you aren’t alone. Nevertheless, when I heard the Turbo X in action at the SoCal CanJam 2015 event, its unexpectedly rich, full-bodied, dynamically energetic, and astonishingly three-dimensional sound the left me and many other listeners surprised and impressed.

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