The Riva Turbo X does not provide and does not need tone controls, per se, as it offers a naturally warm, full-bodied sound that generally seems bigger, more expansive, and plays more loudly (without apparent strain) than seems possible for such a compact device. Granted, the Turbo X does not have much in the way of low bass or even mid-bass, but the bass that is present seems to make up in punch and gusto what it may lack in sheer depth. Riva’s manual includes a room placement guide that shows how various room positions can be used to help give the Turbo X welcome touches of natural bass reinforcement. To give you some idea of how effective Riva’s design really is, let me mention that my wife, upon hearing the Turbo X for the first time, said without any prompting from me, “How did they get something that size to produce such realistic bass? How is that even possible?”
The Turbo mode, as I mentioned above, is fun for those moments where you want to ‘put the pedal to the metal’, or for moments when you want to use the Turbo X as the sole sound source in a medium to large-sized room. Those who require moderately high output levels in order to feel their music is delivered with an appropriately ‘big’ sound will be very glad the Turbo mode is available. One ballyhoo detail worth noting is that whenever the Turbo mode is engaged, the speaker emits a fierce ‘engine revving’ noise that sounds like somebody has just blipped the throttle on an F1 car (this detail is sort of a love-it-or-don’t feature, but you’ve got to admit it is colourful).
In passing, I should also mention that apart from 'voicing' in the audiophile sense of the word, the Turbo X also has an announcer's voice (actually, a woman's voice speaking in a charming British accent) that advises when various functions are switched on. For example, when first engaging the Trillium Surround mode, our lady of the Turbo X simply says, "Surround", and so on.
To my way of thinking, however, the real pièce de résistance is the Turbo X's Trillium Surround mode. While many Bluetooth speakers claim to provide some sort of 'surround’ mode, my experience has been that these are more often than not glitzy, over-hyped special effects that don’t in any way sound natural or realistic. The Turbo X Trillium Surround Mode, however, is different. Trillium Surround really does open up spacious—but never flashy or ostentatious—soundstages that enable this compact, single-box speaker to image in much the same way that a good, entry-level stereo system would do. This, I think, is a pretty impressive achievement for a box that is only 230mm wide. In short, Trillium Surround is the icing on the sonic cake: it enhances everything else the Turbo X already does right, giving the speaker a more sophisticated sound overall.
Basically, you have here a clever, convenient, and compact device that, although smaller than a full-size box of facial tissues, sounds more then a little bit like a decent entry-level hi-fi system, but at a fraction of the size and cost. Seriously, what more could you ask for less than $350/£300?
For anyone seeking that initial first taste of serious sound for not a lot of money (or space, or complexity), Riva’s Turbo X offers a brilliant solution—one that makes a terrific ‘starting point’ on the journey toward audio excellence.
Readers: Please let us know if you enjoyed reading this ‘Starting Point’ blog and if you would find it useful/entertaining for us to include more ‘Starting Point’ articles in the future. Until next time, Happy Listening.