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Riva Audio Demos New WAND-Series Audio System At CEDIA

Riva Audio formally introduced its Riva WAND (Wireless Audio Network Design) multi-space audio system on Day 1 of CEDIA, highlighting the system’s sonic quality and affordable pricing to the CEDIA press corps.

The first two WAND products, the compact portable Arena and the tabletop model Festival, incorporate Riva’s Trillium audio technology, which up-mixes 2.1-channel stereo into 3-channel output through a single speaker emulating a left-right speaker.

Both support Hi-Res Audio allowing streaming sources including Google Cast, Spotify Connect, AirPlay, YouTube and many others as well as open architecture to stream via Wi-Fi, DLNA, DDMS, Airplay and Bluetooth sources.

Up to 32 speakers can be linked in network mode. The free Riva WAND app automatically sets up the system and can create zones, controls stream sources and allows system control via voice commands. The system does not require the app to control playback, allowing use of third-party apps.

Riva president David North said enhancements to the WAND system, including third-party voice assistant integration and smart home system compatibilities will be roll out early next year through firmware updates.

In ad hoc mode, the Arena speaker, which are splash-resistant and can be outfitted with an optional 16-hour battery pack, can be networked for multi-zone sound. It also includes charge out for smartphones and tablets.

The Arena boasts three full-range custom ADX drivers with three passive radiators for up to 101dB of output. The Festival drives 6 custom ADX woofers and tweeters coupled with four passive radiators to for up to 106dB without dynamic range compression, while bass plays down to 38Hz.

Codecs supported include: MP3, ALAC, APE, FLAC, FLAC HD, HLS, WMA Streaming, Shoutcast Streaming, RTSP and PCM/WAV.

Pricing was announced, with the Arena retailing for $249 and $99 for the battery pack. The Festival, with a component-like wood enclosure, will retail for $499. Availability will be in Q4.

The company is planning an extension to the WAND line in early 2017 including a home theater soundbar, a subwoofer and a standalone central control hub.

Riva founder, the legendary rock music producer Rikki Farr, could not attend the show due to a knee injury, but appeared in a video excerpt at the press conference, a clip which will air as part of PBS’s American Voices series.

Farr, who helped engineer classic records by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Who, among many others, said he was inspired to start a speaker company while visiting his daughter who was listening to Pink Floyd from a digital source. “I was in the room when that music was recorded and the sound of the playback on my daughter’s speakers was terrible. The treble was overdone, tamping down the rich vocals, and the bass sounded like an elephant fart. I wasn’t angry, I was inspired.”

Riva has been developing audio products for 3.5 years.