RIVA Central Works with All Speakers

RIVA Audio has a great back story. Like a terrific, rock-and-roll, party-all-night back story. And the company’s WAND (Wireless Audio Network Design) series of speakers have gotten solid reviews for terrific sound design. (But don’t take my word for it. Read Sound & Vision editor-in-chief Rob Sabin’s full WAND review here. ) However the initial WAND series was limited to just two products, the Arena and Festival. This is great if you wanted to scatter desktop speakers around your home, but not so great if you wanted to enjoy great sounding tunes using your own speakers. RIVA has heard your cries and come to your aid! Meet the CENTRAL!

This latest member of the WAND family includes all the great features of its standalone siblings, namely Chromecast built-in, Spotify Connect, AirPlay, Bluetooth, DLNA, and Wi-Fi streaming. This lets you enjoy your favorite music however you want, without needing to learn a new app. It also retains the analog and Toslink optical inputs for connecting other sources, as well as a USB connection for easily adding a flash drive full of tunes or charging a device. And, as you’d expect from a company so concerned with sound quality, the CENTRAL handles high-res audio files up to 24-bit/192kHz.

However the CENTRAL differentiates itself by including a 55-watt per-channel (4 ohms) class-D power amplifier for connecting any existing pair of passive loudspeakers. Bookshelf, towers, in-wall, in-ceiling, the CENTRAL doesn’t care! And because it is stable to 4 ohms, it can drive two pair of speakers for room filling sound.

The CENTRAL also features both analog and Toslink digital outputs, letting you connect additional sources and also send the signal to an outboard amplifier or AV receiver. RIVA smartly included a 12-volt trigger to power on a remote amp, as well as a subwoofer out if you need to add some deeper low end.

The CENTRAL is expected to join the WAND family in March for $399. RIVA also demonstrated several existing additional products in its private suite which will really round-out the line-up, but the company was not ready for these to receive primetime attention…yet! Stay tuned for exciting new developments around CEDIA.