The audio market is filled with different audio manufacturers, styles, sounds, and customers. While this creates a lot of competition to be one of the best, it also makes for some interesting products.

One thing that is consistent throughout all audio products is their ability to take an electronic signal and convert it to a wave length for your ears to hear. Virtually any sound from any game, movie, video, or song can be produced on nearly all audio equipment, so what makes one better over the other?

Audio manufacturers have all tried to advertise their own special way of reproducing sound, but what it really comes down to is the type of speakers and how they are used.

The brand ADX Audio may not mean much unless you’re an audiophile, but they are one of the larger audio partners to some of the biggest names in audio like Vizio, Westinghouse, Monster, and a few others like Riva Audio.

Riva Audio is another brand you may not have heard of and that is because they’re a newer entry into this crowded market and have entered with only two products. Their objective in this market seems simple and their idea is to create quality products focused towards the high paying customer. The company even quotes Steve Job’s carpenter analogy.

Known officially as the RIVA Turbo X, Riva’s entry product brings to the market a portable battery powered speaker that has enough power and strength to fill an entire room with music. Matched with an admirable design, this is a speaker that cannot easily be ignored.

Welcome to my review of the Riva Audio Turbo X. Throughout this in-depth review, I will discuss the following topics: the design, functionality, and my final thoughts. A special thank you to Riva for providing the Turbo X.


Beginning with the body of the Turbo X, we find an all-black body that is wrapped in a metal speaker grill and sandwiched between two glossy top pieces.

The exterior of the Turbo X contains two red rubber foot pads to keep the unit stable, rear I/O ports, and a center-topped control interface. The rear I/O ports on the Turbo X from left to right contain a 3.5mm AUX-in, MicroUSB data-in, power button, a full sized USB port for phone charging, 19V DC-in for power, and a battery icon that glows green or orange for full or charging status. Furthermore, when the ports are not in use, the Turbo X comes with a dust proof cover for those I/O ports and this also doubles as an additional slip pad on the bottom of the unit.

Located on top of the Turbo X are the capacitive buttons for power, surround, Bluetooth, mute, volume control, and turbo mode. These buttons glow blue to symbolize their active status and to use the capacitive buttons, the Turbo X uses proximity sensors to detect your hand.

Moving inside the unit, you will discover three 60mm front facing speakers and two side speakers for surround mode with two additional speakers for bass. All seven speakers are created by ADX. To give the best sound, the bass is located in the center of the unit.

With a length of 9.1 inches (230mm), width of 3.5 inches (89mm), and height measuring at 4.1 inches (105mm) the Turbo X is a large portable speaker and at a weight of 3 pounds (1.3kg), it won’t easily slip into a bag. However, don’t let its poor portability let your interest fade so quickly as the body is constructed out of an all metal and is very resistant to damage, but there are limits, so avoid dropping it.

For those who intend to travel, Riva offers an accessory travel bag that is one of the best I’ve ever seen. The outside of the case is constructed from nylon and uses zippers to close the rear and front pouches. Inside the pouches is a velvet material that will surely protect anything you put inside and since this case is designed for the Turbo X, it fits like a glove. To carry it, the top of the case has a handle that is even padded for your comfort.


Riva is the first audio manufacturer I’ve run into that warns users that the speakers need a break-in period before blasting at maximum volume. With nothing higher than 50% volume for 36 hours, that is exactly what I did.

The Turbo X’s main connectivity is via a Bluetooth connection and with a single tap of the top Bluetooth button, the Turbo X quickly enters pairing mode for your device to connect. With a maximum connection list of five devices, the sixth Bluetooth connection will delete number one and so on. The other connectivity option comes from the rear 3.5mm AUX jack.

Riva chose to partner with Apple and when pairing the Turbo X you may see a popup icon asking to download the Turbo X Apple application. With the application also available on Android, Riva’s Bluetooth application gives you control over volume, music modes, settings, and battery information. In all honestly, after two minutes of using the application, I uninstalled it; not because it was bad or poorly designed, but because I can easily access all of the above via the controls on top of the Turbo X.

The user manual of the Turbo X shows a helpful diagram where you can see the best location for the Turbo X when set down in a room. I chose for option B and placed it against a wall and facing the center of the room.

After setup was complete, I loaded up my favorite rock and roll tunes from AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and others and enjoyed the tunes. First I played the Turbo X on its basic music playback mode and while that sounds exceptional, it is the surround mode that brings the Turbo X to life.

Surround mode enables the side speakers and begins to push music out at every angle and pushes the right/left audio sounds to their associated speakers, rather than making the front speakers do all the work. The large front facing speakers are powerful and begin to rock out the room, even at lower volume.

Then, when your favorite song comes up on the playlist, the Turbo X contains a Turbo mode which enables an equalizer to boost the sounds from 75dB to 100dB. All seven speakers begin to push out sound at maximum power and the music is significantly louder, yet still clear and understandable, not tinny as some speakers are at maximum volume.

There is one downside to the Turbo Mode and that is the annoying “engine roaring” sound that is activated when Turbo Mode is selected. Whether you’re in the middle of a movie or song and activate the Turbo Mode, the speakers play a computer generated car engine roaring sound. This is cool for the first or second time, but after that it becomes annoying and even laughable and it cannot be disabled.

Riva states on their product page that they use a sound enhancement technology they call Trillium. Think of this as an equalizer that adjusts the sound to better suit the tunes. By adjusting the bass, lows, mids, and highs, the Turbo X provides a more real and immersive sound. Even when compared to my Vizio sound bar , the Turbo X sounds closer to real life and more distinctive.

When listening on all of the modes, I found that the surround mode gave the best results and turbo mode was saved for special songs or when the party was really getting active. Moreover, when watching a movie the sounds were excellent and I could even see the Turbo X become a replacement music system for my home living entertainment system.

Voices, musical instruments, and more sounded well and pleasing to the ears in the room. One thing I was fond of was playing music on low volume to provide a pleasing all-day music background effect.

Other features on the Turbo X include a USB charging port for your phone that will sacrifice its own ~25 hour long battery life to charge your phone. Furthermore, the Turbo X contains two top mounted microphones that allows for hands-free calling.

Finally, Riva claims the Turbo X is weatherproof when the rear I/O cover is in place and while I would believe the speaker could withstand the typical splash, I’d be wary of exposing it to a rain storm.

My Final Thoughts

All-in-all, the Riva Turbo X is an outstanding speaker that can be used in the living room or be used on your traveling endeavors. Priced at $349.99 and the travel bag being $29.99 extra, it isn’t going to be an impulse purchase. The Turbo X brought me hours’ worth of enjoyment and I can easily say that this speaker will not disappoint you. With audio roots from ADX Audio and a dedicated team, the Riva brand has a bright future in the audio market.

© 2015 Justin Vendette