NAMM 2023: Fender has expanded its home audio and guitar amp lineups in one fell swoop with the release of the RIFF, a super-portable Bluetooth speaker that you can take anywhere, and should inspiration arise, you can plug in your instrument.
The RIFF will take a signal from an electric guitar or bass guitar. It is not fussy. And it can be added to that growing list of desktop amps that require a second look as to determine whether you want to stream a podcast to it or plug in your Stratocaster for a mid-afternoon stroll through Little Wing.
Again, why not do both? As you can see from the pictures, the RIFF has definitely got that contemporary home audio aesthetic going on, which is to say it is too cool for foosty old things such as knobs and buttons.
Instead, Fender has integrated all the controls on a very clean looking maple interface on the top of the unit. Treble, Bass and Volume controls are denoted on three lines, slide your finger along the ridges of the interface to adjust the EQ or volume.
The RIFF is packing 60-watts, and while it looks like it might be a simple speaker setup, there are really six custom-tuned drivers secreted behind the black grille cloth. Around the back of the unit you’ll find a 1/4” input for your instrument, the on/off switch, a 3.5mm aux input, and a USB-C charging port. At full charge you will get about 26 to 30 hours of wireless playback. And there’s an aux-in cable included with the speaker.
This being 2023 and all, it won’t surprise you to learn that the RIFF will auto-EQ itself to whatever room you have it in, simply download the accompanying smartphone app and it’ll do the necessary. It also fits within the wider digital eco-system Fender is creating; you can pair it with your Mustang Micro for more tone-shaping options.
Finally, there’s a party mode to make the decibel limiter nervous; in this mode you can connect it with up to 100 RIFF speakers. Just the thing for that Little Wing matinee performance…
The speaker ships with a carry strap, and it is designed to be dust and splash proof. It is also designed to confuse significant others and flatmates that it is just a nicely designed little home audio speaker, so this could well be the practice amp option we can keep in the living room 24/7. The Riff is priced £429 / $469, and it is available now. See Fender for more details.