Riviera Levante integrated amplifier Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Hybrid (tube-BJT-MOSFET) stereo integrated amplifier with no global feedback, output switchable between class-A and class-AB. Analog inputs: 1 pair balanced (XLR), 4 pair unbalanced (RCA). Outputs: 1 pair 3-way loudspeaker binding posts; one ¼" (6.3mm) unbalanced headphone output. Output power: 30Wpc into 8 ohms (14.8dBW) in class-A, 120Wpc into 8 ohms (20.8dBW) in class-AB, 200Wpc into 4 ohms (20dBW).
Dimensions: 17.3" (440mm) W × 5.1" (195mm) H × 19.3" (490mm) D. Weight: 66lb (30kg).
Finish: Metallic Sand Gloss/Gold or Dark Titanium/Silver.
Serial number of unit reviewed: LEV DM0109. "Made in Italy."
Price: $16,500. Approximate number of US dealers: 10. Warranty: 3 years, parts and labor.
Manufacturer: Riviera Audio Laboratories s.r.l., Italy. Web: rivieralabs.com. US distributor: Tone Imports Tel: (646) 425-7800. Web: toneimports.com

Riviera Audio Laboratories s.r.l.
US distributor: Tone Imports
(646) 425-7800

georgehifi's picture

"Quote: This input stage is polarized not to be a perfect push-pull but to have the distortion shape of the ear"

I'd love to see how that distortion shape of the ear was measured?

Cheers George

Jack L's picture


Me too. I'm very interested to know how our ears are measured.

IMO, it is either the amp maker's trade SECRET or simply trumpet-blowing
sales pitch !

For $16,500, only JJ or Russian Mullard triodes are provided. Profiteering here goes ! Give us consumers a break, please.

Even my humble home-brew phono-preamp, I purposely used Mullard ECC82 made in U.K. for the linestage. U.K. Mullards sound better than another other makes, IMO.

Jack L

Herb Reichert's picture

Google that question?



Charles E Flynn's picture


You are all familiar with the skull and crossbones graphic used to denote poisons on product labels.

Your assignment, should you decide to accept it, is to design a graphic suitable for use in the reviews of audio products that indicates that the highly-experienced John Atkinson has determined that an amplifier has a "distinctive sonic character" or a loudspeaker has a "'tailored' frequency response in the treble".

Should you choose not to participate in this challenge, which your faculty acknowledges involves unusual subtlety, it will have no effect on your grade.

johnnythunder1's picture

it is imported by Tone Imports. Luscious sound and gorgeous design. Italian audio equipment is always interesting to look at and to listen to. Romantic and euphonic. Sometimes the design is excessive and a little "Gucci" but other times just beautiful like a handmade instrument.

JRT's picture

On this non-inexpensive ($16.5k) integrated amplifier, I don't much like the seemingly low budget amateurish design aesthetics. The front panel design is an inconsistent hodgepodge of text fonts, sizes, directions of orientation and marking methods on a panel with a disorganized haphazard layout of the control switchgear. The industrial design aesthetics matter, and since they obviously lack enough talent in that, they should hire or rent a skilled professional industrial design consultant. There is certainly no shortage of that talent in Italy.

Also, integrated amplifiers are a bundle of compromises. While integration does reduce manufacturing costs and simplifies consumer's system design and space claim, it comes at the expense of a major reduction in system design flexibility, reduced optimization to the requirements of a specific application, and with greatly reduced long term reliability.

Expanding on the point of reduced system reliability, consider that once this device is out of production, out of warranty, and suffering obsolescence in the internal monolithic integrated electronic components (especially in the control subsystem), when an important functionality eventually fails the entire unit becomes trash, dumpster fodder. With separates, a failed subsystem component can be replaced or upgraded when and if it fails and cannot be repaired, and only that small fraction of the whole system becomes dumpster fodder.

In comparison to this integrated amplifier, some very good separate components can be had within similar $16.5k budget.

For example, look at the US made Schiit Freya plus for $949, which includes relay switched resistor network stepped attenuation. In addition to the balanced inputs, the unit also converts single ended inputs to a differential throughput and balanced output. It includes quiet low distortion solid state gain stages and a bypassable/defeatable pair of circlotron tube stages using 6AS7 dual triodes. That allows for a choice of either clean gain or bypassable added tube based euphonic distortion effects, as desired for different various program material.

Maybe add a pair of US made Benchmark AHB2 amplifiers configured as bridged monoblocks at $3k each for high purity gain and balanced inputs.

You could also add a Schiit Modi 3E external DAC for $129, and a short pair of well made inexpensive nonesoteric low capacitance single ended interconnects (eg. under $40 for the pair of 18 inch interconnects from Blue Jeans Cable).

Also add a couple of balanced audio cables consisting of some non-esoteric and moderately priced well made low capacitance shielded twisted pair or StarQuad terminated with XLR connectors. Maybe take advantage of the low noise balanced interconnection by locatimg the amplifiers adjacent to the loudspeakers, allowing use of short loudspeaker cables. With balanced interconnection, there is no need to locate the front end near the amplifiers.

Sum total is well under half of the $16.5k budget with less noise, lower distortion (when not using tube based stages), and with use of separates providing flexibility of system modularity and with that improved reliability via the possibility of future replacement or upgrade of the separate components.

The balance of the budget could buy better loudspeakers and/or better subwoofers and/or a couple of PSI Audio AVA C20 active bass traps and/or passive room acoustics treatments. ...things that matter significantly in playback system performance.

johnnythunder1's picture

tells you how to build a watch. thank you for the filibuster reply to a simple comment about a well reviewed product (by a reviewer who's ears I trust.) I'm happy that you love Benchmark audio products. Personally I think they look like power supplies for welding or medical equipment. I'm sure they give you a lot for your money and give you musical pleasure. Thanks for telling me how we all should think and feel about reproduced music.

MatthewT's picture

"Stop liking what I don't like."

johnnythunder1's picture

that was awesome !

Govna's picture

The measurement mafia is sharpening their knives ;)

Not surprisingly Michael Lavorgna gushed over this amp as well. Look forward to hearing one.

tonykaz's picture

It sure is pretty.

It could sit nearby the LazyBoy, warming the heart, with it's Chrome & Gold.

but so could a pair of gorgeous Woo Fireflys which probably look better. ( to my vintage taste )

I'd like to see some assurances that the Silk-Screening on the Front panel will survive usage considering todays environmental limitations banning old school enamels in favour of water based inks. A safe route would have the panel laser etched instead of printed .

I'd like to discover and learn what System the Manufacturer intended for revealing this device's full potential ! ( not that I'd purchase , hmm )

Tony in Florida

JRT's picture

...is available in black, white, and various other colors, exhibits good permanency, and is well suited to applications such as silk screened printing on the front face of control panels, in filling milled or deeply engraved markings, and in ink stamping reference designations and item identifications on other surfaces.

tonykaz's picture

This stuff is pricy compared to standard Nazdar Solvent based Inks. ( x4 )

It still is Solvent based and they do promise good adhesion.

It looks like the front panel is Silk Screened which has me thinking that epoxy setup/curing would ruin the screen so batch printing involves shooting a new screen.

We have laser etchers now-a-days, at the price of this device I'd think they'd etch instead of print.

I've had the letters fall/wear off touch panels. ( funny tape labels end up on the fronts )

We could call the Manufacturer in Italy, presume English is spoken but I'd bet their Chassis provider doesn't know what ink is used or how well it's applied.

Tony in Florida

LarryRS's picture

Herb wrote: "but in the higher audiophile ranks, this type of amplifier is not common. Besides the Rogue, the only other hybrid in Stereophile's Recommended Components is the $93k/pair Ypsilon Hyperion Monoblock." The Lamm Industries M1.2 Monoblocks, PS Audio BHK Signature 300 Monoblocks and PS Audio Stellar M1200 Monobocks are also on the Recommended Components list.

Herb Reichert's picture

for the big 'catch' . . .

Now I must call Paul and Vladimir and beg forgiveness.

all hail the hybrid !


LarryRS's picture

Probably Bascom too, though Paul I'm sure can pass it along.

Glotz's picture

I miss those amps and pre's... sigh.

donnedonne's picture

Herb - Great review as always. I own and love one of these. The option to fine-tune through a couple of relatively cheap tubes is a fun feature. Seems like new-production Russian Mullards were used in the review - I'd love to try some NOS British ones.

Might be fun to read a follow-up by one of the folks who have reviewed Lamm. The Lamm gear is (even) more expensive, but it's interesting that the brains and ears behind Lamm and Riviera have seemingly similar listening/measurement theories.


Glotz's picture

Novel design and well implemented.

Glotz's picture

After this and JVS' newest darTZeel reviews, I remain convinced they are the best delivery methods.

SteveM324's picture

I really like hybrid amps and I owned a Counterpoint SA220 back around 1994 and used it to power Apogee Centaur Major speakers. I have a hybrid Audio By Van Alstine 600R power amp that uses 2 12AT7 tubes and it has a MOSFET output stage that provides 300 w/Ch. I didn't like the stock JJ tubes in this amp so I replaced them with NOS Mullard 4024 tubes. This amp is a great value at $3500. Stereophile should review Audio By Van Alstine products. TAS reviews AVA products and the 600R and the FET Valve CF preamp are on their recommended list. Since Stereophile reviews other direct from manufacturer products such as Tekton speakers, they should start reviewing AVA products. I'm not affiliated with AVA in any way. Maybe I'm unaware of the history of AVA and Stereophile. Steve Guttenberg reviewed one of their least expensive 60 w/Ch amps recently and raved about it.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Several products ago, I reviewed a 176 lb. stereo amplifier. Now a friend and I just tried to install a 90 lb. component, only to discover that it's 1/2" too wide for my rack. Art Dudley, please shine a bit of your light on this poor acolyte. As you do, please remember how much you are missed.