SIVGA - Official Thread

SIVGA is a Chinese company located in Dongguan, China. Their main focus is on creating wooden earphones and headphones. Wood is what I’d consider their “trademark”.
Many are familiar with their planar-magnetic headphone - the SIVGA P-II. They offer products in all price ranges, ranging from the budget-friendly products, all the way to mid-fi and Hi-Fi headphones.

Avoiding the usual absence of quality in the (bad) Chinese audio products, Sivga creates very budget-friendly, yet flaw-free products. You will not find flaws or QC (Quality Control) issues even in their entry and budget products (at least I didn’t).

I want to create an official thread for everybody to be open to share their thoughts about any products from the company. I think it’s worth paying attention to their products, as though they offer some really nice headphones.

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I have some SIVGA 004’s rebadged as KLH Ultimate Ones. They sound good, and look good. Got them for around the same price of the SIVGA ordering them 2nd hand. I wouldn’t pay the MSRP for those when you can get 2-3 SIVGA phones for the price of one KLH.

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I’ll be posting my review of the SV004 here. I’m just waiting for Mr. Andrew to create a thread for the SV004. I could post it here, but not sure if it’s the right place to post it at.

Actually SV004 sounds pretty damn well for 90 bucks. I’d say that the SV007 looks much more like the KLH, but I would’ve never though of the similarity. As said, the quality control is amazing, as though everything is very precise. Not. A. Single. Flaw. At 90 bucks there are no flaws, I am so happy to see that!

The accessories and everything… I mean it’s a pretty good package for 90 bucks.

300 bucks is a very good price point, it’s a crowded price point. I don’t know how well KLH keeps up with other great options at that price range. Though, I have to say that KLH did a very nice marketing job and presentation for the Ultimate One

I look forward to your review. You do get a lot of bang for the buck with the SIVGA, and the KLH, however they were derived are absolutely gorgeous and sound great!

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While I’m waiting for the official model page, I’ll just post it here - The SIVGA SV004 review:


Wood, nice big carrying case, semi-open, budget? That’s Sivga - a rising brand which originates from China. Many are familiar with Sivga because of their flagship P-II planar magnetic headphone. Some may associate their company with Blon or SendyAudio, they share similar design. SV004 is an entry-level headphone which they offer, but it is much more than your average budget headphone set.

Unboxing expereince -

One thing which I didn’t expect from a budget set was an unboxing experience which SIVGA offered. Well designed packaging which meets the standard of the mainstream product packaging, like the one you would find on Sony, Bose, or other well-known companies. Well not quite on the exact level, since those companies actually provide some kind of story or marketing text which will catch your attention. Either way, when you take the “sleeve” off, you will find a hard cardboard box which has the “SIVGA” logo in a silver finish on the front. This box has a magnet-flap system, it doesn’t feature any text, and once you open it you will finally find the carrying case which holds the actual headphones and its accessories. So overall, for a sub-200 USD product, the SV004 has very good packaging and has a pretty well rounded off presentation.

Accessories -

You don’t usually expect any accessories in the sub-200 USD price range, however I was actually pleasantly surprised to find “plenty” of accessories with the SV004. Two cables? C’mon, you don’t see two cables even with some 300 USD products. I was truly pleasantly surprised when I saw that you have one cable with a mic (1,2m long), and another non-mic 2m long cable, which also has a screw-on system for a 6.3mm adapter (which is included). I can say that both cables are flexible, although the 2m one is more flexible.
You also get an airplane adapter. You can use this adapter, well….in airplanes, for those who don’t know, you can use this adapter in in-flight entertainment systems so you can watch movies, or listen to music. I don’t know about you, but if you ask me, SIVGA did an impressively good job with both the packaging and accessories. Two braided cables, one shorter + mic, the other longer + ready for 6.3mm adapter… and you get a 6.3mm adapter + airplane adapter. You also get a large hard carrying case, almost forgot to mention it. It’s not rock solid, but it is a handy case to store your headphones and accessories in, a very simple and functional case.

What’s in the box -

Let’s put it in a formal format:

1x 1,2m braided cable with a microphone (and volume buttons)
1x 2m braided cable which has a screw-on system for the 6.3mm adapter
1x canvas pouch (carrying pouch for the cables and adapters)
1x 6.3mm adapter
1x airplane adapter
1x cable tie

Build quality -

Again, another field where I was actually pleasantly surprised. At this price point, you will very often see some flaws or Quality Control (QC), with the SV004 I couldn’t find a single part where I could say there has been a mistake or a flaw. You will find major or minor flaws even in the mainstream market, which goes beyond this price point, that is the reason why I appreciate this aspect so much. The SV004 has wooden cups, which is always appreciated, and it has several metal/aluminum parts. The overall construction of this headphone is phenomenal for its price, I am not even exaggerating it. This budget model has a metal grill and an aluminum ring which surrounds it, and the whole headphone construction is made out of metal (I believe it’s aluminum). What do I mean by “the whole headphone”? Everything besides: the headphone cups, the headband, the ear-cups and the cable itself is made of metal. And it’s high quality construction, I really am happy to see that the housing for the headphone jack is made out of metal, it’s very nice to see at this price point. Yes, there might be a plastic part here and there, like on the inner side of the piece which holds the ear-cups.

Overall it’s a fairly solid headphone, and the headband is nicely padded and soft. Both the ear-cups and the headband are made of faux leather. The cables are braided as mentioned previously, I surely prefer braided cables over bad quality rubber ones, but microphonics are a real problem with braided cables. This whole solid construction gives the SV004 a very nice weight, definitely not heavy, but you can feel that the headphone wasn’t made from cheap materials (such as cheap plastic).

Design and design features -

They aren’t a beauty queen, but they aren’t ugly for sure. The wood finish looks very nice, especially when combined with the matte silver metal and semi-shiny black grill. As mentioned in the build quality segment, there aren’t any flaws, I found everything to be precise and precisely fitted, which is something to appreciate. The ear-cups can rotate 180˚ horizontally and vertically, just like a DJ headphone… except they cannot be folded. The movement of the rotation is very smooth and feels very nice! You can also adjust the height with 11 firm steps, this allows you to comfortable adjust the headphone to your head. There isn’t much besides that, except the screw-on system on the 2m braided cable, and the in-line volume control on the 1.2m cable. Although some people spread the misconception that one cable is balanced, I will confirm that both cables are single-ended (3.5mm). Another part which I want to clarify; both the ear-cups and the headband are made of protein leather, also known as “pleather”, this is faux-leather.

Comfort -

The soft headband and ear-pads contribute to good comfort. I personally don’t have large ears, and I found the ear-pads to be almost small for my ears, they would just about catch the end of my ears and be pressed against them. I took the matter into my own hands, and I kinda stretched the ear-pads from the inner (do at your own risk), but I did so carefully, and the problem went away. Besides that, the comfort is very good, you forget they are on your head. Sometimes they get hot if you are using them for awhile, this might be a concern to those in very humid countries. With the height and 180˚ swivel rotation, you can make sure that they are tailored to your head pretty well.

Sound - Clean performance outside of its price range

Lows

The low end of the SV004 is fairly interesting. The 50mm dynamic driver performs in a unique way. The mid bass is pretty balanced, so you will not get much punch and definition from it. However, the sub-bass can rumble.

I did find the sub-bass to be somewhat missing out because of the balanced mid-bass - it took away some weight, but surely if you turn up the SV004 loud enough, they will literally start to rumble and you will feel it all the way around.
As always, this can be noticed in Hans Zimmer’s “Why so Serious?” from mark 3:36.

The balanced mid-bass can be noticed in songs such as Radio Ga Ga, at no specific mark, because the drums are present from the beginning throughout the whole song. However, in songs such as M|O|O|N’s “Hydrogen”, you can hear that the bass has some satisfying punch and weight. But then again… in a song such as Kendrick Lamar’s “Wesley’s Theory” you can feel the lack of weight for the bass present in the song. I personally didn’t find this a big problem, as though I felt the sub frequencies had a satisfying performance, while the mid-bass was balanced and let me focus more on the mid range.

“Paper Trails” by DARKSIDE is a great example to notice the dominance of the sub-frequencies of the SV004, you can feel more than you can hear.

Mids

I didn’t quite expect a fairly neutral sound signature from the SV004, especially considering their price. However, that is exactly how they sounded, fairly neutral, and not overly recessed.

The whole listening experience of Pink Floyd’s album “Wish You Were Here” was very pleasant. I loved the way it revealed details - for example in “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pts. 6-9) at mark 10:16, there is a very subtle distortion (sounds like a blown out speaker rattle) which is panned to the left. It’s a very subtle and fine detail, but I greatly appreciated that the SV004 was able to capture it and reveal it clearly. If you are having a hard time hearing it, you may hear it more clearly from mark 11:25 - 11:30. I did find some vocals or instruments to sound thin at times, this is mainly due to the lack of bottom end.

Highs

The high-range is leaning towards the bright side. While cymbals do sound quite crisp and sharp on the SV004, when it comes to guitar solo’s and some more busy tracks, there is a noticeably amount of fatigue to the sound. I think that the top end is the most noticeable part which was “boosted”. Let’s take Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” as an example. Throughout the majority of the song there is a snare which repeats itself. Here, you can notice that it is forward, and it is leaning to the brighter side. It definitely sticks out of the mix. This can be noticed in several songs, but let’s mention the one song which I always go over: Travis Scott’s “Stopy Trying to Be God”, and Stevie Wonder’s harmonica in it at mark 5:19. While I usually look for sparkle in the top end, perhaps the SV004 has a little bit too much. I say this because it does sound fatiguing, and if you were to listen to music which has a lot of top-range present, I don’t think you would be able to do so for longer periods of time… but again, this depends on the volume you listen to.

Soundstage -
The soundstage is of good size. It’s not as spacious as I like it, but I cannot say that it isn’t wide. Listening to various tracks where this is very noticeable such as: Burial’s “Archangel”, “Letter” or “Bubbles” by Yosi Korikawa, “Hunter” by Björk, Daft Punk’s “Giorgo by Moroder”. There aren’t any specific moments in these songs which I would like to reference, as a whole they are very spacious and good to hear imaging.

Conclusion -

I have to say I’m impressed. I’m not going to sit here and focus on the small imperfections… We are talking about a $90 headphone. At $90, these are amazing. I have to say that when you consider the packaging/unboxing experience, the accessories, the build quality… I mean wood, and mostly metal/aluminum construction? Yes. The sound quality which is mostly neutral and balanced, even though it has some imperfections, I really did enjoy listening to music. I think the SV004 offers much more than what you would usually see in the mainstream market at this price point. The SV004 as a package is a great deal, especially if you are just looking for an entry-point pair of headphones to carry with you, it’s a great package. This being said, I can say that I can recommend the SV004, I personally enjoyed it. While they won’t satisfy the bass heads, they are perfect for those who enjoy a variety of music. I liked several genres with the SV004: pop, rock, alternative rock, hip hop, and even some techno tracks.

I also want to put extra emphasis that they had absolutely no flaws. Everything was perfect in terms of build quality. Sivga also stayed very close to its marketing, the sound was mostly balanced, although not soft. The SV004 give a very serious performance for its price range, they are of very good value. I am impressed, and am curious what else SIVGA has to offer.

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Here is my review of the flagship dynamic - the Phoenix

Sivga is no stranger to make good headphones at a great value, and they did not break that tradition with the brand new Phoenix. With the more-mainstream success of their planar-magnetic P-II, Sivga is surely building a name for themselves. I am really hoping to see this company enter the mainstream market. Being a company that is dedicated to details and high quality products (no matter the budget), it was nice to see that they followed the same fashion with their brand-new product. Metal and wood has been the standard that Sivga has followed even with their lowest priced models, we have only gotten an even better construction this time - with the same construction of the headband as the SendyAudio Aiva.

So far we have only seen entry-level and budget dynamic headphones from Sivga, so I was very curious to see their flagship dynamic headphone. The wooden headphone features a 50mm dynamic driver with a polycarbonate diaphragm and neodymium (Nd-Fe-B) magnet. They have a gorgeous (and brand-new) wood finish, Sivga calls it - the Zebra wood.

I have been looking forward to a new release from Sivga ever since I had a very positive experience with the budget-friendly SV004 headphone - a headphone priced under 100 USD that offered flawless build quality, accessories, and a very mature sound performance for the price. Finally seeing a flagship dynamic model is something which we were all very much looking forward to. I am not disappointed, the anticipation was very much worth it.

Unboxing experience

We are met with a sleek and modernly designed box. The box consists of two parts: the top and bottom. The bottom one features the black portion, and the Zebra wood patterned second portion that is angled. The top part (the lid) is black and also at an angle, when the two parts are put together you get a very nice and sleek looking box. The unboxing itself was rather minimalist - only a headphone case is in the box. In the headphone case you get the Phoenix headphones, a carrying pouch, and a cable with a cable tie. Sivga opted for a more simple and minimalist approach for the Phoenix - no fancy accessories or anything. I actually didn’t mind it, I was rather pleasantly blown-away by the headphones themselves. This field is left open for Sivga to explore - something like an extra rubber cable, or extra pair of ear pads could be included as accessories in the future.

What you get in the box in a formal format:

1x Phoenix headphone
1x 3.5mm cable
1x leather carrying case
1x cable tie

Wood. Metal. Precision

Wood & metal are Sivga’s trademark - premium materials present in their lowest priced headphones, all the way up to their flagship models… and even In-Ear Monitors & earphones are constructed from wood. In terms of the headband construction & system, the Phoenix is a step-up from the previous dynamic driver models - a stainless steel construction was implemented for frame (of the headband) combined with a suspension headband system. This frame & headband system may be familiar if you have seen the SendyAudio Aiva, which features the exact same construction. Unlike the SendyAudio Aiva, the Phoenix features a padded headband, much like the one on the Blon B20.

The Zebra wood is a very premium looking finish. The color of the wood doesn’t look anything like in pictures from Sivga, I was much happier with the real color of the wood. Whereas the wood looks yellow-ish and pale on the pictures, the actual finish is a deeper & richer brown - much like a walnut wood finish. You can get a basic idea of how it looks like from my photography. I invest a great amount of time color-grading and perfecting colors in my photography. Due to the complex nature of the wood in the Phoenix, it was a great challenge capturing its qualities, making it the longest review to complete. The angle and lighting can vastly affect the wood appearance, as it can look anything from a pale oak finish, all the way to a walnut finish - which is at the opposite end of the spectrum.

The wooden housing is perfect as usual. The housing and the frame were made with the process of CNC machining. This explains the flawless nature of Sivga’s products.

Besides the padded headband, new frame construction, and new ear pads, a more premium design was present. This time around, we see a large grill with slight curvature. Surrounding it is a mirror-like silver ring - the ring is what makes the character of the Phoenix. A very modern and sleek design touch.

Overall, Sivga is moving in the right direction. They are trying new design features, and are still using high quality materials. It will be interesting to see what else they can come up with next. Sivga has not failed or disappointed yet, and that single factor contributes to the professional nature of the company.

Design and design features

We have seen the same concept behind the majority of products from Sivga - wooden housing, and pretty much everything else black. Phoenix followed the same concept when it comes to the color palette, and I love it! It’s consistent and something that Sivga is recognized for. However, unlike the previous dynamic driver models, the Phoenix features two 2.5 mm mono connectors (instead of a single 2.5 mm stereo connector). The cable is braided and consists of a single crystalline copper wire.
I didn’t mind the cable itself, but I would definitely like to see Sivga using high quality rubber cables - like the one Sennheiser HD 598 has (similar cable quality to the one Apple uses for their MacBook chargers).

All the housings on the cable are made out of of metal. This includes: the housing for the 3.5 mm jack, the housing for the Y-splitter, and the housing for the 2.5 mm mono connectors. The 3.5 mm jack is reinforced with a spring, this prevents it from bending damage and similar abuse.

You can get a comfortable fit due to the new headband construction which allows the ear-cups to rotate and pivot slightly . The ear-cups are attached to the stainless steel frame which doesn’t move, so you adjust the height by sliding the headband up & down - the headband is attached to a plastic part on each side. This plastic piece can be moved within the frame thanks to the design of it. I personally prefer when the cups have full 180˚ rotation, but even with the reduced movement I was able to adjust them to my ear and head shape.

Comfort

What seems to be varying in terms of experience with the Phoenix is comfort. People are having mixed experience. I myself prefer earpads that don’t have any tailoring and curvature - just flat earpads that are the same thickness all-around. I prefer even pressure all-around my ear.
Sivga is known for their ergonomic earpads. We have already seen the same earpad concept on the Sivga P-II and SendyAudio Aiva - tailored at the top earpads that feature a velvet material on the part that faces your ears, while . This material is very smooth, in fact it actually feels like leather.

The fit of the Phoenix isn’t perfect. Let’s face the truth, it simply isn’t. Sometimes I get a good fit, sometimes I don’t - it’s not consistent. That is the problem to me. I myself don’t have particularly large ears, but I found the top of my ear touching the driver portion, and this is what caused fatigue. If I get a good fit this isn’t the case. Mind you, most people are experiencing the pads clipping their ears - something that I experienced on the SV004. I didn’t find this to be a problem on the Phoenix, but if you have larger ears, they will probably be clipped at the bottom and top. The tailoring at the top of the pads and uneven thickness is what causes my ears to touch the driver.

The clamp force of the headphone is pretty strong at first. You can go a few ways about loosening it up - placing the headphone over something wide (and keeping in that position for some hours), or you can physically stretch it. It is made out of stainless steel, so you shouldn’t worry about breaking it… you can get a better idea by watching what Zeos did to his

Earpad systems vary, but most widely used one is where you can simply pull the earpad off. This makes it suitable to use aftermarket earpads, because it just needs to match the dimensions and shape of the earcup. Sivga decided to use a twist-lock mechanism for the earpads, meaning that you will not be able to use after-market earpads (such as Dekoni). The pads are glued to the plastic piece that twists in place. This is why you cannot just buy the widely available after-market replaceable pads… unless somebody finds a way to mod the mechanism. Good news for everybody is that Sivga is going to do some testing and see if they can release some extra pads. Look out for that, make sure to stay up to date!

Driver flex

I would’ve never expected to experience driver flex on an open-back headphone, but here we are.
Attention: I only experienced driver flex when I proceeded to very quickly take the headphones off - with normal usage you will not experience it!
I believe this was caused by the suction created by my ear, especially because it touches the driver. The earpad design seems to be a problem beyond just comfort, that is why I am keeping my eyes open for any mods or pads that will work with the Phoenix.

Sound

I must say, based on what I read on the internet beforehand, I wasn’t expecting a lot from the Phoenix. I am pleased to see that the Phoenix proved the internet wrong. The combination of controlled bass, tight punch, clean mids, and clear yet tame highs are what made the overall performance mature.

Lows

You don’t really expect a very deep and present bottom end in a dynamic open-back headphone, but the Phoenix broke that conception. The bass performance may be the strongest characteristic of these headphones. The bass has a good quantity while not sacrificing the punch & definition.

It’s not always easy to get a full-body bass response with a small dynamic driver… not to mention that having an open-back design only makes things more difficult. Phoenix managed to overcome this, but there are some trade-offs that I will touch on later.

Playing MOON’s “Hydrogen”, I really questioned myself whether I am listening to an open-back headphone or a closed-back headphone. Those who played Hotline Miami are probably familiar with the games genius overpowering techno soundtrack - I would go as far to call it one of the most intense and powerful soundtracks from a video game. Stephen Gilarde, or better known as MIOIOIN (often stylized as M.O.O.N) is the mastermind behind the track. The Phoenix was able to keep up with the track and was able produce full-body sound, where the bass has a very tight punch and carried the weight & quantity of it. I strongly recommend to anyone to explore M.O.O.N’s music, or even give Hotline Miami a play - it’s full of violence and it’s the definition of badass

Moving on, even in slower and less busy tracks like the “Paper Moon” from Booka Shade, the Phoenix performs very well. The bass-line of the track is well reproduced, the impact of the bass i presented with full-body, while also succeeding to reproduce the definition & presence of it.

The kick in the old-school classic “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio - the kick has very good weight, just like the bass-line. It’ tight, while the bottom end of it can be felt. That’s the balance that is often hard to produce, a tight punch and a full-body (weight) of the bass. I have seen many times when there was a tight punch, but the body was lacking, or vice-versa.

Perhaps the more-aggressive “Had Some Drinks” by Two Feet is a better example of what the sub-bass capabilities of the the Phoenix are. The rumble and the body are so well represented that you can feel it - you can feel the vibration of the rumble, much like you would from a sub-woofer. The presentation is very detailed, as though you can hear the release quite clearly.

Going a notch deeper - my standard & favorite track to test the true deep sub-frequencies: “Why so Serious?” by Hans Zimmer. Specifically focusing on mark 3:26 - the sub-bass has full-body sound and it pulsates. It doesn’t rumble like in “Had Some Drinks”, but it definitely has a solid foundation and base to the sound. I am very satisfied as to how it performed with this track!

Overall, the Phoenix doesn’t disappoint in the lower frequency spectrum. It delivers a serious performance with full-body bass, tight punch, and good presence & definition. Considering the size and open-back nature of the Phoenix, I can say I am impressed by what it is truly capable of. Techno, rock, classical, I don’t think you will find it lacking in the bass region in any genre.

Mids

Usually you expect a headphone to sacrifice on the mid-range when it has plenty of bass. Not this time. While the mids appear to be slightly recessed in the mix in some cases, they remain very natural and clean - perhaps leaning towards the warmer side of the spectrum.

The slightly intense “Poison” by Freya Ridings is a good track to see if a headphone is able to keep up with Freya’s vocals. The Phoenix was able to capture her immense vocal range, especially when she hit the peaks. When it comes to vocals, it’s really difficult to transfer ones interpretation of them to another - I myself am heavily drawn towards intense vocals, but it’s cannot be quite explained the same way that the lower & higher frequencies can. When a vocal expands, I get a very particular feeling in my ears, much like the one from goosebumps. I would call this an emotional reaction, and the headphone (or speaker) has to be capable of delivering the frequencies that cause this reaction

A great example of this would be in “I Will Survive (single version)" by Gloria Gaynor. Wow. Heavenly track with an angelic vocal. Her voice hits peaks several times, there is a certain edge when it happens. Give this one a listen, see if you have the same experience.

Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall, pt. 2” is a dynamic track where you can notice if the mid range is muddy and lacks in detail. The Phoenix was able to cope with it well - giving each instrument and element in the mix breathe. Everything is in its place and doesn’t sound like one instrument/element interferes with another. Perhaps it would sound better if it was more airy or spacious, but that’s one of the characteristics of the Phoenix - it’s has a more closed presentation

Whitney Houston’s classic - I Will Always Love You. There isn’t a lot to say, one of the best vocal performances by a female artist. The Phoenix respectfully managed sing along with Whitney. I honestly didn’t notice any drawbacks or unnatural tonality to the track. Once again, everything sounded in place.

And of course, the “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. At mark 2:17 (where Freddie sings “…face the truth” there is a certain amount of grittiness and edge to his vocals. Headphones with a very warm signature will not capture this detail, they will rather make it sound flat and boring.

Overall, the Phoenix keeps the mid-range very clean and present. It’s not forward, but in some cases it can sound recessed. It manages to capture the details in music, and has great resolution. The mid-range was definitely not sacrificed for the bass response. Listening to Freddie Mercury, Pink Floyd, Lana Del Rey, and Sia is an enjoyable experience. The vocals have both the bottom & high end - though the high end seems to be tamed down and this lets you listen to the Phoenix for hours without any fatigue.

Highs

While I am sensitive to piercing treble, those who follow me know that I love sparkle in the upper range. I am glad that Sivga didn’t cross the line between too rolled-off treble and too piercing. I would say it is somewhere in the middle. It doesn’t provide the full crispiness and sparkle of the upper range, but it definitely maintains above-average clarity and treble response. Music without sparkle is boring and flat… almost lifeless. When it’s there, you just get this feeling in your ears. Almost like an adrenaline rush.

So, how does the Phoenix perform with my standard sibilance and sparkle testing track? Very good! Travis Scott’s “Stop Trying to Be God” is the track I am talking about. Specifically at mark 5:59, where Stevie Wonder’s harmonica hits the peak. At first I found it lacking sparkle, but later on I was satisfied with it’s performance. I definitely got the tingly feeling in my ear, and that is what I define “sparkle” to be. Feeling music is one of the main characteristics that I look for from a device. This is mainly referring to sparkle feeling in music, and it can be present in both vocals and instruments.

Metallica’s cover of the “When a Blind Man Cries” from Deep Purple’s 1972 album “Machine Head” is a more extreme example. It has edge and grittiness, and it would definitely be too much if the treble was any brighter. The Phoenix performed well throughout the whole song - the bass has thump to it, while the vocals and guitar had the edge. It’s definitely a more aggressive song, and it’s intended to sound bright in certain parts of the track. At no point did I feel like it was piercing or sibilant.

For Hip-Hop listeners - the snares are crisp and clear! There are too many songs that I have listened to, so I cannot reference them all. But I remember that the snares were always very clear and present - but not to the point where they are completely cutting through the mix and affecting other elements. Dr. Dre’s “Forgot About Dre”, “Still Dre”, “The Next Episode”, Tupac’s “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”, “Only God Can Judge Me”, “No More Pain” all have the crisp & clear percussion.

Level of clarity varies in importance & significance to different people, but to me it’s one of the most important elements. I love to hear the detail in music, the depth and detail to sound - this is what you would usually identify as resolution, definition, or dynamic range. Music without the edge and sparkle sounds lifeless & boring, the same way that bass without definition or punch does. I like to have an increased dynamic range, not reduced. This being said, I am very happy with the level of clarity that the Phoenix produces. It maintains the clarity without sounding fatiguing and sibilant.

Soundstage

Usually open-back headphones are known for their airy and open sound, but this isn’t the case with the Phoenix. I myself love open and airy sound characteristic, but there is something special about the Phoenix that didn’t bother me. While the soundstage isn’t as wide as you would expect, it’s not narrow. There is a difference between narrow and narrower. Phoenix didn’t sound boxy or crowded in any way, this is the primary reason why I loved it. It definitely differ from the rest of the open-back headphones, and I mean that in a good way. Sometimes you want a more intense and present musical experience, perhaps you are looking for that deep bass, or you want the vocals to be closer to you - whatever it is, I think that the Phoenix sounds good as a whole.

Conclusion

The Phoenix is something fresh and different. I am happy to see a product that stands out from the rest (in a good way!). It doesn’t sound funny in any way. I would also avoid calling it “fun” - that term seems to have more of a negative meaning. Following the success of the P-II, Sivga hasn’t released a bad product yet. Whether it’s the gorgeous sound of guitar in “Little Wing” or “Tin Pan Alley” from Srevie Ray Vaughan, Deep Purple’s “Soldier Of Fortune”; or the subwoofer-like experience in Massive Attack’s “Angel” and Dopplereffekt’s “Superior Race”… The Phoenix never gets boring and never makes music sound lifeless. A bad headphone would never be able to put out a performance the way the Phoenix did in (e.g.) “Forget Her” by Jeff Buckley at mark 3:16. Capturing Jeff’s top-end and bringing the sparkle out - this isn’t something easy to pull off.

Dogs” by Pink Floyd is another heavenly track. Just focus at mark 6:16. That pure and clean guitar frequency. If you aren’t squinting your eyes at that point, your headphones are doing something wrong. Or perhaps, at mark 6:07 in “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pts. 1-5) - where David Galmour’s magical guitar performance hits a particularly higher note (peak). The sparkle present and the way it hits you is something that only a good pair of headphones can manage to do. Well… unless you have a personal preference and maybe dislike such experience. I myself cannot imagine listening to music without having some type of emotional reaction that is beyond explainable.

This being said, the Phoenix absolutely crushed my expectation and blew me away. It’s a very mature headphone for the $299 price tag. They are an easy recommendation to those who are looking for a fatigue-free headphone with an immense bass response without the cost of clarity and detail. The bass is balanced in terms of sub-bass to mid-bass - neither overpowers the other. The mid-bass has a tight punch and good delivery, while the sub-bass has a pleasing rumble and body. The mid-range and high-range perform equally as well - though imaging and soundstage don’t compete with other true open-back headphones. I say “true”, because while the Phoenix is open-back, it does have a narrower soundstage (but doesn’t suffer from boxy and unnatural sound). I know that his bad boy is staying with me. It has a fuller sound and is capable of delivering full-body sound reproduction (with great definition and resolution). I am keeping my eyes wide-open for the next release from Sivga, and so should you!

If you are looking for a more intense and present sound signature with the bass performance close to a closed-back headphone without the sacrifice of the mid-range and high-range, you might want to give the Phoenix a listen.

The review is based on the performance of the Phoenix using Earmen TR-Amp.
The Phoenix was sent free of charge to me by SIVGA. I have no affiliation to SIVGA, nor was I payed to write this review. The review is based only on my opinion and what I heard when using it. There was no outside force or person influencing my opinion and experience. I write what I hear. If I don’t hear it, I don’t write it.

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Truly excellent review @voja.

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Just got my Phoenix today! =D This is my review. Tested on my RNHP amp and Bifrost 2 DAC. no burn in:

It sounds good. Very Very good. Very nice sound and tone. Its not veiled or too bassy, but the bass is elevated. Great bass and sub-bass. Rumble. This headphone is known for giving great sub-bass. Treble is not harsh, its clear but not a lot of it. Mids are great. Vocals are very good. Nicely balanced headphone. And natural timbre. Very detailed. Something is going on with the soundstage that i think was engineered into the Helios and TYGR headphones. They manage giving the headphone a large sound while keeping the soundstage close. Its the best of both worlds. Large and close soundstage at the same time.

I was surprised at the pads. They dont have a lot of filling. As a result they collapse on your ears. Bringing your ears right up to the drivers. Creating a closer soundstage. I didnt find it uncomfortable. The pads raise at the bottom to give a seal that should help the bass. Unfortunately my right pad is puckered and are lower than the left pad.

So i’ll probably send this back and have it replaced with another. They look like the Aiva pads but are a lot less dense and feel cheaper. And from what i head they are glued on and hard to get off. So if your thinking of replacing them, its a little harder than your average headphone.

I dont know why but this headphone is a small headphone. So small that when i put it on my head it feels like the bottom of the pads are rising a bit. a feeling i dont like with headphones. I tried bending the headband but it didnt help much and now has less clamp. And i like clamp on my headphones the more the better. Cable seems too thin. I might have to get an upgrade cable. They fit my ears but its snug.

So is this headphone worth the 260$ price tag? With the HarmonicDyne Helios being 180$ the Beyer TYGR 200$ The DT880 and 990 160$ and the problem with the small size and imperfect fit. Id say it should be about 200$ But it does bass better than all the others above. So take that with it. The TYGR has a lot of bass too but not as well done.

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