Sivga P-II Planar Magnetic Over-ear Open-back Wood Headphone

voja

100+ Head-Fier
SIVGA P-II review with a disassembly guide
Pros: Build quality
Design
Accessories
Balanced lows
Capable of rumble
Laid-back sound signature which allows for a fully fatigue-free headphone
If you love tubes, you'll love the P-II, because that's exactly how it sounds
Large soundstage with exceptional imaging capability
Easy to mod and disassemble
Cons: Non-matching grills (only one model made of the grills)
Silver plate features holes that are different in diameter, potentially negatively affecting the sound performance
Headband suspension system can struggle with the weight of the headphones themselves
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SIVGA P-II alongside SIVGA Phoenix

Founded in 2016, Dongguan Sivga Electronic Technology Co., Ltd. is no stranger to the electronics industry. The people behind the company are Mr. Jian Zhou and Mr. Rongchun Pan. Unfortunately, there is not a whole lot on the internet that can be found about either of them. However, it is known that Mr. Jian Zhou has at least two decades of industry experience. His previous work was done for globally established brands like Sennheiser, Bose, and Sony. When I asked a SIVGA representative to reveal which products Mr. Zhou specifically worked on, I received the following reply:

“We don't want to rely on them to be famous, we have our own brand, which is SIVGA. It can only be said that the products designed by Mr. Zhou Jian are still popular.”

While other companies would be happy to brag about their previous work for large companies, SIVGA is more focused on establishing its company as one of the greats. P-II was released in March 2020.

Unboxing Experience

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Much like we’ve seen with the lower-priced Phoenix model, the P-II comes in a nice faux leather carrying case. The case is custom and perfectly houses all the components inside. This is a very nice touch from SIVGA because it ensures that there will be little to no movement in transport. The carrying case is designed to be functional rather than beautiful — which is more logical since the whole purpose of a carrying case is to make sure you can safely transport the headphones in it. Unlike the Phoenix or the Sendy Audio Aiva, P-II's carrying case is wider but thinner, making it easier to put in a backpack or something alike.

The unboxing experience, in my opinion, meets the expectations at this price point.

Formal format of what’s in the box:
1x faux leather carrying case
1x 4.4mm cable
1x 4.4mm to 3.5mm adaptor
1x textile pouch

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Wood. Metal. Precision.

If there was one thing I would take away from SIVGA and say it makes the company stand out on the market, it would be its consistency of superb build quality throughout its whole product line-up. From their cheapest models to their flagship, there is absolutely no use of cheap materials. The company’s now-signature use of metal and wood is what represents the name "SIVGA". However, there is a subtle but noticeable improvement in the quality of materials the higher up you go in its line-up:

Entry-level: SV005, SV006, SV007
Mid-level: Phoenix
Flagship: P-II

The Phoenix features more premium ear-pads, wood, and metal than the entry-level line-up. On the other hand, the P-II only features higher quality wood over the Phoenix.

The P-II being the company’s largest headphone, it comes as no surprise that it’s also the heaviest, weighing in at 420g. There are several factors that contribute to this weight, and size is just one of them. You have to remember that this is a planar-magnetic headphone, which means that it has two pairs of magnets — these magnets are far from being light. Unfortunately, the manufacturer couldn’t supply me with the weight of the drivers because all the P-II models have already been assembled. Something that I was very happy to see is the use of high-quality cabling on the inside of the headphone. How often do people spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on headphone cables but don’t pay attention to the cables inside the headphones? I think we can agree that the answer is a bit too often. P-II’s cables are visible from the outer grill, but also clearly visible when you open the headphones up.

The whole headband structure is made of metal. The frame being made of stainless steel, while the rest is made of aviation aluminum. The ear-cups are made of black walnut wood, while the metal details are made of the same aviation aluminum that is used on the headband.

It looks like SIVGA is stepping up the quality standards with the recent release of the SV021. At least from the pictures, it appears to me that the metal parts are of greater quality than the above-stated entry-level line-up.

What I am trying to say is that this company is pricing its products well. It doesn’t use cheap and bad quality materials on its cheaper line-up of products while making the use of high-quality materials exclusive to its flagship products. I am tired of the hierarchy practice in the headphone market where a company is almost telling the customer they are better off not purchasing their product if they are not going to be spending a pretty penny.

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Excuse the color quality in the image. I tried my best to bring it to its normal form, but failed. Images online show a very accurate color of the cable. The cable has much nicer and richer colors than in the picture above

Cable

While it’s not winning any beauty contests, the soft braided 4-core 6N single-crystal copper is fairly well built. If I’m honest, I personally would have liked the cable to be a bit softer and less rigid. The way it is, either the braiding is too tight, or the insulation used is stiffer than usual. My guess is that it’s rather the latter.

SIVGA went with the classic option for the 2.5mm connectors on the headphone-end but didn’t go that route for the connectors on the amp-end. The P-II’s cable is in a 4.4mm termination, which is rather unusual for a stock cable. The Pentaconn (4.4mm) connection is becoming more, and more popular in both the headphone and the amplifier market, almost to the point where it’s the new industry standard. Regardless, SIVGA made sure to include a 4.4mm to 3.5mm adaptor. The last thing you want as a customer of a $400 product is to be searching for an after-market adaptor just to be able to use your headphones with a common source. I also found it very nice that the adaptor is in the same color, material, and design as the headphone cable. Aesthetics approved!

The attention to detail remains the same for the housings on the cable, as they are all made of metal. The Pentaconn’s housing has the company’s name printed on it and has a cross-hatch texture. A spring stress-relief is featured on the plug-end. In similar fashion, the headphone-end housing also features a partial cross-hatch pattern and has “L” and “R” labels printed in white. Actually, all of the housings are the exact same as the ones on the Phoenix’s cable.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 > Shanling UA1 > P-II

Design

Because it’s one of the better-looking headphone silhouettes, I truly believe that this headphone could be turned into a multi-thousand-dollar headphone with the right investments. Of course, these investments would have to be quite large. I can just visualize the ear-cups being made of CNC-milled aluminum, a gorgeous looking satin/matte finish, and resulting in a very fine-looking headphone.

Let’s get back to reality. The ear-cups consist of two parts: the metal ring, and the wooden part. The wood makes the majority of the ear-cups, but on the outer part, there is a metal ring that follows the ear-cup’s shape. For the most part, the ring is flush with the wood, but there are parts where there is an ever so slight overflow that can only be noticed when you run your finger across the edges. On the inner side of the ring is the P-II’s iconic grill. I personally believe it’s the “cloud shape” grill and the contrasting silver plate that make the silhouette recognizable. One interesting detail in the metal plate is that the perforation holes are smaller towards the center, and they increase in size. Design-wise, it looks great, but the real question is whether the variance in the holes’ diameter affects the sonic performance. When it comes to designing driver's surroundings, you want them to be as consistent as possible. Visually-wise, the biggest design flaw, is the black grill that features the company’s logo. Unless you have a symmetrical design, you must make two sets of grills so you get a pleasant-looking design. This principle applies to ear-pads, though they don't suffer from such a design flaw. What SIVGA missed out on the P-II is that they only made one model of the grill, resulting in two grills that have the logo set to the right. Fixing this would take the company to pull back the current batch and manufacture a second model of the grill.

The headband construction consists of: a frame, a center-piece, a yoke, and a headband. The center-piece is the part that has the company’s logo printed in white, it is also the part that is connected to all the headband construction parts. The headband SIVGA opted for the P-II is a self-adjusting suspension system. I personally think this isn’t ideal for a 420g headphone, and I will detail why in the “Comfort & Fit” section. The way a self-adjusting headband works is by having the actual headband (the part that goes on your head) internally attached to two elastic straps, which are further attached to the center-piece. Once you unscrew the two sandwiched metal plates on the headband, you will find the elastic straps that are attached to a plastic piece. The plastic piece is the part that you can see, it is the part that goes into the center-piece. Like the sandwich part on the headband, the center-piece also features two sandwiched metal plates. Once you unscrew them, you will see it is inside here that both the headband frames and the plastic piece are screwed in. Now, the reason why I call this the center-piece is because it connects the headband, the frames, and the ear-cups, making it the part that holds the headphone together. The yokes are labeled for left and right, and are connected to the bottom of the center-piece with a single Philips countersunk screw. The headband construction can certainly sound a bit complicated when described with words, but once you look at the pictures, it shouldn’t be hard to put it all together.

I have to say, this is a very clean-looking headphone. The design team certainly put a good amount of effort into making the design decisions but certainly overlooked some details.

Comfort & Fit

I have a love-hate relationship with the P-II. The main problem is caused by the headband suspension system. Due to its heavy weight, making little movement can easily make the headphones move… which means that you have to be as still as possible. The elastic straps also don’t seem to be strong enough to truly make the headphones hold their position, as though the headphones do sag over time.

The ear-pads on the other hand are good but could’ve been even better. I know damn well that SIVGA is capable of taking things to another level and making the ear-pads more comfortable. Unfortunately, the horizontal diameter is rather small, resulting in an overall tight fit. The situation would be best if SIVGA separately sold a set of premium ear-pads that are made of high-density memory foam.

I didn’t experience any discomfort after long listening sessions, but the headphones never truly disappeared. Once again, you have to remember that this is a heavy headphone.

On a more positive note, the ear-pads are finally of adequate thickness. One of the biggest problems people faced with the Phoenix were the thin ear-pads. This being said, I am very happy to see a thicker set of pads on the P-II.

Sound Performance

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iBasso DX300 + AMP12 > SIVGA P-II

Soundstage and Imaging

While the soundstage is neither the biggest nor the smallest, I find it to be one of the strengths of this headphone. More than that, I find the imaging to be one of the strongest points of this headphone as a whole. I truly believe that both of these aspects are severely underrated. I don’t know what should be expected from the P-II, because while it is an open-back headphone, you have to remember that it has a pretty dense plate covering its driver. At least from the design perspective, something like a HiFiMan Sundara or a Sennheiser HD600 series is much more open. The main reason being the less dense grill and usually a soft material acting as dust protection. In P-II’s case, there is a solid perforated metal plate and a metal grill in addition. However, even with its dense design, it performs as an open-back rather than a semi-open headphone. This is a big accomplishment if you ask me.

I won’t lie, I was already sold when I listened to “Dogs” by Pink Floyd. When it comes to this specific track, it either makes me fall in love with a headphone or it makes me question its imaging capabilities. As usual, the core part in this song that I am referencing are the panning drums at 3:48.

To keep it short and sweet, I found the P-II to sound airy with a decently sized soundstage, and I personally found the imaging & separation to be above average.

Lows


As you are about to find out, this headphone is quite tricky to amplify. I remember when I first listened to this headphone, and I wasn’t all that impressed. Later, I found out that I was pairing them with amplifiers that weren’t quite giving the needed juice. Perhaps, it is not about juice at all, maybe it’s about tonality. For me, the P-II sounded the best with the iBasso DX300 + AMP12 module. This combination resulted in a somewhat neutral/balanced bass response. Be aware: if you do not amplify these properly, the lower frequencies will sound bloated and muddy-ish.

“Why So Serious?” is a perfect track to test the sub-bass qualities in headphones, and has been my go-to test track for a while. The focus point is right around the 3:27 minute mark, where a drop occurs. Though I couldn’t feel any physical sensation of rumble, the P-II is definitely capable of digging deep. What I love about this particular track is that any imperfections are immediately noticed. Whether it’s sub-bass dominance, distortion, lack of quantity and/or body, etc. — these are all audible on here. The headphones had no problem reproducing the sub-tones, and actually succeeded in producing clean, thick-but-subtle sub-bass. When I say “thick-but-subtle”, I am once again referring to the fact that you will experience no physical sensation of rumble; which is not to say that they are incapable of producing rumble! Play Daft Punk's "Lose Yourself To Dance" and you'll hear the P-II roar (rumble).

The mid-bass, on the other hand, is slightly more pronounced. Listening to “Hydrogen” by MOON, and “Smoking Mirrors” by Lee Curtiss, I realized that this headphone performs very well within the electronic genre. The qualities that the P-II possesses are: strong impact, fast attack, and decently fast decoy.

If anything, the bass response is one of the stronger points of this headphone. However, it really goes back to my first point about pairing the headphones with a suitable amplifier.

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Mids


Remember how I said I first disliked the P-II? As it turns out, it was because I was listening to them while partially lying against a pillow, causing a severe difference in sonic performance. It’s not the good type that is in question, but a negative, unpleasant one instead. The next day, I proceeded to accidentally listen to them away from the pillow, and I immediately noticed they sounded normal and good. I further confirmed it was the pillow by just putting my hands slightly behind the ear-cups, noticing the immediate difference I mentioned before.

When it comes to strings, you know me — If they don’t sound right, I don’t want ‘em. Listening to classics such as Deep Purple’s “Soldier Of Fortune”, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”, and other tracks that include strings, more notably Pink Floyd’s “Hey You”, “Some Other Time” by The Alan Parson Project, “Go Insane” Live 1997 published under Fleetwood Mac, I realized that the P-II performs quite well and doesn’t disappoint. For me, one of the biggest turn-offs is when guitar plucks do not sound right, and when the plucks do not reach me on an emotional level. That’s when I know something isn’t right.

Judging the mid-range on a larger scale, it can be called warm as though it doesn’t have any sharp edges or peaks present, making it a very easy-listening headphone. Additionally, the mid-range is slightly recessed, which makes it even more suitable for long listening sessions.

I will say that the mid-range recession is the most audible in vocals. It depends from song to song, sometimes the vocals sound perfectly fine and enjoyable, other times they have a slight nasal quality to them. My personal speculation goes back to the design of the holes on the silver plates. Since this is an open-back headphone, the surroundings around the driver make a big impact on how the driver sounds; making the perforation holes substantially smaller towards the center, while benefiting the lower frequency response and the lower mid-range, was not a good idea. Of course, if you are willing to invest your time to mod these headphones, you can certainly do so. However, it cannot be expected from an average consumer to risk damaging their $400 headphones.

So, what can be done? The best scenario would be for SIVGA to re-release the P-II and release a V2. I truly believe that this headphone would achieve its full potential if the visually appealing design was removed and replaced with a consistent and appropriate design.

Highs


The upper range carries on the warmth present in the mid-range. I did my very best trying to find a song where the P-II showed the slightest sign of sharpness, but I did not come across such a track. I went through all of my tracks in my testing library, the tracks I remember from memory include:
Travis Scott’s “Stop Trying to Be God” (Stevie Wonder’s harmonica around 4:43), Chris Jones’ “Long After You Are Gone” (4:01), Miles Davis’ “Portia”, Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” (7:17), Jeff Healey’s cover “Blue Jean Blues”, and just about every single track mentioned in any of my previous articles.

Tracks that are of essy/peaky nature: Joan Baez’s “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”, Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, Nina Simone’s “Strange Fruit”, Jeff Buckley’s “Forget Her”, Joss Stone’s “The Chokin’ Kind”, Paul Simon’s “Something so Right”

It didn’t matter what track I was listening to, because it was not hard to realize that there was a roll-off in the upper-frequency spectrum, which brings me to the…

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Conclusion


It is no secret that the P-II was made as a warm-sounding headphone. Whenever I hear the description “tubey”, I think of a headphone that has a rich lower frequency presence and a rolled-off high-frequency response. In a sense, it’s like the process of polishing. The shinier you want the finish, the finer you have to polish. What many people forget is that you must remove material in order to achieve that gorgeous, smooth, shiny finish. In similar fashion, to achieve its smooth and laid-back sound signature, the P-II takes away the edge and peaks from the highs. It is a headphone that allows you to enjoy music endlessly. It never gets fatiguing or tiring, but more importantly, it never gets boring.

Seeing the recent release of the Sendy Audio Peacock, the P-II and the Aiva seem to have previewed what was going to be perfected in the now-flagship Peacock. All of the flaws present in the P-II appear to be fixed in the Peacock. There are certain standards to be expected at the $400 price point. This headphone gets a lot of things right, paying attention to the smallest details, but the things it gets wrong could’ve been easily fixed. This is why I strongly believe a re-release should be made. If I was to overlook the design flaw and the headband adjustment system, the headphone on its own would deserve a 5-star rating. Seriously, the build quality, the design, the accessories, it’s all on point. In terms of sound, if the metal plate would’ve been changed into a consistent design, I’m certain it would easily deserve a 5-star rating.

With this being said, these headphones should be a serious consideration for those in the market for a warm open-back under $500. Even better, if you are someone who is not afraid to do some simple DIY mods, it’s even easier to recommend.

Also, I want to say that my rating is based on the $399 MSRP. If you manage to find it on a good discount, go for it.




Disassembly guide:

Disclaimer: This guide serves an educational purpose. You take full responsibility for causing any damage to your headphones! The guide is shown for only one ear-cup.
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Step 1: Remove the ear-pads

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Step 2: Unscrew the 4 Philips screws — these screws hold the whole driver structure in place

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Step 3: Carefully lift the driver and let it rest on the ear-cups (make sure they are lying down flat, so there is no pressure on the actual driver)

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Step 4: Unscrew the 5 Torx screws (they are all on the same level, make sure not to unscrew any other screws!)

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Step 5: Give yourself a pat on the back. Congratulations! You just let the grill free. To make it easier, you can put the driver back in its place while you flip the headphones over and take out the grill

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The grill consists of 3 separate parts: the ring, the grill, and the metal plate. If you want to make your own plate, you can measure the diameter of the largest hole on the plate and ensure that in your plate all the holes are of the same diameter. If you do not want to do this, you can remove the metal plate altogether. However, you must measure the plate's thickness, trace it out, and cut out a piece of material that matches this thickness. If you do not do this, the grill will rattle and will not stay in place. As you can see in the last photo, the plate has a foam layer glued onto it, this is what makes the whole grill stay put. Also, be aware that this will allow more dust and dirt to get inside. The driver does feature a soft mesh on both sides, but be aware of this.

It's fairly easy to disassemble this headphone. When putting it back together, make sure you don't over tighten the 4 Philips screws, because they are the ones determining how much space there is for the ear-pads. That's why I suggest working with one ear-cup at a time. This way you can match the tightness to the "stock" tightness.

Hope this helps anyone who is interested to play around with DIY mods.
Last edited:
Mark Up
Mark Up
I'd imagine you could just take out the metal plate, put just the plastic plate, leaving it much more open and lighter.
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asifur

100+ Head-Fier
SIVGA P-II :: The Warm & Musical Headphone
Pros: + Great Build quality & comfort
+ Great & Rich Mids
+ Textured Vocals
+ good Treble with extension
+ Good Bass amount
Cons: - Separation & Staging could be better for a Planar Magnetic Driver
- Head-band adjustment not the best
- Bass seemed to lack details of the sub Bass region
SIVGA P-II : The Warm & Musical Headphone
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Disclaimer:

This was a loaner unit from SIVGA for the purpose of an honest review. Everything mentioned in this review are purely my own based on my experiences with the Headphone. I had it for a short while only and hence this is a short review.

Introduction:

SIVGA is a Chinese audio company focusing on stunning wooden designs with competitive pricing. The SIVGA P-II is their recent creation in 2020, an open-back over-ear headphone featuring a 97mm*76mm ultra-nano double-sided magnetic planar diaphragm unit as driver. The P-II comes with premium materials including gorgeous wood cups. It comes with a rich and textured sound from its planar driver - placing it in direct comparison with many great headphones including the Hifiman Sundara.
The P-II is priced at $399 USD.

Specifications:

Specifications are as below as found on SIVGA website:

http://www.sivgaaudio.com/product_d?id=1

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Design & Build Quality:
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The P-II is built with sturdy materials. The headband is made of CNC milled aluminum to ensure a smooth finish. The end of the aluminum headband arc is connected to a plastic gimbal that enables a degree of earcup rotation. The markings for left and right can also be found on the gimbals.

It comes with a suspension strap system that can be adjusted with a slide mechanism that smoothly slides along the headband. The suspension strap is made of 2 layers of leather with some foam in between, and the strap is finely stitched and finished allaying my fears of possible fraying down the road.
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Package & Accessories:


The P-II comes in a black box, that opens from the top. The box is lined with foam inserts which protect the leather-made carrying case.
The case is molded to the exact dimensions of the P-II, which ensures that the headphones won’t be moving around too much inside the carrying case.
Inside the case are the headphones, the cables with 4.4mm balanced connector.
The box itself is nicely designed to ensure that the headphone will arrive to you in perfect condition.
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Amp-ing Requirements:

I've found that this headphone requires quite a bit of amp-ing being a planar magnetic driver.
It does shine quite well when properly amped and sounds great with a good & powerful source.
Hence, a good & powerful amp I would say ... is mandatory.

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NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SOUND....

Items used for this review:

DAC/AMP:
IFI Micro IDSD Black Label Signature
DAP/Source : Cayin N6 MK2 with E02 Motherboard & iPad
Streaming Source: QOBUZ

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Tracks Used:
The tracks I have used can be found from the below playlist that I have used and generally use for most reviews...



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Let's now talk about the quality of Sound....

The BASS:


The Bass comes with good Thump & slam but lacks extension & details. it is amongst the weaker traits of this headphone being a Planar. Bass has a very impactful sense of attack, and thump. However, the richness and details which I had found in the SIVGA Phoenix is missing here - specially in the sub-bass region.

The MIDS:

Midrange is just great and amongst the key strengths of this being a Planar magnetic driver. They are very musical muscular and textured with good amount of details. Every instrument in this region has good layering and can be identified clearly.
Vocals sound natural with good extension and texture - they just sound great.
Guitars sound very clear - specially when there are strings that are being plucked individually. Similarly, pianos also sound very articulated and striking when individual notes are being played.

The TREBLE:

Treble seems just great. textured and airy. Treble is also a bit more faded and is almost as good as the midrange.
Cymbal hits are very crisp & precise, with good attack. The decay of each percussive strike is also very natural.
The treble has good amount of extension, where there is a good sense of airiness. However, the airiness doesn’t hamper enjoyment,
which makes the P-II quite pleasant and energetic, but never fatiguing.

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The SOUNDSTAGE:

Soundstage is amongst the weaknesses despite the planar driver. It has very average width and depth. This is where the Hifiman Sundara does much better in my opinion.

Imaging & Timbre:

Sense of direction is good and the sound seems natural - However, the details retrieval seemed a bit sub-par compared to others in similar price bracket such as the Hifiman Sundara.

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Conclusion :

Having said all that - The SIVGA P-II to me seemed like the amongst the good performing headphones in the given price bracket. It comes with comprehensive sound performance and is just great for Mids & Treble focused genres. The staging and details retrieval characteristics prevent this from being a recommended headphone for acoustic tracks.
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Animagus

Reviewer at Twister6
A boutique design and build headphone under $500.
Pros: Highly attractive design.
- Premium boutique build quality.
- Warm exciting musical sound signature, separation, resolution and interesting soundstage.
- Excellent choice of materials for construction.
- Smart comfortable headband design, comfortable ear pads, high quality stock cable and case.
Cons: Its weight can be felt slightly after wearing it for a few hours.
- Slight honk in lower-midrange because of a tiny bump around 800Hz.
- Can use a bit more forwardness in upper-midrange (for people who want a more reference upper-midrange) and a tiny high Q cut at 12kHz in upper-treble.

About SIVGA.

SIVGA is based out of Dongguan (China) and was founded by two childhood friends, Jian Zhou and Rongchun Pan who shared a common love for music and good quality headphones. Jian had been working in the field of headphones for nearly 20 years before he founded SIVGA Audio, where he was a senior technical engineer of a leading OEM headphone factory in China and led the R&D, headphone design, craftsmanship as well as manufacturing departments. During his career in the last company, Jian worked with many international well-known headphone brands and played a very important role in helping those brands grow. Rongchun on the other hand was an avid audiophile who obsessed over the ultimate pursuit of sound quality and with a very keen sense of hearing and rich experience, he developed a good knack of tuning headphones. SIVGA are an OEM as well as have their own line of headphones under the brand names -SIVGA and Sendy Audio. They follow boutique as well as modern efficient manufacturing techniques where their wooden ear cups are built and finished by hand whereas all the metal parts used in the headphones are CNC machined to perfection.

Disclaimer.

I'd like to thank SIVGA for sending me the P-II for a review. I am not affiliated with the company or any of its sellers and write this review with an unbiased opinion regardless of how the review turns out.

Just a heads up, P-II is priced at $399 but it shows a higher price (around $480) on AliExpress because that is inclusive of VAT for EU countries and AliExpress only allows a fixed price and not dynamic pricing for different countries. So, if you're interested in ordering, I'd recommend messaging and asking them where you'd be able to get the best deal since they have a growing network of dealers now and one might be in your own country.

Links - SIVGA P-II (Official Website) | SIVGA Official AliExpress Store

SIVGA P-II Left




Technical Specifications.

  • Driver - 97mm x 76mm Planar magnetic
  • Frequency response - 20kHz - 40kHz
  • Impedance - 32Ω
  • Sensitivity - 98dB +/- 3dB
  • Cable - 1.6m Balanced cable with 2.5mm headphone connectors and 4.4mm jack
  • Weight - 420g

Included in the box.

  • P-II headphone
  • 4.4mm Balanced cable
  • 4.4mm to 3.5mm adapter cable
  • Headphone carry case
  • Cable sack
SIVGA P-II Box Items


Technology, Build Quality and Design.

As per SIVGA, it took them 3 years of hard R&D, tuning and innovation to finish and perfect the planar magnetic driver, overall industrial design, material selection, acoustic damping and final manufacturing. They state that all parts right down to the screw were independently designed.

P-II oozes of boutique build, design as well as premium quality right from the ear cups to headband and grill design. P-II is a very well thought out product with an obsessive focus to every minute detail in design. It has massive eye candy quotient and I'm mightily impressed!

Planar Magnetic Driver.

P-II has a 97mm x 76mm planar magnetic driver with in-house developed OTV technology and double neodymium magnet structure with 108 well arranged acoustic holes. The PCB ultra-nanometer composite diaphragm and aluminium belt plating allows the whole structure to be thinner and lighter.

SIVGA P-II Driver

Picture Courtesy - SIVGA

Black Walnut Wooden Cups.

The wooden cups are made from Black Walnut wood. They are cut by CNC but are sanded, finished and stained to perfection by hand, which is labour intensive and requires very good skilled craftsmen. The cup grill has a black metal ring with a very nice and attractive honeycomb design and a small SIVGA logo on the right. Since the whole process is complex and takes time because a lot of it is built by hand, P-II is generally produced in small quantities as a boutique product.

SIVGA P-II Ear Cups

Picture Courtesy - SIVGA

Ear pads.

P-II has hybrid ear pads made of high protein leather and velvet fabric on the side. It was designed after consulting data of various face shapes which helped them design a custom shape by varying the foam thickness of the ear pads at different points that touch the cheek, jaw and mastoid. This helps it fit more snugly and comfortably than normal ear pads. The inner part of the ear pad is oval in shape and is designed to engulf the outer ear completely. All of this results in a very easy and comfortable fit. More on this in the 'Fit and Comfort' section below.

SIVGA Earpads Front & Side

Picture Courtesy - SIVGA

Headband.

P-II's matte black headband is CNC machined from stainless steel. The head pad too is made out of high protein leather and is cushioned with small brick shaped design which is extremely comfortable for hours on the end. It has an elastic band on the inside and adjusts automatically when you wear the headphones as per your head shape and height without the requirement for manual adjustment.


SIVGA P-II Headband

Picture Courtesy - SIVGA

Yoke.

The yoke is CNC machined out of an Aluminium alloy for high durability. It allows rotation of ear cups to 90° and a swivel of 30°.

SIVGA P-II Yolk Swivel

Picture Courtesy - SIVGA

Cable.

P-II comes stock with a very nice 4-core 6N Single Crystal Copper OCC balanced cable with 2.5mm headphone connectors and a 4.4mm jack termination. It has a very nice and ergonomic Y-split with an oval chin slider that fits slides down to complete a cylindrical design of the Y-split. The connectors and jacks are high quality and seem rugged and built to last. The cable is soft and supple, and wraps up very easily and unwraps without much effort of tangling. It's not the softest cable in the market but I'm very happy to see a well built premium cable with a headphone in this price range.

SIVGA P-II Cable 4.4mm



SIVGA also offer the same 4-core 6N Single Crystal Copper OCC with different jack terminations such as a 4-pin XLR as well as different adapters to purchase separately aftermarket. They are all hand built in their own factory and are all built to order as per your requirement. SIVGA were kind enough to send me another cable with a 4-pin XLR termination as well as a 4.4mm female to 4-pin XLR male adapter as well as 4.4mm female to 1/4" jack adapter to try P-II's pairing with my desktop setup.


SIVGA P-II aftermarket cable options


Leather Case.

P-II is not the most compact headphone nor is its case. The case is made out of leather and is very well built. P-II sits in the case with the ear cups flat. All in all, the case keeps the luxurious premium design of the P-II intact and is slim enough to fit in my small laptop bag easily and comfortably.

SIVGA P-II Case Open


Fit and Comfort.

Even though one would consider P-II medium-heavy at 420g, it fits quite comfortably. The padded head pad does not exert a lot of pressure on the head as it adjusts automatically based on your head size. There isn't a lot of clamp force at the ear cups, they swivel to 30° and are able to fit according to the shape of one's jawline quite nicely. What's even better are the ear pads that are wonderfully shaped and feel like they've been customised for one's head and ears specifically. Of course since P-II isn't as light as the HD6XX, you're aware of it being on your head but I've never experienced any neck or jaw pain after having worn it for hours continuously but I do start feeling the weight after a couple of hours if I haven't taken any breaks in between.

Sound Analysis.


Note - My main impressions are with the stock ear pads. I also received Aiva's fenestrated ear pads which are a perfect fit on P-II and have written impressions with them separately. Also, these impressions are with the HiBy R6 2020 and iBasso DX160 as the source. I've written impressions with my production desktop setup later in the review too. Even though it has low 32Ω impedance and 98dB sensitivity, its sound signature shines through a nice powerful balanced output of a good DAP and even more on a good desktop setup with a clean linear powerful amp.

Summary - P-II has a nice warm-ish balanced sound signature. It has very well done neutral and linear bass which has very good clarity but also good weight and slam when the song demands it, linear lower midrange up till 800Hz, a tiny bump at 800Hz that introduces slight honk, an upper-midrange tuning that isn't as forward as Harman Target or headphones like Sennheiser HD6XX or Focal Elex, fairly easy lower-treble tuning, a bit more present upper-treble compared to lower-treble where a 12kHz peak adds a bit of sizzle and sparkle into the signature and fairly good extension till 20kHz. It has good extension at both ends but neither is over-exaggerated. What impressed me most was the separation between layers of instruments, depth wise as well as across the width. It has a soundstage that engulfs the front of your head, like you're wearing a helmet of tiny speakers mounted inside till the parallel line of your ears. Lol! The soundstage is quite interesting and holographic for the price in my opinion.

Let's dig in deeper to know more...

Bass – Even though P-II is an open back headphone, there is no sub-bass roll-off. Sub-bass is fairly linear and neutral but has good weight and rumble when songs call for it, like in Linkin Park's 'Sorry for Now' where there is a rumbly sub-bass dominant bass line playing right from 5 seconds onwards. Both sub-bass and mid-bass are very linear, reference-ish and tastefully done. Overall, bass is very clean, has really good resolution, weight as well as well defined clarity and definition in the centre image.

Mids – Lower-midrange is very clean and neutral up till 800Hz. There is a tiny ~2dB bump at 800Hz which introduces a bit of honk in P-II's sound signature. Since the Q factor of it is so small, a lot of people might not even notice it. Even some Focal headphones like the Clear, Elear and Utopia have a bit of bump in the 800-1.5kHz range. It's a bit more noticeable if you switch to P-II after a reference-ish headphone like the HD6XX, which is more linear in that range. There is a trick to get rid of it with SIVGA's fenestrated ear pads of Aiva that are a perfect fit for P-II, but more on that later in the review. Upper-mids are a bit easier than Harman Target or headphones like HD6XX, Elex and Clear but instruments still have strong definition and clarity but are less forward as they are in HD6XX and Focals. P-II has a dip at around 2kHz compared to reference-neutral but isn't as recessed as the Audeze LCD-2C in the rest of the upper-midrange. What really impresses me in P-II's midrange is the realism and musicality without the forwardness. As a musician and audio engineer, even though I love the HD6XX and know that it is more accurate in the midrange, there is something about P-II that makes me pick it up again and again to listen. I'm guessing its musicality over absolute reference neutrality would certainly work for a lot of people.

Treble – Lower treble is smooth and well-balanced whereas upper treble is a bit more prominent in comparison, introducing a bit of musical excitement but in a fairly balanced manner. Because of smooth and easier lower treble, there is no hint of sibilance or spanky hi-hats. The 12kHz upper treble peak on the other hand adds a tiny bit of sparkle and sizzle to P-II's signature. P-II is very open and fairly airy in its upper treble presentation with good extension till 20kHz, which adds on to help songs sound exciting.

Soundstage and Imaging - Soundstage isn't the widest in this price segment of open-back headphones but it is one of the cleanest with excellent separation between instruments throughout the soundscape while maintaining a nice warm-ish sound signature. Being an open back, it is much wider, deeper and more holographic than most closed-backs as well as most open-backs I've tried in the range, barring a couple. What I really dig is the strong sense of realism in P-II's soundstage that a lot of headphones don't have. Width is fairly wide and it has good depth too but the excellent separation between instrument layers, be it width or depth wise, adds a dimension to the soundstage that enables the holographic experience. It's definitely an out of head soundstage, but it sounds like you're listening to the band performing in a century old heritage concert hall than an open arena.

SIVGA P-II with HiBy R6 2020


SIVGA's fenestrated ear pads (Aiva pads).

Knowing that Sendy Audio Aiva's ear pads are a direct fit, I wanted to try them on P-II and SIVGA were kind enough to send me a pair. They don't feel too different from stock ear pads on the head but they affect the sound signature significantly. With Aiva pads the signature tilts more towards the upper-midrange with bass and lower-midrange reducing. With this, that 800Hz honk disappears and you perceive a much more forward presentation in line with HD6XX but in turn the bass weight and slam takes a hit too. I perceive the soundstage boundaries wider and slightly deeper with the Aiva pads and even the lower-treble becoming a bit more present as compared to the stock ear pads.

Now this is a case of 'you win some, you lose some'. I do like the more forward, slightly more energetic and the wider soundstage of Aiva pads but I like the bass slam, note weight, lower-midrange naturalness and the more balanced and complete sounding signature of the stock ear pads too. Also, I can increase levels to fun loud levels more easily with the stock ear pads. I'd recommend spending the $30-35 extra for the Aiva ear pads and trying them out for yourself to see which ones you like more. My tilt is more towards the stock ear pads, but well....

SIVGA P-II Fenestrated Ear Pads


SIVGA P-II with DROP THX AAA 789 Linear Amp.

Now my desktop setup is more pro-audio-ish since I use the DROP THX 789 Amp with my Universal Audio Apollo Twin Interface for my music production work. Now this is where SIVGA offering their cables in different jack terminations and multiple adapters comes in use. The DROP 789 Amp has a 4-pin balanced XLR connection whereas P-II comes stock with a 4.4mm balanced cable. For that, they have a 4.4mm female to 4-pin XLR adapter as well as their stock cable in the 4-pin XLR termination. There are multiple other options too and I'd recommend having a look at their store for all the current offerings.

Moving on to sound impressions, P-II has more bass weight and slam, more instrument realism, better separation and slightly more open and airy soundstage on my desktop setup. Even though the soundstage sizes are similar, the boundaries are a bit more defined on the desktop setup with the 789 Amp. Again, this is easily perceivable but isn't a big significant difference. I also don't know which element in the chain is bringing out the most refinement but P-II sounds good on both setups to be honest. DROP 789 is a linear amp and is known for its clean neutral amplification which doesn't add much or any colour from its side which I think pushes cleaner power to drive the P-II and helps it sound cleaner, more open and airy. Even though it has a low impedance of 32Ω and 98dB sensitivity, I do hear its sound signature shining much better through a nice powerful balanced output of a good DAP and even more on a good desktop setup with a clean linear powerful amp. DAPs like HiBy R6 2020 and iBasso DX160 can easily power the P-II from their balanced outputs, so no need to go looking for a desktop setup if you're thinking of getting the P-II. But if you can get one, I'd highly recommend looking at the THX AAA 789 Amp as a pairing with the P-II since I highly dig it.

SIVGA P-II Desktop setup


Comparisons.

Sennheiser HD6XX - HD6XX is a dynamic driver open back headphone. HD6XX is much lighter than the P-II, so it feels much lighter on the head but has more clamp force than the P-II. Also, P-II's ear cups are custom shaped and feel much easier on the cheek and jaw plus its yoke's 30° swivel and 90° rotation are something the HD6XX does not have. HD6XX ear pads are fairly comfortable but I find P-II was more comfortable overall, except for the awareness of it being on your head at all times because of its weight. Build quality and premium quotient is not even a competition and P-II wins in both departments hands down with its boutique design and build. Moving on to sound, HD6XX is a more reference-neutral sounding headphone whereas P-II has a more warm, musical and exciting sound signature. Even after all that, P-II is actual the more neutral and accurate sounding headphone in the bass department. HD6XX has a a bit of sub-bass roll-off and a minor mid-bass bump but P-II is completely linear with very good low end extension right down to 20Hz. HD6XX does lower-midrange more linearly whereas P-II has a tiny bump at 800Hz. HD6XX is more neutral and forward with its upper-midrange presentation whereas P-II has lesser pinna gain and isn't as forward as a result. Even then, P-II does not lose out in instrument realism but HD6XX does have more accurate tonality and timbre of instruments. HD6XX has more prominent lower-treble but P-II has slightly more upper treble and a bit better extension up top. P-II has better separation between instrument layers depth and width wise, better precision in imaging as well as a much better and more holographic soundstage than HD6XX.

HifiMan Sundara - Sundara too is a planar magnetic open-back headphone. It is lighter at 372g, has a bit less clamp force and feels lighter on the head with a more open feeling open-back design. Build quality, design and QC wise, P-II wins hands down as it has a much more premium boutique design and build. Coming to sound, Sundara is overall brighter and a bit more clinical reference-ish sounding headphone compared to P-II. It has a sub-bass roll-off at 60Hz whereas P-II is more accurate, neutral and has better low-end extension. Both have neutral mid-bass presentation but P-II has more overall note weight, slam as well as rumble. Sundara is more neutral and accurate with its lower midrange presentation whereas P-II has a tiny bump at 800Hz. Both have dips in the 2kHz range but then Sundara is more forward with its upper-midrange presentation. Sundara has more prominent lower treble as well as upper treble with a colder tonality. P-II comes off as warmer and more musical in comparison. Sundara has a wider soundstage owing to its upper-treble tuning but at the cost of it coming off as bright. P-II has a more natural sounding soundstage with sharper imaging, better resolution as well as separation between layers while maintaining an easier warmer sound signature.

Ollo S4X - Ollo S4X is a dynamic driver open back headphone and is tuned as a reference headphone for audio engineers and musicians. It too has boutique design and build quality but I have to give it to SIVGA for nailing the design, build quality and premium-ness while keeping P-II's price under $500. P-II definitely looks like a much more expensive headphone in front of the S4X, even though S4X is no slouch and is quite the looker itself. Sound wise, P-II's bass has better isolated clarity, rumble, note weight as well as slam. S4X is more neutral and reference-ish with its lower-midrange as well as upper-midrange presentation. As a result, S4X's sounds spankier with its forward upper-midrange and is more accurate in tonality and timbre presentation. Even though P-II hasn't been tuned to be a neutral reference headphone, is still has very good instrument realism, clarity and fairly natural sounding instrument tonality. S4X has more neutral and present lower-treble whereas P-II has more upper-treble in comparison. P-II sounds a bit more open and airy with better extension up top. Both have good separation between instrument layers as well as resolution but P-II does it better in comparison as well as has better imaging. Even though S4X's soundstage is no slouch and I quite enjoy its presentation, P-II has a more open and wider sounding soundstage. All in all, S4X is more tonally accurate and a better reference headphone but P-II sounds more fun, exciting, is more spacious sounding of the two and has better technicalities in several areas.

SIVGA P-II Desk


Conclusion.

P-II has a lot going for it as it is a well thought out product with an attractive design, extremely good build quality and a sound signature that isn't trying to hit a target curve perfectly for reference sound but is going for an interesting, exciting and musical signature instead which has very good separation between layers, resolution, details and an interesting soundstage. Even though it has a low impedance of 32Ω and 98dB sensitivity, its sound signature shines much better through a nice powerful balanced output of a good DAP and even more on a good desktop setup with a clean linear powerful amp. Well, if you're tired of owning and listening to reference-neutral headphones and would now like to get a nice warm, exciting and musical headphone, I definitely recommend giving P-II a shot!



Gear used for testing and review.

  • DAPs – Hiby R6 2020 | iBasso DX160
  • Audio Interfaces - Universal Audio Apollo
  • Desktop Amp - DROP THX AAA 789 Linear Amp
  • Laptop – Apple Macbook Pro 15″
  • Phone – OnePlus 7 Pro

Reference Songs list.

  • Foo Fighters – The Pretender, Best of you, Everlong & Sonic Highway album
  • Coldplay – Paradise, Up in flames & Everglow + Everyday Life Album
  • Biffy Clyro - A Celebration of Endings & Ellipsis albums
  • Ed Sheeran – Thinking out loud, Bloodstream & Galway Girl
  • Dave Matthews Band – Come Tomorrow album
  • Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia album
  • Chainsmokers – Somebody, Sickboy, This Feeling & Closer
  • John Mayer – Slow dancing in a burning room, Stop this Train, Say & A Face to Call Home
  • Gavin James – Always & Hearts on fire
  • Switchfoot – Meant to live & Dare you to move
  • Porcupine Tree – Sound of Muzak, Blackest Eyes & .3
  • Our Lady Peace – Do You Like It & Innocent
  • Linkin Park – Papercut, Somewhere I belong & Talking to myself
  • Maroon 5 – She will be loved, Payphone & Lost stars
  • Lifehouse – All in all & Come back down
  • Breaking Benjamin – Diary of Jane
  • Karnivool – Simple boy & Goliath
  • Dead Letter Circus – Real you
  • I Am Giant – Purple heart, City limits & Transmission
  • Muse – Panic station
  • James Bay – Hold back the river
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Ichos

Reviewer at hxosplus
An die Musik
Pros: - Musical and engaging
- Warm and lush yet not dark
- Excellent bass
- Good detail retrieval
- Fatigue free listening
- Comfortable
- Easy to drive
- Value for money
- Excellent build quality
- Wooden cups
- Quality balanced 4.4mm cable with adapter
- Hard carrying case
Cons: - Colored sound signature
- Not suitable for critical listening
- Awkward mids tuning
- Somewhat heavy
The P-II was loaned to me for the purpose of this review.
Sivga never asked for a favorable review and this is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.
The retail price is $399 and you can buy it from Amazon

Introduction

The Sivga company that was established in 2016, is located in Dongguan city in China.
It is a comprehensive enterprise integrating R&D, production and excellent customer service.
Sivga focuses on the innovation and production of high-end headphones. It has got rich experience and technology in the headphone acoustics industry.
The key engineering team is formed by many elites from the electronic and acoustic field.
From raw materials to finished products, the mastery spirit from all Sivga staff is gathered together to bring extraordinary quality life experience to the customers.

Their portfolio includes various products from in-ear monitors like the SM002 to full sized headphones like the P-II that is being reviewed here.

IMG_20210618_184432.jpg


Technical parameters

The Sivga P-II is a planar magnetic over the ear open-back headphone with real wood ear cups.
It uses 97mm*76mm ultra-nano double-sided magnetic planar diaphragm unit as the driver, combined with the superior sound characteristics of the black walnut chamber.

The planar magnetic driver is combined with independent developed OTV technology.
With PCB ultra-nanometer
diaphragm and aluminum coil, the whole unit is thinner and lighter.
With double neodymium magnet structure and 108 well arranged acoustic holes, the
air flow is very good.

The impedance is 32Ω with a sensitivity of 98dB so it is not that hard to drive from portable sources although it certainly benefits from some extra power.

IMG_20210618_183210.jpg


Physical parameters , build quality and fit

Ear cups

The P-II features a black walnut wood housing that after the CNC processing is polished and painted by hand.
Craftsmanship is of high quality and the ear cups look and feel nice with smooth texture and excellent paint job/polishing.
Each wood housing grain is different so every headphone is unique.
The outer silver color metal mesh is further protected by an extra cloud-shaped metal grill of black color that is combined together to look very beautiful.

IMG_20210618_183219.jpg


Ear pads

The ear pads have a unique oblique design in order to offer a good seal and great levels of comfort for fatigue free listening.
The space inside the ear pads is oval to anatomically match the ear shape so it will not cause any pressure.
They are made from high protein leather with skin friendly velvet fabric at the outer surface that touches the face.

IMG_20210618_183155.jpg


Headband

The main structure is made of stainless steel in matte black color design.
The connection part is made of aviation aluminum material with CNC machining, so it is of high durability.
The ear cups can be rotated up to
90°, convenient for single-side monitoring.
The head pad is made of high protein leather and thanks to it's bulged design there is no
pressure when wearing the headphone for
long time.
The head pad is self - adjustable with
elastic band inside so it is very easy to get the proper fit.

Wearing comfort

The headphone weighs 420gr but wearing comfort is good thanks to the roomie ear pads and the self adjusting headband that does a great job in distributing the weight evenly.
Clamping force is medium , enough to keep headphones in place without causing pain.
We have noticed some cracking noises while adjusting the headband but nothing was heard during use.
Some users with larger ears might touch the inner part of the pads and some others might not like the inner bumps of the headband.

Cable and accessories

The detachable cable for Pll is made by 6N single crystalline copper wire.
The length is 1.6m and it is very soft without microphonic noise.
The plug that goes into the ear cups is 2.5mm (separate left and right channel) and the other end plug termination is balanced 4.4mm pentacon while at the same time we get a 4.4mm (female) to 3.5mm (male) small cable adapter.
All plugs are metallic and the cable entry points feature a metallic spring stress - relief reinforcement.

IMG_20210618_183519.jpg


Inside the box we will find a small pouch to store the cable and a high quality hard carry case with protein leather outer and fabric coating in the inside.

IMG_20210618_183339.jpg


To sum up build quality , design , craftsmanship , looks , cable and accessories are of high standards and certainly a lot higher than the price would suggest.

Listening set up


The P-II is quite easy to drive so we have successfully tested it with portable sources and daps like the iBasso DX300 , the FiiO M11 Plus LTD or even the THX Onyx.

Of course using a dedicated amp yielded much better results , opening up the sound and we had a great time listening to it from the iFi ZEN CAN , Schiit Vali 2+ and Hel 2.

The source used was our entry level reference DAC, the Denafrips Ares II which is kindly provided on a loan from KVS Audio

All gear is powered by an iFi PowerStation and DC blocker.

IMG_20210615_212331.jpg


Sound impressions

The Sivga P-II is a fairly balanced and natural sounding headphone with somewhat recessed upper mids and not short of technicalities.
Sivga was not afraid to follow an enjoyable and musical tuning rather than focusing on a strictly critical one.
It is a relaxed and fatigue free sound signature with a touch of warmth but without being dark or slow.

Music flows with ease and the sound is nicely blended with natural timbre and full of harmonic wealth.
It is organic with a thick and rich texture while the presentation is of a grandiose scale.

Don't think the P-II is short of technicalities because everything sounds well defined , focused and clear with fast enough transient response and satisfying detail retrieval.

Sound stage is nicely extended featuring good width and depth while instrument positioning is accurate with progressive layering.
The P-II can represent the recording venue with good decay and reverb able to time shift the listener who is positioned rather close to the performers taking a first row seat.

Of course the P-II is not the most detailed or transparent headphone on the market nor does it feature the sharpest and fastest attack or the most huge soundstage.

But the truth is that the listener is not going to miss much on the long run since this is a headphone mostly meant for easy listening rather than analysing.

IMG_20210615_212012.jpg


Splitting performance into the classic frequency bands let's start with the bass which is truly remarkable and exciting.

Fully extended and tuned linearly with a flat frequency response up to the mids it sounds very natural without any unnecessary boost.

The low end is full bodied and visceral with great macro dynamics and slam reminiscent of the best dynamic drivers and the big planar boys.
Fast and well controlled is not ultra tight but still firm enough as not to sound loose and one note.

Intense and organic in its character , it retains high levels of clarity absent of mid bass bloat or any signs of masking so the listener can easily distinguish individual low register instruments.

Mids also sound very clear and clean with a natural timbre , good presence and fine articulation while retaining the full bodied and lush character of the headphone.

But listening carefully we are going to find out that there is some oddity regarding the overall tuning.
Not balanced by any means there is some kind of a mild mid-center boost followed by a generous upper mids dip.

On paper this might sound alarming but actually it isn't.
It surely adds a specific character and coloration to the sound that will favor some instruments while keeping some others in the background giving a "funky" and strong personality to the headphone.

For example , electric guitar solos or some woodwind instruments and male voices sound more prominent than they should be according to a strictly reference criteria.

It's a little complicated to analyze but at the end this is a tuning that works well with most kinds of music to sound very enjoyable but purists and critical listeners might not be satisfied.

Higher frequencies sound smooth but not short of extension with enough brilliance as for the headphone not to become dark or dull.
It is a mature and well controlled tuning that never gets harsh or bright while retaining enough energy in order not to miss on excitement.
Best part is that treble is still full bodied with excellent timing and decay with our only minor complaint being some loss of textural quality.

IMG_20210521_200057.jpg


Compared against the HiFiMan Sundara (2020 model - $349)

The Sundara is one of the best values of the headphone market.

It sports a full metal construction and is built like a tank but the P-II looks and feels more classy with it's wooden cups and the higher quality finish that is reminiscent of far more expensive headphones.
We do prefer the design and looks of the Sivga P-II but this is rather subjective.

Comfort level is almost the same for both headphones but the Sundara has the advantage here.
The ear pads are more roomy and the weight is 48gr less while the leather headband is more friendly to the head.

The Sundara comes without any kind of carrying case and the included cable is very mediocre so the Sivga P-II is objectively a far better offering regarding cable and accessories.

From a price perspective the Sivga P-II maybe $50 more expensive but the difference is justified thanks for the better craftsmanship, the cable and the carrying case.

The Sundara is rated at 37Ω/94dB and the P-II at 32Ω/98dB so it is easier to drive.

IMG_20210618_183021.jpg


Tuning and sound presentation are fairly different and each headphone has a unique personality.

The Sundara is very balanced throughout with a reference tuning suitable for critical listening.

P-II Sub bass extension is better with the Sundara rolling earlier but still offers a very satisfying performance
On the other hand , Sivga P-II is more visceral and full bodied with greater dynamics but then the Sundara is more tight and controlled with superior definition and clarity although compared it sounds somewhat lean.

Mids are tuned in a whole different way with the Sundara offering a fairly linear and even response with a touch of added presence although it is not to be thought of as mid-centric.
On the Sundara all the mid region voices and instruments are treated equally with the same importance taking equal shares of the action.
Timbre is natural and notes sound well textured but there is still that loss of body compared to the P-II.

Treble is more spicy for the Sundara with added brilliance and far more energy although not harsh or piercing.
Decay is faster than the ideal so some percussion or high pitched instruments sound thin and faint.

The Sundara is faster and more open sounding while it resolves far better detail.
Soundstage is spacious and wide and feels more open with extra air around the instruments which are positioned with pinpoint accuracy.
Here the listener takes a third row seat and the overall view is more detached and distanced without the same level of involvement.

It is pretty obvious that both headphones are here to fulfill different needs and tastes and can be viewed as complementary to each other.
The P-II is fun and engaging , lush and cosy with a grandiose and upfront presentation while the Sundara is better suited for critical and reference sessions , pushing the action further away but still enjoyable as it is by no means boring or sterile.

At the end

The Sivga P-II is a highly enjoyable headphone full of musicality and the cunning ability to emotionally connect the listener with the music.
Just sit back to dive into our music collection and let's forget about strict technicalities and other critical listening stuff.
A clear winner that it definitely deserves our wholehearted recommendation and the community's far better attention.

Test playlist

Copyright - Laskis Petros 2021
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Dobrescu George

Reviewer: AudiophileHeaven
That Magical Sound – Sivga P-II Planar Magnetic Headphones
Pros: + Excellent sound
+ Excellent Build Quality
+ Impactful
+ Good cable and carrying case
+ Price / Performance ratio
+ Metal & Wood in construction
+ Portable and not too hard to drive
+ Very easily available out there
Cons: - Very specific sound with a "p" sound that is only present in it and no other headphone I know, which works well for most music styles, but takes some time to get used to
As seen on Audiophile-Heaven: https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/2...nd-sivga-p-ii-planar-magnetic-headphones.html

Views: 123,060

That Magical Sound – Sivga P-II Planar Magnetic Headphones


Sivga P2 or PII or P-2 or P-II is a planar magnetic headphone priced at 400 USD, and which promises a warm and musical sound. It will get compared to iBasso SR-2, Audeze LDC-2C, Brainwavz Alara, HIFIMAN Deva, and MAS X5h. It will also get paired with Lotoo Paw S1, FiiO M11 PRO, and iBasso DX160.






Introduction

Sivga is a new and growing company that you surely heard about if you’re following Head-Fi and other review websites. It made a name for itself by providing excellent support for its customers, reliable products, and actually a great sound. The price / performance ratio is said to be extraordinary, so you should feel safe and sound when purchasing from them. They usually have Amazon shops too, so you’re protected by Amazon’s policy as well.

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Sivga, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I’d like to thank Sivga for providing the sample for this review. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Sivga P-II find their next music companion.



Product Link

Company Link: http://www.sivgaaudio.com/



Packaging


First things first, let’s get the packaging out of the way:



Quite different from most headphones in this price range, Sivga P-II comes with a really high-quality carrying case, and also with a balanced cable that you can adapt to Single ended with the included adapter.

The connectors at the earcup level are not the usual 3.5mm as HIFIMAN puts in their Sundara, Arya or He6SE, but instead they are 2.5mm. It is possible to get aftermarket cables easily if you need to, but you should keep in mind the differences.



Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

There are quite a few headphones out there that share a similar design / case, like a model from Sendy Audio and BLON, but Sivga P-II is pretty unique when it comes to their actual performance.




They are somewhat hard to drive, having a SPL of 98dB, and a modest impedance of 32 OHM. This is actually typical for over-the-ear planar magnetic headphones, and they fall right in between really easy to drive planars like Verum one, and really hard to drive ones like He6SE.

The comfort of P-II is excellent, they sport an earpad that has a nice texturized material inside, with leather on the outside. The pads are really soft, and the headband takes all of the pressure, with soft spots to make P-II what I could describe as perfect. The only location where the comfort isn’t absolutely perfect is at the earpad size level, as they are modest in size. My ear has enough space inside, but if you have really large ears, you may need something a bit larger.


The overall headphone isn’t sensitive to hiss, and there is no microphonic noise from the cable. The design is open-back, so they leak a bit, but they are moderate. You will hear what’s going on around you, and they won’t isolate well from the outside noise. On the other hand, they feel very well built and should adjust to any head size easily.

The wood in the cups looks beautiful and I like their overall aesthetics, being actually perfect for portability as well. In my experience, they worked great for taking a walk outside, but also for listening while working at my computer, making a perfect musical companion.



Youtube Video







Sound Quality

The most prominent feature of P-II’s sound is a “P” sound that they try to enhance in the premier drum. It is a result of having a very specific bump in the lower mids, and unless you know what you’re looking for, you may not notice it. It works nicely for metal, rock and pop, but may be a bit odd when you hear it in classical music. They are generally a quick headphone, with excellent quick and controlled bass that has good substance and support, a clear and detailed midrange that’s warm, and a smoothly texture and excitingly extended treble. The overall sound could be described as V-Shaped but they aren’t annoyingly V-shaped or fatiguing.


The bass is rich, and so is the rest of the sound, and the sub-lows extension is perfect. They have an enhancement over the entire bass and sub-bass, with an organic and natural presentation. Multiple bass lines are distinguishable, while quick songs like technical death metal is really easy to listen to and enjoy.

The midrange is rich and slightly colored by that mid-bass bump, but it is also organic and smooth. The detail levels are really good, while there’s fullness to the entire sound, regardless whether we’re talking about male or female voices. Guitars sound jucy and colorful, while the soundstage is natural in size and depth. Layering is top notch and they do a fair job at instrument separation. Voices aren’t placed unnaturally forward or backward in the mix. The texture is smoother and natural, but they still manage to pull a pretty good dynamic. For those looking for a brighter and more analytic headphone, Sundara may be a better fit.

The treble is on the smoother side, but with a good extension. The best part is that they aren’t dark, but instead manage to maintain a good amount of air, which gives them a good versatility for both happier and sadder music. Even if you’re sensitive to treble, they should be perfect, despite me calling them slightly V-Shaped earlier on.



Comparisons

The main comparisons I went for are with iBasso SR-2, Audeze LDC-2C, Brainwavz Alara, HIFIMAN Deva and MAS X5h.




For a headphone priced at this price point, it may feel like a lot, but it is your money and your future musical experience we’re talking about, so I thought I should establish what Sivga P-II does best and where it falls a bit short.

Sivga P-II vs iBasso SR-2 (400 USD vs 500 USD) – SR-2 has that “2” in the name just like Sivga, but the technology is not similar at all, SR-2 being a dynamic headphone. Both are open-back and both leak and isolate pretty much as much. The overall drive factor is similar, but P-II is somewhat easier to drive than SR-2. The overall comfort is slightly better on SR-2, thanks to larger pads. The sound is more impactful on Sivga P-II, with more emphasis on detail and dynamics. SR-2 sounds more laid back, relaxed, more natural in the mids and with a similar sized soundstage. P-II works better for impactful music, like Rock, Pop, EDM, Metal, while SR-2 works better for Jazz, Classical, and Orchestral.

Sivga P-II vs Audeze LCD-2C (400 USD vs 800 USD) – LCD-2C is much heavier and less comfortable than Sivga P-II. The package is also much better for P-II. Audeze is harder to drive than P-II. The overall detail level is better on LCD-2C. The sound is dark and lush on LCD-2C, while it is cleaner, more open, and has a more fluid character on P-II. LCD-2C always sounds a bit dry and thick-ish in every way possible, where Sivga P-II is always fluid and musical, working better for rock, metal and punk.

Sivga P-II vs HIFIMAN Deva (400 USD vs 350 USD) – Deva has a wider soundstage, and a deeper soundstage too. The comfort is better on Deva. Impact is better on Sivga P-II. Detail is actually similar between the two in the long run, and so is the clarity. Deva has less bass, while P-II sounds more rich, more lush. Deva sounds more open, while P-II sounds a bit thicker. Deva is harder to drive than P-II. Deva leaks more and isolates less than P-II for those who want to take both portably.

Sivga P-II vs Brainwavz Alara (400 USD vs 300 USD) – Alara isolates about as much as P-II, and leaks about as much. The comfort is better on P-II, and at times it feels like a good replacement of the good Old Alara, with a similar sound, but improved ergonomics. That midbass bump actually makes P-II more impactful, and their midrange is more fluid. The overall soundstage is similar in size between the two, and so is the overall clarity, but Alara is slightly harder to drive.

Sivga P-II vs MAS Audio X5h (400 USD vs 400 USD) – MAS X5h is a closed-back on-ear headphone, so the leakage is much less than P-II, and it isolates more, but the comfort is much better on P-II. I wanted to showcase this comparison, because X5h is a bass cannon, where P-II is rich and lush, without being overwhelming in the lows. X5h sounds thicker, and has a stronger treble, being a properly V-Shaped headphone, where P-II is organic, natural and mature in its tuning.



Recommended Pairings

The main pairings I went for are with Lotoo Paw S1, FiiO M11 PRO and iBasso DX160. There are many wonderful sources to drive P-II from, but I would generally recommend something with a 4.4mm output, so you can take advantage of that cable in its best configuration.


P-II is not exactly needy, but it appreciates a high-quality source with good ergonomics and with a dynamic, wide sound. It is best to avoid narrow and intimate soundstages when picking the source for Sivga P-II.

Sivga P-II + FiiO M11 PRO (400 USD + 650 USD) – m11 PRO does a good job at driving P-II, as it is a brighter source. It tends to improve the treble resolution and sparkle, and make them even more versatile. I like the dynamics of the pairing, and I enjoy the overall clarity, as well as the excellent convenience of using the two together. The bass extension in M11 PRO is nice too, and as it has a slightly less prominent bass, it tends to cancel some of the coloration of P-II, bringing them closer to the perfect Harman tuning.

Sivga P-II + Lotoo Paw S1 (400 USD + 170 USD) – Lotoo Paw S1 has always been a beautiful-sounding DAC/AMP, but this time I can see it first hand, just how awesome it is. It has a 4.4mm headphone output from the factory, and that works really well with them. If you want to easily fine tune P-II, S1 comes with a nice EQ list, and you can make them more analytic, dry their sound, or make them more fluid. Anything you want to make out of P-II is at your fingertips, and I totally enjoyed having this one combo for impact, dynamics and portability.

Sivga P-II + iBasso DX160 (400 USD + 400 USD) – DX160 may not be exactly new right now, but it is still a really hot DAP that’s perfect for driving P-II. it has just the perfect amount of dynamics, a natural midrange, and a clean, detailed sound. The soundstage is improved slightly in both depth and width compared to most pairings, and you’d do yourself a favor if going for a good source when getting Sivga P-II.



Value and Conclusion

In the end, it is really easy to argue that Sivga P-II has an excellent value. They come with a really good package, an awesome cable, and even a 4.4mm termination form the factory, so you will be able to take advantage of the latest DAPs, DACs and Amplifier right away.


The build quality is excellent, with real wood in the cups, a good comfort, no microphonic noise, and with an adjusting mechanism that should fit every head out there.

The sound is warm, rich, organic and well extended both ways. Detail is also great, and if you’re looking for a natural soundstage, P-II should bring it all to you!


Before the end of Today’s Review, I liked Sivga P-II so much that I will be adding it to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame, as one of the best headphones I heard in my entire life in the ~400 price range. Other reasons for adding it are that beautiful build, and great ergonomics.




At the end of today’s review, if you’re looking for a rich, warm and organic performer, with excellent comfort and a nice design, Sivga P-II should be perfect for you.



— Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!—



Full Playlist used for this review


We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature. PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

If you have a dime to spare (donate), it would make my day much brighter, as it would help me improve things around the website and increase the frequency of my posts.

Youtube Playlist





Tidal Playlist

https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b

I hope my review is helpful to you!



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