SIVGA Phoenix - wooden flagship dynamic driver headphone - Reviews
Warm, musical and bassy
Pros: safe tuning
dynamic, fun bass
warm and musical
processing
Cons: somewhat lifeless mids
tiny design
not the best all-rounder
stage
Rating: 8
Sound: 7.8



Intro
SIGVA has specialized in developing headphones with a noble wood finish. The PHOENIX is their current flagship and is aimed at bass-hungry listeners with audiophile demands. Whether the PHOENIX can do justice to this remains to be seen. The low impedance and high sensitivity of the PHOENIX should make it suitable for any playback device.



Handling
Zebra wood sounds promising, but in the end it is a type of wood (which exactly is not specified) that has a naturally zebra-like grain, which means that several woods can be considered. It's nice to look at, though, and gives the otherwise more filigree PHOENIX a rugged character. Likewise, this also raises sonic expectations, as I associate wood looks with a warmer and more physical sound, which the PHOENIX indeed delivers.

In general, the PHOENIX turns out a bit small, which means it may not fit on every growler, which I would count mine among. On me, the comfortable and flexible headband is on full stop. The ear pads are comfortable, but unfortunately also fall out a bit too small. Here SIGVA probably had rather smaller people in focus when dimensioning their headphones. However, they have recognized the problem and deliver larger pads, for which, however, another 12 € are added. With the original, soft and ergonomically shaped pads, the PHOENIX wears more like an on-ear, but still quite comfortable. Here, however, I also see problems with people who provide their brain even more space than I do.

In the package we get a fabric-covered and supple cable with 2.5mm mono jack as headphone jack and 3.5mm stereo jack for the music source. An adapter to 6.3mm is included in a small cloth pouch.

In addition, the cable has a reinforcement at the stereo connection to prevent cable breakage.
There is also a nice hardcover case for transporting the headphones.

The isolation suffers from the open design, but there are even airier representatives.



Sound
Bass

The PHOENIX clearly focuses on the bass. I can't think of any open headphones where I felt such an impact from the bass, because the bass of the PHOENIX is quite physically perceptible. It has a good texture, is full-bodied and quite punchy. However, it lacks a bit of firmness, which is then also noticeable in the interplay with the mids. For me, this limits the usability of the PHOENIX a bit, because I would reach for this headphone less for rock or pop (which should not exclude these genres, however), but all the more for electro or hip-hop, where it can also fully play out its bass performance. I enjoy the bass and even if it is not the tightest representative, it convinces me with its organic and dynamic character. Nevertheless, certainly not for everyone, especially when it comes to critical listening, although the PHOENIX is equally capable of bringing out finer bass passages.

Mids
I have a bit of a hard time with the mids. These are very physical and voices have an intimate character. For me, they are a bit too influenced by the bass and lack clarity. If you prefer more restrained and thicker mids, you can certainly do better with this presentation. I would like to see more liveliness and a cleaner transition between bass and mids. Rarely, the mids can get a bit harsh, but that is absolutely tolerable for me.

Details are brought out well and tonally the mids are largely correct, if a bit too warmly tuned.

Trebles
The highs are fundamentally solid. They don't have outstanding extension or the very highest resolution, but I like the relaxed approach as I don't feel like I'm missing anything either. Yes, hi-hats could be a bit zippier and sharper, and I'd also like more transparency overall, but here the mids tend to be the spoiler, as they already provide a somewhat spongy foundation, which is then harder for the highs to enhance. Sibilants are not discernible and generally the treble has a very good longterm listenability and a silky character.

Stage
What surprises me is the much more intimate stage than we are used to from open headphones in general. This is also a small drawback for me, as I feel a bit constricted here and there and this fact sometimes stresses me out when listening to music, as I always have the feeling that the PHOENIX wants to, but doesn't manage to break the imaginary wall. Nevertheless, the stage doesn't seem claustrophobic or anything like that.

Imaging
The imaging works well within the available space and is also divided into several layers. However, it isn't particularly airy and is laid out more like an ellipse with an eye on the stereo area, so there is certainly still " air upwards" on the Y-axis.



Outro
For me, the SIVGA PHOENIX is more of a fun headphone, but it certainly has audiophile qualities, especially with its unobtrusive and relaxed signature, though it is not something for critical listening. For this, it lacks a bit of clarity and resolution, or rather, the dominant bass and the somewhat shy, warm mids are a shortcoming.

Since the PHOENIX could be operated at a more than sufficient volume without any problems at all tested sources (HUAWEI P40 lite, LG G6+, various USB DACs (including ZORLOO ZTELLA), Lenovo P51, various headphone amps (including SMSL SH-8)), it is certainly also an idea for mobile use, but you should always be aware of where you are due to the open design. Likewise, the technical performance can vary somewhat.

To that end, the PHOENIX is comfortable for extended periods of time despite its smaller pads, which make it on-ear. However, these can be replaced with a circumaural version, where there is an additional cost (€12).

If you're looking for a fairly competent open headphone for electro, hip-hop, EDM or R&B with a relaxed and intimate signature, the PHOENIX is well worth a try.



Thanks to SIGVA for providing the test headphones.
___________________________________________________________
More reviews: CHI-FIEAR
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CHIFIEAR/
Last edited:
Pros: Good, but weird built scene
Overall details
Bass and treble
Very easy to drive
Cons: Comfort
Too dry midrange
Sivga Phoenix is an open-back headphone sporting a dynamic driver and wooden earcups. It is priced at 255$.
Sound quality
Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
Build quality
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
Price
Rating: 8 out of 10.


Packaging



Sivga comes in a very aesthetic box with two cases and a cable. The first case is a high quality leather case for headphones, alcantra-lined inside, the second one is linen, for carrying the cable.

Cable

The cable is braided with some nice to touch material, and is two meters long. It is terminated with a 3,5mm jack which is closed in a small case and has a spring on the beginning, so it shouldn’t break. At the end of the cable, we have two 2,5mm mono jacks, so it’s easy to buy an aftermarket balanced one. Unfortunately, there is a microphone effect here which is really annoying, but it occurs only on the section from the splitter to the headphones.

Build quality

Phoenix is made very well. Wooden cups, metal grills and headband are made of metal and leather. It all feels premium, made as several times more expensive headphones. I have nothing to attach to.

Comfort

Sadly, comfort isn’t on such a high level as the quality of the workmanship. They’re too small for big heads. I feel like they’re trying to scrunch up my head. Pads are too soft and thin, my ears are touching the cover of the driver. Also, wearing glasses is a bad idea here, they’re too tight for that. Definitely the worst point of the whole product.

Sound

It is hard to describe Sivga Phoenix in two words. Everything is close and far away at the same time, depends on the performer they can hide or expose the vocals, even if their voice sounds similar. They are also kinda flat, but I don’t mean neutral, they just are not juicy as for example Fidelio X2HR, but not boring and correct as AD900x. Something in between. Matching the source is really important there, e.g. with Little Dot MK IV they were bad, boring and lazy in holography reproduction. They don’t need much power, so only a well-matched DAC is needed. Personally, I would prefer something with a dose of fun, but basically, they sound kinda natural with the potential for a great scene and holography.

The bass is recessed a little, subbas is nicely playing in the background, it doesn’t affect the rest. Kickbass is kinda reluctant, it feels like it would like to strike hard, but it can’t. It’s like a fake battle between two brothers. Overall, it is fast and exact, could have been quite deeper and richer.

The midrange doesn’t provide much life in it. It is pretty empty in my opinion, much air between the sound sources. It is detailed, a little harsh, but also not involving at all.

Treble steps in front sometimes, but in a kind way, it is not harassing like in Monolith M1060, but there’s still a lot of details which aren’t sharp, I think I can say it is one of the better treble I’ve heard around 250$.

The soundstage is very big, but I don’t like the way how it’s recreated. Imaging is quite weird. It is kinda deluded to me, based on very thin sound sources that aren’t set far away from each other. It was an odd feeling for me, but I know there are some people who love this playstyle.

Summary

I have mixed feelings about Sivga Phoenix. I can’t say if they’re bad or good, they’re specific. They’re natural, with delicate V signature, they are really well made, but are not comfortable. Scene and holography are weird, you have to decide on your own if it’s good either it’s bad. The huge merit is they are really easy-to-drive.

Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:

  • Headphones – Fidelio X2HR, Audio-Technica AD900X, Monoprice Monolith M1060, Takstar HF-580
  • Source – DX3 Pro, D50s, Hip-Dac, Little Dot MK IV, iBasso DX160, iFi IDSD Micro Black Label
Remember to visit us at ear-fidelity.com
Last edited:
rev92
rev92
I will spare my thoughts about your reviews here...nobody needs and probably noone wants to read it. You shared your aggressive and envious opinion, now let's move on.

And for the last thing, listen to some actual quality cans before calling Sivga's bass "quality" please.


Cheers mate, over.
voja
voja
I can agree it was leaning to the aggressive part - but envious? Wasn't.

I have to remind you that there is no such ting as objectively "quality" anything. Sound preference is subjective, but what you will notice is that many will agree that the bass on Sivga Phoenix is clean, fast, deep, and has more than enough quantity.

It's unfortunate you took my comment personal and got offended by it. I'm not here to argue :)
  • Like
Reactions: X1787X
D E E P T O N E
D E E P T O N E
@rev92 @voja I respect both your reviews. But rev92, Mr voja only gave u feedback on his thoughts of your review based on his experience of the headphones. There was no negativity or aggression in vojas reply. Be a man and take the critique and move on.
SIVGA Phoenix Open-Back Headphone
Pros: Overall Bass Performance,
Midrange Tonality and Detail Retrieval,
Musical Instrument and Intimate Vocal Presentation,
Build Quality and Esthetics,
High Value for your Money
Cons: Headband is maybe a bit small for bigheads,
None for a Headphone at this price tag
SIVGA Phoenix Headphone Review


Introduction:


SIVGA Electronic Technology Co., Ltd, is a Chinese brand located in Dongguan city of China, focuses on designing and producing high-end audio products include wooden earphones, In-Ear Monitors with multiple drivers and planar magnet headphones. All products of the company are designed and produced internally.

The SIVGA Phoenix is the latest member of the Over-Ear Headphone product series with an open back design that features a 50mm diameter dynamic driver. This dynamic driver has a uniquely developed polycarbonate film diaphragm with 3mm thick Ne-Fe-B magnet and a coil that is made of special copper clad aluminum wire material.











Disclaimer:


The Phoenix headphone was provided to me by the SIVGA for review purposes. I am not affiliated with SIVGA beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.


PS: The original post was shared on Moonstar Reviews website under the following link: https://moonstarreviews.net/sivga-phoenix-headphone-review/


Price:


The MSRP price for the SIVGA Phoenix is 299,99 USD and can be purchased from the links below;





Package and Accessories:

The SIVGA Phoenix came in a pretty big box with brandings and an illustration of the Phoenix on the top and some technical detail at the back side.



The box is in black color with exceptions of the sides that do have a wooden effect.



This box contains the following items;

  • 1 piece x SIVGA Phoenix Over-Ear Headphone
  • 1 pair x Headphone Cable
  • 1 piece x Headphone Carrying Case
  • 1 piece x Cable Bag



The Headphone Carrying Case with zipper mechanism is made of leather and sports the SIVGA branding on the top. The case has a lanyard and zipper mechanism is of very high quality.



The inner surface of the hard carry case has a fabric coating to avoid the Phoenix from any possible scratches.

The detachable cable is approx. 160cm long and features a nice fabric coating. The cable wire is made of high purity single crystalline copper material.



The cable has two 2.5mm male connectors, one for the left ear-cup and one for the right ear-cup.



Each of the connectors features a metal housing with left and right marking, while the plugs do have extra ring indicators (red for the right and green for the left channel).



The cable of the Phoenix sports also a metal Y splitter in black color.



The cable features a 3.5mm headphone jack with a straight profiled metal housing in black color that sport the SIVGA logo in white color. The headphone plug has also a flexible strain relief in form of a spring that offer extra protection.










The Design, Build Quality, Comfort:


The SIVGA Phoenix is an Over-Ear Headphone with an open back design that features a wooden ear-cups which gives it a very nice look and premium feel.



The overall build quality of the SIVGA Phoenix is of very high quality and doesn’t show any imperfections like such like gaps and annoying cracks when you bend the headband.



The housing of the ear-cups is a combinations of zebra wood and stainless steel grille with a black backing varnish. The zebra wood housing is made by CNC carving, together with multiple processes such as grinding, polishing and painting, etc.



The main part of the headband is made of stainless steel material with a matte black painting. The clamping force of the headband is not too much for my average sized head which makes the Phoenix ideal for long listening periods.



The connection parts are on the other hand are also in black color and ae made of aviation grade aluminum material with CNC machining that should offer a higher durability.



The headband holders/hangers do have the SIVGA logo on both sides and do have Left (L) and Right (R) indictors in white color.



Each ear cup has a 2.5mm female connector that offers a tight and secure connection.



The headband has an up & down adjustment and a rotation adjustment mechanism. The headband is not very large so if you have an above average head the size of the Phoenix could maybe tad small for you.



The headband padding is made of suede leather with a bulged design to avoid pressure and to offer extra comfort for longer listening periods.



The ear pads of the SIVGA Phoenix do have a soft and very comfortable padding with low pressure to my ears.



This ear pads do have a protein leather (pleather) surface on the outside and a very skin friendly fabric surface that is ideal for skin contact, especially in warm summer periods. The fabric surface offers better anti-sweating compared to ear pads with a pleather/leather surface.



The SIVGA Phoenix has an average weight of approx. 296gr which is quite ok for a full sized over-ear headphone.







Isolation:

The SIVGA Phoenix is a headphone with an open back design. It has not the same open back design such like a Sennheiser HD600/HD650 or the HiFiMAN DEVA and can be described as semi open because of a damping material under the grille that .



This semi open design reminds me to those of the Philips Fidelio X2 is more effective against noise/sound leakage from the outside to the inside and from the inside to the outside.









Technical Specifications:
  • Driver : 50mm diameter dynamic driver with polycarbonate film diaphragm
  • Frequency Response : 20Hz – 20 KHz
  • Sensitivity : 103 dB +/-3dB
  • Impedance : 32 Ohm
  • Cable Length : approx. 160cm
  • Headphone Plug : 3.5mm TRS
  • Weight : 296gr







Drivability:

The SIVGA Phoenix is a pretty easy to drive full sized headphone thanks to a low impedance of 32Ω and a sensitivity of 103dB which makes it highly compatible with relative weak sources like Smartphone’s, Tablet’s and DAP’s with low amplification.







Equipment’s used for this review:
  • Headphones : SIVGA Phoenix, HiFiMAN DEVA
  • Paired Sources : iBasso DX220 MAX, FiiO M3 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S9+, IPad Air2








Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Dave Brubeck – Take Five (DSD 2.8Mhz)
  • Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (DSD) – Binaural Recording
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Wav 24bit/88kHz)
  • Tina Turner – Let’s Stay Together (Flac 24bit/88kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non, je ne regrette rien (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say a Little Prayer (Wav 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • No Doubt – Hella Gut (Spotify)
  • Elton John – Your Song (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • David Bowie – Black Star (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Layla (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Audiomachine – Blood and Stone (Spotify)
  • Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Spotify)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Photek – The Hidden Camera (Spotify)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kpbs)
  • Michael Jackson – Billie Jean (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Twerl – Lishu (Spotify)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Wav 16bit/44kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Flac 24bit/96kHz)










The Sound:


The SIVGA Phoenix has a mildly V shaped sound signature with a nicely done warm tonality and entertaining presentation. The bass is deep, textured and full bodied; the midrange is emotional and detailed, while the upper midrange and treble region offers a surprisingly good level of extension, airiness and sparkle.




Bass:


The SIVGA Phoenix shows a surprisingly good performance in terms of subbass depth and extension for an open back headphone, which I believe is because of the large driver and semi open back design. The depth and quantity is maybe not on par with a bass-head headphones but should be in general quite enough for most listeners.

The general tonality of the subbass is pretty warm, soft and full bodied with good level of rumble which offers also good controlled at the same time with no remarkable distortion.

The subbass quantity and speed is great with bass intensive genres such like Hip-Hop, EDM, Trance or Pop, etc. and has shown a quite exiting performance with some of my reference songs like Massive Attack’s “Angel”, Daft Punk’s – Doin’ it Right ” or while listen to more complex tracks such like Gogo Penguin’s “Raven.

The midbass region of the SIVGA Phoenix is tight and impactful in its presentation, along with a good level of speed and control for a full sized headphone at this price range. Instruments like bass guitars or cross drums are fairly accented, soft and warmish in its tonality with good amount of impact and intensity.

The general bass response of the SIVGA Phoenix is pretty fast and controlled with good level of layering and resolution. What I do really like about the Phoenix is the softness and general timbre of the bass tonality, which is not overwhelming or too boomy in its presentation.





Midrange:

SIVGA offers with its Phoenix headphone a pretty lush, full bodied and musical midrange presentation that shows also a nice amount of clarity, airiness and resolution. The midrange of the SIVGA Phoenix shows a performance that is above its price range.



Vocals:

The SIVGA Phoenix is a pretty successful open pack headphone in terms of definition and separation of instruments and the vocals, while the vocals are slightly more upfront compared to the instruments.

Male vocals do sound fairly detailed and emotional, with a good level of depth and fullness thanks to the well-tuned lower midrange character. Male vocals such like David Bowie, Eric Clapton or Elton John do sound pretty emotional and are very pleasant to listen to.

Female vocals on the other hand do sound quite intimate, detailed and pretty lively with moderate level of extension. The timbre while listen to female vocals such like Tina Turner, Edith Piaf or Diana Krall is outstanding for a Headphone at this price range. The general presentation of female vocals is warmish, emotional and pretty rich in terms of detail and doesn’t shows any unwanted like sibilance.



Instruments:

The general instrument tonality of the SIVGA Phoenix is warm smooth and musical. Instruments like pianos are mildly bright, pronounced and vivid. Instruments like acoustic guitars are slightly warm, bassy and musical, while pianos are soft in the lower midrange.

Other instruments like violins are fatigue-free and do have a moderate level of brightness.

Instruments like saxophones and the tuba are very successful in terms of thickness and depth due thanks to the pretty successful subbass depth.






Upper Midrange & Treble:


The SIVGA Phoenix shows a pretty balanced upper midrange character which is neither too low nor too high in terms of intensity. It offers enough detail and clarity for female vocals and instruments like the trumpet or clarinet. Here are no remarkable issues like over sharpness or sibilance. The upper midrange transitions are in general fairly controlled and do show a sufficient level of extension that is pretty enough for a headphone at this price region.

The treble range of the SIVGA Phoenix is bright, slightly warm and very controlled. The general emphasis and airiness is on a moderate level with good amount of sparkle. The hits of instruments like does of the Hi-hats do come a bit from the background and the extension in on an average level.

Other instruments like the ride and crash cymbal are more highlighted and do have a better extension. If you want a good amount of clarity and sparkle but at the same time a fatigue-free presentation with sufficient extension, the SIVGA Phoenix is a good option for you.






Soundstage & Imaging:

The SIVGA Phoenix is an open-back headphone that means you could high expectations in terms of soundstage performance. Yes, the Phoenix is pretty successful and shows an above average performance in this area, especially for a headphone at this price range, but due to a slightly damping of the drivers behind the grilles the Phoenix sounds a bit more narrow compared to other open-back headphones like my HiFiMAN DEVA or the Sennheiser HD650 that I have listened many times before.

The SIVGA Phoenix is also successful headphone in terms of imaging with its fairly precise placement of the instruments and vocals.









Comparison:


SIVGA Phoenix versus HiFiMAN Deva (wired):


Both the SIVGA Phoenix and the HiFiMAN Deva are full sized open-back headphones, while the main difference is the driver technology. The Phoenix features a dynamic driver while the Deva is a headphone with a planar magnetic driver. The driver technology has a pretty noticeable effect on the sound character and overall performance that I will explain below.

The SIVGA Phoenix has a warmer, fuller and more musical tonality compared to the HiFiMAN Deva that shows also a fairly warm, slightly brighter and more neutral tonality.

The SIVGA Phoenix has the upper hand in terms of subbass depth, quantity and extension with its pretty powerful 50mm diameter dynamic driver. The Phoenix offer more subbass rumble while the HiFiMAN Deva has the upper hand in terms of speed. The Deva offers slightly better subbass layering and control and shows a faster decay, while both are pretty equal in terms of detail retrieval.

The midbass region of the SIVGA Phoenix shows more impact, better extension and weight compared to the HiFiMAN Deva which is a bit shy in this area. The Deva has a slightly advantage in terms of speed while the control is pretty similar.



The midrange of the SIVGA Phoenix is slightly more forward and shows also a warmer overall tonality and fuller character. The HiFiMAN Deva offers a more neutral slightly more recessed and brighter tonality that has less weight in this area compared to the SIVGA Phoenix. The Phoenix has the upper hand in terms of lower midrange depth and extension which makes it more successful with male vocals and with instruments such like violas, trumpets and acoustic guitars. The HiFiMAN Deva shows slightly more upper midrange intensity and extension which makes it slightly more ideal for female vocals or instruments such like violins or flutes.

The midrange of the HiFiMAN Deva sounds more airy and spacious, while the SIVGA Phoenix shows a more intimate and musical presentation.

The treble range of both headphones is quite successful in terms of control and detail retrieval. The HiFiMAN Deva shows slightly more sparkle and higher amount of airiness, while the SIVGA Phoenix offers a smoother presentation which makes it more ideal for longer listening periods.

Both Headphones are successful in terms of soundstage performance and separation of instruments and vocals. The HiFiMAN Deva has the upper hand in terms of soundstage width and airiness. The SIVGA Phoenix on the other hand is slightly more successful when it comes to the soundstage depth.







Conclusion:

The SIVGA Phoenix is a full-sized headphone which offers an amazing value for your money in terms of sound performance, esthetics, comfort and overall build quality. It has one of the best bass performances I have heard form an open back headphone and shows also a detailed and musical midrange, along with a treble range that has a good level of extension and control. The wooden ear-cups ae very attractive and the ear pads are very comfortable, while the hard case which is made of leather is also a nice addition.




Pros & Cons:
  • + Overall Bass Performance
  • + Midrange Tonality and Detail Retrieval
  • + Musical Instrument and Intimate Vocal Presentation
  • + Build Quality and Esthetics
  • + High Value for your Money

  • – Headband is maybe a bit small for bigheads
  • – None for a Headphone at this price tag


Thank you for reading!

PS: The original post was shared on Moonstar Reviews website under the following link: https://moonstarreviews.net/sivga-phoenix-headphone-review/
Last edited:
harry501501
harry501501
Can't make my mind up between these and the Sundara. It's been a while since I bought headphones as I mostly stick to IEMs, but I'm wanting to create a new desktop setup. I've currently got the SMSL Sanskrit 10th M2, with a decent powered SMSL AMP or SMSL Valve AMP coming from it. I'm thinking of spending some dosh tho on the iFi Audio ZEN CAN and iFi Audio ZEN DAC with decent open-back headphones. Originally I was going to go with the AKG K71 or K712 PRO, but then I saw the Phoenix... which led me to Sundara comparisons coming up.
harry501501
harry501501
BTW, great review, I enjoyed reading it
Moonstar
Moonstar
Thank you for your kindness!
Flagship dynamic from Sivga - amazing performance
Pros: Top-notch build quality (wood earcups, metal frame, leather padded headband, metal housing on all parts on the cable)
Closed-back-like bass performance (tight punch, rumbling sub-bass, full-body)
The mid-range and high-range isn't sacrificed like it usually is in headphones with deep bass
Crisp and clear high-range - has enough sparkle
Fuller and more present sound performance (not boxy!)
Fatigue-free, perfect for long listening sessions
Easy to drive
Value (price-performance ratio)
Cons: I would say the only con is the fit (due to the earpads), but Sivga is already busy creating new ones.. so this might not even be relevant. The pads are the only reason why my rating is 4.5, the sound performance is without a doubt 5.0

These aren't cons, but are something that some people will not enjoy:
Narrower soundstage and fuller sound
Non-airy sound performance


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.

Attachments

NA Blur
NA Blur
Anyone measure these yet?
  • Like
Reactions: voja
NA Blur
NA Blur
Sivga's products usually come with a tuning page. Do you have that for the pair you reviewed and if so can you post a pic of it please?
  • Like
Reactions: voja
voja
voja
Top