SIVGA Phoenix - wooden flagship dynamic driver headphone

yong_shun

1000+ Head-Fier
Review: Sivga Phoenix Headphones - My New Best Friends
Pros: Excellent build quality with a modern appearance
Powerful bass response
Decent wearing comfort
Lush and warm midrange
Smooth treble
High-quality stock cable
Can be easily driven for portable usage
Sturdy storage case
Cons: Ear cups are smaller
Headband size is small
Average detail retrieval capability
The Phoenix are perfect for bass enthusiasts who appreciate good midrange performance and a roomy soundstage.

Disclaimer: This article is originally posted on Headphonesty. Thank you to Collin Yang from Sivga for providing the Phoenix for review purposes.

The Phoenix are the latest open-back over-ear headphones from Sivga powered by an in-house designed 50mm dynamic driver. Exhibiting the same design signature of their other releases, the Phoenix feature superb zebrawood ear cups. The Phoenix’s position in Sivga’s line-up is just below the top-of-the-line (TOTL) planar magnetic P-II headphones, as such, we can consider the Phoenix as Sivga’s current high-end dynamic driver model.

The Phoenix are well-designed and executed.

Company Overview​

Sivga was established in Dongguan city, China in 2016. Being a comprehensive enterprise, Sivga integrates research and design (R&D) with production and customer service. Their main focus is on innovating and producing high-quality headphones to meet the needs of the high-end audiophile community.

The team in Sivga has rich experience and in-depth technology background in this industry. From raw materials to the end-products, Sivga is dedicated to presenting an extraordinary experience to their customers by upholding the highest levels during the entire production procedure.

Technical Specifications​

  • Form: Open-back headphones
  • Drivers: 1 x 50mm dynamic driver with a polycarbonate (PC) diaphragm
  • Impedance (Ohms): 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity (dB): 103 dB ± 3 dB
  • Frequency Response (Hz): 20 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Removable Cable: Y
  • Source Jack: 3.5mm
  • Cup/Shell Jack: 2.5mm dual-mono jack
  • Mic: N
  • Weight (g): 296g

Packaging​

The unboxing experience of the Phoenix is unquestionably delightful, just like unboxing the Sivga Robin, which I previously reviewed. The packaging of the Phoenix is also similar to the Robin - the headphones are well-packaged in a black box, with the brand and model name printed on the front.

On the back of the box, the technical specifications are printed in Chinese and English. The tagline of Sivga is printed on the back of the box as well - “Created with Craftsman Spirit.”

The Phoenix are well-packaged in a black box, with the brand and model name printed on the front.
The side of the packaging has a wooden design, to further show the uniqueness of the Phoenix.
On the back of the box, the technical specifications are printed in Chinese and English. The tagline of Sivga is printed on the back of the box too - “Created with Craftsman Spirit”.


There’s a hard storage case included in the box. I love this accessory because the hard case can provide ample protection for the headphones. The inclusion of the hard case is one of the biggest differences as compared to the Robin.

I love the included hard storage case.

In the box​

  • Sivga Phoenix headphones
  • Detachable cable (1.6m)
  • Hard leather headphone storage case
  • 3.5mm to 6.35mm conversion adaptor
  • Soft pouch for cable and adaptor

These are the items that you can expect in the Phoenix's packaging - simple but useful!

Cable​

Similar to the Robin, the Phoenix come with a detachable cable, terminated with a 3.5mm unbalanced plug. On the headphone side, Sivga uses 2.5mm dual-mono tip-sleeve (TS) jacks (this type of connection is used by HiFiMan on their older HE4XX and Audioquest Nighthawk). The cable is well insulated with an outer layer of black-colored fabric. To reduce the strain on the 3.5mm plug, Sivga includes a spring to improve overall durability.

The stock cable’s length is 1.6m. This length is perfect for desktop usage as the Phoenix are open-back headphones, and as a result, not very suitable for portable use.

The Phoenix use common 2.5mm tip-sleeve (TS) dual mono connectors.
[IMG alt="To reduce the strain stress exerted on the 3.5mm jack, Sivga includes a spring as strain-relief to improve overall durability.
"]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/Z...d7LEsETq39AXhP7EKvoI8nSMB9DLpYiKyGlt=s0[/IMG]

Design​

As mentioned in the introduction, the Phoenix exhibit Sivga’s design signature of using eye-catching zebrawood ear cups. A stainless steel grill is located in the center of the ear cups, a style that reminds me of the Audeze LCD-3. Unlike the LCD-3 or Robin, the zebrawood ear cups have a matte finish, instead of shiny gloss, which I prefer because it does not show fingerprints.

The grille is made of stainless steel with a layer of black lacquer coating while the zebra wood ear cups are well-processed by a CNC machine.


The headband is made of computer numerical control (CNC) machined aluminum to ensure a smooth finish without any rough edges. The Phoenix use an adjustable headband strap, similar to what is commonly found on AKG’s headphones. I find that this type of design exerts less force on my head while wearing them, yielding a more comfortable listening experience.

The headband's CNC finished surface is smooth and there are no rough edges.
The headband strap's inner side is well-padded to reduce the force applied on users' head.


The Phoenix include hybrid ear pads - the side of the ear pad is made of leather while the center is made of fabric. Hybrid ear pads tend to provide good isolation while maintaining a high level of comfort for users. The fabric material in the inner side provides a breathable surface which reduces heat accumulation in the ear cups.

[IMG alt="The velour material on the inner side is breathable.
"]https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/M...iTKzCI3NPtJqQwFEPJ7YXMrcabccU-5nrorE=s0[/IMG]

Comfort​

As mentioned in my previous review of the Robin, I am not a frequent full-sized headphone user because the majority of headphone ear cups are too small for me. The Phoenix’s round-shaped ear cups house my big ears well without causing irritation. For those with really big ears, the Phoenix’s ear cups might not be quite roomy enough.

The adjustable headband strap is well padded and distributes the weight of the headphones evenly on my head. I do not feel any hotspot pressure even after long hours of wearing, although I do need to extend the headband strap to the maximum length in order to fit my head.

The Phoenix may not be spacious enough for users with extremely large heads or ears.

Internals​

The Phoenix’s drivers are specifically designed in-house with a 3mm high-performance rubidium iron boron magnet to provide high magnetic flux. The voice coil in each driver unit is composed of a copper-clad aluminum wire which is light in weight to provide higher sensitivity and a wider dynamic range. The diaphragm is made of a polycarbonate structure that restricts any deformations as the diaphragm moves.

Phoenix Sound​

To analyze the sound quality of the Phoenix, I mainly used my desktop setup - a Topping E30 DAC with iFi Audio Zen Can amplifier. The Phoenix are highly efficient and can be easily driven with portable DAPs such as my Lotoo PAW6000. However, similar to most dynamic-driver powered headphones or IEMs, a better (stronger) power output from the source is definitely favorable to the Phoenix’s sonic performance.

The Phoenix can be well-driven by portable DAPs such as Lotoo PAW6000. To get the best performance, a balanced cable can be used to utilize the more powerful 4.4mm output on the PAW6000.


The sound signature of the Phoenix can be classified as warm and lush. They have more emphasis on the bass and midrange frequencies, creating a smooth and comfortable listening experience. The soundstage of Phoenix is about average, positioned slightly forward to create better engagement with the listener. Thanks to the warm sound signature, the forward-positioned stage does not create fatigue after long listening sessions.

With an adequate amount of expansion in each axis, they provide users with an experience of three-dimensional headroom. Compared to the closed-back Robin, the soundstage seems to be smaller, despite that the Phoenix are open-back. This impression could be due to the Phoenix’s fuller presentation as compared to the Robin’s more lean sound.

Despite being open-back headphones, the Phoenix's soundstage is smaller as compared to closed-back Robin due to the richer and thicker sound profile.

Bass​

The Phoenix’s bass response is full and thick. The sub-bass extends deeply, creating a good rumble. The decay speed is slower, which contributes to the warmth in the overall presentation. The Phoenix are at the brink of being bass-head headphones like the Campfire Audio Cascade. Despite having a “rumble-full’ sub-bass, the layering between bass and the rest of the frequency spectrum has been done well. The power of the sub-bass does not overshadow higher frequencies.

Moving to the mid-bass, there is a slight hump which further enhances the warmth of the overall presentation. To prevent bass spilling up into the midrange, the upper-bass region is more politely tuned, with more agile decay. I am not a bass-head audiophile and I like the Phoenix’s bass tuning - they are fun and musical to listen to, without affecting the performance of the midrange and treble.

The Phoenix sub-bass extends deeply, creating good rumbles and a three-dimensional soundstage.

Midrange​

The Phoenix have a smooth and lush midrange that is easy to listen to. The coloration in the Phoenix’s midrange and overall tonality does not deviate from “sounding right”, and the Phoenix position themselves away from midrange dryness by incorporating the warmth from the bass to enhance emotional delivery.

The midrange separation and layering is decent. Instruments do not collide with vocals in tracks, and they complement each other. As compared to the bass, the midrange is positioned slightly recessed and the notes are leaner.

This tuning is reasonable as pushing every spectrum forward and making every note thick will definitely cause shouty and congested performance. Sivga shows their maturity in tuning here.

The Phoenix’s midrange exhibits good warmth from the bass, creating a smooth and lush sound that is comfortable to listen to.

Treble​

The treble receives the least emphasis from the Phoenix. The body is lean, however, the treble is still crisp and energetic, with sufficient presence in the overall presentation. The lack of emphasis in the treble slightly degrades the detail retrieval capability of the Phoenix and pulls back the overall openness (airiness).

The Phoenix are lush and warm sounding, without a heavy emphasis on detail retrieval for monitoring usage. They are a comfortable and enjoyable pair of headphones for casual listening.

By upgrading the cable, the Phoenix can be driven by the powerful balanced output from my amplifier. The end result is satisfying!


Comparison​

Sennheiser HD600​

The Sennheiser HD600 have been well received by the audiophile community since 1997 when they first launched. In terms of physical appearance, the HD600 preserve a more low-profile plastic look, while the Phoenix design is definitely more eye-catching.

In terms of comfort, the ear cups of the HD600 are friendlier for my big ears. However, the headband of the HD600 gives me some hotspot pressure. Overall, I find the Phoenix to be more comfortable for long listening.

Sonically, the HD600 are more transparent and uncolored as compared to the warmly-tuned Phoenix. The detail retrieval capability of the HD600 tends to be better too. However, the Phoenix’s lush sound signature makes me listen to them longer, and the HD600 sound analytical and dry in comparison. I use them for different purposes - the HD600 are a better candidate for monitoring, while Phoenix are more suitable for casual listening. They have their own strengths and I will not claim which is superior.

The HD600 are more suitable for critical listening while the warmer Phoenix are the best candidate for a leisure night listening.

Where to Buy​

Verdict​

The Phoenix’s warm and lush sound signature, premium zebrawood ear cups, and exceptional comfort are their primary selling points. Personally, I would like to applaud Sivga for making its stance clear when creating the Phoenix - to provide consumers with an enjoyable listening experience. The end result is extraordinarily pleasing!

For those who are looking for a pair of open-back audiophile headphones with good bass emphasis and a warm sound signature, the Sivga Phoenix should be on your list. Sivga shows their maturity in tuning, once again, with the Phoenix.

The Phoenix’s warm and lush sound signature is definitely one of the selling points of them, together with the premium zebra wood ear cups and comfortable wearing experience.

SenyorC

Head-Fier
Sivga Phoenix
Pros: Price
Aesthetics
Sound (it has it's own style)
Cons: Comfort with stock pads
Loses it's essence with alternative pads
As always, my review is also available in Spanish on achoreviews.com and on YouTube.com/achoreviews

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The Sivga Phoenix has been kindly loaned to me by Keydis, who is the official distributor for Sivga and Sendy Audio (amongst other brands) in Spain. As they are the distributor and do not sell directly to the public, I will leave a link to the page that shows the stores that these can be purchased from in Spain on my blog.

Keydis have not requested anything specific, therefore, as always, my review will be as sincere and unbiased as possible, although it is always good to consider that it hasn’t cost me anything to try out these headphones.

Intro…

Sivga is a brand that appeared recently in the headphone world and has soon made a reputation for themselves. The same manufacturer is actually responsible for two brands of headphones, Sivga Audio and Sendy Audio. The latter of the two focuses on higher end models whereas the Sivga brand is focused on more budget orientated offerings, while still maintaining a lot of the same technology used in their higher end items.

Until now, I hadn’t had the chance to try out any models from Sivga and the Phoenix is a model that I had read a lot about and was generally praised by the majority of its users. As you have probably noticed if you have read previous reviews of mine, just because something is praised does not mean that it will be something that I will enjoy personally, therefore I was very interested in trying it out and when I was offered that chance, I jumped at it.

With a sales price of 265€ (at the time of writing this review), this open back dynamic driver headphone sits in a range where there have been some good models appearing lately and, to be totally honest, the majority of my listening time lately has been with planar headphones so I was excited to spend some time with an open back dynamic model.

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Presentation…

The Sivga Phoenix arrives in a black box with wood coloured highlights around the center. The box is nothing special to look at but once inside, I feel that Sivga have included decent quality accessories, especially for something in this price range.

The first thing we find is the carrying case. The case is a rigid style that follows the shape of the headphones. It has an imitation leather look to the outside and on the inside, the molded shape does a good job of holding the headphones in place. There is no specific place for the cable but there is plenty of space for it to be stored inside the small drawstring bag that is included and fits nicely inside the case with the headphones.

Also included is a single ended, fabric covered cable, which I find to be very nice. The cable is terminated as a 3.5mm TRS on one end (adapter to 6.35mm included) and two 3.5mm TS connectors on the other ends, one for each cup.

In my case, Keydis also included a second set of pads that have been released by Sivga for the Phoenix, which I will discuss more about a little later. The stock pads are imitation leather on the outside with a cloth interior, whereas the replacement pads are imitation leather in their whole.

That is it as far as presentation and included goodies, however, I feel that the items included are enough to be happy with without having invested too much on items that are not a necessity.

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Build and aesthetics…

In my opinion, the Phoenix is a well built set of headphones. It does have a few quirks that I will mention in a moment but in general, it is well put together and I cannot see any obvious flaws in it’s assembly or mechanisms.

The cups are made of Zebra wood, with metal yokes and plenty of adjustment in swivel and angle. The headband is metal with a comfort strap underneath, however, this is one of the first quirks, the length of the headband and comfort strap. In my case I need to wear the strap adjusted to its maximum height. Now, this is enough for me personally and I have a rather large head but if you are someone with a larger head than mine, you may find it is not quite long enough. Again, this is not the case for me personally but it is worth taking note of.

The second quirk is the depth of the (stock) pads. As far as internal diameter they are fine and large enough to surround my ears without issue. The issue is depth. I don’t have small ears, but they are not large either, and they do touch the cloth covering the drivers. I haven’t found them to be uncomfortable but if this is something that irritates you, the fact that your ears touch the part covering the driver, then the stock pads will probably not be for you. The sensation is very similar to wearing something from the HD6X0 series with well worn pads.

The second set of included pads, which can be purchased separately from the same places that stock the headphones, are deeper and I do not feel the inside of the driver covering them. However, the second pads are made entirely of imitation leather which, in my opinion, is not as nice as the fabric covered stock pads. There are also some differences in sound between the two sets but I will talk about that in just a moment.

All in all, I find the Sivga Phoenix comfortable but if I could make the headband extend just a little more (in order to fit a but thicker comfort strap) and the pads a little deeper (which is done with the replacement pads), they would go from being comfortable to very comfortable.

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Sound…

As I mentioned a moment ago, there is a difference between the stock pads and the replacement pads as far as sound, as is the case with almost all headphones when the pads are swapped for something different.

I spent the first few days using them with the stock pads, getting a good feel for their sound, before swapping over to the replacement pads for a few days, to finally do some back to back comparisons with my usual list of test tracks (which you can find here). My impressions that I will leave below are using the stock pads, I will leave impressions on the replacement pads at the end.

Before I do continue though, I just wanted to mention power. These headphones do not need hardly any power at all. While using the JDS Labs Atom for the comparisons between pads, I was sitting at a level that is lower than many IEMs I have tried. The Sivga Phoenix will run easily from a phone, a dongle, a laptop, or just about anything else that has a headphone socket. This does not mean that every source will sound great but to be honest, I didn’t find huge differences between sources with these headphones, unless the source is a bad source like my cell phone, they always seem to sound pretty much the same.

Starting at the bottom with the subbass regions, there is a slight roll off when reaching really low, as in below the 40Hz region. However, this is not something that is really noticeable unless we are isolating sounds in those frequency ranges as the harmonics of these low notes easily make up for the slight drop. Let’s just say that there is no lack of rumble when listening to “Chameleon” as a test track. In fact, as these headphones have a high sensitivity, 40% on the dial of the Atom is enough to feel the vibration in my ears from this track.

In the mid bass and higher bass regions, these headphones will not disappoint those who like their bass. By this I don’t mean that they are overly boosted, although they are a bit north of neutral, it is the way the dynamic driver reacts with the bass notes, added to the lower mids, that give the sensation of having bass that is more than I have come to expect from open back headphones, especially in this price range. A set of headphones that I keep in my collection mainly due to their bass performance are the DT1990 Pro, and while the Phoenix may not be quite as clean and fast in their bass as the Beyer offering (that costs double the price of the Sivga), I do feel that the bass is impressive and can come across beautifully with the correct music.

As we get into the lower mids, there is a slight elevation that rolls over from the mid/high bass regions. Depending on the music we are listening to, this may come across a little bloated, for example, with the track “No Sanctuary Here”, I do feel that it is missing a little clarity in the transition. However, moving to songs that are cleaner in these ranges, such as “Shot Me Down”, or even better, moving away from electronic music towards electric bass and guitars, they no longer give the sensation of being bloated and the tonality of bass and electric guitars is very pleasurable.

Moving through the mids, there is no noticeable dip until we start hitting the higher end of the mids. This gives many deep voices a beautiful tonality but some voices that reside in the higher mid ranges may seem a little recessed. As an example, the tonality of the voice of the male vocals in “Hallelujah” by Pentatonix seems to have better presence than the female vocals of the same track. However, listening to the vocals on “Seven Nation Army” by Zella Day, I did not experience the same feeling, even though the vocals are of a very similar range in both tracks, so it is certainly track dependent. I find the overall tonality and timbre of the mids in general to be very pleasant, except on those few occasions where I noticed a slight recess in female vocals.

Climbing into the higher regions, there is certainly a sensation of roll off in the treble. The roll off doesn’t start early enough to make these headphones sound dark but it is noticeable. This can add to the sensation of the bass and lower mid presence, as there isn’t a lot of brilliance up top to balance them out but, to be honest, I think that works in favour of these headphones and the fact that they don’t try to be something they are not. Sibilance is avoided and they do not come across as harsh, even with tracks that are usually on the verge of being so. At no moment do they become uncomfortable in the higher ranges.

The soundstage and image presentation is good, better than I expected from a set of headphones with this type of sound signature. They are not huge in this aspect but they certainly have enough room in order to give instruments breathing space between them. “La Luna” is very nicely laid out. The only time I found them to come across as a little claustrophobic was when I played tracks with too many instruments fighting for the space in the higher bass and lower mids.

As far as detail, there are two things going on with the Phoenix. On one side we have the actual detail capabilities of the driver, which are not amazing but they are not bad for a headphone of this price range. The second thing is that the lack of treble does take away some of that “false sense of detail” that many headphones rely upon to seem more detailed than they actually are. Other than a few exceptions, I think that the majority of headphones around this price that seem detailed would quickly be on a par if the higher regions were EQ’s to a similar response as the Phoenix.

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Pad swap…

So, after swapping the pads (and also swapping between them), there is a clear difference in sound from the stock pads.

The first noticeable difference is that the sound is cleaner in the lower regions. Now, with this I don’t wish to say that the sound was dirty before, but some of that low end rumble is reduced, also reducing the mid and high bass slightly, giving a sensation of cleaner and more precise hits. This is something that would usually be my preference, as I am not someone who likes overly prominent bass, however, in the case of the Phoenix, I do feel that it is taking away a little of what the Phoenix is, moving away from its “signature”.

I feel that with the replacement pads that the lower regions are moving the headphone more towards many other options. Don’t get me wrong, they are still very capable headphones in the lower regions and are way above many other options I have tried in this price range, but it is like going from being in the spotlight to being mixed with the crowd.

In the mids, the recess that I found in the female vocals of “Hallelujah” is no longer present, with the vocals being much more balanced between male and female voices. The tonality of the voices is still very present but the male vocals do lose a bit of the richness that they present with the stock pads. I do like the result of the mids with these pads, again seming cleaner (please refer to comment before about cleanliness) but again I find myself missing a little of the timbre and tonality that the Phoenix has with the stock pads.

The treble also seems to be clearer and a little more extended with the replacement pads, which also adds to that sensation of detail I mentioned previously. Sibilance is a little more present with these pads but not enough to be problematic or irritating. They also keep harshness in check which is a big plus.

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Conclusion…

I am a little torn in this review, not regarding the headphones, it is more about the pads. The replacement pads move the sound signature closer to something that aligns with my preferences, however, I find that I enjoy the stock pads which present a sound that is different and is very enjoyable for times that I am in the mood for that bass and rumble. To be honest, having both sets of pads does offer enough of a difference to make it like having two sets of headphones that are very similar but noticeably different.

The replacement pads do improve comfort, at least for me personally, but I don’t find the Phoenix to be too uncomfortable when using the stock pads either.

If I had to pick only one set of pads, then I would probably go with the stock pads as the sound is something that is different from the rest of my headphones. I feel that when I swap to the replacement pads, it takes it more towards a signature that is similar to other headphones that I already have and perform better in this regard, whereas the stock sound is very complimentary and does not compete directly with anything else in my collection.

For the price of these headphones, I have no doubt that they are worth their cost. I would suggest picking up a set of the replacement pads if these are to be your only (or primary) headphones, as I feel that the improvement in comfort is worth it and that you get two sound signatures in one headphone, the first being something different and very good, the second being more on a level playing field with other models but still very competent.

I am glad that I had the chance to try out these Sivga headphones and I have already been investigating things from the Sendy line up.

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ywheng89

New Head-Fier
Sivga Phoenix - The pocket friendly charmer
Pros: Inexpensive Open Back experience
Good Bass Response,fast controlled and tight
Good Soundstage and imaging
Easy to drive
Cons: Lacking in detail
Less energetic
Before I begin, I would like to thank Stars Picker Audio Library 摘星知音 and SIVGA for sending this review unit over for review purposes. Prior to writing this review, I have listened to SIVGA Phoenix for two days averaging at 4 hours each day.
This review is written in as simple as possible without too much technical terms for the purpose of ease of understanding for new or seasoned audiophiles looking for a clear and simple review/impression of this headphone.
Sivga Phoenix - The pocket friendly charmer

Introduction
SIVGA Electronic Technology Co is a Chinese brand located in Dongguan city of China.
Many of its products shared similar traits which most of them have wood on it! Pretty cool and premium-ish feel.
Upon receiving the package from Stars Picker, I am greeted with a huge and premium looking box.Opening up the box and the headphone is enclosed within the hard case. The bundled hard case definitely does not look cheap. The zipper is sturdy and solid, it even came with a short lanyard on the case itself.
I am not sure what is the material used in the interior of the case, it has got the Alcantra-ish feel on it. I'm sure this is done in over to protect the headphone from scratches when storing it.The bundled cable is tangle free and off high quality. L and R channels are clearly marked to ease the process of plugging the cable into the headphone.
Specification
Transducer Type: Dynamic Driver
Transducer Size: 50mm
Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz
Sensitivity: 103dB +/- 3dB
Impedance 32 Ohm +/- 15%
Cable length: 1.6m +/- 0.2m
Connector: 3.5mm Stereo Plug

Comfort
The headband is stiff in my opinion. However the clamping force is just right on my head. It does not clamp too tight to cause discomfort or too loose that when i shake my head it will drop right off. I wear glasses sometimes and surprisingly, I can wear them with this headphone without feeling any discomfort in my ears.
The earpads are soft and comfortable to wear for long sessions. Personally, I do not see a need to replace/upgrade the earpads for the purpose of comfort enhancement unless the earpads are worn out.

Sound
The tuning of this headphone is on the warmer side. I have found the listening session to be fairly laid back and enjoyable.
For an open back headphone, bass quantity is usually lesser. However, it is different with Phoenix. Bass is definitely emphasised but not overly done. It is fast, controlled and tight. Quantity and quality done right.

Soundstage and imaging on this Phoenix is good. I can easily perceive and pinpoint the location of the instruments played in the song. A good track in my opinion that i used to test the imaging rendered by Phoenix is Wilderness - Explosions In The Sky. Listening to this track gives me the sensation of being there live with the artist. Instruments are well separated and one can distinguish it easily.
The highs on the Phoenix extend fairly good but not fatiguing and piercing. I can listen to this for hours without any issue.

Perhaps many will question whether this headphone is easy to drive,does it require a lot of power? The answer to this is fairly straightforward, a mobile phone is able to drive this headphone, but of course, to get the most out of it, a decent DAP/DAC/AMP is required to fully maximise the potential of it. You will be able to listen to this headphone at a comfortable volume level on your phone, but you will not get the same dynamic range that you will get on a decent DAP or DAC/AMP.

For Who?
Users who are looking to step up their listening experience and also those who prefer a laid back listening experience instead of being too analytical.
Source
-Tidal MQA -> iFi HipDac with iFi USB-A Cable -> Sivga Phoenix
Track list used for testing (Streamed from Tidal)
- Hotel California – Live From The Forum – Eagles (MQA)
- Fistful of Steel – Rage Against The Machine (HiFi)
- Stairway To Heaven – Led Zeppelin (MQA)
- Titanium – David Guetta, Sia (MQA)
- The Cruel Angel’s Thesis – Yoko Takahashi (Evangelion’s OST) (MQA)
- 15 Steps – Radiohead (HiFi)
- Famous Last Words – My Chemical Romance (MQA)
- Wilderness - Explosions In The Sky (HiFi)
- Born, Never Asked - Laurie Anderson (MQA)

RikudouGoku

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: Very impressive bass extension and rumble
Bass quality + quantity (for an open back)
Well balanced and clean male/female vocals
Well tuned treble without peaks, warm but still airy
Soundstage (holographic)
Excellent timbre and tonality
Versatile
Reference tuning that isn’t boring
Cons: Too long cable (for me)
I would have liked more bass quantity
Headband does not allow for much adjustment, can be a problem for people with bigger ears
Isolation (open-back)
Not suited for competitive gaming
Treble extension
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Disclaimer: I received this review unit for free from SIVGA, thank you very much.

Price: 310 usd (AliExpress, 255 usd at amazon.com)

Specifications:

Style: Over-Ear

Transducer Type: Dynamic Driver

Driver Diameter: 50mm

Sensitivity: 103 dB±3 dB

Impedance: 32Ω±15%

Frequency response: 20 Hz-20 kHz

Plug: 3.5mm

Cable Type: Removable (2.5mm into the cups) 3.5mm

Color: Zebrawood

Weight: 296 gm


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Accessories:

Headphone bag

Small linen bag

3.5mm -> 6.35mm adapter


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Cable: around 2-meter cloth cable that measures at 1 ohm. Which would be on the bad side if it was as an iem cable, but since I am not sure if this is normal or bad for a headphone cable, I will leave it at that. Connectors and dividers are in plastic.

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Build: Wooden cups with grills that have damping materials under it. The headband is plastic though except for the leather + foam headband. You can rotate the cups just slightly and pivot them to help with the fit. Each cup has its own 2.5mm input for the cable. The pads have velour and high protein leather (hybrid pad).

Fit: fit is very good for me but if you have bigger ears and/or head, then it might be too small for you as the pads are on the more average size while the headband doesn’t allow for too much length adjustments.

Comfort: Weight is listed at 296 grams and it does feel very lightweight for something of this size. So, comfort is actually quite good even for me as a primary iem user. The pads are comfortable for me and size suits my ears.

Isolation: It is an open-back so the isolation isn’t really good but not as bad as my other open back (HD560S).

Setup: Schiit Asgard 3 (low-gain, volume around 9´o clock), stock pads, stock cable 3.5mm

Lows:
Low quantity for my tastes because it is pretty neutral. But is a bit more sub-bass focused than mid-bass which I like and it sounds pretty clean and has some fun to it. Extension and rumble are very good for an open back and it is pretty tight and fast.

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), clean because of the speed and tightness. Quantity is a bit lacking for my tastes though and texture could be better. The (02:55-03:01) section with the chopper is hearable but could be a bit cleaner.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), texture is good and is tight and fast so it is clean. Although quantity is a bit lacking for my taste.

Sub-bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends and rumble very well for an open back. Punch quantity is decent but not enough for me, it is tight and fast though as well as having good texture.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), impressive texture and quantity but I would still like a bit more quantity but it is pretty fun. Clean due to the speed and tightness though.

Mids: both male and female vocals have good balancing between each other and it is reference tuned so they can adapt to the track if it needs them to be more forward or recessed. No bleed from the bass and is very clean as well as natural due to the timbre.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument tonality and timbre are very good. Vocal timbre and tonality are also very good and forward.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), Instrument tonality and timbe are very good but vocal tonality could be a bit brighter although with good timbre.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), relaxing and non-fatiguing.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), a bit shouty

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), Very good vocal/instrument timbre and tonality.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Very good vocal/instrument timbre and tonality.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars aren’t sharp.

Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), a bit fatiguing.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre, texture and detail are very good. Violin timbre and texture are very good but tonality, treble-extension and detail could be better.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), good tonality and timbre.

Soundstage: It is an open back so as expected the soundstage is huge with both very good width and depth making it holographic as well.

Tonality: Reference tuning that is warm-neutral with a tonality leaning towards warmth but not a lot and note-weight is a bit more towards the thicker side rather than thin. Timbre is very good.

Details: Good details

Instrument Separation: Separation and imaging are good.

Songs that highlight the Headphone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qbqSgRFvbc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za8aapTmp44 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoCD5wZEgo4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqYFkPeYqoI&t https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBlCsbsWO50

Good genres:
Pop, Trance, Rock/metal, Hiroyuki Sawano, Yasuharu Takanashi, Linkin Park

Bad genres: EDM, Hip-hop



Comparisons:

Headphone: Koss KPH30i, stock pads/headband, stock cable 3.5mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), lower extension on the Phoenix but similar rumble. Punch quantity is higher on the KPH30i but similar texture, tightness and speed. Tonality is a bit more accurate on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a bit tighter, faster and more textured on the Phoenix while the quantity is higher on the KPH30i.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), cleaner on the Phoenix due to the separation and imaging being better. But similar bass speed and tightness while the quantity is higher on the KPH30i and the texture is a bit better on the Phoenix.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), similar instrument tonality and timbre. But better vocal tonality as well as more forward on the Phoenix while timbre is similar. Cleaner and more detailed.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), similarly relaxing and non-fatiguing.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), very similar instrument and vocal tonality and timbre. But cleaner and more detailed on the Phoenix.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars are a bit brighter and therefore a bit more fatiguing on the KPH30i.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality and detail are better on the Phoenix but similar texture and timbre. Violin tonality and timbre are similar but better texture, detail and treble-extension on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality is a bit better on the KPH30i but similar timbre while detail and clarity are better on the Phoenix.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), a lot wider on the Phoenix and a bit deeper as well, both are holographic but more on the Phoenix.

Overall: The Phoenix is pretty much an upgraded KPH30i with very similar tonality while timbre is similarly good. Although it doesn’t have as much bass quantity as the KPH30i, so it isn’t as fun as the KPH30i, but if you want something similar to the KPH30i but with a more reference tuning. The Phoenix is a very good match.



Headphone: JVC HA-MX100V, stock pads, stock cable 6.35mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), Extends lower and rumbles more on the Phoenix. Punch quantity is also a tiny bit higher on the Phoenix while it is faster, tighter and more textured. More tonally correct on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a bit more mid-bass on the MX100V but tighter and faster on the Phoenix while texture is similar.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), cleaner on the Phoenix because of tighter and faster bass, similar quantity though.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), Vocal tonality and timbre are better on the MX100V (and a bit more forward on it as well) while instrument tonality and timbre are better on the Phoenix. Cleaner and more detailed on the Phoenix.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a bit more fatiguing on the MX100V because of it being a bit brighter.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), vocal tonality and timbre are better on the MX100V and a bit more forward. While instrument tonality and timbre are better on the Phoenix.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars are a bit more fatiguing on the MX100V due to it being brighter.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre and texture are better on the Phoenix while similarly clean and detailed. Violin tonality, timbre, treble-extension and texture are better on the MX100V similar detail though.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), more tonally accurate on the Phoenix while similarly clean and detail.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), deeper and a bit wider on the Phoenix and it is more holographic. Detail, imaging and instrument separation are similar while instrument timbre is better on the Phoenix and vocal timbre is better on the MX100V.

Overall: The MX100V is a specialist headphone that specializes in vocals and it beats the Phoenix in that regard. Otherwise, the Phoenix is a more versatile set and is better in the other factors. If you want something vocal focused the MX100V is better, otherwise the Phoenix is the better set.



Headphone: Sennheiser HD560S, stock pads, stock cable 6.35mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), the 560S has basically non-existing rumble in comparison to the Phoenix and extension is a lot worse as well. More tonally correct on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), more quantity and texture on the Phoenix while it is faster and tighter on the 560S. More tonally correct on the Phoenix.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), bass is cleaner on the 560S because of it having less quantity, faster and tighter bass. But it is also shouty and poor timbre and in accurate tonality in comparison to the Phoenix.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), vocal tonality is better on the Phoenix due to it being too thin on the 560S, timbre is also a lot better on the Phoenix. Instrument tonality and timbre are a lot better on the Phoenix. More detailed on the 560S but it has a massive tuning advantage in that regard (a lot more treble and less bass quantity, a lot brighter overall).

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a lot shoutier and fatiguing on the 560S.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Both vocal and instrument tonality and timbre are a lot better on the Phoenix. Although the 560S has more forward vocals.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), a lot more fatiguing on the 560S.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre and texture are a lot better on the Phoenix. Violin tonality and treble-extension are better on the 560S but timbre and texture are a lot better on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality and timbre are a lot better on the Phoenix.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), a lot wider and deeper on the Phoenix as well as a lot more holographic. Detail, imaging and instrument separation are better on the 560S (thanks to the tuning) but timbre is a lot better on the Phoenix.

Overall: If you have a library and/or preference anywhere similar to mine the Phoenix is a lot better than the 560S. I would only recommend the 560S over the Phoenix if you are a treble-head and/or want something to use for competitive gaming.



Headphone: AudioQuest Nighthawk Carbon, stock pads, cable A6 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends a bit lower on the Phoenix while it has more rumble. Punch quantity is a bit higher and more textured on the phoenix as well but a bit tighter and faster on the NHC. More tonally correct and a lot better timbre on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a bit more quantity on the Phoenix while it is more textured with similar speed and tightness. More tonally correct and a lot better timbre on the Phoenix.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), the Phoenix is a lot cleaner while the NHC is quite muddy. Faster, tighter and more textured on the Phoenix while quantity is similar but individual strikes are more distinct on the Phoenix as well.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument and vocal tonality and timbre are outclassing the NHC, the NHC sounds quite unnatural and unclean.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), very unnatural timbre on the NHC but less fatiguing and even more relaxed than the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), vocal tonality is slightly better on the NHC due to the warmth but a lot worse timbre on it while it is more forward and cleaner on the Phoenix. Instrument tonality and timbre are a lot better on the Phoenix.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), more relaxing and less fatiguing on the NHC but worse timbre and unnatural.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre, texture, clarity and detail are all better on the Phoenix. Violin tonality, timbre, texture, detail, clarity and treble-extension are a lot better on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality, timbre, detail and clarity are all better on the Phoenix.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), wider on the Phoenix but a bit deeper on the NHC, similarly holographic on both. Detail, instrument separation, imaging and timbre are a LOT better on the Phoenix.

Overall: The Phoenix is outclassing the NHC in everyway for my library. The NHC is less fun and also a lot more unnatural, I see no reason to get it over the Phoenix unless you want something that is VERY warm.



Headphone: Sony MDR-1AM2, stock pads, stock cable

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), a lot lower extension and more rumble on the 1AM2. Punch quantity is also a lot higher but similar texture while it is a lot faster and tighter on the Phoenix. More tonally accurate on the 1AM2.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a lot more quantity on the 1AM2 and more textured as well while it is faster and tighter on the Phoenix. Although the overall tonality is more accurate and better timbre on the Phoenix.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a lot more quantity on the 1AM2, similar speed but tighter on the Phoenix and is cleaner and individual bass strikes are more distinct. It is more fatiguing and a bit harsh on the 1AM2.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument tonality and timbre are a lot better on the Phoenix as well as the vocal timbre and tonality. Cleaner and more detailed on the Phoenix.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), more fatiguing and shoutier on the 1AM2.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), more forward vocals as well as more natural timbre and better tonality on the Phoenix. Instrument tonality and timbre are also a lot better on the Phoenix.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars are sharper and more fatiguing on the 1AM2.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre, texture, clarity and detail are better on the Phoenix. Violin tonality, timbre, texture, detail, clarity and treble-extension are better on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), a bit better tonality on the Phoenix and both timbre and detail are a lot better as well.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), a lot wider and deeper soundstage on the Phoenix as well as more holographic. Details, imaging, instrument separation and timbre are a lot better on the Phoenix.

Overall: The phoenix is superior in all aspects except the sub-bass. I only recommend the 1AM2 over the Phoenix if you want a more fun (bassier) headphone.



Conclusion: The Phoenix is a big surprise to me, especially since I have mostly been disappointed with the headphones I have gotten so far. The Phoenix is a versatile (almost perfect match for my library) natural sounding (excellent timbre) reference tuned headphone that also isn’t boring because it has actual sub-bass rumble (when the track calls for it) that isn’t rolled-off, and isn’t fatiguing due to it being a bit towards the warmer side. If that is what you are looking for then this is an excellent pick. Thanks for reading.

Cable source:
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/resistance-of-cables-pics-comments-and-links.907998/

Reference/test songs:

asifur

100+ Head-Fier
SIVGA PHOENIX : The Rock N Rolla Headphone
Pros: + Great Build quality & comfort
+ Good Bass details & extension
+ Pleasant Mids
+ Natural Vocals
+ Non-fatiguing Treble
Cons: - Separation & Staging could be better
- Head-band adjustment not the best
SIVGA PHOENIX : The Rock N Rolla 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 Phoenix is their recent creation in 2020, an open-back over-ear headphone featuring a huge 50mm dynamic driver. The Phoenix comes with premium materials including gorgeous zebra wood cups. It comes with a rich and natural sound from its dynamic driver - placing it in direct comparison with many great headphones including the Hifiman Sundara.
The Phoenix is priced at $299 USD.

Specifications:

Specifications are as below as found on SIVGA website:

http://www.sivgaaudio.com/product_d?id=5

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  • Style: Over-Ear
  • Transducer Type: Dynamic Driver
  • Driver Diameter: 50mm
  • Sensitivity: 103 dB±3 dB
  • Impedance: 32Ω±15%
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz-20 kHz
  • Plug: 3.5mm
  • Cable Type: Removable 3.5mm
  • Color: Zebrawood
  • Weight: 296 gm
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Design & Build Quality:


The Phoenix 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix, which ensures that the headphones won’t be moving around too much inside the carrying case.
Inside the case are the headphones, the cables, and a 3.5mm to ¼” adaptor.
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 works good even without any sort of amp-ing while being connected to my iPad.
However, it shines well with proper amp-ing - but that is not something mandatory for it to sound great.

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

Items used for this review:

DAC/AMP:
Shanling UA2, IFI Micro IDSD Black Label Signature
DAP/Source : Fiio M3 Pro, Laptop & 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 amount of details and extensions. it is amongst the Stronger traits of this headphone. Bass is punchy with details popping up from the sub-bass region with with good texture and extension and is well-controlled. Drum hits have a slightly hollow quality, while still having a very impactful sense of attack, and a natural level of decay. Bass guitars on the other hand have a flowy, and rich sound to them, while still having a textured and rounded presentation to them. The bass feels thick and muscular, but it retains a good harmonic balance with the rest of the frequency spectrum.

The MIDS:

Midrange is marginally less pronounced than the Bass. Nevertheless, it's not like anything is missing. Mids have good texture.
Vocals sound natural with good extension but a slight bit thinner.
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 but there is bit more presence compared to 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 Phoenix quite pleasant and energetic, but never fatiguing.

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The SOUNDSTAGE:

Soundstage has average width and depth. It is not amongst the strengths of this headphone. It is however better than many others in the same range for sure.

Imaging & Timbre:

Sense of direction is quite good and the sound is quite natural - However, the separation 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 PHOENIX to me seemed like the amongst the great performing headphones in the given price bracket. It comes with comprehensive sound performance and is just great for Rock & Metal genres. The staging and separation characteristics prevent this from being a recommended headphone for acoustic tracks. But, I guess that's just me nit-picking. I think it's going to be great value for money for people who prefer good looks with geat sound performance.

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ngoshawk

Headphoneus Supremus
Sivga Phoenix: More than a pretty package?
Pros: Gorgeous looks
Bass for those who love it
Quality build
Price
Good upper range
Cons: Does it do enough to separate itself?
Extremely hard market segment (not Sivga's fault)
Sivga Phoenix ($299, $255 on Amazon): More than a pretty package?

3.75 stars

Sivga Phoenix site


Intro: I have the Sendy Aiva, purchasing it on a whim due to its beautiful look. After purchase and review of the Sendy, I noticed a near-identical headphone from Sivga, the P-II. My mind went, “Hey! They look identical!!!” Well, Sivga is the parent company of Sendy, and as such market Sendy as their higher-end line up. I always had the desire to compare the two but did not get the chance. That was two years ago. Fast-forward to now and Sivga contacted me, asking if I was interested in the Phoenix first. I agreed, and a loaner was sent.

Marketed below the Aiva, and specifically tailored to the Smartphone market first and foremost, the Phoenix pretty much needs no introduction, since there are numerous reviews already present on the interwebbie-thingy. I will specifically try and focus on a couple of headphones (the competition) as well as the Aiva, since, well I have them inhouse. I thank Collin for the loan of the Phoenix, and upon finishing my review, will be returned or forwarded to another.

*As per all of my reviews, the unit was opened, checked fully for functionality then placed on a unit (Shanling M0) for over 75 hours playing random music. It is my belief that the user wants to know what the unit may sound like after approximately 6 months of use. Any differences are noted in the sound aspect, if I am able to discern any. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I do not.


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Specs:

Driver: 50mm Dynamic Driver (polycarbonate film)
Impedance: 32 +/- 15% ohms
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity: 103dB +/- 3dB
Weight: 296g



In the Box:

Zebrano wood Headphone
2m fabric-covered cable OCC
3.5mm to 6.35mm adaptor
Cloth bag for cable
Pleather zippered-case, form-fitting
An extra set of perforated pleather pads, which are thicker


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Gear used/compared:

Sendy Aiva ($599)
Verum Audio Verum 1 ($349)
Final Audio Sonorous 3 ($299)

HiBy R3 Pro Saber
Shanling M3s
XDuoo MT-601/602
XDuoo XA-10
iPhone XS Max
MacBook Pro



Songlist:

Dave Matthews
Joey Alexander-Warna album and others
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
twenty one pilots
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Big Head Todd & The Monsters-Beautiful World
Mark Knopfler-Down The Road Wherever
Elton John-yep, still good, still cool
Tidal MQA playlist



Unboxing:

The Phoenix comes with a nice presentation, replete with wallpapered wood as a separator between the two angular halves of the box. Laden with the light-colored logo seemingly “etched” on the box against a black background, the verbiage is refreshingly seen, not hidden like many of late. The back is laden with Oriental characters, and company information.

Opening the box, you get the semi-hard case, which is a direct copy of the Sendy Aiva case; but flimsier. The headphone shaped case mimics the look of a body part, either intentionally or not; I do chuckle every time I see it. I feel like I am grabbing...well you get it. A small handle along with a good-sized zipper highlight the case, which adds the SIVGA logo. Unzipping clamshell style, the bottom also carries four pegged “feet” so it can stand up as well.

Inside you find the headphones, and a cloth bag (of which I would assume reclaimed fiber since the Sendy Aiva is that way...) and for me I could fit the perforated pleather pads in as well. Just big enough for all of that, the size is what I would call semi-portable. I will also admit at this point that the Phoenix is a good-looking unit. Craftmanship is on par with the Aiva, which I really like. Clean and crisp lines define the shapes, but more on that below.

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Fit/Finish/Function:

From the get-go, I noted the look of the Zebrano wood. With a highly polished look that is almost plastic, you have to look closely to note the wood. Finish is impeccable on the wood as a result of that craftmanship. Smoothly polished would be an understatement. I would call the overall build “industrial quality Chinese.” Which in this case is a way of stating that the build is nie-on perfect and efficient of materials. No extra material seems to be present where not needed. No extra support in the yoke or headband like some headphones I own. Svelte of size and material, the build may come across as cheap to some, but I consider it quite good with the aid of CAD programming and handcrafted workmanship as well.

The yoke and headband are thinner stainless steel and hold their shape well. Combined with the wood cups and angled pads, the fit is snug, but not with too much pressure. Plus, even though the unit is on the smaller size I could comfortably fit my average-sized ears inside. With enough rotation fore/aft and up/down I had no trouble with finding a comfortable fit. The headband comes with a pleated leather strap, that reminds me of mini pillows spaced evenly and of gradually increasing, then decreasing size. Unfortunately, to achieve a proper fit, the strap is all the way up, against the headband. A more proper adjustment system would be appreciated, but as I stated I was able to achieve a good fit.

The chrome rings around the cups tie nicely the cup to the blacked-out grill, they aren’t fingerprint catchers to my experience. I will say that while the tie helps, I find it a bit distracting to the overall appearance. Especially when the cups are so highly polished, finished and of such a good look. A minor detail to me, but one that takes away from the overall subtlety gorgeous appearance.

Even with the fit “issues,” the overall build quality is good and so is the comfort. I will also add that at this point I tried the perforated leather pads, hoping to enhance the bass a bit. What I found was a thinning of the sound, with a bit better detail. As such, I left the stock pads on for the rest of the test.

The cable is long. 1.6m long. Coming with 2.5mm jack going into the cups, there are a plethora of opportunities to upgrade the cable, but I do like the stock. Sleeved in design there is a bit of microphonics associated with it, but not much. The cable lies nicely and other than being a bit too long stays neatly out of the way. While not the looker that comes with the Sendy Aiva (along with quite stylish adaptors for pretty much all occasions), the Phoenix cable matches the price associated at this level. Purchase an aftermarket balanced cable for under $200usd and you could be good.

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Technicals:

Using a 50mm polycarbonate filmed dynamic driver, the Phoenix does not stray too much from the norm. At least in size. With a 3mm thick high-performance rubidium iron boron magnet, the speed is supposed to increase in response to the sound passing through. This would theoretically make for faster transitions and transient sound. I am not the best judge for this, but the sound does not come across as laggy, mushy or slow. There is a certain speed to it, which may be a result of the technology involved. Aiding this is a copper clad aluminum coil, which is both light (aluminum) and strong (copper). Again, this might tend towards a faster response as well. The polycarbonate coating on the diaphragm helps to keep the driver in its pristine state and decrease long term deformation. Again, nothing earth shattering, but respectable. One could rightly state, “why mess with something when it works?”

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Sound:

As the parent company, you may often find yourselves trying to compete with your own brand. Think of Honda and Acura. The Civic Si is an outstanding performer, and one which could give the smaller Acura TX a run for its money. So, at what point do you “tone down” the performance of the parent model so as not to overcome the “sport” version? Such is the dilemma when we have companies such as this in the audio world.

Since arrival two weeks ago, the price has dropped from $299 to roughly $255 on Amazon. This shows the company is willing to drop the price making it more competitive in this segment. Maybe internal analyzation allowed for that to be competitive. Not a bad thing in my mind.

Upon first listen, I immediately noted how this didn’t really sound like a true open-backed headphone. Yes, I could hear outside noise, but the proverbial “hands over cups” test did not alter the signature much; if at all. In talking to another reviewer, we both noted the same thing and how there is a significant baffling layer (still thin) against the stainless-steel grill (very close to it), plus the driver seems to be housed inside a cup, aiding in the semi-closed sound. If I dared, I would take the cup apart and remove the baffling. This would be a good gauge as to how the layer affected the sound. There is a certain lack of “breathing” from the driver one would expect from a typical open backed headphone, which could help to explain its slightly warmer tone.

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So, to summarize:

The Phoenix gives off a good bit of detail, not unlike those of similar price, but to me a bit behind the Meze 99Classic. Not bad, but the Phoenix does not have that last bit of air between the notes, like the Meze. As a result, the sound is a bit warmer than the Meze, but not as much as its cousin, the Sendy Aiva. I was surprised how “mature” the Aiva sounds when compared. Call the Phoenix the rambunctious teenager in comparison. Not quite sure of itself, but the desire to explore is there. Bass comes along strong, closing the gap into Audeze open back bass territory. Almost. Good depth can bleed into the mids, hindering the vocal range a bit, giving a somewhat classic V-shape, but not nearly as defined a V as the low end ChiFi could be. This isn’t bad. Vocals do come across as fairly clean, and so does the rest of the mid-section, yielding to a somewhat bright (but not overly) treble section. There is a certain amount of lilt up top, but not once did that sound become grating or hold tenuously onto my ears. Pleasantly rolled, but without losing that spunk up top would describe what I hear. A good effort, and a worthy candidate at this level, but with some caveats. Read on...

As stated, the bass of the Phoenix comes across as reaching but a bit loose. This can become a hinderance in faster tracks, which have a predominant bass line such as Alex Fox’ Vanessa. While that is a laid-back song, the bass guitar and drums set the tone for the whole song, and here the Phoenix struggled to keep up, which might help explain the hinderance towards the mids. That slight lag gave a good foundation, but one that seemed a ¼ step behind. I do like the Sivga, but down low was a bit untamed. That said, the bass was strong for such a straightforward driver, but not on the same level of say the Campfire Audio Cascade or good Audeze bass. I do like it, but don’t expect it to make up for bass-light songs.

To me, the mids are the star of the show, and this comes across in vocals. Dave Matthews voice on Dodo is sublime through the Phoenix and makes me appreciate the care with which Sivga paid attention here. That richness of Dave’s voice comes across, but there is also sufficient clarity to counter the bass. A nice combination results. Succinct in the middle section, female vocals are quite nice as well. While there is a lack of the lilt, which can come across in really detail-oriented female vocals; you still get the sense of a developed natural tone to the female vocals. This to me carries over throughout the mids providing a good tie between the lows and highs.

Some say that when you have a smoother tonality in the mids, the treble suffers. The Aiva has that smooth tendency but sounds so sweet you do not miss that sparkly note up top. Here the Phoenix takes that smoother nature and keeps the vibrant note to give a slight amount of lilt and sparkle up top. Brighter than the Aiva, but not grating, that push up top helps to provide the V-shape spoken about. The richness of tone is still there as a result. A combination of sparkle, richness and smooth tone rolled together.

Soundstage to me is deeper than wide, with a good height to it as well. Not the widest, not the highest, not the widest. Think Goldilocks and that middle bed. Just right, but nothing spectacular. That said there is the good depth (better than average), which aids imaging front to back. Think “somewhat” narrow concert venue, but with enough speakers placed around you to give good separation and layering as well. Instruments are well placed front to back as well, but a bit hindered by the average width. Not bad mind you, but nothing special. That middle bed of Goldilocks again.

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Comparison:

Sivga Phoenix ($255) v Sendy Aiva ($599):

The Aiva was a spur purchase due to the gorgeous looks. I do not regret that purchase. Priced well above the Phoenix, this may not be a fair comparison, but since the two are close cousins, this gives a good look into the genetics and DNA of the family heritage.

Upon first listen with the Aiva, I was taken in by the smooth tones emitting from within. Definitely an open back, I can hear the pecks on my MBP as Big Head Todd & The Monsters play. Slightly rolled off up top, the Phoenix provides a more vibrant signature with more sparkle as well. Bass is essentially even, but the Aiva has better control to me, especially when you run the gorgeous cable at the balanced option. Instruments tend to take a back seat in the Aiva, where even with the V-shape, the Phoenix presents a more in your face sound. The Phoenix is the ungainly teenager who wants to explore NOW. The Aiva is the mature father who tries to tell his son, “patience, it will all come soon enough.”

The head strap on the Aiva is also unacceptable to me. Thin leather as opposed to the pleated, puffed head strap on the Phoenix, it seems Sivga has learned a bit. Sharing the same yoke shape and wares, the Phoenix does fit better, and the extra weight from the Aiva can definitely be felt. If I had to choose one over the other, I would still spend the extra on the Aiva, but at that price, I do find alternatives I like more such as the Kennerton Magni (B-stock, new). But that is a closed back headphone, and not really a slam on the Aiva, for it is still quite good.

Family resemblance most definitely comes through between the two here, and the Phoenix can claim a bit on the older cousin, without embarrassing itself too much.

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Sivga Phoenix ($255) v Verum Audio Verum 1 ($349):

I remember when this came out. I read some information on it and took a flyer. I had ordered the Zebrano wood, but when checkout came it showed as out of stock (even as I could choose it), the demand was such from TTVJ. I happily ordered the last Boobinga from Todd and chuckled to myself as others tried to purchase but could not. Not very nice of me, really.

The fit is wonky (I have Version 1), the look is wonky, and the unit is big. But man, oh man, that sound. The flavor then, pretty much everyone gasped, ooowed and aaaawwd, and spoke with increased verve in their voice over the fun, fruitful flavor emanating from within. Many said they had never heard such detail and clarity from this price before. It is still selling like hotcakes now, and I am still glad I purchased it.

As mentioned, it is big, but the fit is such that many long listening sessions could not dampen my enthusiasm. Mids were clean, clear, crisp and detailed. Bass was of sufficient quality to hold your attention and it did.

Listening now for the comparison here, I am reminded of the above and how damn good the Verum 1 is. I have always hated the phrase or saying, “punches above its weight,” or “competes at twice the price,” for that does disservice to some truly fine wares priced above that of which you speak. But here I might use that terminology, but instead state, “maybe the others just don’t sound good enough at the same price?” Such a statement makes me feel that those at the same price point are UNDERperforming. We as consumers demand performance in many items. And here the Verum 1 delivers, embarrassing the competition with a clarity that to me is class leading. Think of how the original VW GTi reset the hot hatch market, even if it wasn’t the fastest or best handling. It became THE benchmark for its all-around functionality and performance like few cars before it. And certainly NOT in that class.

The bass comes across with aplomb as well. Not gargantuan, but “near-Audeze” levels that keep the foundation solid and set the tone. If I want massive bass, I throw on the Cascades. If I want an open back that has such a good bass line I focus on other sounds, the Verum 1 is it in my corral.

Vocals are near-sensuous in play, and on Armor verdadero, the Afro-Cuban All Stars come across with such passion that you cannot help but tap your toes and swing your hips. Throw in the trumpet chorus behind and you get detail for days. The Phoenix simply cannot match that. It is good and acceptable, but behind the Verum 1. The Phoenix is a near-splendid unit with which to listen. The Verum 1 is spectacular.

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Sivga Phoenix ($255) v Final Audio Sonorous 3 ($299):

The Final Audio Sonorous 3 was a recent used purchase. Feeling the “need” to fill in a couple of holes in my line up, this is the perfect opportunity to compare the two. Known as one of the standards when it comes to headphones, the Sonorous 3 seems to be the “lower-mid-fi” hit in the lineup. After a couple of longer listening sessions, I would concur. This is a really fine unit, even if it lacks a bit of bass for me. Bending the yoke carefully has aided in the fit, which has promoted not only a better fit but added the bass, which was missing due to a less than stellar fit.

The Sivga easily bests the Sonorous 3 in the fit segment, and I do not really care for the wonky yoke or adjustment. While the Phoenix lacks that extra space, it is comfortable. With the 3, there is pressure on the lower pads. As said, I am still determining the best fit.

Sound-wise though, the Sonorous 3 is very, very musical. Clarity for days, one can easily pick out individual note location with excellent detail retrieval to boot. The Phoenix cannot match that. Where the Sivga can is in providing a bit lusher, richness to the tone, but that does come at the expense of clarity. The Sonorous excels at detailed guitar works as well as orchestral movements. Such a fine sound emanates from this, that I am loath to take them off.

The Sivga does provide a bit more lilt up top, but the Sonorous treble note is just about perfect. So much so that I would very much like to try the more expensive units. If you desire an inexpensive unit, that is simply gorgeous at which to look, the Sivga wins, and can provide you with a certain richness. If you prefer more detail and clarity of note giving more air between the notes, without sacrificing a warmer tonality; then the Final Audio is the choice.


Sivga Phoenix ($255) v Meze 99Classic ($309):

I can vividly remember when the 99’s came my way. They were simply stunning at which to look with impeccable build quality. Having tried many other Meze offerings, they are all impeccable. And I do believe the 99’s set the tone for entry level headphones, which happen to look beautiful in the last five years.

The sound backs this up as well. With more detail (to me) than the Sivga, it really isn’t close. The Phoenix provides the warmer tone, with that push up top. The 99 provides the user with such detailed note, that you hang on every note. Not for everyone though, the Meze excels at music, which demands detail. The Sivga provides the user with a tone that adds a bit more richness. Going back to back you could almost describe the Sivga as sluggish, but that would not be fair for it really isn’t. Simply put, the Meze offers such sound that not much can compete with it in the clarity department at this price (save the Sonorous 3).

To decide on one over the other is harder here. If you desire the utmost in detail, it is easily the Meze. But if you want a certain mid-centric sound that is V-shaped, then the Sivga might be the better choice.

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Sources:

I found the Phoenix plays nicely with a variety of sources, but some did stand out. While I really enjoyed the pairing of it with the EarMen Sparro/MBP, finding it to provide a vibrant, full and rich signature, the duo of the HiBy R3 Pro Saber/XDuoo MT-601 played the best to me. I was actually quite surprised, as the trio came across as smooth with the same vibrancy heard in the others, but without being thick. I know the 601 is oriented more towards IEM’s, but the Phoenix is so easy to drive, that the trio was a pure joy with which to listen.

The Sivga promotes itself as usable across different sources, and with the two listed above proves its value in the portable market and workplace setting. The duo of my iPhone XS Max/Sparrow came across as quite good, boding well for the portable market. But my favorite combination was the affordable HiBy/XDuoo combo. Nice to note that an inexpensive set up could provide me with decent listening pleasure.


Conclusion:

At what level do we set satisfaction? I could happily live with my Thinksound ON2, and the used Final Audio Sonorous 3’s I purchased. OK, and the Kennerton Magni. But when we compare levels, the Phoenix is chipping into a market that is simply brutal to all comers. And I’m not sure the Sivga has done enough. I do really enjoy the sound, and it is beautiful at which to look. But this is something that just gnaws at me, and I still cannot wrap my gray matter around it. It is warm and musical. It also has pretty good clarity, hence the paradox.

Currently listening to Chris Cain’s You Won’t Have A Problem When I’m Gone kind of summarizes my thoughts. I didn’t have a problem when the Sivga arrived, and I won’t when it leaves. But and I do say this, I will miss it for the differences provided against some really tough competition. The gorgeous looks. The small size. The competent semi-closed back sound (due to the damping material). And the sound. I’m not sure I get the association with “Phoenix,” for to me there was no need to rise from the ashes. Especially since the Aiva is quite competent, even if fairly niche in market. But has the Phoenix done enough against that tough competition? I’m not sure they have and would kindly ask that each of you potential buyers do your own homework and take a listen. You may like it, you may not, but the time spent together will surely be worth it for comparative purposes if nothing else. The Phoenix deserves that.

I wish Sivga luck and would love a shot at the P-II to compare with the Sendy. That may better represent what Sivga is trying to accomplish here, and a better gauge at which to judge the parent company. Following a near-cult classic is tough and the P-II may just be the match. I thank Collin for the loan of the Phoenix, I did enjoy my time with it, and reluctantly send it back.

Cheers.

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Wiljen

Headphoneus Supremus
Sivga - Phoenix rising
Pros: Beautiful and well built, pleasant signature with good detail
Cons: Behaves more like closed back than open with limited stage, pleather pads get hot and uncomfortable
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When reading this review, please remember that I grade on a very harsh scale so anything above a 2.5 is indeed above average on my grading scale and anything above 3 is a solid mark.

disclaimer: The Sivga Phoenix was sent to me directly by Sivga for review. Sivga and its sibling Sendy Audio are making in-roads into the US market and are carried by Audio46 and Musicteck in the US as well as being available for order directly from the Sivga website worldwide. I have no financial interest in Sivga, Sendy, or any of their distributors, nor have I received any compensation for this review. The Phoenix has been on-loan to me for purpose of this review and was shipped to another reviewer once this review was complete as well. I appreciate my time with the Phoenix and look forward to additional models from Sivga. Be sure to follow them on Facebook if you haven’t already so you get the next generation of product announcements.

Unboxing / Packaging:
The Phoenix packaging has hints of both Hifiman and Beyerdynamic packages with a lift top box that is reminiscent of the He6 box and a hard-case sitting inside that reminds me of the T5p. The front of the packaging has a line drawing of the Phoenix while the reverse has the specs. One thing to note, the wood grain on the sides of the box unfortunately do not do justice to the zebrawood cups and may be persuading customers to look away which is unfortunate. I’d leave the wood grain off the package and let the cups speak for themselves as they are beautiful and its a shame the packaging doesn’t capture that. Inside the box, you are greeted with a hard case and a pair of protein leather pads. Opening the case reveals the headphone itself, the cable in a small linen bag, and a set of hybrid pads with a cloth face. The cable is cloth wrapped and uses 2.5mm connectors at the northern ends and a 3.5mm single ended connnector and 6.3mm adapter at the southern end.




Build/Fit:
Construction on the Phoenix is first rate with gorgeous wood cups and well fit and finished metal parts making up the vast majority of the build. The only plastics are inside the cups in areas where they are not subject to repeated stress and as such I’d expect the Phoenix to last well. The Zebrawood cups are highly figured and well polished to really highlight the grain and detail in the wood. One thing to note is that the cups are on the small side so those with large ears may find these a little crowded as the combination of shallow pads and narrow cups could become an issue. If you have larger than average ears, I suggest trying these before purchase. The Hinges offers movement on both the vertical and horizontal axis which some have criticized in recent Hifiman models so that was nice to see. Padding on the headband is good and comfort was quite good if using the cloth pads. As mentioned earlier the Phoenix does ship with a hybrid (cloth) pad and a protein leather pad in the box. After a quick trial of the protein leather, I switched back to cloth and all of my testing and listening notes were conducted using the cloth pads as the pleather was just too hot and uncomfortable for extended use. I found that I could wear the Phoenix with my glasses without experiencing discomfort. Clamping force is minimal which probably helps contribute to the easy fit and comfort, but will limit utility of the Phoenix for active situations.




Internals:
The Phoenix uses a 50mm dynamic driver using a polycarbonate film diaphragm and in-house designed magnetic structure and basket to stiffen the diaphragm and reduce distortions of the diaphragm during use. Nominal impedance is listed as 32Ω with a sensitivity of 103dB/mW which makes them quite easy to drive and I found they worked well from a dongle via a phone as well as from desktop amps. They do scale some with better more potent sources but use with portable gear loses little in the overall. One thing to discuss while talking internals is the construction. I found the Phoenix to sound more like a closed back than the fully open back it appears to be. This can be easily tested by cupping one’s hands over the exterior of the cup and listening for reflections. Most open back headphones react to this by getting more bass quantity and much dirtier sound due to the reflections mixing with the original signal. The Phoenix changes very little when doing this so I had to suspect that very little sound was exiting the shell. A quick test showed sound leakage to the rear of the cup at -17dB compared to putting the mic the same distance from the front of the cup. (for the record I disconnected the other cup and moved it aside to prevent reflection from being measured on the inner measurement). The good news here is those looking for something they can wear without annoying the person sitting next to them will appreciate the Phoenix. The bad news, they don’t sound like they look and are more of a closed back signature than an open-back in some regards. Disassembly reveals that the driver is mostly encased in a plastic surround with an open cup behind it with no damping material between the rear driver face and screen so any modifications to change the signature will be permanent and require alteration of the driver housing to expose more of the drivers rear surface and allow more air travel from the rear of the driver. 3D printing a new driver housing would be a good option for preserving the original housing and altering the signature but is well beyond the scope work I’m willing to do on a loaner that needs to be sent on to the next reviewer in original condition.




Cable:
The cable provided with the Phoenix is fairly short which makes it useful when traveling but maybe not quite long enough for those sitting opposite their gear at home. The Jack is a 3.5mm straight type in a black knurled metal housing with a spring strain relief. At the north ends, the 2.5mm connectors have matching knurled black metal housings and red and green bands around the jack itself to help with indexing. The cable itself is single crystal copper in cloth sleeves for its entire length with a small splitter that matches the jacks.




Sound:


Bass:
Sub-bass has good thump when called upon but what is most immediately noticeable is the mid-bass. Mid-bass is emphasized but and then a very gentle taper all the way through the lower mids which gives the Phoenix more punch than typical of an open-back. I think the semi-closed nature of the housing is on full display in the lows as it does combine some elements of a closed back (big bass) with elements of an open-back (more speed and balance). Bass has texture but is a bit smooth compared to some of the more articulate models (Hd6xx) so there is a bit of trade off of quantity for detail level. Attack is fast enough to keep things clean with a natural decay that adds a bit of fullness. This gives bass guitar a rich fluid tone that is a nice departure from some of the competition that is thinner and less natural sounding. The Phoenix bass can really slam when called upon but integrates well and doesn’t distract when it is not the main emphasis. It should please all but the most diehard basshead and be good for bass heavy genre.

Mids:
There is some mild mid-bass bleed that helps add some warmth and thickness and while the mids are not emphasized, it is hard to call the recessed as they still have good presence in the mix. Male vocals have good weight and texture but at times dont cut through the mix well. Guitar growl has enough texture to sound believable and strings have good timbre and energy as well. There is an upper-mid push that steps female vocals a bit in front of their male counterparts but at the same time they are a bit leaner compared to the lower voices. If strings have enough energy to be believable because of the push, acoustic guitar, banjo, and mandolin gain a little too much and come off as brighter than natural.

Treble:
The lower treble and true treble continue the climb of the upper-mids with a plateau in the 4-6kHz range before a drop back to the level of the upper-mids that continues up through about 12kHz where roll-off begins. Unlike a lot of models where the primary emphasis of the top-end is in the upper-mid/lower-treble range, the Phoenix emphasis is very much in the true treble range which at times sounds well balanced against the big lows the Phoenix is capable of, but at other times jumps out as a bit too much. I found that tracks without a bass emphasis to offset the treble peak sounded a bit harsh at times and would advise that the treble shy audition the Phoenix before purchase. The good news is that same emphasis gives the Phoenix a nice clean top end with good definition and snare rattle is quite good with hi-hat having enough energy to sound natural as well. Its a tightrope walk that most of the time the Phoenix does well, but pieces with less instrumentation do show a need for that bass to balance it off.

Soundstage / Imaging:
Stage is good with a bit more depth than width and some height and is particularly impressive considering this is a semi-closed design. It wont compete with the class leading HD800 or the like, but is more than enough to avoid feeling closed in. Seating the orchestra is straight forward as instrument separation is good (although not fantastic due to its slightly thickened sound) and layering is good as well. Imaging is also solid with movements easily tracked and well defined without a loss of detail in the center like some show. There is some mild compression with particularly complex tracks that appears first in the lower ranges but isn’t particularly noticeable until extremely complicated and fast tracks are involved.


Comparisons:

The price of the Phoenix hovers right around $250 new with a few open box models dropping to $180 USD or so, so in keeping with that price range I selected a handful of common headphones to compare against at roughly equal cost. All of the models listed here should be within $50 to one side or the other of the Phoenix.

Sennheiser HD6xx
Construction favors the Phoenix with metal vs plastics used for most critical parts and the wood certainly has an advantage in the looks department. Ear cups are larger on the 6xx and will fit those with larger ears better as a result. Kit is a bit better on the Phoenix as well as the included case is a nice touch. I prefer the cloth cable of the Phoenix to the one that ships with the 6xx but both are easily swapped so the option to upgrade probably favors the 6xx with a greater variety of aftermarket options. Pads are better on the 6xx (although its close) and again more aftermarket options exist for those looking for better options.
Sound-wise, the two are very different with the Phoenix offering a bit more and better bass punch and a bit thicker tone overall vs the leaner and cleaner tone of the 6xx. The 6xx has long been criticized for not having a particularly impactful bass and those looking for more body and thickness will appreciate the Phoenix. The 6xx is a little more detailed with the Phoenix instead opting for a smoother sound.

Meze 99
The Meze99 is closed back but uses similar materials with a mostly wood and metal build and a similarly sized cup so both fit on the head similarly although clamping force is a bit higher on the Phoenix vs my well worn 99. The Zebrawood figure on the Phoenix stands out more than the more subtle grain in the Meze cups and certainly is better looking than the Noir or Neo versions. Cables are roughly equal as well and kits are similar too. Sound wise stage is larger on the Phoenix which is expected vs the closed back 99. Bass depth favors the Phoenix while bass quantity slightly favors the 99. Clarity is better on the Phoenix as is detail retrieval, particularly in the mids. Overall the Phoenix sounds a bit less V shaped and more detailed while the 99 has a bit more impact and energy in the top end.

HifiMan He5xx
Another Drop edition joins the list, the He5xx hasn’t gained the traction of the He4xx yet but time will tell as the 4xx made a lot of its bones as the cheapest planar one could get. The 5xx instead concentrates on reproducing the He500 signature while sharing packaging with the Deva model. The He5xx doesn’t have the adjustments on the vertical axis that the Phoenix has which makes the Phoenix more comfortable for glasses wearers. I also find the Phoenix a much better looking headphone as the He5xx is sort of industrial looking comparatively. Soundwise, the Phoenix has a slight edge in bass depth with both having similar quantity. Both share a similar signature with good balance and a slightly boosted treble but tonality is different as the 5xx is thinner and a bit faster while the Phoenix is a bit thicker and smoother by comparison.

Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro
The 880 Pro again cant match the good looks of the Phoenix with its all metal outer construction and also loses points on the non-detachable cable. Yes, I know many have done balanced mods but the fact remains it doesn’t ship with them. The 880 is much harder to drive well at 250Ω vs the 32Ω Phoenix. If driven well the 880 has good bass and a fairly linear signature up to the boosted upper-mids/lower treble which is in some ways similar to the Phoenix only the 880 climbs earlier (upper-mids vs treble) and is more immediately noticeable than the later more gentle rise of the Phoenix. (yeah, I went there). The Phoenix is much better paired with lower powered sources and even when you give the 880P what it wants in the way of power, it doesn’t outshine the Phoenix.

Thoughts / Conclusion:
So where does this relative newcomer fit in the already crowded $200-300 market? Its a tough question to answer as the Phoenix is an open-back with closed back characteristics that is both warm and bright, bold and balanced, and art and industrial all at once. It has enough detail and separation to be clear, but is full-bodied and warm in the overall. Extension is very good at the low end and above average at the top giving it a nice balance. I found it did reasonably well with everything from piano concerto to death metal which says a lot. It may not be a master of any single genre, but it is a very good generalist which does little to offend regardless of what genre it is fed and what source is used. I mention the source here as that is kind of a big deal. Most of my good all-around headphones need a specific source to be able to find that magic balance where they do everything well. The Phoenix seems source agnostic and was equally at home with the Cayin N3 and the Xduoo Ta-30. I think Sivga has done a great job with the Phoenix and the minor criticisms I can level against it certainly are nitpicking when we consider the $250 price tag.

Treble - 7/10
Mids - 7/10
Bass - 8/10
Soundstage - 6.5/10
Imaging - 7/10
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cash1489

New Head-Fier
SIVGA Phoenix Headphone Review: One Of The Best Budget Audiophile Headphones!
Pros: Well built, looks great
Balanced sound with nice punch
No dedicated amp needed
Cons: Earpads are a little shallow
Could be too small for larger heads

Summary​


The $255 SIVGA Phoenix is an affordable open-back, over-ear dynamic driver headphone with a beautiful design and crisp, rich sound. The polished zebra wood cups, protein leather, chrome accents, and black lacquer metal frame combine for a luxurious-looking package.


They’re lightweight and comfortable so that you can wear them for long listening sessions, but they just fit larger heads. The 50mm Polycarbonate film driver provides nice air up top without being edgy, natural midrange, and just enough lift on the bottom end to keep things interesting.


There is slight coloration in the lower mids, but you must strain to hear it, and some may find the stock pads are a little bit shallow. In that case, they do offer deeper protein leather replacement pads for about $15, which is quite reasonable.


Overall, it’s a very capable and musical headphone for the price, with a sound signature that plays nice with just about any genre you throw at them. The layering and separation are also really good for a headphone under $300.


If you’re looking for a relatively balanced open-back headphone in this price range, it’s definitely worth a listen.


Disclaimer: The SIVGA Phoenix was sent to us by the manufacturer in exchange for an honest review; we will return them once the review is complete.



Build​


Upon opening the box, you’ll find the Phoenix headphones, along with a large zippered hard case, a flexible, tangle-resistant 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable, and a canvas bag to store the cable in.


Picking up the headphones, you’ll see the Phoenix uses a combination metal frame/sliding suspension strap to keep them resting lightly on top of your head, and the clamping force is nicely judged even for a huge noggin like mine.


The padded protein leather suspension strap is nicely cushioned, and due to its relatively small size and aluminum/wood construction, the Phoenix is extremely lightweight. The cups swivel liberally, which allows them to form to your head. All of this adds up to a headphone that is quite comfortable and easy to wear.





However, the compact dimensions do come into play when it comes to head size. With my large head (7 7/8 hat size), the cups just came down over my ears, and I adjusted the strap almost all the way to the top. This didn’t affect comfort; it’s just worth mentioning.


SIVGA is well known for its striking Wood headphone designs, and the polished zebra wood cups utilized on the Phoenix make it easy to see why. They look excellent, and the chrome rings surrounding the steel mesh screens in the center add to the upscale aesthetic.


Inside the cups are 50mm ultra-thin Polycarbonate film drivers which are meant to be very lightweight but able to move precisely without deformation. This helps to provide both extended highs and bass.





The headphones come with hybrid memory foam earpads installed, lined with protein leather both inside and out. On the part that rests against your skin, there is a soft, velvety microfiber. The pads are angled to help with fit.


The earpads are a little on the shallow side, so my ears did make quite a bit of contact with the interior lining. It didn’t bother me, but it's something to think about if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing.


By the way, if the stock pads do bother you, SIVGA offers protein leather replacement pads that are a little thicker and reduce contact. They are reasonably priced at about $15 and do add a bit of comfort.





Keep in mind, the replacement pads do tip the midbass up a little, which adds a little more warmth, but you sacrifice a bit of midrange clarity and top-end air in exchange. If you buy the Phoenix, I recommend that you invest in a pair to hear both options.


As I alluded to earlier, the included cable, while a little on the thin side, is flexible and tangle-resistant. It also has a nice length to it.


With its high sensitivity and low impedance, it’s also effortless to drive, making it a nice match for small digital audio players and smartphones. Just be careful with high-gain amps because things can get a little noisy.


Listening to the SIVGA Phoenix Headphone​


I connected the Phoenix to various gear for my testing, including a $220 Shanling M2x digital audio player, LG V60 Smartphone with ESS Quad DAC, the $99 HELM Bolt USB DAC, and the $649 iFi Micro iDSD Signature transportable DAC.


The latter two were connected to my ENVY X360 laptop playing MQA tracks from the TIDAL desktop app, while I played local high-resolution FLAC files on the DAP and Smartphone. All my sound impressions are based on the sound with the stock pads.


One thing I noticed about these headphones is they sounded good no matter what I hooked them up to, and they scaled up nicely with better sources.





If I had to sum up the Phoenix’s sound, I would say it’s relatively balanced with a tasteful bump in the sub-bass, which adds some nice weight to the presentation. Since they're pretty flat through most of the audioband, they come out a little on the cool side.


Because they have a little dip in the lower treble, they do come sound a little dark on certain tracks, but not dark enough to sound overly veiled.


For a $300 headphone (now $250), the Phoenix did extremely well with both micro and macro detail, nicely presenting strings with fullness and realism. It did the same with vocals giving me a good helping of Donald Fagen’s soulful delivery on Steely Dan’s “Babylon Sisters."





I also loved the soundstage and imaging on Eric Clapton’s “Tears In Heaven” from his “Unplugged” album. The stage was pretty wide, with the background singers and guitarists appearing to come from well outside the earcups. The imaging was also relatively focused, especially in the center.


I also liked the dynamics, as demonstrated on Tony Allen’s and Hugh Masekela’s “Robbers, Thugs, and Muggers,” where the full fury of Allen’s drum kit was on display, showcasing the Phoenix’s considerable punch and slam.


The drum hits weren’t as precise as I’ve heard on other (more expensive) headphones, but they were full and pretty defined.


Comparisons​


I compared the Phoenix to some of the other headphones I had in the price range, including the Hifiman SUNDARA ($350), the Drop/Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee ($170), and the Meze 99 Classics ($309).


The HD 58X Jubilee was a lot warmer than the Phoenix, with rolled-off highs giving it an overall darker vibe. The Sivga headphone was a lot more complex than the 58X, providing more soundstage width and imaging, as well as top-end detail.


However, the 58X did provide a little more microdetail which added some of the depth the Phoenix is missing. Overall the Phoenix is more engaging, though, and it also wins for build quality. Comfort is a wash.


Moving on to the Meze, the 99 Classic sounded a little more closed in compared to the Phoenix, which is to be expected from a closed-back headphone.





The Meze was a also warmer than the SIVGA headphone with more power and dynamics on the low end, but the bass tends to overpower the mix on some songs, like the Tony Allen drum track mentioned earlier.


The SIVGA was more open, balanced, and had more detail overall. It also sounded a little more natural. That appealed more to me.


However, the Meze would probably appeal more to the bassheads. The Meze also edges the Phoenix out in Build and Comfort.


Even though the Hifiman SUNDARA is a more expensive headphone, I had to see how the Phoenix stacked up vs. the best headphone under $500.


Build and Comfort is pretty much a wash; if anything, the SUNDARA may be a touch more comfortable, especially for big heads like mine. However, some may find the Phoenix more comfortable since it has swiveling cups that mold to your head. The SUNDARA doesn't.





When it comes to Sound Quality, the SUNDARA is heads and shoulders above the Phoenix, with a lot more separation and depth. However, the Phoenix is actually the more open headphone with a wider soundstage.


Comparing the two lets you hear the slight coloration within the midrange on the Phoenix and its slight lack of precision. But when it comes to musical engagement, the Phoenix matches up pretty well. Its presentation is actually more lively with more punch and slam than the Hifiman, which may win some folks over.


That said, the SUNDARA has just a little more depth, allowing you to hear more “into the music” than the SIVGA headphone.


The Wrap Up​


I must say the SIVGA Phoenix is quite an accomplished headphone, especially at its current price of $255. If you can deal with the pads' shallowness, you will be rewarded with some great sound. I really dig the wide soundstage, natural midrange, and punchy bass. They also look outstanding. I highly recommend for those looking for an affordable audiophile headphone.

This review was originally posted at http://hifitrends.com/

ryanjsoo

Reviewer for The Headphone List
ryanjsoo's Reviews
Sivga Phoenix Review – The Charmer
Pros: Excellent bass weight and extension, Clear and natural vocals, Rich and lush presentation, Good soundstage expansion and layering, Gorgeous build and design, Great carrying case
Cons: Separation suffers from its fullness, Average technical performance in-class, Reasonably limited range of headband adjustment, Thin earpads can affect long-term comfort
TLDR –

Through its unique combination of qualities and thoughtful execution, the Phoenix is able to carve out a reasonably uncontested niche in the audio market for bass lovers who still value clear vocals and a spacious soundstage.



Introduction –

SIVGA are a Chinese audio company founded in 2016 who focus on stunning wooden designs and competitive pricing. They work hand-in-hand with Sendy Audio, their premium division, who recently achieved renown for their well-received Aiva planar magnetic headphone. The Phoenix is their latest creation, an open-back over-ear headphone featuring a huge 50mm dynamic driver. Signature to Sivga, the Phoenix features a premium bill of materials with special mention going to its gorgeous zebra wood cups. Sivga promises a rich and natural sound from its custom dynamic driver with moderate pricing placing it in direct comparison to some of the most acclaimed planar magnetic options on the market such as the Hifiman Sundara. Still, this is a unique approach and one that does feel well-executed to boot.

The Phoenix sits just below the planar P-II in Sivga’s line-up at $299 USD. You can read all about it and treat yourself to a set on Sivga’s website. See also Sendy’s website for their premium planar offerings here.


Disclaimer –

I would like to thank Collin from Sivga and Mark from Capisco Ltd very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the Phoenix and Upgrade Pads for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the headphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.


Specifications –

  • Driver: 50mm Dynamic Driver
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 103dB
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Weight: 296g

Behind the Design –

Special Film


The Phoenix’s dynamic driver features a uniquely developed polycarbonate film and independently developed diaphragm structure. The company specifies a clear focus on rigidity in order to reduce modal breakup at high frequencies. Meanwhile, a lightweight construction with copper-clad aluminium voice coil promises an agile transient response for a detailed, extended and low-distortion sound. This is enhanced by the adoption of a 3mm thick rubidium iron boron magnet that provides strong driver control and low-end drive. A 32-ohm impedance makes the Phoenix easy to drive.


Unboxing –

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Sivga creates a premium unboxing experience for the Phoenix with a gorgeous wood-grain and carbon-fibre textured hard box that slides open to reveal a zippered hard case. The case is excellent, moulded specifically for the Phoenix to provide a perfect, extra-secure fit during storage. It has a faux-leather texture and feels very well-constructed, four feet on its base enable the case to stand upright as well. Inside are the headphones and cable within a drawstring hessian pouch. Sivga also provides a 1/4″ adaptor for use with desktop amplifiers. Altogether, a well-considered and high-quality experience!


Design –

Immediately, it’s hard not to appreciate the gorgeous painted stainless steel and zebra wood build that stands out as a defining feature of this headphone. The Phoenix appears premium in materials and provides a timeless retro aesthetic with adjacent chrome and woodgrain drawing the eye. The metal hangers and headband are reasonably lightweight but feel sturdy in the hand, reinforced by well-weighted and smoothly articulating hinges. Due to its compact dimensions, the Phoenix also is far from a heavy headphone at just under 300g despite its construction mostly employing robust metal parts.

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This experience is complemented by a slide-to-adjust suspension headband with a wide, padded goat leather strap. It feels super soft and, being authentic leather, should also hold up better over time than faux so long as it is appropriately maintained. The pads are super soft with memory foam interior that conforms well to the individual’s head shape. The sides are pleather, and the face made from a soft suede that provides a comfortable and slightly more breathable experience.

The cable attaches via 2.5mm mono plugs which is a less popular choice these days but still commonly available on aftermarket cables. Unfortunately, I am not so enthusiastic about the Phoenix’s stock cable which is thin and flimsy, barely thick enough to be an IEM cable. Albeit, the cable is very light and unobtrusive, it is also very compliant and doesn’t irk during listening. The connectors are metal and terminations have a nice strain-relief, the 3.5mm plug, in particular, employing a robust spring-loaded one. Still, the thinness is a concern for longevity to me, I would like to have seen a more robust cable that better complements the build of the headphones themselves.


Fit & Isolation –

Looking over the design, I was expecting a very comfortable fit, however, the Phoenix’s compact dimensions mean there are some concessions for all-day at-home listening. The headband has fairly limited adjustment relative to most competitors. I personally felt I required slightly more length as I was just able to fit the headphones with the setting maxed out. Otherwise, the headband is comfortable and didn’t form any hotspots for me over time. Though do keep in mind, that If you find yourself maxing out the slider on most headphones, the Phoenix may not fit.

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In addition, while the earpads are soft and compliant, they are also very shallow. The opening is large enough to engulf my ears by a hair, however, the lack of width means the drivers are constantly pressed against them, causing soreness after an hour or two of listening. The discomfort was mild and I was able to listen for longer, though the Phoenix does feel more to me like a portable headphone than a full-size open-back as a result. The lightweight build and slim pads to me seem contradictory for an open-back design that is not ideal for portable use, and yet it almost appears geared towards it.

This may be the intention of the design as it does isolate considerably more than most open-back headphones, albeit not nearly to the extent of a closed-back model yet alone the stronger ANC performers out there around this price. This does mean they do in a pinch for basic commute. Still, they do leak sound which is not ideal for public transport. I feel the pad design is intentional to deliver the best sound, that said.

Upgrade Pads

For those concerned about the earpads, Sivga do offer OEM protein leather replacements that offer an additional half-centimetre of width for only $15. The pads are held in place by a twist-lock like most competitors making pad swapping easy – though of note, they do rotate clockwise rather than anticlockwise to disengage so take care to twist in the right direction during removal. The company was kind enough to send over a pair for evaluation. Though they aren’t as breathable as the stock pads with an entirely faux leather construction without the velour of the stock pads, but do successfully provide more of an over-ear fit. For my ears, they were noticeably more comfortable for longer listening sessions as they reduced contact between the driver and my ears. I think this is a fine option and a reasonably priced extra, though do note that they will change the sound quite noticeably as I will touch on in the


Sound –

Tonality –


As audio enthusiasts, I feel we have a tendency to demonise bass emphasis. I personally feel it is best to consider personal preference here and to judge tonality on a case by case basis. For the Phoenix is a warm, rich and slightly bass-orientated headphone yet also an articulate and charming one. This also makes it quite unconventional for an open-back. Nevertheless, it retains modest balance overall, with a subtle L-shape, bringing the vocal range forward with some upper-midrange emphasis alongside a crisp lower-treble in equal measure. I would not consider this to be an especially high-contrast sound with a generally warmer and fuller expression instigated by its robust bass of which mid-bass steals the show, being most prominent in the sound. There’s a moderate dip entering the midrange for separation before a gentle rise to a small 3kHz hump that brings vocals forward and enhances their clarity. The treble is reasonably even with a small lower-treble peak enhancing articulation and detail presence. Altogether, a coloured yet involving sound that doesn’t sacrifice too much balance.

Upgrade Pads

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Sivga’s upgraded earpads offer a strong sealing shape and pleather construction which impacts the sound. Swapping to the upgrade pads, I noticed a more bass-forward sound with a more laid-back midrange. As emphasis appears to be mostly within the sub/deep-bass rather than the mid-bass, bloat is not exacerbated. However, I did find these pads to sound less coherent than the stock units, as bass became a bit boomier and less defined. In return, you do receive a more pressurized and hard-hitting low-end that generally draws more focus. The midrange was more recessed but also higher-contrast with enhanced clarity. The stock pads were more natural to my ear in addition to being more balanced. The high-end appeared relatively unchanged and I didn’t hear a large difference in terms of soundstage either. However, the further increase in bass quantity and more laid-back midrange are something to consider if you currently enjoy the sonic balance but would like more spacious ear pads.


Bass –

The low-end draws attention with its size and power forming the foundation of a fun and engaging sound. It has a clear bias towards the mid-bass, though the sub-bass still provides commanding presence with a satisfying slam and pressure enabled by impressively strong extension, especially for an open-back headphone. Rumble is clearly defined though impact could be more focused. The mid-bass has a moderate hump instigating a punchy, full and warm low-end presentation with a heavier note weight. There’s a gentle slope downwards through the upper-bass and lower-midrange that redeems separation and prevents excess bass spill. Bass itself isn’t bloated to my ears, but notes are clearly enlarged and full which can sap definition on some tracks.

The note presentation as well goes hand in hand with the tuning, being smooth whilst upholding decent speed to retain definition and separation. Sub-bass attack is slightly more diffuse despite the hearty increase in note weight so slam doesn’t pound the skull and the bass is characterised by a smoother texture overall. I see this as a positive, preventing the headphone from becoming overly fatiguing and bass dominated. Mid-bass control is a standout performer, being a bit quicker than the sub-bass and delivering impressive tightness and definition. There isn’t a huge amount of separation due to its fullness though a nice, natural decay enables a presentation that is well-textured, lush and easy to appreciate. Surely compared to some planar competitors, the Phoenix is not quite as agile and defined, but brings its own unique qualities here that reward in equal measure.


Mids –

Relative to the bass, mids occupy a slightly laid-back position though they remain far from veiled or recessed. Considering its bass tuning, the Phoenix has good extension and openness alongside impressively strong note definition. Though do note that separation and definition are not a defining feature of this headphone, which is more characterised by its lushness enabled by its generally warmer and full-bodied character. In turn, it has a rich, filled-in note structure without a hint of dryness whilst maintaining good, if not great separation. There remains as well, admirable balance between male and female vocals. However, instruments do sound more obviously coloured to my ears, being richer, warmer and also slightly more laid-back. Nonetheless, they sound organic and not over-done in terms of colouration which might be to your preferences. Vocals, however, really steal the show, being empowered with a more forward position, sitting just behind the bass.

They possess enhanced clarity and articulation on behalf of the upper-midrange and lower-treble tuning. Accordingly, the vocal presentation is glossy and clear if a touch raspy at times, though also never thin or sharp with the headphone’s rich warmth and body acting as ballast. I find vocals to strike a good balance, they aren’t too intimate or peaky, similarly, not especially prone to muffle or chestiness due to the small lower-mid dip. The midrange on a whole upholds a respectable amount of cleanliness and a natural voicing with its progressive emphasis. Though this remains a clearly coloured sound, linearity was never the intention and I feel the tuning is well-considered for a bass-orientated headphone. It is not so easy to come by a headphone that provides richness and clarity in equal measure and executes this in such a natural fashion, especially within this price range.


Highs –

The Phoenix provides a crisp and energetic high-end expression that lifts its presentation and enhances its atmosphere. Focus centres around a small peak just above the lower-treble that grants treble instrumentation with a lighter note weight and provides the impression of a more sparkly and separated performance. Regardless, there is good texture here alongside ample body to retain a mostly natural presentation altogether, although this is clearly not the Phoenix’s priority here as body remains clearly on the thinner side. Rather, the small emphasis permits treble details to cut through its otherwise thicker voicing, enhancing intelligibility and fine detail retrieval. The Phoenix is far from the most detailed headphone I’ve heard but provides a satisfying combination of focus and clarity here and, much like the midrange, does so sans sharpness and fatigue.

To reiterate, this is not a bright headphone but a slightly more open sounding one, a well-considered tuning decision given its lusher sound below. It has average detail retrieval in-class but details are more apparent given its slightly more energetic tuning. Extension as well never feels lacking though it too is clearly not on the level of a higher-end model with minimal micro-detail and sparkle in its top-octave. The Phoenix nonetheless, provides a distinct foreground and background, creating a nicely layered presentation with good cleanliness that draws further focus to its energetic foreground detail presentation. Despite this, it also has a good amount of air due to the small middle-treble peak and its stronger headroom surely works much to its advantage in crafting the impression of overall balance and continuity.


Soundstage –

Despite not being outstanding from an extension and detail retrieval point of view, the soundstage is impressively expansive, especially considering its slightly less-open form factor. The Phoenix offers a good combination of out of the head width and impressive depth too, providing a slightly oval presentation. It’s no HD800 but never feels remotely closed in either. Imaging is a good performer as well with a defined centre image and reasonably sharp directional cues.

Like most headphones in this price range, it offers a nice lateral spread with an emphasis on organised, defined layers, but little ability to accurately project coronally besides lead vocals. Still, this makes for an involving presentation that is clearly above the average headphone. Separation is a weaker point of this headphone, not a poor performer, but certainly not outstanding either due to its generally lusher presentation. It errs on the rich and coherent side over being separated and highly-defined but has a little added contrast that prevents congestion.


Driveability –

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With a 32-ohm impedance and 103dB sensitivity, the Phoenix was designed to be easy to drive. Being an over-ear headphone, it also isn’t especially sensitive to source noise. As always, the numbers do not tell the full story with regards to driveability.

Output impedance sensitivity

I would estimate that the Phoenix has a fairly flat impedance curve given that there were minimal audible differences between the Hiby R6 (10-ohms) and Shanling M2X (1-ohm). Subtle differences were discernible between the sources though likely this is due to the colouration of the sources themselves. This means a low-output impedance is not required to provide a sound faithful to the company’s design and the Phoenix can be enjoyed from high-impedance sources such as tube amplifiers.

Driving power

Switching between my desktop stack with THX789 and Topping D70s with the Shanling M2X revealed that the Phoenix does scale nicely with better sources. The M2X did an admirable job driving the Phoenix, in fact, bass extension was about the same as was overall frequency balance. The Phoenix even sounded balanced from my Xperia 5 II’s integrated headphone jack and no noise was perceptible on any of these sources. That said, the desktop source clearly sounded the best, the transient response was noticeably sharper, with higher note definition from bass to treble. It was more detailed and focused but there wasn’t a huge change in sub-bass power or overall balance. In addition, the desktop stack provided a more spacious soundstage though not by a huge degree.

Suggested Pair Ups

The Phoenix is indeed easy to drive as promised by the company both with regards to power and output impedance. Though it does thrive with a bit more power, aiding a more detailed and defined presentation. In my testing, the Phoenix is best paired with a neutral to analytical source due to its smooth and lush nature. Warmer and smoother sources may overly blunt its presentation. My personal preference is for a more detailed source with a sharp transient response such as the iBasso DX200 with AMP5 which provided the more defined and textured sound.


Comparisons –

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Meze 99 Neo ($199): The Meze 99 Neo is a warm and dense portable headphone that shares a beautiful aesthetic and build with the Phoenix. It is even more bass orientated with a more laid-back midrange. Its bass, however, is quite linear with just a little upper-bass emphasis that is mostly responsible for its warm and full sound. The Phoenix is a little cleaner and more dynamic, the 99 Neo is a thicker sounding headphone with greater bass presence but at the cost of being less textured and articulate. The Phoenix has slightly better extension on top, granting it a higher energy bass despite being less bassy overall. The midrange is clearer and cleaner on the Phoenix with higher contrast and better separation.

The 99 Neo is warmer, fuller and more laid-back. It sounds more coherent with a denser upper-midrange which makes it sound noticeably thicker and less open. Both sound quite natural, but the Phoenix strikes a better balance to my ears. The 99 Neo has a more pronounced lower-treble, especially by contrast to its more recessed upper-midrange. The Phoenix is slightly more detailed and also offers greater headroom, though neither are especially resolving at the very top. The 99 Neo, despite its closed-back design, offers almost the same soundstage width. The Phoenix offers better separation and sharper imaging.

Sennheiser HD6XX ($220): The HD6XX is a staple around this price range, its clean and natural tonality making granting it timeless appeal. From a technical point of view, however, it’s easy to see how the industry has progressed over the last decade. The Phoenix has noticeably stronger extension in the bass alongside a generally fuller and more emphasised low-end. Both are warmer headphones, the Phoenix more so. Despite having more bass, the Phoenix has stronger definition and dynamics down low. The midrange is cleaner and more linear on the HD6XX in addition to being less vocal-forward.

The Phoenix is clearly more coloured, having greater clarity and articulation in addition to greater body and warmth, it sounds higher contrast. On the contrary, the HD6XX is more even and accurate, it’s a little over-articulated but altogether, a cleaner and more natural sound. The treble is more forward on the HD6XX but also less detailed with a hazier transient response. The Phoenix sounds more focused in the foreground and has a bit more headroom. In turn, the Phoenix also has a noticeably more spacious soundstage and I find it has sharper imaging too.

Hifiman DEVA/Sundara: The Hifiman models are all staples around this price range. The DEVA is basically a bumpier Sundara with a little less range but at a substantial discount and with wireless functionality. Compared to the Phoenix, the Hifiman headphones are clearly more balanced and linear, the Sundara especially so. The bass extension is clearly the best on the Phoenix and it has the most mid-bass on top, having the fullest voicing and greatest note weight, the Phoenix has the best dynamics by a good amount and hits the hardest down low. The Sundara and DEVA are both lightly warm but mostly balanced headphones, both are more separated and defined than the Phoenix with greater speed and sharper note attack. The Phoenix is actually the most vocal-forward of the lot, the Sundara being u-shaped, the DEVA a touch more vivid.

The Hifiman headphones sound more even, slightly smooth in the case of the Sundara, slightly clear for the DEVA. By comparison, the Phoenix has more upper-midrange presence and noticeably stronger contrast. It is more articulate but also less refined. The treble tells the same story, the Phoenix being slightly more energetic than both, but also less detailed. The Sundara especially has noticeably better extension and headroom, being generally more linear, accurate and resolving in the treble. The Sundara has the largest soundstage, the DEVA being about on par with the Phoenix. The Phoenix has more defined layers but the Sundara and DEVA both have more accurate localisation alongside stronger separation due to their more balanced tuning.


Verdict –

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The Phoenix is a fairly unique headphone and this means you should keep your expectations in check. Due to its colouration, those wanting a pure sound should look elsewhere and, accordingly, do not expect perfect genre versatility either. This headphone wears its colours on its sleeve, what buyers receive is a punchy, dynamic yet articulate sound in an aesthetically striking shell; a positive impression further reinforced by a premium build and accessory set. On the contrary, this isn’t the most detailed nor extended sound out there and those requiring a large headband adjustment range or with wider ears may find the Phoenix’s compact dimensions challenging. It cannot be denied that Sivga has admirably executed what they set out to achieve; balancing a hearty bass with a clear yet natural vocal range and energetic high-end without introducing fatigue at any level. This is not so easy to achieve and demonstrates careful consideration on Sivga’s behalf. Through its unique combination of qualities and thoughtful execution, the Phoenix is able to carve out a reasonably uncontested niche in the audio market for bass lovers who still value clear vocals and a spacious soundstage.

The Phoenix is available from Sivga (International) for $299 USD at the time of writing. I am not affiliated with Sivga or Capsico and receive no earnings from purchases made through these links.


Track List –


Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

Archive – Controlling Crows (Parts I – III)

AKMU – SAILING

Bob Segar – Night Moves

Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How Your Really Feel

Eric Clapton – Unplugged

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

Fleetwood Mac – Greatest Hits

John Legend – Once Again

MAMAMOO – reality in BLACK

MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

Modest House – Good News For People Who Love Bad News

NIKI – lowkey

Nirvana – Nervermind

Radiohead – OK Computer

Social House – Haunt You

suggi – cheer up!

TOTO – Toto IV

Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride

Vaundy – strobo

aznablerey

New Head-Fier
Sivga Phoenix, or How I Didn’t Realize I Liked Bass This Much.
Pros: Warm and comforting sound
Well built
Small profile on head
Optional pads are killer
Super easy to drive
Included case and cable are great
Cons: Super easy to drive (you get noise on some amps)
Original pads are just OK for some and painful for others
Doesn’t fit big eared or big headed people
So I’ve had the Phoenix for almost 8 months, during which I’ve not grown tired of listening to them- which is something of a rarity in my experience. At this point, I would usually pack a pair of headphones up and sell them on to the next person. Keep that in mind as I give a rundown of the following categories... Build, Comfort, Accessories, Sound, Optional Accessories
Build
Leather(ette?) suspension strap mated to a steel spring headband, wooden earcups with chrome/black metal accents, weighty in hand but light on head. Major winner here. Wish the chrome ring on the side was blacked out, which I might do myself should I open the headphones up. The only plastic you’ll find on the headphone are the sliders into which the leather(ish?) strap connects. It is closed up with penta-star screws, which I tightened down a bit just to add more resistance to the sliding mechanism. Honestly it was fine out of the box but I’m a stickler for... whatever. OCD.
Comfort
With the original pads, I could wear them for hours with no problem. I have a medium-sized cranium according to Shoei, and there is room to spare on the strap slider. That said, I bought the new revision pads which do away with the microfiber front panel and go full-on perforated leather(like?). These pads are softer, due to the added thickness. Now I can’t go back to the original pads. I must say that the sound is only slightly changed, and I would argue it has made the midbass a little more punchy and impactful. Could be my imagination so who knows. Quick note: I wear glasses, and there is no difference in bass response when I wear them with either set of pads so there you go glasses-wearing folks. There’s a place for us...
Accessories
The case is killer, allows room for the headphones, cable and my DAP (Hiby r3 pro). I could probably squeeze in an extra cable while I’m at it. The included cable is a bit long for my use- I walk around the house with my dap in my pocket so a 6’ cable is too much. I was able to pick up a 1.2m single ended cable, and went out of my way to pick up the 1.2m balanced cable intended for the Sendy Aiva. That cable looks glamorous, and certainly increases volume when I use it, but makes no real change on sound quality like frequency response or clarity.
Sound
Warm, oh so warm. I find it a very easygoing sound that makes me want to keep going from song to song without stop. Bass is thick, perhaps too thick (could it ever be?), and “thickness” is the word I would use for the mids. Vocals have a deepness, a roundness to them due to the elevated upper bass. By contrast, listening to my monitoring cans (Koss Pro4s which I’ve had for 2 years) presents everything as thin, hollow and airy. The highs are perhaps slightly elevated compared to the mids, but you’ll never find a sibilant S or T. I can fall asleep with these on, which is something I like to do.
Optional Accessories
As I said before, the cable for the Sendy Aiva, while it looks really pretty and offers more volume with less input, isn’t worth the expense for this headphone. Honestly it was a vanity purchase for me. I use it maybe 1/3 of the time. The new pads are worth the investment, as they’re dirt cheap and make the headphone more comfortable for the majority of people.

Verdict: 4.5 out of 5
I dock 1/2 point for it’s size not working for everyone.
Is this a ”do it all” can for everyone? No, not even for me. I do mixing and monitoring on another pair (Pro4s), gaming on yet another pair (SHP9500), and have a pair of in-ears (Legacy 3) to boot. HOWEVER, the Phoenix are my go-to when it comes time to just enjoy my music. Regardless of genre, they sound fantastic. They will be in my permanent collection.

Note on competition:
When I purchased the Phoenix, I was also in possession of the Sennheiser HD6XX. I then purchased the HD660s, to do a comparison of the three headphones. I don’t own the Sennheisers anymore. You infer what you like.

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DallaPo

New Head-Fier
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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

c137dc_1754bd8c07b74afe8b3f84a5c566e322~mv2.webp


Thanks to SIGVA for providing the test headphones.
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Last edited:

Zortven

New Head-Fier
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:
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 :)
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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.
X1787X
X1787X
I have a big head. Like 9 out of 10 guys would have a smaller head than me. Do you think these will fit me?

Moonstar

100+ Head-Fier
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.





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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.

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

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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

20200725_183700.jpg


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.

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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.

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

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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).

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

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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.

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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.

20200724_222402c.jpg


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.

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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.

20200724_224835.jpg


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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

20200724_232501.jpg


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 .

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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.

20200724_232104.jpg








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


20200724_223932.jpg





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


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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)


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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.

20200719_230924.jpg



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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

20200724_232104.jpg








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.

20200724_221706.jpg


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.

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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!

voja

100+ Head-Fier
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
11295718.jpg


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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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Anyone measure these yet?
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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?
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