SIVGA SV021

SenyorC

100+ Head-Fier
Soft and Smoooooth
Pros: Comfort, aesthetics, build...
Cons: Not my preferred sound signature (but I still enjoy them)
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The Sivga Robin SV021 have been loaned to me by Keydis, the official distributor for Sivga and Sendy Audio (their sister brand) in Spain. They have not made any requests and my review will be as honest and unbiased as possible, but it is worth noting that these headphones have not cost me anything to try out.

Keydis do not sell directly to the public but you can find the Robin via the following stores in Spain: https://www.keydis.es/comprarsivga.html

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Intro...

Let me start by being totally honest, I did not think I was going to like the Sivga Robin. These are not a set of headphones that I know nothing about, in fact, I have read many reviews and seen plenty of graphs of them, which all led me to believe that I would not be a fan of them. However, even though this is a bit of a spoiler, I have actually found that I do enjoy them, even if they are exactly as I expected them to be.

Now, it is not that I had heard bad things about them, just that the descriptions and graphs pointed me to a set of headphones that doesn’t really align with my personal preferences. I will get into more details as we go through the usual review steps.

In case anyone has not come across Sivga before, they are the more budget oriented brand of Sendy Audio, a company that has released some very interesting headphones. I have reviewed another model by Sivga in the past, the Phoenix (full review here) and also a set from their more premium line, the Sendy Audio Peacock (full review here). Both of those headphones are sets that provide a very premium look to them, sith the use of leather and wood, something that the Robin also has.

But I am getting ahead of myself, so let’s get on with the review.

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Presentation…

The presentation of the Robin is nothing special. A black box with a sketch of the product on the cover opens to reveal the headphones, a 3.5mm TRS to dual 2.5mm TS cable, a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter and a cloth bag.

This is not a huge amount of content, nor is it really a premium presentation, but it is enough to make the headphones usable straight from the box and, let's face it, for a set of headphones that retails for less than 170€, I really can’t bring myself to complain. As always, I prefer the money to be spent on the headphones rather than the packaging.

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Build and aesthetics…

As with other models, Sivga opts for a build using wooden cups and (faux) leather covered headband and pads.

The Robin is also available in a lighter wood and leather finish, however, the version I have received is a dark stained wood (which is not actually as dark as online photos would suggest) and black leather. The yokes and headband are metal, finished in a dark gunmetal grey, which work well to give the headphones an overall look that I feel suggests a higher price than they actually sit at.

There is a little creaking when moving the headband around, nothing terrible but it is noticeable, and unfortunately there is no swivel in the cups, something that may be a deal breaker for some, but is actually fairly well counteracted by the pads.

The headphone pads are the softest and most comfortable pads I have ever come across on a set of headphones. They really are soft and squidgy, to the point where I keep getting people to feel them. This means that the seal is good, even without any cup swivel, but it also means that comfort is excellent. Even straight out of the box, putting these on my head felt like I had been wearing them forever, in a good way! It’s like an old pair of slippers that are just perfect.

In general, any complaints I may have had about (minor) build issues, is outweighed by the aesthetics and comfort. These really are a pleasure to wear.

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Sound…

As I said at the start, I was certain that I wasn’t going to like these, based on the graphs and the descriptions by other reviewers. The strange thing is that, while they sound like I expected them to, I don’t dislike them, in fact, I find that they make me feel very relaxed as soon as I put them on.

The subbass extension of the Robin is good but it is not exaggerated. There is no sign of roll off on any of my usual test tracks but there isn’t any boost either, well, at least in comparison to the lower end of the midbass. These headphones do have quite a boosted low end overall, which starts to drop off around the 200Hz mark as they make their way to the lower mids.

Tracks like “Way Down Deep”, have a deep and full bass, with some strikes that may be a little overpowering, at least for my personal tastes, but I can see this bass being impressive for a lot of people I know who like bass centric tunings. Something a little more pop orientated, like “Get Lucky”, still has that extra bass going on but somehow manages to keep it from taking over the whole sound.

This elevated low end does give the headphones quite a bit of warmth but as they drop down moving into the lower mids, it doesn’t seem to become overly bloated and undefined. The bass is not quite as clear as I would like, especially as I mainly listen to planar-magnetic headphones lately, but it doesn’t irritate me. Sometimes, when I listen to headphones with this kind of low end, I find that everything seems slow and sluggish (even if it is not the case), but the Robin don’t really leave me with that sensation.

The lower mids are fairly recessed, but do start to climb back up by the 600Hz mark, levelling out between 1kHz to 4kHz, although at a lower level than the bass areas. This means that vocals are present but they are not forward. In fact, there is a general smoothness to vocals except for a peak that follows (somewhere around 5kHz) that can make certain vocals sound a little “honky”.

My usual acoustic instrument orientated music selection actually comes across quite nicely, while not something I would consider to be tonally correct, it has a nice rounded and relaxed presentation to it. For example, “Hotel California (Live on MTV)”, is presented with fairly clean and articulate guitars, even if a little warm. The percussive hits during the intro are a little overly boomy when they start on their own, but balanced with the rest of the instruments, they no longer hog the spotlight.

Moving into the higher ranges, the extension is good but it again comes across as smooth, without seeming to be very airy or spacious. The vocals on “Hallelujah” by The Pentatonix, are sometimes surrounded a little too much by the backing vocals but I have found that I don’t hate the result. This something that does happen depending on the vocals, another example would be “These Bones”, where the deeper vocals take over the space.

There are a few occasions when there is a little too much “bite” depending on the frequencies, which can find me reaching to turn down the volume on ocasiones but to be totally honest, these headphones have tended to make me raise the volume a little more than usual. At my normal listening levels, the odd peak does not seem to appear except on very specific songs.

The soundstage is also rather small. It’s not terrible, remember that these are closed back headphones, but it is not extremely wide either. The overall presentation of images and layers is decent but not amazing. At the risk of repeating myself again, it’s all rather smooth.

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Conclusion…

The Sivga Robin are a set of headphones that I would consider a guilty pleasure for myself. They sound just like I would have expected them to sound, based on graphs and reviews. To use words that make no sense, I would say that they are “creamy with a little bit of spice”.

The bass is far more elevated than I would like, the recession in the lower mids is something that I would not choose, and the peak around the 5k mark is something that I would avoid.

Yet I like them.

There is something about that creamy smooth sound, with those extra soft pads, that just causes me to relax when I put them on my head. They are certainly not a set of headphones that I would choose to evaluate music, nor to focus on details and layering and all those things that I usually enjoy from headphones, they are just a set to put on, put my feet up and zone out.

I have said many times that I am not someone who enjoys overly present bass,nor extra warm sound signatures, and these are basically everything that I would say I don’t enjoy, but I do.

The whole set up, from build to comfort to sound can be collected in one word, smooth (maybe except for those peaks that can appear in the upper ranges at times). Even the “honky” sound in the upper mids/lower treble is not something that detracts from the overall package.

I really can’t find a way to explain to myself, nevermind to all of you, why I like these headphones. Sometimes we just like what we like and we should stop spending time to justify it.

At the price that these headphones come in at, they offer a very reasonable deal for a set of headphones that gives an extra flavour to the collection.

As always, this review can also be found in Spanish both on my blog (here) and on YouTube (here)

bryaudioreviews

Head-Fier
Sivga Robin "sv021" Review 🦜- an m50x alternative?
Pros: - fun warm V-shaped tuning
- bass quantity
- sparkly airy treble
- dynamics
- soundstage width
- instrument separation
Cons: - lethargic bloomy bass
- weird midrange dip
- resolution
- not for fast/aggressive tracks
- coherency
- borderline sibilance

INTRODUCTION:​

Following up with the success of the Sivga sv006, sv007, and the Phoenix, Sivga "sv021" Robin is Sivga's latest wooden closed-back offering at around the $150usd - $200usd price range. It features a 50mm PC+fiber Dynamic Driver that Sivga made in-house. It retails for $179usd (rm599) and it comes in 2 colour options: a smooth piano finish rosewood (brown) and a matte finish zebrawood (black).

UNBOXING AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS:​

Upon opening the box, I am presented with a carrying pouch, a quarter-inch adapter, a dual-sided 2.5mm SE cable (1.5m long), and last but not least, the headphone itself.

In terms of the build, I find the build of the Sivga Robin to be phenomenal. From its wooden earcups to its plush pleather headband cushion, you can tell that Sivga really did put their heart and soul into designing the Sivga Robin. Not to mention, the arm adjustments are made out of metal and the earpads are made out of plush pleather. The earpads are pretty spacious too, as I could fit 4 knuckles vertically and 3 knuckles horizontally into the earpads.

However, I would like to point out that there's no swivel to the earcups. This might an issue as all of us have different shaped heads. A bad fit might cause seal issues and as with most closed-back, no seal = no bass. Anyways, just pointing this out. Keep in mind that seal and fit isn't an issue for me.

Overall, pretty happy with the unboxing and build quality of the Robin. Now with that out of the way, let's start the review.

Source used:
1. iFi Zen DAC + iFi Zen CAN (iSilencer Plus + iPurifier3 + iPower + iPowerX + USB 3.0 cable + 4.4mm balanced interconnect cable)
2. Sony Zx300 (MrW WalkmanOne w/ Dawn2.1 + Plus v2 + J region)
3. Shanling M3x Limited (Apodizing fast roll-off filter)
4. Apple Dongle
5. Samsung Galaxy S9+ SE out (Exynos)

Drivability:
1. 32Ω Impedance / 105dB Sensitivity.
2. Pretty easy to drive for a headphone. My Samsung S9+ and Apple Dongle drove the Robin with ease. Drivability shouldn't be an issue here.

SOUND:​

STRENGTHS ✅:​

  • The sound signature of the Robin is Warm V-shaped. In other words, bass and highs are elevated while the midrange takes a backseat. I find the tuning here to be warm, fun, and dynamic. Perfect for days where I just want to enjoy some back thumping Hip-Hop tracks while gaming/browsing the web.
  • In terms of bass, it is thick, bloomy, and deep. Bassheads will love this. I find the bass here to be authoritative, full, and fun sounding. Sub-bass extension is pretty good too as the Robin has no issues reaching down to the rumbliest of the lows. In terms of speed, it is slightly on the slower side, but not to the point where it bleeds into the mids every time. In fact, I find this "slowness" in the bass to be a plus as it gives the bass a very natural decay. This in return makes the bass sounds full, fun, and bloomy.
  • In terms of midrange, it is coloured, warm, and thick. Male vocals sound warm and thick, while Female vocals sound warm and smooth.
  • In terms of treble, it is sparkly, airy, and well-extended. However, it can be slightly bright for some which can cause some slight sibilance.

  • Soundstage is wide with average depth and height. Soundstage width is pretty good for a closed-back headphone.
  • Imaging within the width plane is pretty decent. I can easily pinpoint instruments from left to right.
  • Instrument separation and layering are decent too. Thanks to the wide soundstage, instruments do not sound compressed or "in your head". Instruments are well spread out with the vocalist presented in the middle.
  • In terms of timbre, I find the lower end of the spectrum to sound pretty natural and accurate. However, I find the top end to be slightly sharper and brighter than what I would consider as "natural".


WEAKNESSES ❌:​

  • The bloomy and thick bass, although fun and inviting, can get lethargic and tiring to listen to after long listening hours.
  • The weird dip in the midrange. With 80% of the songs in my playlist, this isn't an issue. However, with the remaining 20%, midrange sounds recessed and scooped out. This causes vocals to sound hollow and female vocals to sound borderline sibilant.
  • Not to mention, midrange resolution also isn't the best. The hollowness in the midrange also means that resolution suffers. If you are a midrange kind of guy, this probably isn't for you.
  • Not the best with fast genres like hard rock/metal (or aggressive/fast tracks in general) as the bloomy bass will start to bleed into the midrange.
  • Coherency isn't the best as I find the top end to be faster and snappier than the slower bloomy low end. This is very apparent with the 20% of music that it doesn't work well with as the dip in the midrange just further emphasizes the incoherency.
  • Treble is borderline sibilance at times. Most notable with the midrange dip.


COMPARISONS:​

1. SIVGA ROBIN VS ATH-M50X:​

  • M50x is tighter, faster and brighter sounding than the Sivga Robin. In terms of tonality, Bass has lesser bloom and quantity than Robin (but is tighter more aggressive), midrange is slightly more forward, lower midrange isn't as full, upper midrange is brighter, and treble is sharper, harsher than Sivga Robin. In terms of technicalities, soundstage is smaller and more intimate, instrument separation is more compressed, and imaging is more "in your head". Timbre isn't as natural.
  • Overall, I would consider Sivga Robin as an upgrade over the m50x. Other than the slower bass, the Robin is an upgrade over the m50x in every way.

2. SIVGA ROBIN VS K371:​

  • K371 is overall flatter, leaner, and more neutral sounding. Bass leaner, more sub-bass focused, isn't as thick and bloomy as the Robin, midrange is much more forward, flat, and resolving. Treble is smoother, less airy and less sparkly. In terms of technicalities, soundstage is narrower in width but much better depth and height, instrument separation is better, imaging is more accurate, resolution is noticeably better, top end timbre is more natural and coherency is better.
  • Overall, Robin is better in terms of bass, dynamics, and soundstage width, but k371 has the better midrange, tonal balance, and resolution.

Here's a simplified technical breakdown of the 3 headphones below.

SIVGA ROBIN VS ATH-M50X VS AKG K371:​

  • Bass: Robin > m50x > k371
  • Mids: k371 >>> Robin = m50x
  • Highs: k371 > Robin > m50x
  • Soundstage: Robin = k371 >> m50x (Robin has better width while k371 has better depth)
  • Layering: k371 >> Robin > m50x
  • Imaging: k371 > Robin >> m50x
  • Timbre: k371 > Robin > m50x
  • Detail/Resolution: k371 >>> Robin = m50x
  • Dynamics: Robin >> m50x > k371
  • Value: k371 > Robin > m50x


IN CONCLUSION:​

The Sivga "sv021" Robin is a good upgrade over the infamous ATH-m50x with better bass, treble, instrument separation, soundstage, and almost everything else (expect for bass speed).

However, the weird dip in the midrange is something to take note of as it might be a deal-breaker for you. If you live near an audio store like Stars Picker Audio Library 摘星知音, I would highly recommend you to drop by and give these a try as the midrange dip might not be for everyone.
All in all, if you are looking for a sub-$200usd closed-back headphone with a stylish design, great comfort, solid build, and a fun dynamic sound, feel free to give the Sivga Robin a try.


Thank you Stars Picker Audio Library 摘星知音 and SIVGA for sending the Sivga Robin over. This review unit is provided by them as part of their Malaysian Sivga Robin review tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Interested in getting the Sivga Robin? Here are the links:

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SHOOTINGTECHIE

100+ Head-Fier
SIVGA SV021 / ROBIN- NEEDS SOME MAGIC FORMULA TO SHINE
Pros: Midbass is energetic
Vocals are good especially in the case of male vocals
Great layering
Good space around instruments
Notes separation is okayish
Okayish timbre
Good stage depth and okayish depth
Cons: Sub-bass light
Mids congested
Instruments have bad separation
No height OR good width
No notes height difference
Details are average
No air in treble
Notes heights differences
SIVGA SV021 / ROBIN- NEEDS SOME MAGIC FORMULA TO SHINE.

SIVGA
is a new chifi player in the audiophile headphone space and to be honest, I haven’t tried any of their headphones till now. But today, that changes and we are going to review their newest cheap 😉 offering – THE SIVGA SV021/ ROBIN.

DISCLAIMER- THIS UNIT BELONGS TO MY FRIEND @suman134 AND thanks to him, I get the time to review it. Well as always, the opinions are mine alone and not influenced by friendship
😋 haha! 🤣

SPECIFICATIONS-

  • Drivers- 50MM DD
  • Frequency response- 20 – 20,000 Hz
  • Impedance- 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity- 105 dB
  • Weight - 275g
  • Jacks- 2.5mm dual
PRICE-
149$ / 14500 INR


UNBOXING-
Not much just a carry bag and inside is a synthetic wood cups headphone with a beautiful black long cable and a 3.5 to 6.35 adapter. The pics will describe the rest.

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BUILD AND COMFORT-
Given the price of this headphone, its build great. The synthetic wooden cups look great but they are not scratch proof haha!!! The headband is bleh and it’s a destructive one like that of focal, it will get ruined for sure within few months so headband cover is a must. The comfort is great as the cups are quite big and hold my entire ear nicely. These are though very light hence, very comfy for long sessions. The cups have a 2.5mm connection 😐

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CABLE-
Cable is pretty decent for the price and quite long overall and ends with a 3.5 mm jack. The black fabric sleeve of the cable has got some microphonics but hopefully will last longer than the HIFIMAN cable. Good thing is that they have a spring at the end of the jack and hence won’t get twisted. It’s a dual 2.5mm to 3.5m cable btw 😐.

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OTHER ACCESSORIES-
  • A bag
  • A 3.5 to 6.35 adapter
POWAH REQUIRED-

Not much required, even H gain and 25-35 volume on N6ii with R01 was good enough. Though the pairing wasn’t that great. T01 was a much better pair with addition of more details and energy required. Sub-bass lift was also felt more might be because of the definition of notes being improved.

NOTE- This HEADPHONE is used with-
  • N6ii and T01 module & R01(mostly T01 since it adds more energy and details to the headphone and also better wider and taller stage) for portable on chair listening experience for the most part of the review.
  • On desktop- N6ii LO and A30s (Burson V5i D) and XDUOO MT602 Sylvania tubes (not such a beautiful pairing but then low gain on N6ii and also volume at 08 but I would stay since it becomes a beautiful entity but this requires a better silver cable !!!😁) has been used.
  • Sometimes LG G8x as phone source.
  • Review, I already wrote using R01 as my DAC but later when I tried the T01 it’s a good combo, so brighter DAC’s are preferred here.
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NOW COMING ON TO THE SOUND OF THE SIVGA ROBIN/ SV021- (This is subjective and your opinions may vary)

SUB-BASS-


Sub Bass is decent at best. There is good tonality and minimal rumble but it does feel spacious. There is good note separation but sub-bass texture is missing. Tonality is slightly on the warmer side but tonal accuracy is quite good. Not much dynamics in the notes though and they don't go much deeper into the sub-bass region, so feels a little bit constrained for a closed back headphone.

BASS-

Bass is pretty good. There's good punch and overall energy in the bass. Not a lot of dynamism but the tonality is warm with slightly more emphasis on body of the notes. The notes have a big slow body with good beginning definition but the edge definition is not that great. The tonal accuracy is good but slightly off when the fast hits are considered. Instrument separation is not that great but the spacing around the instruments is present. Notes separation is average though overall.

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MIDS-
Vocals are pretty good for the headphone but it’s a slightly warmish tonality. The vocal timbre is great but the female vocals don’t reach that extension in the notes that it should. There is no sibilance in the notes of the vocals and they lack a bit of air in the vocals. Male vocals have a good amount of weight behind them and it’s a pretty good listen. The dynamics in notes are slightly less though.

Instruments in the mids have great tonality which is still slightly warmish. There is good energy in the mids and they have good separation. The notes have great beginning definition with great body but lack edge definition. Instruments are not that well separated and feels congested, but have a space around them completely. But the notes are not that much separated. They notes have good tonal accuracy and okayish timbre. Lower mids are awesome for the price, but upper mids lack the needed energy and sparkle for it to shine.

TREBLE-

The treble is something this headphone does provide the energy for that but has no sparkle to get you off your seats. It’s a little smooth for me and lacks the sparkle of hi-hats, cymbals, electronic guitars etc and other metallic instruments. But wind instruments are pretty great for what they provide and just hits the right spot. There is much separation in the notes but instruments lack the separation in width and seems to have a small bubble around them in the stage sometimes overlapping one another. Though this is countered by the good layering among the instruments (more on that in the Head stage). Notes don’t have that dynamism to hold your attention and provide you the sparkle it requires. But the notes definition is pretty great except the edges. The timbre is good too and a warmish tonality is presented overall. Not much air in the treble region also.

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HEADSTAGE AND IMAGING-

Head stage is not much wide but for a closed back it’s okayish. There’s no proper height in the head stage and also the lacks good depth (-ve Y axis). But it has a good layering that helps even when the instruments have bad separation among them by placing them front and back. Imaging is decent for a closed back. It has good diffused imaging but great directional accuracy. It’s a V shaped headphone though mostly.

SEPARATION AND TRANSPARENCY-

Separation is not that great in between the instruments. They feel congested and overlapping sometimes but the layering does give a space around them which is this guy’s saving grace. Transparency is okayish. The details are okay for the price but the dynamics are constricted of the nuances.

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PAIRING-

This will require a brighter and details heavy source to completely shine through. With T01 there was better separation and mids congestion slightly removed to make it a better listen. There is more treble energy and the proper ‘v’ shape of the headphone stage comes out. The Female vocals have now better extension too. Sub-bass is still very light but the bass is now more controlled and punchier. R01 don’t use with this.

Fits inside a focal case too haha!!!

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COMPARISON-

HD58x
PROS AND CONS-

Way more separated
More details
More beautiful timbre
Bass is energetic
Wider staging
Great treble extension and energy
More balanced
Sub-bass light
Needed powahh

SHP 9600-

PROS AND CONS-
More energetic
Taller headstage
More bass and sub-bass
Separation around instruments is better
Better details
Timbre is decent
Not too wide
Might be bright for some in treble and upper mids
It does leak sound as its open back
Less comfy

SIVGA SV021
PROS AND CONS-

Midbass is energetic
Vocals are good especially in the case of male vocals
Great layering
Good space around instruments
No sound leak since its a closed back
Okayish timbre
Good stage depth and okayish depth
Mids congested
Instruments have bad separation
No height OR good width
Details are average

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SUMMARY-
For a closed back this doesn’t set a bar. Some open backs have greater bass quantity and warmish feel than this while maintaining a wide stage and keeping the treble great. Even though this does some things great but still for the price, it’s not that good, check for a good price at around 60-80$ and then you can buy it for the sole purpose of background music when you are working, with utmost comfort.

TWerk

Headphoneus Supremus
A must buy for lovers of the V
Pros: FUN V shape sound W/ Warm Bass
Dynamic drivers
Sparkly treble
Good soundstage
Imaging is good
The ear pads may actually be Marshmallows
Looks good on head (Yes, I'm talking about you Verum 1's)
Bass is Excellent, sub bass extension is very impressive
I like the amount of bass - emphasized but tastefully so
Open sounding (for a closed back)
Clear, No veil to the sound
Attractive wooden ear-cups
Perfect for movies and gaming as well due to the exciting signature
Removable Cable
$150???!!?
Cons: A bit touchy for me (compared to others) to get the positioning on ears just right
Vents leak a little sound, not good if you can't leak any sound
Not best for small heads - I use lowest ear-cup setting both sides
Pose a hazard if you try to eat the pads
These are great cans with a potent and emphasized warm low end and sparkly highs.

They are crisp sounding despite the large bass presence.

They are very dynamic/impactful in their bass presentation.

Highly recommended for gaming also - COD never sounded better with explosions and gunshot sounds and imaging is good at this price point.

I had the TH900 multiple times, and these are very similar in sound signature, but the TH900 had more fatiguing treble which bothered me.

To me they sound like a cheaper TH900 considering the sound signature and wooden cups, but I say that in the best possible way. Fostex - step aside, Sivga has something to say.

They have a very open sound considering they are closed back. There are vents on the cups and perhaps that contributes to this open sound profile.

These are for people who are looking for a comfortable and fun can with an exciting and energetic sound.

Just keep in mind they are colored, these have a boosted but tasteful low end. They are not the most resolving headphones and have a mid-fi sound quality but they are very fun.

***Pro tip - Do not try to eat the ear pads. They are not actually marshmallows.

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voja

500+ Head-Fier
A disastrous mess!
Pros: Design
Build quality (the metal parts are very good!)
Cable

If you are looking for a aggressive V-Shaped headphone, these are it. If not, take this as a con!
Cons: Comfort (requires extreme bending in order to get a pleasing fit — at least in my case)
Fit/Seal also requires extreme bending
Sound quality (it is very bad before bending, and while it is much better after all of the extreme bending, after comparing it to other similar options, it doesn't really hold up against or with them)
Bass response is boomy
Mid-range is peaky and tinny
Highs are also excessive and not quite pleasing to the ear
Lack of horizontal rotation of ear-cups
Value

The whole release seems very rushed. The lack of though in regards to the rotation of the ear-cups and little details like the "destructive" headband adjustment system and the flat ear-pads (combine flat ear-pads and lack of horizontal rotation and you will have a big mess) really make this seem like a rushed release. If the company took more time to fine-tune the drivers and implement horizontal rotation into the ear-cups, this could've been a very neat release.
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SIVGA is back with a new entry-level headphone. Welcome Robin (SV021), a brand-new $150 closed-back headphone from the Chinese manufacturer SIVGA.

Unboxing Experience

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SV021 comes in a black box that is made of the same material that the Phoenix box is made off. It features a simpler packaging design, without the angled lid and the different color packaging that was featured in the Phoenix.

Once you take the lid off, the contents are pretty standard (referring to SIVGA standards): the headphones are sat in some black foam, and the pouch and the cable are in the middle. There is a cutout in the middle of the foam for the pouch and the cable.

Formal format of what’s inside
1x 3.5mm cable
1x canvas pouch

Build Quality & Cable

SIVGA still stands for “Wood. Metal. Precision”. As you will find out the further you read into this review, I will often make comparisons between the SV004 and the Phoenix.

SV021 is a considerable step up in build quality over the previous budget models from this company. The quality of the metal is just a whole league above, making it valid to put it in the same bracket with the metals used in the Phoenix, P-II, or Sendy Audio’s newest Peacock. Unlike the metals used in those models, this metal has a gorgeous satin finish. It’s very smooth and premium looking.

Both the ear-pads and the headband are made of very thin pleather. Since I don’t have the SV004 with me anymore, I cannot make a direct comparison of the pleather between the two. All I can say is that I have a reasonable concern of the longevity due to thickness of it.

The cable? It’s actually the same fabric cable that comes with the Phoenix. I’m a braided cable type of guy, but this fabric cable is beyond acceptable. You can actually put it away and it will hold its shape. However, the usual fabric cable problems are still present (e.g. weird twisting loops while the cable is lying down, microphonics). For $150, it’s nice to get a high-quality cable with all-metal housings and stress reliefs.

zLiSYjN.jpg


Design

Visually, these are eye candy. After all, these were my first impressions before I even had them in hand. Something I’d like to clear up straight away is that the design differs between the two available colors. The materials are exactly the same, the silhouette is exactly the same, but the finish of the wood differs (besides the obvious pleather color difference).

The black version features dark wood (think dark walnut) with a silk/satin finish. This finish gives it a truly unique look, making the surface seem as though it has a special rubber finish/coating. The surface of the wood reflects some light, but not in the way that a shiny finish would. There is this “sheen” to it that makes it a silk/satin finish. Regardless, I think it’s important to point out that the wood is not black!

The pleather (headband, ear-pads) is black, with the headband featuring silver stitching (it appears silver in color, but it could be white).

Then come the metal parts. Ughhh… in my opinion the most attractive elements in this headphone. The metal parts are in a gunmetal finish, which also features a silk finish. However, compared to the ear-cups, it reflects much more light, which allows it show off the gorgeous curvature.

The headphone yoke is silky smooth in design, featuring very beautiful & sleek curves.

When it comes to the headband adjustment system, this is a first for me. It functions by having a spring and a small metal ball that makes the clicks audible and tactile, but this ball features no protective/soft coating, resulting in scraping of the metal ridges on the headphone yoke. You can see this mechanism yourself if you unscrew the two screws on the part that features the “L”, “R” labels. It’s interesting that the headphone yoke can be fully removed if you do unscrew this piece. The positive to this is that if someone want to, they can make a custom headband (probably with the help of 3D printing).

Besides these elements, the ear-cup design is fairly simple. It’s not a circular, it’s not oval, it’s the shape of these two combined. Imagine if you had a circle and an oval shape that was overlapping it. This is how I’d describe it. Or, if I was not to complicate it, it’s an egg shape.

The ear-cups feature a flat surface one the upper outer part, and this is also where the “SIVGA” logo is carved out.

Per SIVGA’s Phoenix standards, SV021 also features dual mono 2.5mm connectors. They are located on the underside of the ear-cups, just like in just about every other pair of headphones.

The fatal flaw


Everything up until to this point has been positive. The build quality is great, the cable is great for the price, the design is very attractive, but there is something that, in my opinion, is a fatal flaw: the lack of horizontal rotation of the ear-cups.

If you ask me, this is a result of lazy engineering and design. When it comes to designing a headphone for the masses (the consumer market), your aim as a designer is for the product to satisfy the greatest number of people. At first, if you don’t think about it at all, having ear-cups fixed at a 90˚ angle sounds like it wouldn’t cause any problems, but when you look at the human face anatomy, you realize that that doesn’t really work.

Don’t get me wrong, we all have different sized ears, faces, heads, etc., but I do have to put an emphasis on this area because I think there is someone out there who might run across the same problem as me and will not be satisfied with his/her purchase.

Where is the problem? So, when you combine flat ear-pads and ear-cups fixed in a 90˚ angle, you get a “404 error”. The ear-pads “float”. In the frontal part (towards the face), the ear-cups lie pretty well against the face, but in the back (towards the back of the head), there is this empty space. This empty space has a negative effect on both the sound performance and isolation. This is not a minimal impact, but quite the opposite — severe.

It negatively effects: sound quality, comfort, isolation.

That’s three great aspects, and all of them could’ve been fixed with a small amount of horizontal “wiggle”, or with angled pads (pads that are tapered towards the front: thicker towards the back, thinner towards the front). No, we don’t need 180˚ of horizontal rotation, but as little as 15˚ of rotation would’ve made a day and night difference.

The Unjustified Solution


For $150 (MSRP), certain expectations are present, even though they are not necessarily high, they are present.

In the grand scale, 150 bucks isn’t a lot, right? To you, the reader, the answer is probably “No”, but to a young individual who is just starting out in this hobby, that’s “everything” and “a lot”. Many of us “audiophiles” are surrounded by expensive products, making it very easy to overlook the true value of some cheaper products. Whether you are young or old, I, as an author, want to give you an honest review that ensures that you do not waste your money.

The young individual or the individual that doesn’t have a big bank, I write this with you in mind.

People like me and Zeos receive free review samples, once again, making it very easy to overlook the true value of something.

After seeing Zeos’ video of him bending the SV021 in the most extreme angles, I gathered enough confidence to do the same myself. I thought to myself “This is a $150 headphone. If it breaks, it breaks”.

I simply could not write a review with the horizontal rotation problem present. I knew that this headphone is capable of much, much more (because once I physically pressed the ear-cups against my ears, the performance was significantly better).

So... I gave it my all. Twisting the ear-cups and the headband in the most extreme and cringe-worthy angles. Of course, I was twisting the ear-cups outwards, that way they lie on my head at an angle.

Did I achieve my goal? Mostly yes. There is still a small space behind the ear-pads, but I can physically feel the isolation, and can also hear the improvement in the sonic performance — it sounds much like the sonic performance I heard while I was physically holding the ear-cups against my ears.

Is it sound or plausible to expect a person to “maul” their brand-new $150 headphones? NO. That’s a firm “no”. Sure, if you have money to experiment with and these headphones are “just another pair” in your collection, then you probably don’t mind breaking the headband and ordering a replacement one. However, someone just starting out is simply not going to be comfortable (nor should they be!) with bending their headphones just so they can comfortable sit on their head.

The Unfortunate Result of "The Unjustified Solution"​

What I didn't tell you is that after the extreme bending, both headphone yokes were broken. Should an average buyer be expected to literally break their brand-new headphones just so they can listen to them? No. And, SIVGA, do not take this as bashing or a personal attack, but this is just a rational look at a very, very serious issue. If you care about the people who do not get a perfect fit with fixed ear-cups, you should bring back horizontal rotation!

While the yokes did get broken, I am suspecting it's the plastic part that got torn from the excessive outward force I was putting while bending the ear-cups. The headphone yokes themselves are made of metal, but it is probably held in place with some sort of plastic. The broken plastic is visually apparent on the pleather part, where it sticks out and can be felt when moving your finger/hand over it. It didn't pierce through the pleather headband, but the plastic inside got broken without a doubt.

4gzOqvM.jpg

Ear-cups sitting at an angle after the extreme bending

Comfort

After bending the headphones like a maniac, I can finally say that they sit alright on my head —the way that they should’ve sat out of the box.

I’m pretty sure that you are well aware of the extremely soft ear-pads by this point. I’d have to agree with Zeos that these are the softest ear-pads.

This can either be a plus or a minus. The plus is that it’s “formless”. It adapts to your face. The minus is that… it’s “formless”. It compresses by a great amount. I personally learned to love them, but I can imagine that someone with a larger head may be getting a different experience.

Smaller head = less clamp force = less ear-pad compression/deformation

Bigger head = more clamp force = more ear-pad compression/deformation

You could solve this by stretching the headband to your liking… but then again, it’s impractical.

If we are talking about comfort, these are very, very comfortable. I had no hot spots with them and experienced no sweating. The majority of the comfort comes from the combination of the lightweight nature of the SV021 and the thick, soft ear-pads.

For anyone wondering, I experienced no discomfort with over an hour of use.

Sound Performance​

hAQLgpw.jpg


As you will find out, I will make a number of observations and comparisons between the SV021 and the Phoenix. In theory, the two should sound alike due to the mutual driver…

Lows

Phoenix had a truly wonderful low-end response. It was deep, thumpy, and it could growl. SV021 is all that but on steroids. Due to the closed-back design, there is significantly more quantity, but at the cost of quality.

I went through a number of my bass testing tracks and I came to the same conclusion with all of them. Whether it was the introduction in “Do I Wanna Know?” by Arctic Monkeys, the sub-bass drop in “Why so Serious?” by Hans Zimmer, the bass as a whole in “Lose Yourself to Dance” & “One More Time” by Daft Punk, Phoenix always had more definition and a more refined low-end.

Mids

Comparing the SV021 to the Phoenix is like comparing apples to oranges… or as Gino D’Acampo said “If my grandmother had wheels, she would’ve been a bike”. Of course, I constantly have to make a comparison between the two because they share the same driver, but the sound performance is where the two headphones go their separate ways. We are talking about a $150 headphone and a $255 headphone (currently going for $310 on Aliexpress).

Playing Rainbow’s “Catch The Rainbow” in DSD64 on the DX300 (mid gain, D5 filter; SV021: 60% volume, Phoenix: 50%) through MANGO OS, Phoenix has more neutral and clear mids. This can be easily heard just by focusing on Ronnie James Dio’s vocals. If you are focusing on the mid-rage quality, you will be able to hear that SV021 has more of a tinny quality.

Highs

Same thing here. Highs are brighter and less refined than on the Phoenix.

Once again, I went through some of my go-to testing tracks: “Stop Trying to Be God” by Travis Scott, “Portia” by Miles Davis. Like I always say, the first track is only used to listen to the very last portion of the song where Stevie Wonder plays his mouth harmonica. In both of these tracks SV021 proved to be brighter and sharper, whereas Phoenix was more controlled and sustained.

What does this tell you?

It tells you that the $150 SV021 cannot compare to the $255/$300 Phoenix. If you have the money, I’d highly recommend going for the Phoenix, it is “that” much better.

When directly compared to the Phoenix, the SV021 looks bad. So, I decided to compare it to something that is more of a match (in both the closed-back nature and the pad thickness): Dekoni Audio Blue (MSRP $300; can be currently bought for $250 directly from Dekoni Audio; occasionally shows up for $200 on Drop)

Set up:

DAP: iBasso DX300 + AMP11 MK1.1

Dekoni Audio Blue: High gain, 70% volume

SIVGA SV021: Mid gain, 60% volume

HMt2ts6.jpg


Lows

“Do I Wanna Know” by Arctic Monkeys — introduction. SV021 has a stronger impact with more quantity and presence, whereas Blue is more controlled. SV021 has more of a “oomph” due to its deeper sub-bass response.

“Why so Serious?” by Hans Zimmer — 3:26. Like with the mid-bass, SV021 has a deeper response with more presence. There is more quantity and more volume (not referring to loudness) in the sub-bass.

“Hydrogen” by MOON. SV021 has significantly stronger impact and more “oomph”. It has head-shaking levels of bass quantity. Blue is more controlled and tame — it has better quality (faster attack & decay, snappier response).

If SV021 is a club where you get that head-shaking bass, then Blue is your conventional audiophile headphone with that more refined bass response.

SV021: quantity.
Blue: quality.

Mids

Neither of these two will blow you away in terms of mid-range quality.

SV021 sounds more tinny and aggressive, while Blue sounds more muffled and distant.

Used “Soldier Of Fortune” by Deep Purple for the comparison.

Highs

Listening to “Portia” by Miles Davis and “Stop Trying to Be God” by Travis Scott, SV021 comes off as the more forward of the two. It has more aggressive highs, but not by a great amount. Of course, the difference is easily noticeable, but I can say that with the DX300, Blue sounds pretty great in the upper end. The sharp notes still sound sharp on the Blue, but aren’t quite as forward and peaky as on the SV021

oqIog3A.jpg

Conclusion​


To be honest, I’m highly disappointed with this release. Almost to the point where I’m hurt. Having such a great past experience with both SIVGA and its products, this feels like a major let down.

I think it’s very important for any business to have the ambition and goal of growing. The goal of getting closer to perfection and satisfying its customer base. This was present in what SIVGA did in the past, like the release of thicker pads for the Phoenix, but it feels like there has been a major step back with the SV021.

I don’t know, maybe I’m just being too harsh due to the comparisons and overall experience I got with the SV021. I know Zeos loved them, but then, how many products are there that he didn’t like… Not too many.

So, I’m going to let this section be a dedicated section for my honest feedback.

Having success with a driver in one model doesn’t necessarily mean that you can have a success by transplanting the same driver in a closed-back design.

Also, with Mr. Collin's comments and denial (not enough attention was paid to the negative feedback) of the problems, the marketing felt very, very forced — giving the company a bad look (once again!) and making it seem like it put business in front of customer satisfaction.

If you are not listening to any other headphones, these can be enjoyable, but comparing the SV-21 to other options on the market leaves no space for it.


SIVGA, I still believe in you as a company! Please come back and be more responsible with customer's feedback. The people who are buying your products are your customers, they should be your top priority. If you do not take the necessary steps to take in your customer's feedback and constructive criticism, you will see a lot of your fan-base leaving. You must take care of the people who love & support you.

I typically never write negative reviews because they feel like a waste of time (why put so much energy into something negative?), but since I think your company has the potential to make great products, I wrote this one.
Pandopan
Pandopan
I think your comment is too personal and not very objective. Maybe you like the sound of phoenix better. Although sv021 has flaw in highs, it's not as extreme as you say.
voja
voja
@Pandopan I disagree. My findings, experience, and thoughts have been expressed in the review. The flaws were that extreme to me.

One might say that my disliking of the SV021 is personal because it doesn't fit to my face and I had to do a whole bunch of things only to be able to listen to them. In that case, I would say that that argument is valid
voja
voja
.

Slater91

100+ Head-Fier
Bakkushan
Pros: + Comfortable earpads

+ Very good looking
Cons: – Fundamental issues with tuning

– Bass is way too preponderant

– Treble is harsh and fatiguing
Sivga Robin SV021 review.JPG


Sivga has made a name for themselves with competitively priced planar headphones and they are now expanding their line-up with new headphones. Among them are the Sivga Robin SV021, which apparently aren’t named after the assistant to the Dark Knight but rather after the European bird. They sport a dynamic driver and wooden earcups that look gorgeous, but are they going to sound anything like they look?

Disclaimer: I received this unit directly from Sivga. My thanks to Collin. The Robin SV021 retail for $149. Additional info is available on the official website.

This review was originally posted on my blog,
Soundphile Review.

Important: before publishing this review, I sent Collin a preview in order to rule out that I had a defective unit. He disagreed with my findings, which is fair, but he insisted that everyone else gave the headphones a positive review and so should I. If you read through reviews, you will find that most of them agree with my analysis, only to then diverge when it comes to conclusion: I say that this level of performance is unacceptable, others say that it’s up to your taste – something with which I disagree, given that there are glaring acoustic issues, stemming from the fact that Sivga took the Phoenix’s driver and just put it in closed-back earcups with very little actual tuning work. It is my duty as a reviewer not just to describe the product, but to also judge it so that you, my readers, can understand whether it is good or not. To renounce to this would mean to abdicate to my role as a reviewer, only to become an advertiser. After a long thread of emails in which I explained my position and why even a negative review is important, Collin asked me not to divulge this review beyond my own blog, effectively trying to censor me: he wrote “we hope you not to post this review on other places, as it may mislead customers who like this kind of sound quality”. I invited him to retract his request, something which he did not do. I am therefore forced to publish this information in the sake of transparency. Make of it what you wish.

Rating: 5/10​

Accessories & Packaging​


Sivga Robin SV021 review 2.JPG



The Sivga Robin SV021 come in a box that contains the headphones, the cable and a string bag that look to be made of hemp – it’s quite soft and nice! Although not the largest accessory set, it’s enough to cover most needs.

Design & Comfort​


Sivga Robin SV021 review 3.JPG



I quite like the simple design of the Sivga Robin SV021. The earcups are made of a dark wood with a matte finish (the company doesn’t disclose which wood it is), while the gimbal is made of metal with a gunmetal colour. The earcups have a inverted drop-like shape with the 2.5 mm jack sockets at their ends. The fact that the earpads and the headband are black, sewn with white thread, adds to the general dark appearance of the Robin SV021 and this lends them quite some elegance. I find them to be rather beautiful, actually!


Sivga Robin SV021 review 4.JPG



I find the Robin SV021 to be built quite well, with no creaking whatsoever nor other sign of problems in the way they’re assembled. The only issue I can see is that the earpads are not easily removed (I couldn’t do it at all, truth be told). There are clear steps when adjusting the size and the sliding is easy, but not so much so as to make the headband move inadvertently.


Sivga Robin SV021 review 5.JPG



Although the padding is quite generous, it is also extremely soft and therefore it compresses quite a bit, sometimes leading to my ears touching the inner grill that protects the driver. That, in turn, creates some discomfort on the long run. Thankfully, though, that happens rarely and most often the Robin SV021 are quite easy to wear for prolonged sessions. The light weight (267 g) makes it so that despite the almost complete absence of padding on the headband, the headphones stay relatively comfortable relatively to the scalp even after a couple of hours, which is quite an achievement (my scalp is extremely sensitive, unfortunately, so I am forced to be a harsh judge when it comes to comfort).


Sivga Robin SV021 review 6.JPG



Although these are closed back, isolation is limited and I can still hear myself typing on my (relatively) silent keyboard, so any louder noise will still be clearly audible.


Sivga Robin SV021 review 7.JPG



The cable is actually quite nice: the jacks at both ends have metal housings which are machined so that it’s easy to pull out and push in them. The 3.5 mm jack also has a spring as a strain relief, while the Y-split is made of metal, too. The cable itself is covered with braided fabric which is soft and malleable. Overall it’s a very nice stock cable.


Sound & Specs​


I listened to the Sivga Robin SV021 using a Shanling UP5. Music files were mostly CD-ripped FLACs.


Sivga Robin SV021


Frequency response20 – 20,000 Hz
Impedance32 Ω
Sensitivity105 dB




Collin at Sivga introduced the Robin SV021 to me as “neutral and balanced”. It is crystal clear that they are not and, in fact, they are far from being neutral, with a heavily V-shaped signature that sees an overpowering bass section counterbalanced by an aggressive treble area. This is all produced by a 50 mm dynamic driver made of polycarbonate and fibre.


Soundstage is quite small, even for a closed-back model, and it feels like the instruments are really close to the listener and they’re in a very small space. Imaging is not quite there, as it’s really hard to place the instruments on the stage if they’re not all to the left (or to the right); if they are not entirely on the right (or left) hand side, they then sound as if they were around the centre, instead of sounding like they are in any specific position in the left-right spectrum. Instrument separation is not quite sufficient, as instruments appear to have no room to breathe and end up sounding like a hodgepodge of sounds.


Bass is the main issue in the Robin SV021’s signature. It is physical, which is quite good, but then it is way too overpowering, meaning that it ends up covering almost everything else. It surely leaks over the lower mids, making them almost disappear, and this in turn creates balance problems for the whole signature. There’s at least a 10 dB emphasis on the whole bass area, which is massive, and it’s even more when we consider that midrange is recessed. Detail is quite decent actually if the track allows it: bass performance is in fact quite dependent on the track, as those which already have a strong presence tend to expose its issues more and therefore lead the details to disappear, whereas tracks where it’s more subdued sound fine.


The last sentence of the previous paragraph can be also applied to midrange: if you take two tracks from the Master and Commander soundtrack, The Battle and La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid (one of my favourite tracks by Boccherini), you can clearly hear how the latter track sounds more vivid and with the various string instruments being portrayed front and centre, while the former track is a mishmash of sounds where the drums overpower everything else. In general, anyway, midrange has a lot of issues: there is a massive drop in the lower area, followed by a steep rise in the upper one that makes it quite unbalanced. Detail is fine, as long as there’s little bass playing – otherwise it gets lost in the mix.


Treble is quite aggressive as there are multiple peaks: I can point to at least two, one around 5 kHz and the second around 8 kHz (give or take). These two together make instruments quite harsh and fatiguing. Even though detail is fine, it ends up being lost due to the fact that highs are piercing and not quite pleasant to listen to. Extension is fine, with the upmost frequencies being possibly even too present.


Sivga Robin SV021 Comparisons​


At this price point there are gazillions of competitors, but we’ll focus on the two most significant ones: the Sennheiser HD 6XX and the Meze 99 Classics/Noir. At $220, they’re close to 50% more expensive, but the difference is way too large to ignore. The HD 6XX are just way more balanced: their bass is not overpowering and it’s faster and more detailed; midrange is actually coherent and not disappearing due to bass, as well as more detailed; treble is not piercing and, on the contrary, many believe it should be more emphasised, but it’s still well done and without fatiguing peaks. Soundstage is wider, which is almost obvious given the HD 6XX are open back, but imaging is where the largest difference is as it’s actually accurate and allows you to place instruments on the stage, while instrument separation is good enough to allow you to distinguish the various parts.


On the other hand, the Meze 99 Noir are sold on Drop for $200 and they slay the Sivga Robin SV021. Although they’re far from neutral, they are still balanced and lack the overpowering bass and treble, leading them to be a much safer (and saner) choice. Bass is as deep as on the Sivga, but it’s not as emphasised and it’s quite cleaner and clearer; midrange is more present in the mix as well as more balanced; treble is much less emphasised, though it’s still quite present. Detail is better throughout the whole spectrum, while soundstage is wider, imaging has much better accuracy and instruments are actually separated.


Final Thoughts​


Although the Sivga Robin SV021 are quite nice to look at and to wear, thanks to a very appealing design and to plushy padding, their acoustic performance leaves a lot to be desired. While they do have their positives, they have a few glaring issues that can’t be overlooked. It’s the bass and treble especially which are problematic, as they shoot way above levels that I deem appropriate with multiple peaks that result in harshness and fatigue. The Japanese word “bakkushan” (also spelt “bakku-shan”), which I used in the title, indicates a girl who looks beautiful from behind, but then she looks ugly when looked at from the front: although that’s not quite polite (and I only use it jokingly: no offence to anyone is meant!), it seems to be an apt description for these headphones that look good, but then don’t quite sound okay.


Although they are affordable at $149, that’s still a price that needs careful consideration before taking any decisions. For that reason, because of the fact that the Robin SV021 are going to be ideal for a limited range of genres, and because there are better options at comparable price points, I do not recommend getting these headphones unless you have a chance to audition them with the music you like and you are going to be entirely certain that you will like them. If you like heavily V-shaped signatures you might find these to your taste, but otherwise you will probably find them not to be quite your cup of tea.
Lokiiami
Lokiiami
Your review is in line with his
JasonLucas
JasonLucas
what full size at 150 or less beats these
Slater91
Slater91
In terms of tonality there's loads. The Sennheiser HD 58X, hands down. The HiFiMAN HE-400SE. Even the humble Creative Aurvana Live!/SE do better, at a third of the price. To be honest, I find just about anything to be better.
@ngoshawk I totally forgot to answer, sorry. I see your point, but I think we'll have to agree to disagree - which is entirely fine, really! I do think that a baseline must be set, and that baseline has to be along the lines of "no single part is so predominant over the others that it makes them inaudible and/or becomes fatiguing", or something like that. Call that Harman Curve, if you want (I think there are better curves out there). But I do thank you for your comments, it's always great to discuss and to compare different ideas. There's lots of food for thought.
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Animagus

Reviewer at Twister6
Sivga's new closed-back DD headphone - Robin
Pros: Highly attractive boutique build quality and design, lightweight, easy comfortable fit, W-shaped fun, exciting and musical sound signature, good clarity and resolution, good micro-detail retrieval and instrument separation, good choice of materials for construction, attractive box.
Cons: Not for people looking for a reference-neutral headphone, loose-ish fit even in the lowest setting because of less clamp force which makes snugness of fit dependent on head size and its sound signature's perception dependent on fit, might be big for smaller head sizes.

About SIVGA.

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

The product was provided to me free of charge for the review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Links - Official Website | AliExpress Store ($179)

Sivga Robin Box



Technical Specifications.

  • Driver - 50mm Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency response - 20 Hz - 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity - 105 dB +/- 3dB
  • Impedance - 32Ω +/- 15%
  • Cable - 1.6m single crystalline copper with braided fabric sleeve
  • Jack - 3.5mm
  • Weight - 275g

Included in the box.

  • Robin headphone
  • Braided fabric sleeve cable
  • Headphone carry sack
  • 3.5mm to 1/4" adapter

Sivga Robin Box 1.jpg
Sivga Robin Box 2.jpg


Technology and Design.


Colours - Robin is available in 2 colours - Brown and Black.

sivga-robin-brown.jpegsivga-robin-black.jpeg

Dynamic Driver - Looking at the driver specs, I reckon Robin has the same 50mm dynamic driver as the open-back headphone, Phoenix but I'm not sure. As per SIVGA, the team developed this ultra thin and flexible diaphragm in-house and its physical characteristics ensures good dynamic performance and detail representation.
  • Magnet - 3mm thickness high performance Nd-Fe-B which provides stronger power to the driver.
  • Coil - The coil is made of special copper clad Aluminium wire.
  • Diaphragm - Combined with self developed diaphragm structure, this unique in-house developed polycarbonate diaphragm solves the problem of easy deformation.
Sivga Robin Dynamic Driver


Ear cups - Robin's ear cups are made of high-density rosewood and are CNC machined, sanded and then lacquered and polished to high gloss. The ear cups tilt but do not swivel.

Ear pads - The ear pads are detachable and made of leather with soft memory foam cushioning.

Sivga Robin Earpads


Headband and Yoke - The headband is made of good quality high protein leather with well done visible stitching. The adjuster and yoke are made of metal and have a matte finish.

sivga-robin-headphone-adjuster.jpegsivga-robin-yoke.jpeg

Build quality.

Be it the rosewood wooden ear cups, the matte finished metal yolk and headband adjuster or the high-protein leather headband and ear cups, Robin oozes of good boutique build quality and all the components look and feel high-quality and premium for the asking price.

Cable - The stock cable looks and feels quite nice but is slightly microphonic.

Sivga Robin Solo 2


Fit and Comfort.

Robin's size is slightly on the large side if you compare it to headphones like AKG K371 but is quite lightweight and extremely easy to manage and wear. It has a very comfortable fit for my medium sized head but there's a catch for smaller head sizes. Robin's ear cups do not exert a lot of clamp force and neither does the headband exert a lot of pressure on the head even in the lowest setting. This does make for a loose-ish comfortable fit but not a very snug one. I can see this being a problem for smaller head sizes as it may fit a bit loose, which will also make perception of its sound signature subject to individual fit. For medium to larger heads, Robin will feel very comfortable for long durations without any discomfort ever creeping in.

Sivga Robin Solo 3


Sound Analysis.

Robin has a W-shaped sound signature and is tuned to be a lively and exciting listen than a neutral, balanced or reference one. In my opinion, judging it as a reference headphone or its ability to hit a reference target curve would be doing it injustice because it isn't tuned to be one at all. So, I thought I'll explain its sound relative to what I consider reference-neutral but try to see if it can work as an everyday fun and musical headphone to sit back and enjoy music with or not. Nevertheless, if you're a strong reference head looking for a reference headphone, this isn't it.

Robin has a 10dB bass boost, recessed lower-midrange, an upper-midrange forwardness of around 8dB ear gain and a brighter, sparklier and zingier lower-treble and upper-treble character. Robin's signature's main focus is on bass punch and treble sparkle than lower-midrange body fullness. It has a leaner, open and airy presentation with instrument tonality that sounds like you're listening to a live concert in an arena than an accurate and natural sounding studio. Compared to a reference target curve, the Harman 2018 AE OE target, it has more sub-bass, significantly more mid-bass and upper-bass in the 60-250Hz range, a dip in lower-midrange around 500Hz, less ear gain (upper-midrange forwardness) in the 2-5kHz and brighter lower-treble and upper-treble by around 5-8dB.

Even though it is quite a bit away from reference-neutral, it performs quite well as a fun and musical headphone. It has a nice musical quality to it where it not only has good bass punch but even the livelier treble, which isn't the most linear, sounds vividly musical and exciting in most songs.

Note - As I stated before, Robin's sound signature's perception depends on tightness of clamp force based on head size since its lowest headband setting isn't as tight as required for a snug fit in case of smaller head sizes. As a result, if you don't have a snug fit, you'll perceive a bit more treble and less of sub-bass rumble.

Let's break it down further...

Bass – Robin has a strong 10dB bass shelf boost from 250Hz and down. As a result, it not only boosts sub-bass but also mid-bass and upper-bass significantly. Needless to say, Robin has a strong bass presence which highlights bass in all songs but does it in a fairly tasteful manner than complete domination like in a bass-head headphone. It has deep sub-bass rumble as well as mid-bass punch and boom. Kicks have an in your face punch if they are prominent in the song. Overall, bass presentation is not the tightest or the quickest in this price segment but is fairly decent. It has good clarity owing to its bright character, so notes and small nuances in bass playing are easier to discern than bass dominating headphones.

Midrange – Robin has a recessed lower-midrange because of a wide band 4-5dB dip around 500Hz. As a result, it has a leaner presentation but doesn't tend too lean as the bass boost adds lots of weight to the signature. What I also hear this dip doing is pushing snares deeper into the soundstage and increasing perception of depth as a result. Robin does have a forward upper-midrange presentation but lesser ear gain than the Harman Target. As a result, guitars and orchestral instruments have a little less forwardness and presence as they do in Sennheiser HD650/HD6XX (which have as much ear gain as the Harman Target), but do not sound recessed as such. In fact, the overall signature actually presents guitars, drum shells (particularly snares) and even vocals in a very vibrant manner without any shout or peakiness.

Treble – Robin has a treble boost which infuses energy and excitement into the signature, enables good clarity and micro-detail retrieval and has fairly good extension till 20kHz. This is neither a headphone for warmth lovers nor reference heads but for those who like a more lively and energetic presentation. Its treble isn't the most linear but assists in bringing out the details in music while sounding musical and exciting most of the times. At times, you do notice its main treble peaks stand out (at 5.5kHz, 8kHz, 11.5kHz and 16kHz), especially when a song has instruments with treble information in those areas because they are particularly boosted above neutral. They add a bit of extra sparkle and sizzle to hi-hats, cymbals and vocals but that's to be expected of W-shaped headphones and IEMs. Robin doesn't add sibilance from its own end but doesn't mask it either if the song has it. Overall, it has a sparkly, open and extra airy upper-treble presentation which helps in micro-detail retrieval as well as a more expansive soundstage for a closed-back headphone.

Soundstage, Separation and Imaging - Robin has an impressive wide and deep soundstage for a closed-back, especially considering its asking price. A lot of it has to do with its tuning and it definitely is quite an interesting and intriguing listen. It has good separation and imaging for a closed back headphone at its price.

Drivability - Robin is quite easy to drive with its 32Ω/105dB sensitivity and can be driven to fairly loud levels with smartphones and laptops.

Sivga Robin Desktop 1

Comparisons.

Sivga Phoenix - Phoenix is Sivga's open-back dynamic driver headphone. I'm guessing they both use the same dynamic driver looking at the driver specs but are tuned very differently. Phoenix is a warm sounding headphone whereas Robin is a bright W-shaped headphone. Phoenix has a slight bass boost too but Robin has bigger bass boost by around 5dB in comparison. Phoenix has slightly fuller instrument body owing to slightly fuller lower-midrange whereas Robin has a wide band dip around 500Hz and a leaner presentation as a result. Both have a similar forward upper-midrange presentation but Phoenix has slightly more presence around 4-5kHz. Post 5kHz, Robin is brighter than Phoenix in lower treble and much airier and sparklier in its upper-treble presentation. Phoenix has a more even and linear treble presentation but tends towards warm and smooth whereas Robin sounds livelier, sparklier and zingier, hence more exciting. Even though Phoenix is an open-back headphone, Robin actually has the wider and deeper soundstage presentation and is also much open and airy sounding in comparison. Both have good detail retrieval and separation but Robin has more aggressive micro-detail retrieval because of its brighter signature.

AKG K371 - In my opinion, K371 is the epitome of value for money in closed-back reference headphones. Robin is a more fun tuned, bright W-shaped sound signature in comparison whereas K371 closely traces the Harman Target curve and is the more accurate and natural sounding headphone. K371 has sub-bass boost of around 6dB but Robin has not only a much more significant sub-bass boost but also boosts mid-bass and upper-bass significantly in comparison. K371 has better bass tonality, transients and accuracy whereas Robin has more punch and boom. K371 has a very accurate and linear midrange presentation with a nice forward upper-midrange whereas Robin has a dip in lower-midrange but similar ear gain/forwardness in upper-midrange. Robin is significantly brighter and airier in its treble presentation whereas K371 is quite neutral, tending a bit towards warm. K371 has better instrument tonality and timbre, and sounds more natural as a result whereas Robin is livelier and energetic sounding in comparison. Robin has a more expansive, open and airier soundstage, mainly because of its brighter and leaner signature. K371 has a very good soundstage for its price and design but sounds more like what it is, a closed-back headphone. Robin has more aggressive micro-detail retrieval because of its brighter signature but K371 is no slouch and does it quite well, while maintaining a more accurate and natural sounding signature because of its reference tuning.

Audio Technica M50x - Robin has a livelier sound signature compared to M50x. Robin has a stronger bass boost of 10dB whereas M50x has a 5dB boost below 200Hz. Robin's bass has more dynamic punch but M50x has slightly better speed. M50x too has a slightly leaner bodied presentation because of a dip in lower-midrange around 350Hz but it is smaller than Robin's 5dB dip around 500Hz. Both have a similar forward upper-midrange presentation but M50x has slightly more presence in the 4-5kHz range. Robin is brighter in its lower-treble as well as upper-treble presentation whereas M50x sound warmer in comparison. Robin has a bigger and much more open sounding soundstage as well as better separation and micro-detail retrieval.

Sivga Robin Solo 1


Conclusion.

Robin has good boutique build quality and an interesting W-shaped signature. My main nitpick with it is its loose-ish fit, even in the lowest setting for smaller heads, because of less clamp force and a slightly big headband, which makes overall snugness of fit dependent on head size, and its complete sound signature's perception dependent on fit as a result. If Sivga can make Robin's clamp force a bit more firm and the headband slightly smaller to allow the headband adjuster's lowest setting to be lower, it'll make Robin's fit more consistent universally. Besides that, Sivga has nailed most things in the headphone build wise, using premium materials like Rosewood cups, high protein leather headband and earpads as well as matte finished metal headband adjuster and yoke. If you're a person who likes and prefers reference and neutral sounding headphones more, Robin might not be your thing but if you're looking for a headphone that presents music in a livelier, more energetic and fun way, give Robin a shot.



Gear used for testing and review.

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

Reference Songs list.

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

Moonstar

100+ Head-Fier
SIVGA SV021 (Robin) Headphone Review
Pros: Fast & Accurate Bass Response,
Transparent & Lively Midrange Tuning,
Energetic & Pretty Well Extending Treble Presentation,
Quite Open/Spacious Atmosphere with good sense of Air for a Closed Back Headphone,
Build Quality & Build Quality,
Comfort
Cons: Upper Midrange & Treble may sound a bit too energetic,
No Protective Hard Storage Case,
Cable is a bit too long (160mm) / Not a big fan of cables with fabric insulation (Subjective)

SIVGA SV021 (Robin) 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 SV021 (also called Robin) is the latest member of the Headphone Series with Dynamic Driver. The SV021 features a 50mm diameter Dynamic Driver with an in-house developed Special Polycarbonate Film Diaphragm, which is integrated in to CNC machined and hand polished ear cups made of solid wood material.




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Disclaimer:


I would like to thank SIVGA for providing me the SV021/Robin Headphone for review purposes. I am not affiliated with SIVGA beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered opinions about the product.




Price & Availability:


The MSRP price for the SIVGA SV021 Headphone is about 179,00 USD. More information’s can be found under the links below;





Package and Accessories:

The SIVGA SV021 came in a pretty big cardboard box with some product brandings and an illustration of the Headphone on the top.

This box contains the following items;
  • 1 x SIVGA SV021 Closed Back Headphone
  • 1 x Detachable Cable with Dual 2.5mm to 3.5mm Single Ended (TRS) Headphone Plug
  • 1 x 3.5mm to 6.35mm Male Adaptor
  • 1 x Carry Bag


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Design, Build Quality, Comfort:

The SIVGA SV021 is beautiful looking closed back headphone with solid wood ear cups that is pretty lightweight with only 275 grams. The SV021 is available in two color options, which are in Black and Rosewood like my review unit.

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The build quality of the SV021 is top notch and the combination of lightweight aluminum, solid wood, pleather (protein leather) and fabric material gives it a nice look and feel. It doesn’t show any remarkable imperfections like gaps and annoying cracks when you bend the headband.

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The ear cup holders (hangers) are made of aluminum material with a nice silver finish.

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The headband and outer surface of the earpads are made of pleather (protein leather) and do have a pretty nice light brown color. Even the small stitches on the headband surface do have a very good craftsmanship.

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The top of the headband has a pretty soft padding and offers a pretty comfortable wearing experience even after some long listening periods, thanks to the relative low clamping force.

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The headband adjusting mechanism is showing the size of the headband with small notches.

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Both ends of the headband have metal parts in the same silver color and do sport Left and Right markings on the outer surface, while you can see two fixing screws per side at the inner surface of each part.

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The ear cups are the main attraction of the SV021 that are made of natural rosewood material that have been processed with a 5 axis CNC carving. The ear cups do have a nice glossy piano paint finish and do sport laser engraved SIVGA brand logos on each surface.

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On the top of each ear cup are opening for the dynamic driver.

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Both the left and the right ear-cups do sport 2.5mm female headphone inputs.

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The replaceable earpads are pretty thick and are ultra soft. This makes the SV021 to a very comfortable headphone, even for longer listening periods.

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The pressure of the headband and is not very high, while sweat rate of the earpads is at fairly acceptable levels.

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The SV021 comes with a detachable that has fabric isolation in brown color that has a length of about 160mm. To be honest I am not a big fan of cables with a fabric insulation.

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The cable has two 2.5mm male connectors, one for the left 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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This cable has a metal Y splitter in the same silver color like the headphone and ear cup pugs.

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The 3.5mm headphone jack has a straight profiled metal housing that sport the SIVGA logo in black color. The headphone plug has also a flexible strain relief in form of a spring that offers extra durability.

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Technical Specifications:

  • Model : Robin / SV021
  • Headphone Design : Open Back
  • Driver Type : 50mm Diameter Dynamic Driver with Polycarbonate Diaphragm
  • Frequency Response : 20-20kHz
  • Impedance : 32Ω / ±3dB
  • Sensitivity : 105dB / ±3dB
  • Cable Length : 160mm
  • Headphone Plug : 3.5mm Single Ended
  • Ear Cup Plugs : 2.5mm TRS
  • Weight : 275grams





Drivability & Pairing/Synergy:

The SIVGA SV021has an impedance of 32 Ohms and sensitivity of about 105dB, which looks pretty efficient on paper. However, I suggest you to pair it with sources that do have better levels of amplification, such like portable or desktop amplifiers (xDuuo XA10, FiiO Q5s, PALAB M1-Mini) or powerful DAP’s (iBasso DX220 MAX, iBasso DX300) that do offer a much better synergy and overall sound performance. The positive effect of such sources was especially audible in the lower frequency register.




Equipment’s used for this review:

  • Headphones : SIVGA SV021, FiiO EH3 NC
  • Sources : iBasso DX220 MAX, FiiO M11 Pro, xDuoo XA-10, PALAB M1-Mini, iPad Air2


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Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
  • Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
  • Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama “Party Favor Remix” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Deezer HiFi)
  • Really Slow Motion – Deadwood (Deezer HiFi)
  • Jo Blankenburg – The Magelan Matrix (Spotify)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)s
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
  • Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)







The Sound:


The SIVGA SV021 has a slightly warmer than neutral tonality and offers a great sense of headroom and airiness for a headphone with a closed back design. The bass response has a moderate sense of depth and intensity, while the speed and control is on a pretty good level. The midrange on the other hand sounds nicely transparent, mildly recessed but fairly detailed with both vocals and instruments especially when I paired it with good sources like the iBasso DX220 MAX or PALAB M1-Mini. The treble range is bright and energetic and shows a good level of resolution for a headphone at this price range.

Please note that this review was written after a burn-in period of 75 -80 hours. I have used the stock ear pads, the stock cable and have pair it mainly with the iBasso DX220 MAX, FiiO M11 Pro, xDuoo XA-10 and PALAB M1-Mini.


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Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage:

The subbass region of the SIVGA SV021 shows a fairly good sense of depth, intensity and rumble, while it is produced in a quite controlled way, when I do listen to songs like Bro Safari, Ufo! “Drama”. Massive Attack’s “Angel” or Lorde’s “Royals”. The subbass decay is on a good level and gets better after some burn-in (about 50 hours) and with a good powerful source.

The midbass region of the SV021 on the other hand sounds more pronounced and detailed compared to the subbass area. For example; instruments such like kick drums, electro guitars or violas are reproduced with an efficient sense of depth and intensity, while the resolution is top notch especially with good sources like a PALAB M1-Mini or the iBasso DX220MAX.

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The SIVGA SV021 shows a slightly warmer than neutral midrange tonality with good level of headroom, clarity and airiness. The midrange sounds slightly recessed while the general resolution in this area is pretty high due to the pronounced upper midrange tuning.

The lower midrange shows a moderate level of depth, intensity and extension, which adds instruments such like acoustic guitars, trumpets or violas and to male vocals male vocals like Barry White, Sting or Isaac Hayes a sufficient sense of fullness and musicality, while I would wish a tad more depth and body.

The upper midrange region on the other hand is more highlighted and shows a better level of resolution/micro details compared to the lower midrange area. It sounds energetic and detailed, while it is not very forgiving to poor recorded tracks. Instruments such like violins, flutes or pianos are pronounced and are shown with a good level of extension. Female vocals such like Hayley Westenra, Aretha Franklin or Diana Krall are reproduced with a good sense of transparency and vividness, while they are close to sibilance at higher volume level.

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The SIVGA AV021 shows a pretty strong treble emphasis with good level of extension and detail retrieval for a product at his price range, while it is unforgiving if you listen to songs with poor record quality. This tuning makes the general presentation of this area energetic and highly dynamic.

Instruments such as pianos or crash cymbals can do sound a bit harsh in fast and complex passages, depending of the quality of the recorded track, while the SV021 offers in general an above average treble performance for its price tag in terms of quantity and sharpness, which will for sure satisfy many treble-heads.

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The SIVGA SV021 offers a pretty airy and spacious soundstage presentation for a headphone with a closed back design, especially for this price range. The soundstage shows a pretty good sense of depth and wideness with adequate amount of air and space between vocals and instruments for a fairly natural and precise separation.






Comparison:




SIVGA SV021 versus FiiO EH3 NC (wired):

The FiiO EH3 NC shows in general a warmer tonality and slightly fuller presentation with lower sense of clarity and definition, while the SIVGA SV021 sounds a tad more neutral, transparent and airy with better sense of headroom.

The subbass region of the SIVGA SV021 shows a better level of depth and is also superior in terms of decay and control when I do listen to them to songs like Massive Attack’s “Angel” or Lorde’s “Royals”. The midbass region of the FiiO EH3 NC shows slightly more quantity, depth and intensity. The SIVGA SV021 on the other hand offers a better level of resolution and sense of authority/control in this area.

The midrange of the FiiO EH3 NC has a warmer tonality with a smoothed out character. The SIVGA SV021 is slightly more neutral, bright and energetic in direct comparison. The lower midrange of the EH3 NC shows a bit more body and depth when I do listen to male vocals or to instruments such like acoustic guitars or violas. When it comes to the upper midrange, I can say that the SV021 is more highlighted and detailed in this area, which adds it a slightly better sense of transparency and airiness. The SV021 is also more suitable for female vocals or instruments such like violins, flutes or pianos that do need more energy in the upper midrange area.

The treble range of the SIVGA SV021 is in general more pronounced, detailed and shows a better sense of extension. The FiiO EH3 NC is less detailed and energetic in this area and offers a smoother and more relaxed presentation.

The soundstage of the SIVGA SV021 is more spacious/expansive and airy compared to the FiiO EH3 NC. The SV021 has the upper hand in terms of both soundstage depth and wideness.

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Conclusion:

The SV021 is a highly comfortable and premium looking closed back headphone from SIVGA that has a pretty energetic, transparent and lively presentation with great sense of airiness and headroom for a headphone with a closed back design, which shows its true potential if you pair it with more powerful sources.





Pros & Cons:

  • + Fast & Accurate Bass Response
  • + Transparent & Lively Midrange Tuning
  • + Energetic & Pretty Well Extending Treble Presentation
  • + Quite Open/Spacious Atmosphere with good sense of Air for a Closed Back Headphone
  • + Build Quality & Build Quality
  • + Comfort

  • – Upper Midrange & Treble may sound a bit too energetic
  • – No Protective Hard Storage Case
  • – Cable is a bit too long (160mm) / Not a big fan of cables with fabric insulation (Subjective)


Thank you for the Read!​

Gevi
Gevi
Thank you so much for the review!
Very informative and I was pleased with the photos you took showing various angles.
Moonstar
Moonstar
@Gevi Thank you very much for you kind words. Its my pleasure!

ngoshawk

Headphoneus Supremus
Sivga SV021: Do the goods back the looks?
Pros: Gorgeous looks
Excellent build
Fit and finish are stellar
Lad back signature comes across well
Fairly deep reaching bass
Treble (to me) does not have that peakiness mentioned by some
Cons: No case
Somewhat polarizing signature
Cloth bag "case" only
Sivga SV021 ($149): Do the goods back the looks?

4.25 stars


SV021

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Intro: Coming off the Phoenix review, I saw many who really liked it, and some who were lukewarm to it. I liked the Phoenix but did not think it went far enough to separate it from the crowd. Collin contacted me about reviewing the SV021, their affordable closed back headphone made of Rosewood. I accepted the gracious offer and perused some of the initial reviews, which were out but not that detailed. Upon arrival, I opened the box to this gorgeous unit, and craftmanship, which is impeccable. After listening to ensure all was good, I placed the unit on continuous play for a minimum of 75hrs as others in my queue (and moving daughter-unit to college) took precedence.

It is understood that the unit may be asked back for at any time or sent to another reviewer. Until then, the unit is mine to keep, but not sell as that is STILL really uncool.

*The SV021 is now also available in black stained Rosewood, with black cups. More mainstream in color, the two choices complement each other nicely.

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Specs:

Driver: 50mm Moving-coil
Impedance: 32 +/-15% ohm
Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
Sensitivity: 105dB+/-3dB
Weight: 275g



In The Box:

SV021 unit
2.5mm dual to 3.5mm tan braided cable
Hemp carrying bag
Instruction manual
3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter


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Gear Used/Compared:

Thinksound ON2 ($130, discontinued)
Final Audio Sonorous III ($299ish)
Kennerton Magni V2 ($650)

Cayin N6ii (E01 motherboard)
MacBook Pro/EarMen Sparrow
Shanling M6 Pro



Songs:

Alex Fox
Pink Floyd
Buena Vista Social Club
Elton John
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Shane Hennessy
Jeff Beck
Dave Matthews



Unboxing:

Coming in a black textured/patterned box much like the Sendy Aiva, the SV021 has a white outlined image of the unit on the front and specifications in various languages on the back and the slogan, “created with craftsman spirit.” Lifting the lid off you are met with a thin soft foam cutout placed over the unit. Remove that and you find a cutout soft foam insert, which houses the SV021, cable, hemp carrying bag, and adapter. That’s it. Not bad, but I would invest in a $20 case to carry the unit, for on beauty alone it is worth it.

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Technicals:

Utilizing a 50mm in-house derived driver with an ultra-thin polycarbonate diaphragm and fiber, the SV021 is not groundbreaking by any means. Set in a plastic cup, which can be accessed by rotating the earcup off, it seems quite normal.

Using a 3mm thick magnet made of Nd-Fe-B, the pull of it is strong enough to drive the 50mm unit well. Speed is helped by a copper clad aluminum wire, ensuring high sensitivity as well as good dynamic performance and speed of driver.

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Build/Fit/Finish:

As mentioned in my Phoenix review, other manufacturers could take lessons from Sivga/Sendy on build quality. The Rosewood on the SV021 is impeccable in quality and finish. With a thick poly coat over it, there does seem to be a “fakeness” to it mentioned by some, but all one need do is look at it, and you realize the unit is superbly built. Etched on the outside of the earcup is the SIVGA logo. Some come with white accenting, others with burned in black. Mine came in black, and that is all right, due to the understated nature of it.

With 2.5 mono jacks on the bottom in gold accent, the tan cable ends in 3.5mm se, but an included 6.35mm se jack can be used. The yokes are in burnished silver-gray, and darn near scratch proof. Adjusting is easy with detents making for easy adjustment. The unit stays put as well. Soft tan pleather graces the headband and earcups giving a luxury car-like elegance. I was not sure if I would like it in pictures, but upon having the unit in hand, it is flat gorgeous and would match several high-end autos if placed inside for your listening pleasure. Those tan earcups are soft and sensuous in feel, compressing the right amount for my head. An excellent seal is the result, but it is not completely air-tight, rather mostly. And that is OK. Taking the unit off with music playing, I clapped the earcups together and could barely hear any sound emanating from within. And this was at a good volume as well. Each yoke is labeled “L” or “R” for ease of use as you could easily switch the equally balanced unit build-wise. Other than some slight mismatching on the seam sewing of the headband, the overall feel and look is of impeccable quality. As I said, Sivga has their craftsmanship down pat.

Fit with those cushy earcups is quite good, giving the right amount of grip for my head. In rather violent shaking, the unit did not move wither side to side or fore/aft. Compression is just right as a result for me. I will add that the pads can get a bit warm in hot weather, but most closed cell pleather/leather cups do to me. Overall quality makes this one of the best if not the best at its price.

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Sound:

Summary:

Many times, as a reviewer our time is at a premium. Especially if this is a hobby, which it is to the vast majority. That said, if you keep organized you can give initial impressions and then burn the unit in while other units are being reviewed. I always burn units in, whether called for or not. It is my philosophy that users want to hear how the unit sounds in a year’s time as well as brand new, should there be any change. Many manufacturers advocate burning their units in. Some do not. Sivga made no such charge, but after an initial listen the unit was put onto my Shanling M0 for 75+hrs straight of music. Personally, I did not hear much change, and would be averse to stating any changes did happen based upon my shortcomings. That said, the initial listen was favorable as was the burned in listening.

Bass to me is just about right, with adequate push down below. Speed is not quite as fast as I would have thought, but we are talking about a sub-$150 unit not oriented towards bass. As such there is a bit of bloom to it, and this can render a bit onto the mids. Not nearly as withdrawn to me as some find it, but that bleed into the mids does hinder my enjoyment just a bit. Guitar work such as on Dave Matthew’s Black And Blue Birds sounds wonderful, even if his voice is a bit too far forward. There is the bloom of bass, but it is countered by the treble push, which some have noted is too hot at certain frequencies. I tend not to EQ anything in or out, and do not find it too bad with my high frequency aversion tendency. Soundstage is wide and high but lacks a bit in depth. Not thin of depth by any means to me, but less deep than wide and high. That height gives a good spatial area for the notes to linger, giving a warmth to those notes, which is a laid-back treat.

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More:

As stated above, once really should devote more time to a unit, even if upon first impression it is not favorable. One of my least favorite IEM’s ever was downright horrible to me. But of good faith, I listened diligently and fulfilled the obligations necessary to promote who it might be good for. And this was an IEM, which was seeing good acclaim from many. Not me.

That bass note is not as taut as I would like, but it does reach to good depth. That lack of tight nature coincidentally also highlights a bit of thinness to that bass to me. It does not have the girth, which to me should correspond to that depth. I’m not sure what it is, but while I like the bass, it could present a bit richer, warmer signature to be fully satisfying to me. On complex auditions it can cover a bit of the mids as well, hinting on that bleed into the mids. Attack is fairly rapid, but the lingering decay aspect colors what could be a very good bass. It is enjoyable, nonetheless. Tightening up the bass speed would make the bass a bit more coherent to me and make that lingering into the mids less intrusive. At least that’s my take.

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Digging deep into Nirvana’s live version of About A Girl, Curt’s vocals are sublime and pastoral. Cutting through the accompanying instruments as well his vocals define the good points of the mids to me in that male vocal genre. A bit thick in presentation, this counters that bit of thinness of the bass. Almost fighting for control, the end is still a pleasantry of sound melding. It really is pretty decent for a sub-$150 headphone, even if others promote much better detail retrieval. The SV021 is not bad by any means, it simply isn’t class leading in clarity if that is what you are looking for. A review mentions how it is a bit veiled in presentation. I can hear this but personally I do not think it hinders the sound. At least in my interpretation. That warmth pervades here as a result. A bit of laid-back nature if you will.

Moving up top, the treble is known for a couple of peaks, which are grating to some. Either due to my losses or my preference for a lifted but not too far forward treble note make this adequate to me and does not hinder my listening pleasure in the least. Not grating, too bitey or screeching to me, the treble could use a bit more push up top to separate away from the mids more. This might stretch the space of notes giving better spatial representation as well. On twenty-one pilots Isle Of Flightless Birds, a very bright song to begin with, the treble note comes out as crisp and a bit too hot. So, there is that ability to stretch notes up, but the song to me is a very hot recording on that end. I have never been able to turn that song up volume-wise as much as I would like on most every IEM or headphone unfortunately.

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As mentioned above, soundstage is wide and high, but lacks a bit of depth. The aforementioned twenty-one pilots song is an excellent judge of stage. Keyboard floating between sides and with Tyler’s vocals slightly left of center, the support instruments space out well across the stage. This is a fabulous song for judging such items as airiness and stage as well as complexity. For the SV021, it does an admirable job, but could use a bit of help with the detail department. In fact, if I had to point out the limiting factor of the SV021 it would be the ability to present notes cleanly. This is not a bad thing, as the IEM I just finished “suffered” the same “fault,” but I still liked it very much. On a song such as Drunken Soldier, by The Dave Matthews Band, that lack of clarity actually plays well into the song. You imagine yourself on the deck of a pirate ship as fighting is going on everywhere whence you jump across to those darn British ships.

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Comparisons:

Sivga SV021 ($199) v Thinksound ON2 ($130, discontinued):

A certain Canadian reviewer and I share a certain affinity with Thinksound. Based in Canada helps his count, but for me (and he) the sound is what drives us. Purchased after reading his review, I picked up the ON2 for a song. I am truly sad that it is discontinued for if you could only afford one portable on-ear that mimics a closed-back and love a bassy, saucy sound, the Thinksound would be it. I lament that I do not get to listen often enough and each time I scribe about it, vow to listen more. Bass that might make the Legend X or CFA Cascade blush and adequate enough detail highlight this gem. It’s major shortcomings (but not to me) are that it is an on-ear (better seal then most closed-backs) and it lacks that succinct detail retrieval. Not meant to be the best at details, the ON2 is a raucous, fantastically good listen. If it came down to that, the Thinksound would trounce the Sivga. But if you want better detail retrieval, with a bit less bass, and less forward vocals, the SV021 might be the better choice.

No matter, find a used ON2, purchase it and use it on the commutes in the morning. You will be like a Wall Street Tycoon after your morning listen.

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Sivga SV021 ($199) v Final Audio Sonorous III ($299ish):

Following on the heels of the excellent Sonorous viii, the iii is the “budget model” with similar tuning. From what I hear, the Sonorous viii is a wonderful sounding headphone, which has taken many by storm. The Sonorous iii was a used purchase to fill a niche in which I had a need. The sound definitely comes across as near class leading at the price point, even at full retail. A good, clean reach of bass sets the foundation and the mids to me are simply sumptuous. Rich in tonality, but not syrupy or thick. Full bodied with the right amount of depth to make it a wonderful listen. Treble presents itself as a bit far forward for my tastes and a bit lifted, but not in an artificial manner. Very good for guitar work and orchestral songs, the Sonorous iii plays nicely with Alex Fox. Throw in male vocals, and you get equally good tone. Dave Matthews Black And Blue Bird is a wonderful love song with the right weight and clarity. When the cymbal hits come in, they are true and succinct. With the SV021, there is a small sense of artificiality with this song, but not enough to worry me.

You might think this an unfair comparison what with the price discrepancy, but to me it puts more credence at how well the SV021 can perform.

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Sivga SV021 ($199) v Kennerton Magni V2 ($650):

Even though this is V2 of the Magni, I fell for it upon first listen. To me this is the target at this price, and rightly so. Gorgeous of look (but not quite the flawless construction of the Sivga) and a wonderfully deep, rich bass. Vocals can come across as slightly subdued or withdrawn; which you might even call a bit muddled. But it is not. That “muddling” is simply the whole of the unit working together as a cohesive unit. There is a reason that Kennerton headphones are gaining a near cult-like following and to me the Magni sets the low end closed-back standard. This is also the reason that the company LSA uses the Kennerton guts as their template. Less expensive of price, but equally adept, it is a wonder that Kennerton allows this. No matter, I do believe it is because they see the benefit of having good sound for all. Much appreciated, it is.

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Finale:

Finishing this up while Van Morrison plays in my ear is quite a treat. His voice is so powerful, that the wrong listening unit can become quite painful. A bright IEM or headphone might immediately turn you off. And yes, I will admit that there are a couple of spikes in the SV021 sound signature. But they do not bother me like some others I have on hand. Vocals are a bit withdrawn as a result, but to me this lends to the overall appealing laid back tonality present. Is it flawless like the construction? No. Should it be for the meager price offered? Maybe, but I think that is an unreasonable standard with which to set. When looking for a headphone and listening, you should orient your search on the music in which you listen mostly, then tailor to that. If the headphone then sounds good with your favored genre, you have met your marker. If it also sounds good in the other music in which you listen, that is indeed a bonus.

But this holds true as well: should you be looking for something so specific as to only favor your preferred genre? To me, no. If you do, then you may have too much disposable income. And to me, here is where the SV021 can cross those lines. Rich of sound, even with the peaks, but not necessarily tied to one genre. Does it work best for something such as mellower listening? Sure. Does it perform best for say EDM or classical? Probably not, but it will certainly suffice, especially when you combine the price and superb build. Again, my first impression of the color combination was of a car interior. But in hand, it really is quite gorgeous. Plus, I have just been told you can now purchase this model in black (see pictures). Stained black Rosewood is all right, but to me you hide the character of the wood itself by doing so. That said, if you prefer a more subtle look, then indeed the black is the best choice. This does seem weird to me as I usually prefer more subdued looks. No matter, I still like the SV021.

Finally, there have been a couple of reviews, which seemed to pan the SV021, and do so quickly. To me doing so might be their modus operandi, but you really need to be informed on all fronts to make your decision. I like the SV021, they do not. This is how it should be, but the reviews must be of a thorough nature. I have had items, which I really, really did not like, but I still went through the motions, promoting the item for who MIGHT like it. And I think that is the way it should be. You may indeed make your impressions early after a couple of hours, and they may not change (as I mentioned). But to dismiss it after that short time is shorting your obligations as a reviewer and one, we need to take seriously. I like the SV021 for its laid-back nature, potent and placeable bass, even if it is not as taut or deep as I would like. Mids are good, but not great. They portray the sound adequately, but do not shine. If you prefer a shining set of mids, look elsewhere. If you want a thoroughly competent, rich, warm signature that presents itself as laid back, for an affordable price and with gorgeous looks and build; then the SV021 may be one at which to look.

I thank Sivga for the review sample, I do like the SV021 for what it presents: that richness of sound, coupled with a laid-back signature and gorgeous looks, which I like. That’s it in a nutshell. That’s why I like it.

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yong_shun

1000+ Head-Fier
Craftsman Spirit!
Pros: Excellent build quality with modern physical appearance
Precise bass response
Decent wearing comfort
Transparent and natural mids
Well extended highs
High-quality stock cable
Can be easily driven for portable usage
Cons: The stock cable is too long for portable use
Hemp storage pouch does not protect headphones

Disclaimer: This article is originally posted on Headphonesty. Thank you to Collin Yang from Sivga for providing the Robin (SV021) for review purposes.

Sivga continues to live up to their motto of ‘craftsman spirit’ with their latest release of the Robin, closed-back headphones with wooden ear cups finished to a piano gloss.


The Robin are the latest closed-back headphones from Sivga. Similar to some of Sivga’s other models, the Robin feature wooden ear cups with a high gloss piano finish and metal headband. This is indeed a combination of classic and modern design, giving the Robin a unique appearance.

The Robin are powered by a pair of high-efficiency, in-house designed, 50mm dynamic drivers. Sivga designed the closed-back Robin to be easily driven to enhance their portability. Sivga uses both the name Robin and the model number SV021 interchangeably. To avoid confusion, I will use the model name, Robin, for this review.

The Robin exhibit similar characteristics to other models - classic wooden ear cups with high profile gloss piano finish and metal headband.

Company Overview​

Sivga was established in Dongguan city, China in 2016. Being a comprehensive enterprise, Sivga integrated 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: Closed-back headphones
  • Drivers: 1 x 50mm dynamic driver with ultra-thin diaphragm made of polycarbonate (PC) and fiber
  • Impedance (Ohms): 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity (dB): 105 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): 275 g

Packaging​

The unboxing experience of Robin is definitely enjoyable. The headphones are well-packaged in a black box, with the brand and model number 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 too - “Created with Craftsman Spirit”.

The “spirit” can be immediately felt when you open the box.

There’s a hemp storage pouch included in the packaging. However, I find the protection provided by the fabric storage pouch to be insufficient. Perhaps, a simple hard case would serve the purpose better.

The headphones are well-packaged in a black box, with brand, model number, and technical specifications clearly printed.

The “craftsman spirit” can be immediately felt when you open the box.


In the box​

  • Sivga Robin headphones
  • Detachable cable (1.6m)
  • Hemp headphone storage pouch
  • 3.5mm to 6.35mm conversion adaptor

The hemp pouch for storage purpose.
The accessories included in the box.

Cable​

The Robin come with a detachable cable, terminated with a 3.5mm unbalanced jack. On the headphone side, Sivga uses 2.5mm dual-mono tip-sleeve (TS) jacks. This type of jack is used by HiFiMan on their older HE4XX and Audioquest Nighthawk. The cable is well insulated with a layer of fabric at the outer layer. To reduce the strain stress exerted on the 3.5mm jack, Sivga includes a spring as strain-relief to improve overall durability.

The stock cable’s length is 1.6m. Personally, I find this length to be too long for portable usage. I would appreciate it if Sivga would include another shorter cable (around 1.3m) for portable usage.

On the headphone’s side, Sivga uses 2.5mm dual-mono tip-sleeve (TS) jacks. This type of jack is used by Hifiman on their older HE4XX and Audioquest Nighthawk.

To reduce the strain stress exerted to the 3.5mm jack, Sivga installed a spring as strain-relief to improve the overall durability of the cable.

Design​

The eye-catching design of Robin is definitely one of their selling points. Sivga’s extensive experience in designing and producing wood ear cups is evident in the well-polished, shiny gloss finish. I could not stop myself from touching the ear cups immediately when I removed them from the box. The surface is as smooth as a piano.

The cup surface is well-polished and finished to a high-profile shiny gloss.


The headband of Robin is made of lightweight metal and matches well with the classic-looking ear cups, yielding a unique and modern design. The headband cushion and ear pads are light brown and thick, providing good comfort for users. The ear pads can be removed and replaced easily by twisting.

The silver headband matches well with the classic-looking ear cups, yielding a unique and modern design.
The ear pads can be removed and replaced easily by twisting.

The clips on the bottom of the ear pads.

Comfort​

I am not a frequent full-sized headphone user because the majority of headphone ear cups are too small for me. However, the Robin’s thick pads do not “press” on my face when I am wearing them and the depth and width of ear cups are sufficient to house my big ears too.

The Robin provide me with a high level of comfort, and allow me to have them on for hours.

The headband is well padded and appears to be the same material as the ear cups. The cushion distributes the weight of the headphones evenly on my head and I do not feel any hotspot pressure even after long hours of wearing.
The ear pads of Robin are thick and they do not really “press” on my face when I am wearing them.
The depth and width of ear cups are sufficient to house my big ears.

Internals​

The Robin are powered by a pair of 50mm dynamic drivers. Sivga designed the dynamic driver in-house with an ultra-thin diaphragm made of polycarbonate (PC) and fiber.

Sivga did not mention this specifically but I am assuming this is the same diaphragm used in their highly-acclaimed model, Phoenix.

Robin Sound​

To analyze the sound quality of the Robin, I mainly used my desktop setup - a Topping E30 DAC with a iFi Audio Zen Can amplifier. After several hours of auditioning, I observed that despite the Robin being easily driven by portable DAP such as my Lotoo PAW6000, the performance from a more powerful source yields better results.

You’ll need a powerful source to obtain the maximum capability of the Robin.

The sound signature of the Robin can be classified as neutral and balanced. The three main parts of the frequency spectrum (bass, midrange, treble) receive equal amounts of focus. The overall sound signature does not alter much by changing the source, but the differences to the specific parts of the frequency spectrum are significant. I will elaborate more shortly.

The soundstage of Robin is above average. With an adequate amount of expansion in each axis, they provide users an experience of three-dimensional headroom. They are arguably better when compared to some open-back headphones that are tuned to sound more “in your face”. I do not feel any fatigue after long hours of listening.

Occasionally, I found myself turning my head because I could feel some sounds around me - instruments are well-positioned to create an impression of surround sound.

Out of the box, I immediately observed that the detail retrieval capability of the Robin is extraordinary. In some of the tracks that I always listen to, I found “surprises” with the Robin. To confirm their capability, I compared the sound with some of my better IEMs. Those newly noticed details are indeed more prominent and are better highlighted on the Robin.

I look forward to re-listening to those tracks again with the Robin to find more “surprises” in the music.

The sound signature does not alter much with different sources, but the differences in parts of the frequency spectrum are significant.

Bass​

The bass performance of the Robin can be described as speedy, responsive, and accurate. Whenever a bass note is hit, the Robin can respond energetically and accurately without affecting notes in other frequencies. This accuracy in the bass preserves good clarity and transparency in the overall performance. The mid-bass is not boosted to enhance warmth which improves the overall cleanliness of the sound signature.

The quantity of the bass is only average and I personally do not think the Robin will be sufficient for bass-head audiophiles. The Robin have good extension in the sub-bass, creating a good depth that contributes to the three-dimensional soundstage. I can feel the rumble from the sub-bass as a small punch on my eardrums. They are not the kicking type.

Sivga focused on accuracy and precision when tuning, rather than boosting the bass to hit the maximum “enjoyable” state where all other factors are compromised. I consider this mature tuning.

The Robin can be easily driven by portable DAP such as my Lotoo PAW6000.

Midrange​

Thanks to the precision and accuracy of the bass, the midrange of the Robin has a high level of transparency with an absolutely low level of coloration. I get exactly what the track has without any blending, mixing, or coloring from the headphones. It is as good as getting a photo in RAW format from your DSLR.

To continue the photography analogy, the midrange of Robin can be Photoshopped by swapping the source, either a DAC or amplifier. Using the Topping E30/iFi Zen Can combo the midrange of the Robin is neutrally balanced, neither warm nor dry. When I swapped the amplifier to my ALO Audio RX Nickel edition, the midrange shifted towards the more analytical side.

The Robin is responsive to the nature of the amplifiers and DACs. I spent lots of time experimenting and I finally settled on the Topping E30 plus iFi Zen Can combo.

The Robin are capable of handling both male and female vocals well. Male vocals are natural, with a good body, and are well segregated within the mid-bass with no bleeding. Female vocals are airy, spacious, and engaging. They maintain politeness towards my eardrums with no irritating piercing or harsh sibilance in the vocals.

When I swapped the amplifier to my ALO Audio RX Nickel edition, the midrange shifts towards a more analytical sound.

Treble​

The treble of the Robin is well-extended with a good amount of space. The presentation is smooth and airy. Robin handle the decay of the super-high frequencies decently with negligible distortion. This contributes to the high level of cleanliness and makes the treble is an enjoyable component and equal partner in the overall sound.

With the Robin, I can really pick out guitar plucking and cymbal crashing in the music, without a need to focus on these aspects. They are brought to the same level as the vocals and bass. With help from the wide soundstage, all these components play harmonically with each other without collisions.

Listening to the Robin is as enjoyable as listening to my Edifier desktop speaker - open and non-fatiguing.

With the Robin, I can really enjoy guitar plucking and cymbal crashing.

Comparison​

Audio Technica ATH-M50X​

The Audio Technica ATH-M50X could arguably be the most competitive challenger for the Sivga Robin in the same price bracket. Launched in 2007, the ATH-M50X are still in production, and Audio Technica releases new limited editions of them from time to time. I have owned my pair of ATH-M50X since 2015 and they still serve me as a good pair of monitoring headphones.

The sound signature of the ATH-M50X is similar to the Robin. However, the overall performance of the ATH-M50X is duller and colder, while the Robin are more energetic and engaging. The Robin bring the music to me in a more lively form.

In terms of detail capability, both are at the same level.

The ATH-M50X focuses more on mid-bass, creating some bloat in their low-end performance. The Robin have a more balanced bass, focusing equally on both sub and mid-bass. This creates a drastic difference in terms of soundstage. The soundstage of the Robin is more three-dimensional as compared to the ATH-M50X’s linear soundstage.

In terms of build quality, the ATH-M50X are made of plastic and the ear cups are shallower. The modern and fashionable-looking Robin are definitely more eye-catching for consumers. The deeper ear cups and better cushioning on the headband are more comfortable as well.

The Robin are an attractive choice for headphones below USD$200.

The modern and fashionable looking Robin are definitely more eye-catching for consumers than the ATH-M50X.

Where to Buy​

Conclusion​

Sivga has achieved numerous successes with the release of the Robin - combining eye-catching design, comfortable wearing experience, and outstanding sound quality. The Robin are definitely state-of-the-art headphones within a reasonable price tag under USD$200. Within this price range, I really can not find anything that is close to the Robin in terms of physical appearance and sonic performance.

For those who are looking for a pair of entry-level audiophile headphones, the Sivga Robin should be on your list. The maturity of design and tuning from Sivga is totally worth the price. You will not be disappointed by the Robin!

RikudouGoku

Member of the Trade: Earbud Maker
Pros: Comfort
Lightweight
Clear size adjustment steps
Build quality
Cons: Accessories
Everything sound related
Needs EQ, to make it somewhat decent
Not recommended
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Disclaimer: I received this review unit for free from SIVGA, thank you very much. (I prayed to the audio-gods and burned in for 40 hours because…it doesn’t sound good and it didn’t help.)

Price: 150 usd

Specifications:

Driver: Dynamic driver

Driver size: φ 50mm

Frequency response: 20Hz - 20KHz

Sensitivity: 105dB +/- 3dB

Impedance: 32 Ohm +/-15%

Cable length: 1.6M +/-0.2M

Connector: φ 3.5mm

Weight: 275g


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Accessories:

Carry pouch

3.5 -> 6.35mm adapter


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Cable: 1.13 ohm, 2 core, close to 2-meter cloth cable. A bit too long for my usage but is decent (metal divider and connectors) and is colored matched to suit the headphones themselves.


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Build: Wooden cups with a glossy finish. Headband is in metal and with leather (probably pleather) padding. The pads are thick and pretty big and soft memory foams. The adjustment system is very good, with clear clicks.

Fit: Very good, they are pretty large for my smaller head/ears so they should fit a lot of people. You can only tilt (up/down) the cups and not swivel (left/right) though.

Comfort: Very comfortable due to the low-weight (275 gram) and the big pads. Lower heat generation than usual closed-back headphones. Although the headband could have some more padding since it doesn’t have much padding.

Isolation: Pretty good.

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

Lows:
Elevated bass not particularly sub nor mid-bass focused as they are pretty even, but will not satisfy bassheads as it doesn’t rumble too much nor extends very low. It is on the cleaner side (balanced out by the treble) and doesn’t bleed into the mids, but it does help give it a warmer tonality (although it is still an overall bright tonality).

Mid-bass: Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), on the cleaner side due to attack being on the faster side but could be better due to the average decay speed. It could be tighter and have more quantity as well since the bass strikes aren’t very distinct. The (02:55-03:01) section with the chopper is hearable but not very clean.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), fun due to the quantity, while it is on the cleaner side due to the tightness and speed (specifically attack, decay could be a bit faster).

Sub-bass: Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), not a lot of rumble and extension is below average. Punch quantity is also not that elevated nor is it very tight/fast. Sounds a bit bloated and yet clean at the same time.

Will Sparks – Sick like that (03:08-03:22), quantity could be more elevated but it is pretty well texture, tight and fast here.

Mids: Tonality is off, timbre is unnatural and it very recessed and veiled.

Female-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), recessed vocals and veiled.

Yuki Hayashi – MightU (01:58-02:55), recessed vocals and veiled overall.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), recessed vocals and a bit peaky.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Crescent (02:07-02:26), shouty (and sharp cymbals).

Male-vocals: Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (00:57-01:17), recessed vocals and veiled.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), recessed vocals and veiled as well. Timbre is off with the vocals but instrument tonality/timbre are decent.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars are very sharp.

Deuce – America (03:03-03:16), headache inducing treble…

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality lacks a bit of warmth as well as texture, timbre is decent though. Violin tonality, timbre and treble-extension are good.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), treble is too fatiguing (3k & 6k peaks) while tonality is not that accurate nor the timbre.

Soundstage: soundstage is pretty wide for a closed back but lacking a lot of depth.

Tonality: V-shaped on the brighter side and timbre isn’t that good.

Details: Besides macro detail (heavily elevated treble with 3k & 6k peaks certainly helps with some “fake” details) being decent, micro-details is pretty lacking.

Instrument Separation: separation and imaging are decent.

Good genres: Nothing

Bad genres: Entire library



Comparisons:

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

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), similar extension but a bit more rumble on the SV021. Punch quantity is also a bit higher on the SV021 but tighter and faster on the KPH30i while texture is similar. A bit better tonality on the SV021, although the timbre is more natural on the KPH30i.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), cleaner on the KPH30i due to it having a tighter/faster and a bit lower bass quantity. Texture is similar while the tonality is more accurate on the KPH30i.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), bass is cleaner on the SV021 but the treble is very peaky.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument tonality and timbre are a lot better on the KPH30i. Vocal tonality is more accurate on the SV021 but timbre is a lot better on the KPH30i as well as more forward vocals. Due to the very peaky treble on the SV021, it is perceived as the cleaner and the one with more macro-details, although micro-details are similar.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a lot more fatiguing, sharper treble and shoutier vocals on the SV021.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), Instrument and vocal tonality/timbre are leagues ahead of the SV021.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), electric guitars are a lot sharper and unnatural timbre on the SV021. A lot more fatiguing on the SV021.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello tonality, timbre and texture are better on the KPH30i but cleaner on the SV021. Violin tonality and treble-extension are better on the SV021 but is sharp, timbre is a lot better on the KPH30i.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality and timbre are a lot better on the KPH30i.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), wider on the SV021 but deeper and more holographic on the KPH30i. Detail, imaging and separation are better on the SV021 (due to the very peaky and elevated treble) but timbre are leagues ahead on the KPH30i.

Overall: The KPH30 is a lot more well-tuned, smoother and more refined treble and the more relaxing one. While the SV021 would only be recommended (if at all) to treble-heads.



Headphone: Sony MDR-1AM2, stock pads, stock cable 4.4mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends and rumbles a lot more on the 1AM2. Punch quantity is also higher on the 1AM2 while texture, speed and tightness are better as well. A lot more tonally (sounds veiled on the SV021) correct as well as more natural timbre on the 1AM2.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), bass is more elevated and yet cleaner due to the tightness and speed as well as more textured. Tonality is a lot better on the 1AM2, cleaner and less fatiguing at the same time while timbre is also a lot more natural on it.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), peakier treble, veiled and unclean on the SV021…

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument and vocal tonality and timbre are leagues ahead on the 1AM2.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), veiled and extremely peaky treble on the SV021.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), instrument and vocal tonality and timbre are leagues ahead on the 1AM2.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), a lot sharper on the SV021 while timbre and tonality are a lot better on the 1AM2.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Violins/cellos on the 1AM2 is better in every way.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), 1AM2 is better in every way.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), wider on the SV021 but a lot deeper and more holographic on the 1AM2. Macro detail is better on the SV021 (due to the massive treble peaks) but imaging, separation and timbre on the 1AM2 is outclassing the SV021.

Overall: The 1AM2 is better in almost every way.







Headphone: Sivga Phoenix, stock pads, stock cable 3.5mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), similar extension but more rumble on the SV021. Punch quantity is also higher on it but tighter, faster and a bit more textured. Tonality and timbre are a lot better on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), a lot more natural tonality/timbre and isn’t veiled on the Phoenix.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), a lot more natural tonality/timbre and isn’t veiled on the Phoenix.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), a lot more natural tonality/timbre, not recessed mids and not veiled on the Phoenix.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a lot sharper and veiled on the SV021.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), a lot more natural tonality/timbre, not recessed mids and not veiled on the Phoenix.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), a lot sharper and veiled on the SV021.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cellos/violins are better in every way on the Phoenix.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), everything is better on the Phoenix.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), similar width but a lot deeper and holographic soundstage on the Phoenix. Detail, imaging, separation and timbre are leagues ahead on the Phoenix.

Overall: The Phoenix is outclassing the SV021.



Headphone: Denon AH-D1100, stock pads, stock cable 3.5mm

Bass:
Djuro – Drop that bass (01:15-01:30), extends lower and rumbles a lot more on the D1100. Punch quantity, speed and texture are similar but tighter on the SV021. Tonality is more accurate as well as more natural timbre on the D1100.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Pretenders (01:18-01:47), mid-bass quantity is a lot higher on the D1100 and is more textured. Faster and tighter on the SV021 though. But more tonally accurate as well as better timbre on the D1100.

Metallica – fight fire with fire (01:11-01:52), cleaner due to the lower quantity, faster and tighter bass on the SV021 but quite sharp treble on it.

Mids: Hiroyuki Sawano – OldToday (01:25-01:52), instrument tonality and timbre are a lot better on the D1100. Vocal tonality is a bit better on the SV021 but sharp, timbre is a lot better on the D1100 and is more forward and not veiled.

Evanescence – Bring me to life (01:18-01:35), a lot sharper and fatiguing on the SV021.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Scapegoat (00:57-01:17), everything is better on the D1100.

Treble: Linkin Park – Shadow of the Day (03:24-03:42), a lot sharper electric guitars on the SV021 and timbre is worse.

Hiroyuki Sawano – Lose (string version) (01:22-01:59), Cello/violins are better on the D1100.

Hiroyuki Sawano &Z (02:18-02:57), tonality and timbre are a lot better on the D1100.

Technicalities: Shiro Sagisu – Hundred years war (02:24-02:57), wider on the SV021 but a lot deeper and holographic on the D1100. Imaging, separation and details are better on the SV021 but timbre is a lot better on the D1100.

Overall: The D1100 is the better tuned and a lot cheaper headphone. Where the SV021 is only more technical thanks to its massive treble peaks.





Conclusion: Unfortunately, I really cannot recommend this. Unless you really want to try a bright V-shaped headphone, but even if that is the case, I highly recommend demoing first OR (since most people can’t demo stuff) get it somewhere like amazon where you can return it without much hassle if don’t like it.

EQ solution (still not worth it even with EQ):

Low-shelf: 80hz, Q: 1, Gain: 4db

Low-shelf: 200hz, Q: 0.6, Gain: -3db

Peak: 450hz, Q: 1.4, Gain: 8db

Peak: 3000hz, Q: 3, Gain: -4db

Peak: 6000hz, Q: 3, Gain: -4db

High-shelf: 2000hz, Q: 0.6, Gain: -2db

High-shelf: 10 000hz, Q: 0,7, Gain: -2db

Cable source:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet...zTm4ei7HEfP8AI1zxswrMw2ho/edit#gid=1801072063

Reference/test songs:
Last edited:
Gevi
Gevi
Very informative review, thank you for the reference songs as well!

PcChip

Head-Fier
"fine"
Pros: comfy
Cons: cheap plastic feeling "wood"
decently resolving for the price

couldn't find any FR graphs so I whipped out mspaint and drew up what I'm hearing with my ears, likely to be very wrong but this is my impression after listening for 10 minutes

9v9eoHx.png
Last edited:
warrenpchi
warrenpchi
Seems legit lol. 🤣
PcChip
PcChip
guess I was close?

ebtwlDP.png

cash1489

New Head-Fier
Sivga SV021 Headphone Review: These $149 Headphones Are The Best For Audiophiles On A Budget!
Pros: Beautiful Design
Smooth, Crisp, Balanced Sound
Expansive Soundstage
Cons: No Hard Storage Case
Sound is a little edgy up top

The Low Down​

While the good looks, quality build, and reasonable price may get them in the door, the Sivga SV021's ($149) sensational comfort plus detailed and expansive presentation keep them hanging around.

These nice closed-back dynamic headphones have a naturally open sound that makes them a joy to listen to, and the plush earpads will make sure you feel good while doing so. They’re also very sensitive, so you can drive them with any device.

That said, they do scale up well with a quality DAC/Amp combo like the Audioquest Dragonfly Cobalt.

There is some roll-off at the extremes of the audioband, which keeps it from fully competing with more expensive offerings, but their lively, open presentation makes them sound a lot more expensive than they are. Just keep in mind, there is a bit of peakiness up top that comes out on certain songs, so if you're sensitive to upper mids/lower treble, then that's something to think about. They also do better with lower gain sources.



The only thing they’re missing is a hard storage case, but they do come with a nice box to store and protect them at home.

Good-sounding closed-back headphones are hard to come by, especially for $149! So if you’re looking for a decent sounding closed-back headphone at a value price, check it out!

(Check out our review of the SIVGA Phoenix Open Back Headphones!)

Build/Comfort​

The Sivga SV021, otherwise known as “Robin,” is a closed-back headphone with sumptuous lacquered wood earcups and plush protein leather earpads. The sleek metal headband is also covered in plush protein leather.

The color scheme of tan leather juxtaposed against the aluminum frame and rosewood cups makes the Sivga SV021 look more premium than you would expect for the cost. The matching tangle-resistant detachable cable adds to the luxurious look.

Speaking of detachable, the earpads are removable as well. In addition, a bayonet mount makes for quick replacement when the originals are worn out.

As far as wearing comfort goes, the light clamping force combined with the cushy memory foam earpads makes these very nice to wear for long listening sessions. And even though the clamp is light, it still keeps the headphones firmly placed on your head. So it’s really nicely judged.

SV021-wood.jpg


I also liked how the cups adjusted smoothly and clicked securely in place. They have a wide range of adjustment, so you will have no issue with fit if you have a big noggin like mine. The teardrop-shaped openings in the pads also had plenty of room for my big ears, which was nice.

Inside the cups, you will find large 50mm diameter drivers with thin polycarbonate diaphragms and 3mm Neodymium magnets for a powerful dynamic performance.

While I didn’t find a whole lot to complain about in terms of build, it’s worth mentioning that noise isolation is rather weak for a closed-back headphone. It’s better than an open-back but not great compared to other closed models.

Also, inside the box, there aren’t many extras. You get a cloth-carrying pouch along with a 3.5mm to 1/4“ adapter, and that’s about it. I would’ve loved to see a hard-carrying case like the one that comes with their Phoenix headphones.

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However, with the SV021 selling at such a great price, I can’t complain too much, especially with nice cases selling for as little as 10 bucks on Amazon.

Listening To The Sivga SV021​

For my listening tests, I hooked the SV021 up to many different DAC/Amp combos. My two favorites were the $79 Audirect Atom2 and $159 iFi Audio ZEN Dac V2, as they both were a good value just like the headphones, and they had a nice mixture of warmth and detail.

Their sound played well with the SV021, which benefited from their warmth and dynamics. They also curtailed the Sivga’s slight bit of peakiness in the upper mids, which to me is this headphone’s main weakness.

If I had to sum up the SV021 sound in one word, it would be “musical.” I know many people don’t like that word since it can be vague, but to me, it means a sound that pulls you into the music, which these do.

Plenty of budget headphones can do this, like the Hifiman SUNDARA or the Grado HEMP, but those are open-back headphones that cost more than double what the SV021 costs. It’s quite another thing for an inexpensive closed-back headphone to be so open and engaging when playing music, especially for $150.

20210727_124840_2-1024x768.jpg


In terms of detail, the SV021 had good macro and micro detail, although the macro detail was much better, as expected from a budget headphone. That said, although the top end detail was slightly rolled off, removing some of the air you get from more expensive offerings, there was enough there to give me a “big picture” view of the recording space.

As this headphone has something of a V-Shaped sound signature, the mids were more recessed than I usually like. As I said earlier, there is also a tad bit of edginess in the upper mids, but this flaw only became overly distracting when there was hardness coming from a budget DAC/Amp in the chain.

The edginess was hardly noticeable with more refined setups, and the overall the Robin came across as very . There wasn’t any bleed from the upper bass, and the timbre of instruments like strings and drums was quite natural.

20210727_124532-1024x768.jpg


The bass on the SV021 isn’t articulate, but this headphone gives you more than enough mid-bass punch to make things interesting. However, you don’t get the sub-bass rumble as you would get from a Meze 99 headphone.

This is probably the best approach with a closed-back headphone, as a lot of rumble can quickly throw the tonal balance out of wack, making the low end too distracting. That said, bassheads may want a little more depth down low.

Regarding separation, the Robin was good, as they did a decent job of pulling out all the elements of the mix. For example, listening to “Hammer Falls” by The Wandering Hearts, I was impressed by how well all the guitar parts and various harmony parts were broken out.

20210727_125249-1-1024x768.jpg


The strings were also rich and full-bodied, which demonstrated how well these headphones reproduced timbre. Due to the top-end roll-off, I didn’t quite get the micro-detail one would get from a more expensive headphone (like the SUNDARA, for example), but the strings were still pleasing.

When it came to Dynamics, the Macrodynamics were really good. Microdynamics were sufficient enough to give me an inkling of spatiality. The difference between quiet and loud passages was quite pronounced, especially for a headphone at this level.

When I compared it to the Drop x Sennheiser HD58X Jubilee, another headphone I like at the SV021’s price point, the HD58X did better with Microdynamics, meaning you could actually hear "into" the music better, but I liked the Macrodynamics on the Sivga headphone a little more.

As far as Soundstage and Imaging go, this is the area the SV021 really impressed me. It’s tough to make a closed-back headphone sound somewhat open and speaker-like, and the ones that succeed usually sell for $500 and above. So the fact that Sivga achieved this in a headphone that costs 150 bucks is amazing.

20210727_124907_2-1024x768.jpg


It won’t compete with more expensive open-back headphones, but it sure holds its own against open-back headphones in its price range.

Again, when comparing it to the open-back Drop HD58X, it actually had a bigger soundstage and less of the “three-blob” left, right, center effect. That said, it didn’t have quite the full panoramic sound or the soundstage width of the aforementioned SUNDARA.

The Wrap Up​

With its warm, expansive sound, not to mention its beautiful design, the B]Sivga SV021[/B] has become a quality option for a sub $500 closed-back headphone. So if you're looking for budget audiophile cans to play your tunes while working, these should be on your list...

This review was originally posted at hifitrends.com
Last edited by a moderator:
NymPHONOmaniac
NymPHONOmaniac
seem like semi-open back HP to me...due to venting ports on the cups. Kinda AKG K141mk2 ...
what about sound leakage bro??
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Reactions: Gevi
Gevi
Gevi
Yeah I have been also hesitant on them regarding isolation.
However from what I have read so far, it doesn't seam to be that noticeable.
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