Sivga Phoenix, priced as 255$ MSRP, have been talked about a lot when it first came out. Directly aiming at the reigning kings, HD6** series below 500$ at the time, it was relatively successful. In this review I will mostly compare Sivga Phoenix to HD600 (my review here) with a few others.
- Well Built and Comfortable
- Nice Cable and Accesories
- Warm and Lush Sound
- Enjoyable Presentation
- Small Headband
- Not Very Clear and Detailed
Without boring you too much, I don’t necessarily have a sound preference. I tend to enjoy different sound profiles as long as they do well at what they intend to do. I’m not very sensitive to treble so I can enjoy the most notoriously bright headphones, however I’m somewhat sensitive to upper mids area. Please keep these in mind. Also I bought Sivga Phoenix as well as other headphones mentioned here with my own money. If a unit I reviewed is given or loaned to me in the future, I will say so here.
Build, Comfort and Trivia
Sivga Audio is a relatively new brand, founded in 2016. However their roots go deeper than that as they have been producing OEM parts and headphones for other brands and still do as far as I know. They also own Sendy Audio, which is their higher end brand and all of their headphones and earphones have Planar Magnetic Transducers so far. All of the full size headphones in their line up, including Phoenix are made out of wood but their earphones have more diverse materials.
Sivga Phoenix is well made, no doubt about that. If I didn’t know the price, I would say they were easily 700$-800$ headphones. Believe me I also have Sendy Peacocks and they are more similar than different. Either you like it or hate it but everyone admits Sendy Peacocks are one of the most luxurious headphones.
All of Sivga and Sendy headphones come with nice carrying case and accesories, and Phoenixes are no exception. The package includes a nice faux leather carrying case and a soft fabric coated 3.5 mm to dual 2.5 mm cable with linen cable pouch. Weirdly enough, 3.5 mm to 6.35 mm jack adapter is not included in the box, at least there weren’t any in mine. I think I came across such a thing only with Meze X Massdrop Noir 99s. Designers of these headphones must think that you wouldn’t be stuck on a desktop device with these. Yes, they are also very sensitive so you should have no problem driving them from any device.
Comfortwise Sivga Phoenixes are one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever worn. They are light. The surface of earpads that touches the face is fabric so heat build-up is less than average. Headband is suspension strap style and with spring steel and leather. However I have to make a disclaimer: size of the headband of Phoenix is pretty small, so if your head is on the large side, it won’t fit. There was no issue for me but I was very suprised to see such a small headroom in headband adjustment.
Sivga Phoenix is a warm neutral headphone. If you are coming from a neutral, or in this case dead neutral headphone, first thing you will notice is the warmness and lushness. Subbass rolls off but not too much. You can even say it has an impressive subbass rumble for an open back dynamic headphone. My test track for easily measuring subbass is Violent Dreams from Crystal Castles. There are some others but this song easily has the most 20-30 hz information among the others I know. And here Phoenix has decent amount of wub wub.
Midbass of Sivga Phoenix isn’t accentuated. Physicallity is decent but not very impactful. For comparison, HD600 feels tighter. Bass in the Phoenix is mushier in this sense. Either wooden housing smoothes things over or driver is slower, or maybe both. Still warm tones presents an emotional and relaxed listen.
Again mids in Sivga Phoenix is warm. This warmness doesn’t leave you until treble but we will get to that. Lower mids are great. Upper mids are a little recessed. I’m a bit sensitive in Upper Mids so this tuning is quite welcome. But presentation isn’t as intimate as HD6** series. It’s more of a give and take. You lose some intimacy and get some warmness. This also means when you get into mood and increase the volume it won’t get shouty. Strings and piano sounded decent but nothing too impressive.
Sivga Phoenix is close to neutral in the most of the treble range. Cymbals are clear and has a decent bite to them. Metal songs were enjoyable, even more than my HD600. It extends better than HD600 too. Treble in Phoenix is well done but not perfect. I caught sibilance here and there but not very often. It usually depended on the track I was listening or the dac I was using. If your dac or amp pushes details in your face, these can get sibilant sometimes.
With these experiences I was going to call Sivga Phoenix a warm and smooth listen and call it a day. But decided to begin torture test. By that I mean torture test for me. It was time to try some JPOP Anime songs, namely Sayuri’s About a Voyage. I love Sayuri’s songs but there is something wrong with them in the upper registers. I don’t know if it is intentional or not but if the headphones are accentuated in the upper treble or air zone, listening to these songs quickly becomes fatiguing. Phoenix in this song became on bearable. It means two things. One: these extend well and feel airy. Two: don’t listen JPOP or similar songs on these. Metal is okay though.
Sivga Phoenix is not very clear and detailed. Especially in the mids it sounds stuffy and veiled. I compared them to HD600s a lot but they are very different in this area. Details you can get from them are in the upper registers and I imagine they would make good gaming headphones too.
Their soundstage is a little wider than HD600s and imaging is noticably better too. Well HD6** headphones are worse examples of the market in terms of imaging. But instrument seperation is better on HD600s.
Timbre in Phoenix is not perfect but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily bad, you can say it is fine. In the great scheme of headphone arena, coming by a natural sounding headphone is pretty rare. You can feel some instruments feel off here and there and in the midrange you can’t shake the nasally feeling if you come from more technically capable headphone. But once your brain adjust you don’t get that feeling anymore.
Sivga Phoenix vs. Sennheiser HD600
I compared them a lot throughout the review but let me reiterate. Phoenix is warmer and HD600 is leaner. Bass in HD600 is tighter, impact is more impressive but Phoenix extends deeper into the subbass. HD600 is more intimate, clear and detailed in the mids and vocals. Phoenix is rather recessed and almost sounds stuffed in the mids. Treble extension is better in Phoenix. Although mostly enjoyable, can rarely become sibilant and fatiguing. Phoenix also clearer in the treble but no doubt HD600 is more technically capable. Soundstage is a little wider and imaging is better on Phoenix.
I imagine Phoenix aimed at Sennheiser’s share of the market but didn’t quite deliver. Sound profile and presentation is different than similar. Although Sivga Phoenix has better accesories and is cheaper, there is the truth named HD6XX. It is hard to recommend when HD6XX is mostly a better headphone and even cheaper.
Sivga Phoenix vs. Beyerdynamic HD880 600 Ohm
This may come as a suprise but I didn’t want to stuck onto HD600s for all the comparisons. Bass also extends very well on DT880s, they are more similar than different here. Midbass bump on DT880 makes them feel more dynamic, but it is tight so doesn’t effect the rest of the frequency range. Mids are just right on DT880, doesn’t feel recessed like on Phoenix, clear and crisp. Treble becomes a problem on DT880 more quickly than Phoenix. If your DAC and amp isn’t warm, sibilance and fatigue is waiting for you. DT880 images exceptionally, soundstage is wider and more detailed.
All things aside it is almost a crime that a seemingly neutral headphone like DT880 is this fun. It is almost a V-Shaped headphone in which every part of the frequency range minds their own business. I might just review these too and I hope this comparisons acts like a teaser more than a spoiler.
Sivga Phoenix is a well built and premium looking headphone that comes with nice accesories. They are one of the easiest to drive headphones on the market so if you don’t want to invest in an amp and alike, they might suit you. I mostly enjoyed listening my music with them, even more than HD600s. I can’t say they are a better pair of headphones let alone technically more capable. Sivga Phoenix is an enjoyable headphone. Almost everything sounds good on them. But their capability is limited. I imagine you will be left wanting and expecting more. Also competition in this price range is so stiff I have a hard time recommending it. If you liked what you read and find a good deal or always wanted to try some wooden headphones without breaking the bank Sivga Phoenix might be just the thing for you.