SV021 Robin is Sivga’s Closed Back headphone that is targeted toward more budget concious consumers. Their MSRP is 179$ but usually sold at 149$. Sivga recently released Oriole which is sold for 199$. I’m not sure if they are supposed to replace SV021 but for now that doesn’t seem to be the case. Unfortunately, I don’t have Oriole so this review does not consist of the two models’ comparison but if we get a pair in the future, we will try to update this one too.
Edit: I’ve also reviewed Orioles and I’m adding the comparison part in this review too. If you are interested, you can check out my full Oriole review here.
- Very Well Built with Quality Materials
- Easily Likeable V-Shaped Sound Signature
- Pretty Good Sound Stage
- Extremely Comfortable
- Too Warm in Other Words Thick Sound Will not Suit to Everyone or Every Music Genre
- Not Very Technically Capable
- Isolation is Just OK for a Closed Back
- Mids are Sucked Out and It Feels Unnatural in Some Songs
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 try to be critic in my reviews but I might be somewhat biased one way or another (Recency bias, buyer’s bias etc.). Please keep these in mind. Also, I bought Sivga SV021 Robin 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
SV021 Robin is my second pair of Sivga headphones I owned and reviewed (you can also check out my Sivga Phoenix Review here) and the third I owned if you take Sendy Peacocks into the account. All the Sendy headphones, as far as I know, are planar magnetic. Sivgas on the other hand, mostly dynamic drivers except P-II which is also a planar magnetic Like all the Sivgas, SV021s very well built with wood, leather and metal. Of course, in this case leather is probably synthetic but still earpads and headband is so soft that you don’t want to put them off even if you don’t listen to music. Pads are made from soft memory foam. In the box, they only included 1.6m long single ended cable with fabric coating, 6.35mm jack adapter and a carrying pouch as accessories.
SV021 Robins have a V-Shaped sound signature that is not very generic. They are not correct sounding but not very offensive either.
Bass is the most prominent part of SV021 Robins’ sound signature. They have decent subbass extension. However, you would expect such quantity would rock your socks off which is not the case. Robins are quite gentle. I had Meze 99 Noirs for a while and I expected these to be similar. I was wrong. SV021 Robins sound warm, even thick but they don’t hit hard. More like they push or try to shove you but there is not much force behind it. Maybe I’m spoiled with better headphones and IEMs but this is how I felt with SV021s’ bass.
Bass bleeds into the mids, well it is more than bleed, it invades the mids so you end up with thick sounding headphones. Then it gets sucked out somewhere which causes unevenness in some songs. Modern genres are relatively safe but complex songs suffer from this quite often.
Like most of the V-Shaped headphones, SV021 Robins are bright up top. They can get sibilant and grating quite easily in higher volumes. Also, you can come across sudden peaks even when you think you are listening in a relatively safe volume. To be honest I had one the worst Gangsta’s Paradise experiences with their mushy bass and tiring treble.
I’m not sure what to say here. I don’t think the drivers are particularly capable, then again, they can also be held back with this kind of tuning. Alhough SV021 Robins sound wider than the usual closed backs, they are not particularly wide. Notes sound like they linger more than necessary, which can be also a good thing if you like it. They are not very resolving but, you may hear some details you haven’t before and you may not hear some details you are familiar with. This aspect can be attributed to bright treble and recessed mids of SV021 Robins’. Their warm nature also hampers the clarity quite noticeably. All in all, they are weird more than they are bad.
I couldn’t find a fair closed-back rival to compare for SV021 Robins to be honest. My Beyerdynamic Custom One Pros and Dekoni Blues are both modified. So just for comparisons sake I pulled out my Fostex TH610s. They have a warm neutral sound signature which is quite different from SV021 Robins’. But this may also serve as to decide SV021s’ alignment.
Sivga SV021 Robin vs. Fostex TH610
- Although both are easily driven, TH610s are harder to drive.
- Neither isolate sound very well due to their vented structure.
- Sound quality difference is easily noticeable. TH610 sounds more correct.
- SV021 much more bassier, warmer and thicker, TH610 more neutral. But TH-610s bass is somehow more satisfying. There is more definition and texture to it. SV021 is kind of mushy.
- SV021 also has more subbass which is not surprising.
- Mids are more forward on TH-610. Female vocals sound lovely but borderline shouty at the same time.
- TH610 is also bright in the upper frequencies and can get sibilant like other Fostex headphones but not as much as SV021.
- In all technical aspects TH610 is superior, they are clearer, wider, more resolving and separation of instruments is much better. Then again, Sv021 and TH610 are in different price ranges and have different sound signatures.
Edit: After this review I got Sivga Orioles and that comparison made much more sense.
Sivga Oriole vs. Sivga Robin
They have pretty much the same build and the same accessories. Headbands are exactly the same except Orioles’ yolks can swivel 180 degrees and lay flat. Both are very comfortable but Robins are more comfortable with their plush memory foam pads and they can accommodate larger heads and ears. Cables are also the same. They both come with fabric sheathed microphonic cable, 3.5 mm to 6.35 mm jack adapter and a hemp pouch.
Orioles are an improvement over Robins almost in every way. Robins sound thicker, muddier and splashier. Robins don’t have the bass tuck that Orioles have but they have somewhat recessed mids. Compared to Robins, Orioles have forward mids especially in the upper mids region. They both extend very good into the subbass but Orioles have more satisfying impact. Robins feel mushier compared to that.
Female vocals sound much better on Orioles. But they can get sibilant a tad more easily. Male vocals on the other hand, seem to get sibilant earlier on Robins. Male vocals have more body on Robins but bassier passages tend to mask vocals so I again liked the Orioles presentation better.
Lower treble is more emphasized on Robins and this causes them to sound splashier. But upper trebles are more or less the same. Both are very airy but also can get fatiguing with harsh recordings.
Imaging is a little blurry on Robins, Orioles’s imaging is slightly better. Perceived soundstage feels a little wider on Robins thanks to recessed mids but difference is not very big. Orioles are noticeably more detailed and resolving. Timbre is significantly better on Orioles. I’m not sure if they both have the same drivers but even if they do, inferior tonality on Robins affect the technical performance too.
Sivga SV021 Robins are decent headphones, or good headphones considering their price. No other closed back headphones come to my mind those are as well built as these. If, at least one of the negatives I mentioned was absent they would be an easy recommendation from me at their price. However, I cannot recommend these to everyone as they are. If you are on a budget, looking for a pair of decent closed back headphones, comfort is very important for you or you are not listening to your music critically I’d recommend these. Otherwise, you need to expend a little more.