Today we are testing the Sivga Phoenix hi-fi headphones. This entry ticket to the manufacturer’s range of open-back headphones, is very well built and boasts an artisanal finish. This circumaural model has a high sensitivity of 103 dB combined with a low impedance of 32 ohms. Will it prove to be as sweet as its price tag of €269?
Sivga Phoenix: the brand
Founded in 2016 by Jian ZHOU and Rongchun PAN, Sivga Electronic is the parent company of Sivga Audio, which is the manufacturer of the headphones we are testing today. Driven by the desire to offer quality audiophile solutions at affordable prices, Sivga Audio develops and manufactures all of its headphones in its own factories. Each model is produced from wood selected for its acoustic qualities and benefits from shells handcrafted by the best craftsmen.
Sivga Phoenix: packaging and accessories
The Sivga Phoenix hi-fi headphones come in a black box on which its name, a drawing representing it and the name of the brand are printed. A little touch of elegance, the edges of the box are wood colored, which is reminiscent of the headphones.
When opening the box, we discover the semi-rigid black case wedged in a foam plate. The headphones are Inside this case along with a small white fabric pouch, a detachable 1.6m long cable with 2 x 2.5mm to 3.5mm connectors as well as a 3.5mm to 6.35mm jack adapter.
Sivga Phoenix: presentation
The Sivga Phoenix has an open-back design thus delivering a wide soundstage and is intended for exclusively sedentary use. In addition, its low impedance of 32 ohms associated with its high sensitivity of 105dB opens up all the possibilities in terms of sources. While it is possible to pair it with a smartphone, these headphones will deliver all their musical potential with an audiophile DAP, a headphone amplifier or even a portable audio DAC. As good-looking as it is comfortable, it is adorned with solid wood shells with hand-crafted finishes.
Comfort and build quality
On the scale, the Sivga Phoenix plays in the category of featherweight hi-fi headphones with its 296 grams, which allows it to quickly disappear and let the music do the talking. The elegant wooden shells of the Sivga Phoenix feature thick pads covered with velvet and imitation leather and are held by a metal yoke, which is connected to the headband via a swivelling axis. The headband feels equally qualitative and is equipped with a self-adjusting mecanism for a perfect distribution of the weight on the head. The Sivga Phoenix helmet thus ensures great comfort, even after many hours of use. The headband is reminiscent of Grado headphones in certain respects.
The Sivga Phoenix benefits from exemplary manufacturing quality. Its solid wood shells are made using a CNC machine and benefit from artisanal finishes, which means that each model is unique.
Each shell of the Sivga Phoenix has a 2.5mm connector to connect the 160cm long, detachable cable.
On the other end of the cable is a 3.5 mm mini-jack connector. The headphones also come with a 6.35mm adapter, meaning you can connect the headphones to a wide variety of sources.
The letters “L” (for left) and “R” (for right) are printed inside the earcups, thus ensuring that the polarity is respected when connecting the cable.
Sivga Phoenix: key specifications
Transducer: 50mm, dynamic
Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
Impedance: 32 ohms
2 x 2.5mm to 3.5mm detachable cable
3.5mm to 6.35mm jack adapter
Sivga Phoenix: testing conditions
For this test of the Sivga Phoenix, we used it with the iFi Audio Zen DAC V2 headphone amplifier and DAC connected to our Windows desktop computer to take listen to our Qobuz playlists (24-bit/192kHz) and FLAC files stored in internal memory.
Sivga Phoenix: listening impressions
Travis Scott & Kendrick Lamar – Goosebumps
The Sivga Phoenix / iFi Audio Zen DAC V2 duo set to TrueBass mode brought this song to life! Here we were able to enjoy the deep lows with an almost physical sensation, which is quite rare with an open-back model!
Metallica – Nothing Else Matters
From the first seconds of the track we could hear all the details of each plucked string. From the 40th second, the headphones/DAC pair delivered a nice stereo effect with the strong pleasant echoes of the guitars. At the one minute mark, the impact of the battery was as physical and tight as it should be.
Candy Dufler & Dave Stewart – Lily Was Here
The music was transcribed here with great energy. We were able to hear countless details, especially on the guitar (we were able to perceive the chord changes) and with a clarity that perfectly suited it, without ever falling into the trap of excessive treble.
Michael Bublé – Feeling Good
The theme of this song? The opening of the sound stage! It benefited from a nice width. In addition, the orchestra could constitute a tricky situation, but the Phoenix does not fall into the trap: each element is in its place, no instrument seem to trump the others. The Sivga Phoenix also proved to be dynamic throughout the reinterpretation of the crooner.
Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
On this track, the soundstage was precised and detailed . Norah Jones’s voice was transcribed with a beautiful softness. The overall sound benefitted from great layering, the vocals as well as the instruments were perfectly cut out.
Sivga Phoenix: compared to …
Grado SR225x: sold at €299, the Grado SR225x has a slightly wider frequency response and is a bit more detailed. On the other hand, its Y-cable is welded to the earcups unlike the one that comes with the Sivga. In addition, the grados have an on-ear design, which can cause some discomfort depending on the morphologies. The Sivga Phoenix is the winner when it comes to manufacturing quality and comfort.
Sivga Phoenix: who is it for?
The Sivga Phoenix hi-fi headphones are for anyone wishing to equip themselves with a quality open-back model for under €300. Its open-back design allows it to ideally transcribe jazz music, acoustic tracks and orchestras, but also punchier tracks provided it is associated with a powerful source capable of delivering a healthy amount of lows.
Sivga Phoenix: conclusion
From the moment we took it out of its box, the Phoenix felt sturdy. Made of wood, metal, faux leather and accompanied by a quality detachable cable, it seems to us to have everything to last. It deliveres very pleasant sound and proves to be versatile when combined with a powerful source, preferably equipped with a Burr-Brown DAC such as the iFi Audio Zen Dac V2 or with a tube amp such as the Taga Harmony HTA-25B .
What we liked:
- The comfort
- The manufacturing quality
- The versatility
- The detachable cable
We would have liked
- A wider soundstage
With open-back headphones, the sound is diffused both towards the ears of the listener and towards the outside of the shells which are pierced with small holes. To take fully enjoy the potential of this type of headphones, it is therefore necessary to be in a calm environment free from unwanted noise, because if those around you can hear your music, even at low volume, you can also perceive surrounding noise. Thanks to this open-back design, headphones effectively approach the spatialization and sense of scale that can be obtained with a traditional hi-fi system consisting of an amplifier and a pair of speakers, except it’s a lot more compact.
Over-ear headphones, or circumaural coupling, is when the ear cushions of the headphones surround the ears and rest on the head. Circumaural coupling offers great comfort of use by not heating up the ears so much and by resting on the head and not on the ears. This design also ensures good passive insulation.