Sivga Luan vs. Sivga SV023 Comparison Review
We’re going to be comparing two of the best headphones from Sivga to date: The SV023, released in 2022, and the Luan, released just a few weeks ago. The SV023 received a MajorHifi Gold and the Luan a Silver, but see a semi-significant difference in price: the SV023 goes for $450, and the Luan $300. Let’s see what angles Sivga is playing with these two open-back headphones, and which one might be right for you.
What’s in Their Boxes?
- Hard Leather Carrying Case
- Sivga Luan Open-Back Planar Headphones
- Cable with 3.5mm Unbalanced Jack
- 3.5mm to 6.35mm Adapter
- Hard Leather Carrying Case
- Sivga SV023 Open-Back Headphones
- Cable with 3.4mm Unbalanced Jack
- 4.4 to 3.5mm Adapter
Look and Feel
Sivga has built a reputation for their wooden designs, and both the Luan and the SV023 showcase the company’s craftsmanship in this regard. The Luan may be Sivga’s sleekest and most modern looking headphone to date, featuring a steely-colored metallic headband frame and yokes that lend some extra sturdiness to the overall build. And of needless to say, the wooden housing is about as elegant as always.
I’m also happy to say that the Luan feels as good as it looks, with big, plush, velvet pads and a lightweight frame coupling with the manual adjustment suspension headband for a well balanced and comfortable fit. My only small criticism is the amount of heat build up that occurs with the velvet pads even in the midst of the Luan’s open back design. Honestly though, I think the trade off is worth it; the Luan may not have the best pads for a hot summertime listen, but they’re extremely cozy and I was nonetheless very happy wearing them.
The SV023 features a lightweight walnut wood housing, and seemingly identical yokes and headband structure to the Luan that comes in black instead of steely grey. The ear pads have the same sort of velvety texture on the surface that makes contact with a listener’s head, but are otherwise made of perforated memory foam. The perforated qualities, along with the drivers sitting a further distance from a listener’s ear, make heat build up much less of a problem with the SV023. While the Sivga Luan’s appeal lies in its cozy insulation, the SV023 finds its high level of comfort in being more lightweight and airy.
Unsurprisingly, both headphones come with premium, hard leather carrying cases – something of a Sivga staple at this point. Lastly, we see a pretty basic stock cable coming with the Sivga Luan, while the SV023 comes with a copper colored, braided, and well insulated cable that seems like an exceptionally high end accessory to see included with a headphone retailing under $500.
Design and Specs
Both headphones see open-back designs, but the similarities more-or-less end there.
The SV023 features a 50mm dynamics driver with a beryllium plated diaphragm. Beryllium provides extra driver rigidity, and should in theory improve the speed and general clarity of the SV023.
The Sivga Luan sees a 50mm Planar driver and a diaphragm that features nickel plated edges. Macromolecule organic carbon fiber materials were used for constructing the driver dome, serving to absorb excess resonance – similar reasoning as to why we see the beryllium coating on the SV023’s diaphragm, just a different means of getting there.
Last difference worth highlighting is the Sivga SV023’s 300 ohm impedance versus the Sivga Luan’s 38 ohm impedance. Though 300 ohms isn’t terribly high, listener’s may want to use even a basic headphone amp to drive the SV023. As for the Luan, it’s safe to say that phones, laptops, and consumer devices in general will be supply it with a perfectly sufficient amount of power.
|50mm Dynamic Driver/Open-Back
|50mm Planar Driver/Open Back
The Sivga Luan is able to spread itself out and show expansively wide placements on the far sides of its stage. Depth and height are more insular; I primarily felt these dimensions as if parts were being placed directly on top of my face. However, I found more notable traces of depth on parts with 45 degree pans, but this depth would diminish towards the center of the stage. Despite the more linear, left-right spatial qualities offered by the Luan, I found its layering genuinely impressive, offering a level of clarity that worked with and aided its articulate balance. It finds firm spatial placements of parts that negate risks of obfuscation and congestion.
The imaging and staging on the SV023, on the other hand, is simply exceptional. It’s highly realistic and immersive, and while not quite enormous, offers vivid sensations in its width, depth, and height alike. On the one hand, it can showcase more artistic and ethereal qualities on spacey and ambient tracks. Yet on mixes with more traditional band arrangements, parts become snapped into place with an accurate decisiveness. It’s a distinctly analytical stage, but manages its stereo movements with a speedy fluidity that also makes it entertaining and engaging.
The Luan has a perfectly solid and satisfying stage for the price tier in which it finds itself, while the SV023 has a genuinely impressive stage that sets apart from the Luan – and many headphones closer to its price, for that matter.
Both the Sivga Luan and SV023 have tunings that can be generalized as balanced, yet find some very notable differences.
The Luan finds a little more color than the SV023. Though subs present as though they’re being subtly rolled off, a prominent mid bass punches through the balance. This gives a little extra pop and emphasis to kick drums, and adds a smattering of warmth to its overall sound. I’m appreciative of this low end balance that derives its warmer qualities from mid bass rather than high bass, as it preserves a clean articulation and separation between low end and mid range frequencies.
The Luan’s mid range seems mostly flat, and presents warm-yet-natural vocal balances that might be the star of the show. This by-and-large neutral mid range also offers a clarity and mix-intended character to supporting, driving instrumental parts of compositions such as drums, guitars, and pianos.
For treble profile, we see a fairly standard Harman-like tuning, perhaps with a little extra bite. This snappy quality may not be an outright balance detail; the Luan’s planar driver gives it a distinct speed in its high end that expresses hi hats and transients with some extra impact, and offers some relatively impressive resolve for reverbs, cymbal decays, and vocal rasp.
The SV023 comes through with more of a reference quality – it does, in fact, seem like a great pair for mixing and producing. We see a similar light sub bass attenuation to the Luan, though without its mid-bass boost. It’s certainly a less bassy balance, but doesn’t come anywhere close to sounding cold or empty. A common theme all through out this part of the comparison is the SV023’s superior detail and resolution to the Sivga Luan, and this is especially true for the low end. While the Sivga Luan goes for a chubbier and warmer bass tone, the SV023 keeps things lean and detailed, and in the process exhibits vividly accurate low end timbres.
In terms of mid range differences, there’s less to go over here, and I’m okay with that. The SV023 is by and large uncolored in its mids, affording it the same benefits that I described for the Luan: natural vocals, uncluttered rhythmic arrangements.
More notable differences are in the treble, where the Sivga SV023 exhibits a little extra high treble extension than what we hear in the Luan. The SV023 isn’t at all what I would call an outright sizzling headphone, but there’s a noticeable lifting effect that adds to its analytical character. The SV023’s treble emphasis that I’m describing here isn’t overly pronounced, but was particularly noticeable in my A-B comparisons between the two headphones. It occurs in the uppermost frequencies – likely above 10 kHz – and offers more of an effect on timbre – airy, lightweight – than tone.
The Sivga SV023 and the Sivga Luan are currently my two favorite headphones from the company. Both are offering variations of the Sivga house sound with their own unique twists. The Sivga Luan is, frankly, an extremely chill headphone. It sounds as comfortable as it feels, offering a subtle, bopping warmth that doesn’t detract from its overall clarity. It serves as an awesome choice for anyone looking for a cozy pair of cans. The Sivga SV023 is more of a “serious” sounding pair with its analytical qualities, and showcases its premium nature in its accurate, spacious, and energetic stage. This isn’t a review that Ill end calling one better than the other; both are offering a high value performance for different use cases.
|-Warm mid bass
-Balanced mid range
-Harman like treble with some speedy snappiness
-Wide stage with traces of depth and height
-Comfy casual pair
|-Balanced low end and mid range
-Treble with subtle traces of high treble extension
-Spacious and compelling stage with exact and analytical qualities.
-A more “serious” pair, also a good choice for mixing and mastering.