Sivga’s headphones have been a highlight for the budget to mid-budget range, and have had their share of other products in the past. Their IEMs are not as well known, but can deliver a similar level of quality if the SM002 is anything to go by. Let’s see how the $160 dollar SM003 stands.
What You Get
- SM003 IEMs
- 2 cables (one with mic) with 3.5mm termination
- 3 sizes silicone tips
- 3 sizes foram tips
- 3 sizes double-flange silicone tips
- 3 sets of filters
Look & Feel
I’m very impressed and also a bit confused, as the design of the earphones implicates that this is your standard IEM, yet the SM003 is labeled as a sports headset. No matter what you call it, the construction of the housing is implies it costs more then the SM003 is actually worth. You get this nice gunmetal design in an ergonomic shape that makes the shell sit comfortably in your ear. The shape actually reminds me of Shure’s AONIC series of earphones, but the SM003 is a lot smaller. If there’s one caveat to the design, it’s the replaceable nozzles, which come loose a bit too easily.
The SM003 utilizes dual drivers, an 8mm dynamic unit, and a single balanced armature. With only 16 Ohm of impedance, you should be able to drive these IEM with any 3.5mm headphone output.
Although there have been a few IEMs that have impressed me with their soundstage in this price range, the SM003 seems to be on another level. The amount of spaciousness and depth presented here is quite astounding for a budget IEM that markets itself as a sports headset. It’s not the widest, but expands inward for some great depth. The way all of the sound elements are spaced out gives the soundstage the appearance of a bubble rather than a straightforward stereo image. You’ll never hear it grow outward to much, but the positioning of each instrument is well communicated and easy to localize in the mix.
There’s a big sound coming from the lows, supplying you with a ton of bass drive. You can feel the heft coming from underneath with some some significant ferocity. It never overwhelms, but comes into shape with considerable volume and richness. This is a great response if you’re looking for something with a thump, but you’ll also get some great sub-bass extension that adds that extra vibration to the timbre.
The mids definitely have their boosts and recesses when it comes to certain frequency ranges, but the timbre is kept pretty clean as a whole. It’s easy to tell what’s going on, but the low and high mids will have their coloration, and it’s not always the most elegant display. Good detail is brought about, but only perform at a surface level of articulation. Female vocals sound crisp, but some male vocal ranges can feel a bit more hollow in comparison.
There are some moments with the highs where the timbre can be pretty transparent, but the SM003 tries to reach into territory that it just can’t handle. This results in some distorted frequencies, and they can come through with significant gain. It isn’t the harshest response, but it does present the highs as the most undynamic part of the sound signature.
There’s a lot about Sivga that I think is underrated, and their IEMs might be the biggest testament to that. The SM003 has a great sound for the price. It has its notable flaws, but the presentation of the imaging and bass are what’s really going to sell this as an interesting option in the market. Add onto that the gunmetal design and cable choices, and the SM003 starts to look like the complete package.
The Sivga SM003 is available at Audio46.