When it comes to wooden headphones of any principle, Sivga is usually the first brand that pops up in my mind. From the SV021 to the P-II, Sivga has provided me with many memorable listening experiences. I remember my first time checking out the P-II using its 4.4mm termination on an iFi IDSD Signature and it gave me this wide and warm holographic sound that I just couldn’t get enough of.
The last headphone I checked out from the was the SV021, which is still an incredibly solid budget closed-back. Now, Sivga has released the SV023, which is a bit of a higher-end open-back more in-line with the P-II in its price range, but this time with a dynamic driver like the Phoenix. It goes for a competitive $449 price point, making it one of Sivga’s top-end headphones to date. I’m excited to finally get a chance to jump right into them.
What You Get
- SV023 headphone: 1pc
- Audio cable: 1pc
- Leather carrying bag: 1pc
- Hemp bag: 1pc
- Adaptor 1: 4.4mm to 3.5mm -1pc
- Adaptor 2: 3.5mm to 6.35mm – 1pc
Look and Feel
Not a lot of brands can compete with the wooden presentation of a Sivga headphone. Their headphones are handmade and feature expert craftsmanship which is present on the SV023. This time, Sivga uses a walnut wood for its housing that is developed using a grinding, polishing, painting, and air-drying process that gives its surface smoothness. The quality of the build here feels genuine, with support from its aluminum frame that holds the headphone together. If you like the suspension headbands on the P-II and Phoenix, then the SV023 should feel the same. As for its comfort value, the SV023 offers these great big perforated memory foam earpads that have skin-friendly velvet that covers your ears nicely. It is a lightweight and cozy fit that is sure to satisfy you throughout hours of listening.
The SV023 uses a 50mm dynamic driver, with an LCP composite diaphragm plated with beryllium. Its cable is a high-purity 6N OOC that uses dual 2.5mm headphone connectors, and terminates to 4.4mm balanced. Most of this review was written using the 4.4mm balanced plug with a Questyle M15.
20Hz – 40KHz
105 dB +/- 3dB
300 Ohm +/-15%
Sivga’s open-back models have been big hits for me, the P-II being one of my personal favorites in its price bracket. The SV023 is a dynamic and therefore easier to drive option for its budget, but how does it fare with the soundstage. From listening to the SV023 for quite some time, the answer is wonderful. When the soundstage of the SV023 first comes into focus, it has all of the realism of being in the studio with the performers. Some of the airiness open-backs can give you is replaced by exceptionally articulate layering. It can still appear floaty in some cases too, especially with acoustic guitars that hover just above the left and right channels. The track “Morning” by Beck, demonstrates this enticing combination of floaty guitars and strict positioning that brought the stereo field to a more accurate presentation.
Dimensionality it expands with spatial trickery, like background noise floors being more involved in the overall sonic environment the SV023 is trying to create. This is apparent in a ton of tracks I tested out, including selections from Todd Terje. On the track “Alfonso Muskedunder” you can hear the roominess of the drums a lot clearer as it encompasses a larger section of the image. With this soundstage, you really feel like the music has time to take a breath before expanding its larger and more non-linear territory.
Parts of the bass region are divided more noticeably into mid-bass, and sub-bass sections, rather than it coming together to form one whole tone. It creates an interesting dynamic in the low-end that constantly keeps its timbre engaging to the listener, no matter what genre of music is being played. The mid-bass hits hard and the sub-bass resonates with a layer of smoothness that also doesn’t hold up on a deep rumble. I don’t think it is powerful enough to shake you, but it does compliment the texture of bass guitars and synths with its depth and clarity. There’s a lot of space here for the bass to do a whole myriad of things with your music, and it only works to engross you in the sound signature further.
The midrange of the SV023 offers not only a ton of space but great energy too. It has a similar response to dynamic range as the bass, but with more snap and transparency. Details within its timbre are easy to come by, as the mids protrude forward in the sound signature with a great many individualized elements such as orchestral strings and piano notes. On the track “La Mer” by Nine Inch Nails, the tight snare and piano progression are evenly paired with each other and give the song a solid distinction between its acoustical performance and its more abstract synth soundscape. Vocals are also crisp and offer micro details in certain voices, like the straining of the male lead performance on the track “A Thousand Trees” by Stereophonics.
While the treble performance can be incredibly resolving, it can also showcase a considerable bite. For the most part, everything is kept clean and tidy in the highs, but in tracks where the sounds start to get more aggressive, the highs come out to show their greater character. There’s a playful snap like in the midrange, but with a more flavorful shine to the tonality of the frequencies. This is especially apparent with piano performances, like soloists or singer/songwriters where the higher notes seem like they finish off with an extra glistening accent on their attack. E.M.D by David Grisman gives you a similar sensation except on a jazzy acoustic guitar.
In sound, build, and comfort, the SV023 is an absolute winner from Sivga. As far as open-back dynamic headphones are concerned, the SV023 is one of the best ones to listen to. Its signature is wide and grand, featuring an unexpected level of pinpoint accuracy. It gives you that feeling when you try out a new set of headphones and you want to hear how all your favorite songs sound on it. You are sure to never be disappointed by the results.
The Sivga SV023 is available at Audio46.