SIVGA Phoenix Review: Revitalize

Pros:
  • Solid and beautiful overall build
  • Warm, smooth, relaxing signature
  • Excellent transparency

Cons:
  • Stock earpads are too shallow and causes discomfort

Introduction:
SIVGA is a company from China that mainly produces headphones, and a few in-ear monitors. They started in 2016 and was known for utilizing wood in most of their products. They also have a subbrand in the name of Sendy Audio, which is focused on the premium, more expensive side of things. The Phoenix is currently their top headphone equipped with dynamic drivers, as their flagship P-II has planar magnetic drivers. The Phoenix currently retails for 255 USD, and was loaned to me by a friend for the purpose of this review.

Specifications:
Driver unit: 50 mm dynamic, polycarbonate diaphragm
Impedance: 32 ohms
Sensitivity: 103 dB
Frequency response range: 20 Hz - 20 kHz

Source:
Poco X3, Redmi Note 10 Pro paired with Cayin RU6, FiiO KA3, Tempotec Sonata E35 and Zishan U1

Test tracks:
Africano - Earth Wind and Fire
Dark Necessities - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Gurenge - Lisa
The Chain - Fleetwood Mac
Monsters - All Time Low
Ours - Taylor Swift
Stay - Mayday Parade
Snuff - Slipknot
Yesterday Once More - Carpenters
So Slow - Freestyle
Aurora Sunrise - Franco
Attention - Pentatonix
Blue Bird - Ikimono-gakari
You're Still The One - Shania Twain
Anyone Who Knows What Love Is(Will Understand) - Irma Thomas
Salamin - Slapshock
AOV - Slipknot
Hey Jude - The Beatles
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
...and a lot more.

Unboxing and Accessories:
The Phoenix comes in a large black box with wood design on the side. It almost looks like a shoebox at first glance. Upon opening, you will see the sturdy looking leather headphone case. The case contains the headphones, a small fabric pouch that contains the cable that is about 1.5 meters in length with a velcro strap, and a 6.35 mm male to 3.5 mm female adapter. An instruction manual, while not really that necessary, is nowhere to be found.
Build:
The headband and the yokes are made entirely out of metal. Under the metal part is a leather band with foams inside that acts as a cushion for additional comfort. The length of the headband cannot be extended unlike most headphones, only the position of the leather band can be adjusted. This may become an issue for people with large heads, but personally I didn't have any problem with the fit. The cups are made of zebrawood. This has an openback design but the opening is rather large. There is a metal ring around the opening and metal grills, as well as a filter underneath to protect the drivers from foreign objects. At the bottom part of the cups, there are two 2.5 mm jacks for the cable connection.
The outer part of the earpads are made of leather, with the inner part, the part that touches your skin, is made of fabric. The foams inside are very soft and rebounds quite fast. The problem with these earpads is that they are shallow, and my ears press against the metal plate on the drivers which causes discomfort. SIVGA did release upgraded earpads later on that are slightly thicker and has a perforated leather design.
The material used for the cable was not specified. It is sleeved with fabric and very lightweight despite being longer than average. The left and right channels has 2.5 mm plugs, and the rings on the plugs are color coded red and green to indicate the right and left side respectively. These plugs connect really tightly to the headphones, and there is a loud click whenever they are inserted. There is no chin slider here but the splitter and the plugs are all made of metal.
Now let's get to the sound.

Lows:
The lows are reproduced in an engaging manner. Subbass depth is excellent. The rumble has just the right amount of strength; not that strong but does not come across as weak. The decay though, makes the subbass more interesting as the vibrations stay in the background for quite some time. Midbass has sizeable impact and thicker than average.

Overall, the Phoenix provides a fun and kind of unique experience in the lows. It may be not enough to satisfy most bassheads but it will surely leave them somehow surprised.

Mids:
 The mids are forward with a partially warm timbre. The level of articulation is above average and transparency is very good. The added warmth adds a relaxing feeling to the instruments especially pianos and acoustic guitars. There is also a very small bump in the upper mids that is only noticeable in some tracks.

Overall, despite the vocals being intimate, instruments actually sound open and airy. The level of clarity is outstanding for its price, and I believe the mids is the Phoenix's focal point.

Highs:
The highs offer a decent amount of sparkle. Treble reach is on the average side along with a well-extended decay. Lower treble is slightly elevated, while the upper treble has a somewhat adequate bite. Lead guitars and cymbals have great definition and there is sufficient detail reproduction.

Overall, the Phoenix has partially tame highs. The upper treble which provides that air and sparkle to the music has much better presence on high volumes. But on lower volumes, it has a bit of a soft attack.

Soundstage and Imaging:
The stage of the Phoenix is not that big, considering this is an openback headphone. The expansion is below average. The width and the height extends equally. Despite the stage being relatively small, the imaging is really, really good. The transparency and clarity are outstanding for the price. Separation and layering of instruments are both slightly above average, and congestion is hardly ever noticed even in busy tracks.

Comparisons:
SIVGA Phoenix (1 DD, 255 USD) vs. thinksound ov21 (1 DD, 399 USD)
The Phoenix has bigger sounding lows. The decay is also a lot longer and the rumble is way stronger. Midbass also sounds thicker in the Phoenix, but the ov21 has a cleaner, smoother texture in the overall bass region. The mids are thinner in the ov21. The upper mids boost is more prominent in the ov21, and while the Phoenix doesn't possess any aggressive tendencies unlike the former, the ov21 has better clarity and more spacious sounding mids. With the highs, the ov21 has more sparkle, longer decay, and able to present the details better, but the Phoenix is safer for longer listening sessions with its smoother highs. Despite having a closedback design, the ov21's soundstage is definitely larger. Both the width and height height expands more in the ov21. Imaging is slightly more accurate in the ov21, as well as slightly better instrument separation.

Conclusion:
It has been well over a year since SIVGA launched the Phoenix, and it has received a whole lot of mixed responses from the community. Some say it's good, some say it's bad. With the time I have spent with the Phoenix, I must say that I really liked it. Of course there is definitely a major flaw in the comfort, and the soundstage can be notably small for an openback headphone, but the distinct and flavorful sound it produces is quite addictive, to say the least.

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