Review: Sivga Phoenix – My New Best Friends

The Phoenix are well-designed and executed.
The Phoenix are well-designed and executed.

The Phoenix are perfect for bass enthusiasts who appreciate good midrange performance and a roomy soundstage.

Thank you to Collin Yang from Sivga for providing the Phoenix for review purposes.

The Phoenix are the latest open-back over-ear headphones from Sivga powered by an in-house designed 50mm dynamic driver. Exhibiting the same design signature of their other releases, the Phoenix feature superb zebrawood ear cups. The Phoenix’s position in Sivga’s line-up is just below the top-of-the-line (TOTL) planar magnetic P-II headphones, as such, we can consider the Phoenix as Sivga’s current high-end dynamic driver model.

The Phoenix are well-designed and executed.
Bottom Line

The Phoenix’s warm and lush sound signature, premium zebrawood ear cups, and exceptional comfort are their primary selling points. For those who are looking for a pair of open-back audiophile headphones with good bass emphasis and a warm sound signature, the Sivga Phoenix should be on your list.

What We Like
  • Excellent build quality with a modern appearance
  • Powerful bass response
  • Decent wearing comfort
  • Lush and warm midrange
  • Smooth treble
  • High-quality stock cable
  • Can be easily driven for portable usage
  • Sturdy storage case
What We Don't Like
  • Ear cups are smaller
  • Headband size is small
  • Average detail retrieval capability

Company Overview

Sivga was established in Dongguan city, China in 2016. Being a comprehensive enterprise, Sivga integrates research and design (R&D) with production and customer service. Their main focus is on innovating and producing high-quality headphones to meet the needs of the high-end audiophile community.

The team in Sivga has rich experience and in-depth technology background in this industry. From raw materials to the end-products, Sivga is dedicated to presenting an extraordinary experience to their customers by upholding the highest levels during the entire production procedure.

Technical Specifications

  • Form: Open-back headphones
  • Drivers: 1 x 50mm dynamic driver with a polycarbonate (PC) diaphragm
  • Impedance (Ohms): 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity (dB): 103 dB ± 3 dB
  • Frequency Response (Hz): 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Removable Cable: Y
  • Source Jack: 3.5mm
  • Cup/Shell Jack: 2.5mm dual-mono jack
  • Mic: N
  • Weight (g): 296g

Packaging

The unboxing experience of the Phoenix is unquestionably delightful, just like unboxing the Sivga Robin, which I previously reviewed. The packaging of the Phoenix is also similar to the Robin – the headphones are well-packaged in a black box, with the brand and model name printed on the front.

On the back of the box, the technical specifications are printed in Chinese and English. The tagline of Sivga is printed on the back of the box as well – “Created with Craftsman Spirit.”

There’s a hard storage case included in the box. I love this accessory because the hard case can provide ample protection for the headphones.

The inclusion of the hard case is one of the biggest differences as compared to the Robin.
I love the included hard storage case.
I love the included hard storage case.

In the box

  • Sivga Phoenix headphones
  • Detachable cable (1.6m)
  • Hard leather headphone storage case
  • 3.5mm to 6.35mm conversion adaptor
  • Soft pouch for cable and adaptor
These are the items that you can expect in the Phoenix's packaging - simple but useful!
These are the items that you can expect in the Phoenix’s packaging – simple but useful!

Cable

Similar to the Robin, the Phoenix come with a detachable cable, terminated with a 3.5mm unbalanced plug. On the headphone side, Sivga uses 2.5mm dual-mono tip-sleeve (TS) jacks (this type of connection is used by HiFiMan on their older HE4XX and Audioquest Nighthawk). The cable is well insulated with an outer layer of black-colored fabric. To reduce the strain on the 3.5mm plug, Sivga includes a spring to improve overall durability.

The stock cable’s length is 1.6m. This length is perfect for desktop usage as the Phoenix are open-back headphones, and as a result, not very suitable for portable use.
The Phoenix use common 2.5mm tip-sleeve (TS) dual mono connectors.
The Phoenix use common 2.5mm tip-sleeve (TS) dual mono connectors.
To reduce the strain stress exerted on the 3.5mm jack, Sivga includes a spring as strain-relief to improve overall durability.
To reduce the strain stress exerted on the 3.5mm jack, Sivga includes a spring as strain-relief to improve overall durability.

Design

As mentioned in the introduction, the Phoenix exhibit Sivga’s design signature of using eye-catching zebrawood ear cups. A stainless steel grill is located in the center of the ear cups, a style that reminds me of the Audeze LCD-3. Unlike the LCD-3 or Robin, the zebrawood ear cups have a matte finish, instead of shiny gloss, which I prefer because it does not show fingerprints.

The grille is made of stainless steel with a layer of black lacquer coating while the zebra wood ear cups are well-processed by a CNC machine.
The grille is made of stainless steel with a layer of black lacquer coating while the zebra wood ear cups are well-processed by a CNC machine.

The headband is made of computer numerical control (CNC) machined aluminum to ensure a smooth finish without any rough edges. The Phoenix use an adjustable headband strap, similar to what is commonly found on AKG’s headphones. I find that this type of design exerts less force on my head while wearing them, yielding a more comfortable listening experience.

The headband's CNC finished surface is smooth and there are no rough edges.
The headband’s CNC finished surface is smooth and there are no rough edges.
The headband strap's inner side is well-padded to reduce the force applied on users' head.
The headband strap’s inner side is well-padded to reduce the force applied on users’ head.

The Phoenix include hybrid ear pads – the side of the ear pad is made of leather while the center is made of fabric. Hybrid ear pads tend to provide good isolation while maintaining a high level of comfort for users. The fabric material in the inner side provides a breathable surface which reduces heat accumulation in the ear cups.

The velour material on the inner side is breathable.
The velour material on the inner side is breathable.

Comfort

As mentioned in my previous review of the Robin, I am not a frequent full-sized headphone user because the majority of headphone ear cups are too small for me. The Phoenix’s round-shaped ear cups house my big ears well without causing irritation. For those with really big ears, the Phoenix’s ear cups might not be quite roomy enough.

The adjustable headband strap is well padded and distributes the weight of the headphones evenly on my head. I do not feel any hotspot pressure even after long hours of wearing, although I do need to extend the headband strap to the maximum length in order to fit my head.

The Phoenix may not be spacious enough for users with extremely large heads or ears.

Internals

The Phoenix’s drivers are specifically designed in-house with a 3mm high-performance rubidium iron boron magnet to provide high magnetic flux. The voice coil in each driver unit is composed of a copper-clad aluminum wire which is light in weight to provide higher sensitivity and a wider dynamic range. The diaphragm is made of a polycarbonate structure that restricts any deformations as the diaphragm moves.

Phoenix Sound

To analyze the sound quality of the Phoenix, I mainly used my desktop setup – a Topping E30 DAC with iFi Audio Zen Can amplifier. The Phoenix are highly efficient and can be easily driven with portable DAPs such as my Lotoo PAW6000. However, similar to most dynamic-driver powered headphones or IEMs, a better (stronger) power output from the source is definitely favorable to the Phoenix’s sonic performance.

The Phoenix can be well-driven by portable DAPs such as Lotoo PAW6000. To get the best performance, a balanced cable can be used to utilize the more powerful 4.4mm output on the PAW6000.
The Phoenix can be well-driven by portable DAPs such as Lotoo PAW6000. To get the best performance, a balanced cable can be used to utilize the more powerful 4.4mm output on the PAW6000.

The sound signature of the Phoenix can be classified as warm and lush. They have more emphasis on the bass and midrange frequencies, creating a smooth and comfortable listening experience. The soundstage of Phoenix is about average, positioned slightly forward to create better engagement with the listener. Thanks to the warm sound signature, the forward-positioned stage does not create fatigue after long listening sessions.

With an adequate amount of expansion in each axis, they provide users with an experience of three-dimensional headroom. Compared to the closed-back Robin, the soundstage seems to be smaller, despite that the Phoenix are open-back. This impression could be due to the Phoenix’s fuller presentation as compared to the Robin’s more lean sound.

Despite being open-back headphones, the Phoenix's soundstage is smaller as compared to closed-back Robin due to the richer and thicker sound profile.
Despite being open-back headphones, the Phoenix’s soundstage is smaller as compared to closed-back Robin due to the richer and thicker sound profile.

Bass

The Phoenix’s bass response is full and thick. The sub-bass extends deeply, creating a good rumble. The decay speed is slower, which contributes to the warmth in the overall presentation. The Phoenix are at the brink of being bass-head headphones like the Campfire Audio Cascade. Despite having a “rumble-full’ sub-bass, the layering between bass and the rest of the frequency spectrum has been done well. The power of the sub-bass does not overshadow higher frequencies.

Moving to the mid-bass, there is a slight hump which further enhances the warmth of the overall presentation. To prevent bass spilling up into the midrange, the upper-bass region is more politely tuned, with more agile decay. I am not a bass-head audiophile and I like the Phoenix’s bass tuning – they are fun and musical to listen to, without affecting the performance of the midrange and treble.

The Phoenix sub-bass extends deeply, creating good rumbles and a three-dimensional soundstage.
The Phoenix sub-bass extends deeply, creating good rumbles and a three-dimensional soundstage.

Midrange

The Phoenix have a smooth and lush midrange that is easy to listen to. The coloration in the Phoenix’s midrange and overall tonality does not deviate from “sounding right”, and the Phoenix position themselves away from midrange dryness by incorporating the warmth from the bass to enhance emotional delivery.

The midrange separation and layering is decent. Instruments do not collide with vocals in tracks, and they complement each other. As compared to the bass, the midrange is positioned slightly recessed and the notes are leaner.

This tuning is reasonable as pushing every spectrum forward and making every note thick will definitely cause shouty and congested performance. Sivga shows their maturity in tuning here.

The Phoenix’s midrange exhibits good warmth from the bass, creating a smooth and lush sound that is comfortable to listen to.
The Phoenix’s midrange exhibits good warmth from the bass, creating a smooth and lush sound that is comfortable to listen to.

Treble

The treble receives the least emphasis from the Phoenix. The body is lean, however, the treble is still crisp and energetic, with sufficient presence in the overall presentation. The lack of emphasis in the treble slightly degrades the detail retrieval capability of the Phoenix and pulls back the overall openness (airiness).

The Phoenix are lush and warm sounding, without a heavy emphasis on detail retrieval for monitoring usage. They are a comfortable and enjoyable pair of headphones for casual listening.

By upgrading the cable, the Phoenix can be driven by the powerful balanced output from my amplifier. The end result is satisfying!
By upgrading the cable, the Phoenix can be driven by the powerful balanced output from my amplifier. The end result is satisfying!

Comparison

Sennheiser HD600

The Sennheiser HD600 have been well received by the audiophile community since 1997 when they first launched. In terms of physical appearance, the HD600 preserve a more low-profile plastic look, while the Phoenix design is definitely more eye-catching.

In terms of comfort, the ear cups of the HD600 are friendlier for my big ears. However, the headband of the HD600 gives me some hotspot pressure. Overall, I find the Phoenix to be more comfortable for long listening.

Sonically, the HD600 are more transparent and uncolored as compared to the warmly-tuned Phoenix. The detail retrieval capability of the HD600 tends to be better too. However, the Phoenix’s lush sound signature makes me listen to them longer, and the HD600 sound analytical and dry in comparison.

I use them for different purposes – the HD600 are a better candidate for monitoring, while Phoenix are more suitable for casual listening. They have their own strengths and I will not claim which is superior.

The HD600 are more suitable for critical listening while the warmer Phoenix are the best candidate for a leisure night listening.
The HD600 are more suitable for critical listening while the warmer Phoenix are the best candidate for a leisure night listening.

Where to Buy

Verdict

The Phoenix’s warm and lush sound signature, premium zebrawood ear cups, and exceptional comfort are their primary selling points. Personally, I would like to applaud Sivga for making its stance clear when creating the Phoenix – to provide consumers with an enjoyable listening experience. The end result is extraordinarily pleasing!

For those who are looking for a pair of open-back audiophile headphones with good bass emphasis and a warm sound signature, the Sivga Phoenix should be on your list. Sivga shows their maturity in tuning, once again, with the Phoenix.

The Phoenix’s warm and lush sound signature is definitely one of the selling points of them, together with the premium zebra wood ear cups and comfortable wearing experience.
The Phoenix’s warm and lush sound signature is definitely one of the selling points of them, together with the premium zebra wood ear cups and comfortable wearing experience.

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