Phoenix, not just Dumbledore’s favourite bird.
PROS: Highly attractive boutique build and design, comfortable fit which is even better with the fenestrated ear pads, warm-neutral, fun and musical sound signature, good clarity and resolution for a warm sound signature, better instrument separation with the fenestrated ear pads, good choice of materials for construction, attractive box and case.
CONS: Nitpicking – Not for people looking for an absolute neutral headphone, stock ear pads need more foam depth as my ears touch the driver assembly, not the best headband adjuster mechanism, might be small for larger heads.
SIVGA is based out of Dongguan (China) and was founded by two childhood friends, Jian Zhou and Rongchun Pan who shared a common love for music and good quality headphones. Jian had been working in the field of headphones for nearly 20 years before he founded SIVGA Audio, where he was a senior technical engineer of a leading OEM headphone factory in China and led the R&D, headphone design, craftsmanship as well as manufacturing departments. During his career in the last company, Jian worked with many international well-known headphone brands and played a very important role in helping those brands grow. Rongchun on the other hand was an avid audiophile who obsessed over the ultimate pursuit of sound quality and with a keen sense of hearing and rich experience, developed a good knack of tuning headphones. SIVGA are an OEM as well as have their own line of headphones under the brand names -SIVGA and Sendy Audio. They follow boutique as well as modern, efficient manufacturing techniques, where their wooden ear cups are built and finished by hand and all the metal parts used in the headphones are CNC machined to perfection.
Just a heads up, Phoenix is priced at $255 but Sivga’s AliExpress store displays a higher price (around $309) because of it being inclusive of VAT for EU countries. AliExpress only allows fixed pricing and not dynamic pricing per country. So, if you’re interested in ordering, I’d recommend messaging and asking Sivga where you can score the best deal since they have a growing network of dealers and one might just be in your own country.
Disclaimer – The product was provided to me free of charge for the review in exchange for my honest opinion.
- Driver – 50mm Dynamic Driver
- Frequency response – 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Sensitivity – 103 dB +/- 3dB
- Impedance – 32Ω +/- 15%
- Cable – 1.6m single crystalline copper with braided fabric sleeve
- Jack – 3.5mm
- Weight – 296g
Included in the box.
- Phoenix headphone
- Braided fabric sleeve cable
- Headphone carry case
- Cable sack
- 3.5mm to 1/4″ adapter
Technology, Build Quality and Design.
Phoenix is an open-back dynamic driver headphone. It has a nice small form factor, so small and cute that both the ear cups completely fit in one palm. It oozes of boutique headphone design and build quality, which is quite attractive considering its asking price.
Housing – Phoenix’s housing is made of light coloured Zebra wood and a black painted stainless steel grill with a chrome disc lining. The wooden cups are CNC machined and then sanded, polished and lacquered. I personally dig Phoenix’s design quite a lot. It definitely has high eye candy quotient!
Dynamic Driver – Phoenix has a 50mm dynamic driver. As per SIVGA, the team developed this ultra thin and flexible diaphragm in-house and its physical characteristics ensures good dynamic performance and detail representation.
- Magnet – 3mm thickness high performance Nd-Fe-B which provides stronger power to the driver.
- Coil – The coil is made of special copper clad Aluminium wire.
- Diaphragm – Combined with self developed diaphragm structure, this unique in-house developed polycarbonate diaphragm solves the problem of easy deformation.
Ear pads – Phoenix has hybrid ear pads made of high protein leather and velvet fabric on the side. It was designed after consulting data of various face shapes which helped them design a custom shape by varying the foam thickness of the ear pads at different points that touch the cheek, jaw and mastoid. This helps it fit more snugly and comfortably than similar sized ear pads. More about the fit and comfort in the section below.
Headband and Yoke – Phoenix’s matte black headband is CNC machined from stainless steel. The yoke is CNC machined out of an Aluminium alloy for high durability. The head pad is made out of imported suede leather and is cushioned with small brick shaped design which is extremely comfortable for hours on the end. The headband adjustment needs to be done manually, unlike P-II’s which adjusts automatically according to the head shape.
Cable – Phoenix comes stock with a Single Crystal Copper OCC cable with a braided fabric sleeve. It has 2.5mm headphone connectors, a 3.5mm jack termination and a cylindrical shaped Y-split. The connectors and jacks seem rugged and built to last. The cable is soft, supple and wraps-unwraps without much effort or tangling. It looks and feels much better than Sennheiser HD6XX and HifiMan Sundara’s stock cables. Now coming to measurement and sound, this is where this cable let me down. Its resistance measured a whooping 1Ω! That is quite a lot for a small length cable and is restrictive to good sound conductivity. I like my headphone cables to measure under 300mΩ (0.3Ω), best if they’re around 100mΩ. If you like cables and want them to have minimum resistance for best conductivity for Phoenix to perform its best, I highly recommend looking at aftermarket cable options for the Phoenix. I tried the Phoenix with a couple of cables and have written my impressions with them in the latter part of the review. Definitely check it out!
Leather Case – Phoenix’s case, just like Phoenix, is small and very travel friendly as it can easily fit into a standard size laptop bag. It is made out of leather and is very well built. It has 4 feet at the bottom to stand the case upright if you ever want to, though I don’t know when one would wanna do that. Lol!
Fit and Comfort.
Phoenix’s stock hybrid ear pads engulf my ears completely and their semi-custom shape fit my face shape very well but the lack of good foam depth has my ears touching the driver assembly at all times. The headband adjuster does not have a click adjuster, so you need to adjust it manually by taking off the headphone and sliding the slider to where you want it but once you set it, it doesn’t move and you don’t need to fiddle with it again but I have doubts that the range of adjustment might not be sufficient for bigger heads. Regardless, the fit is actually fairly comfortable for my head (which is average size) since the head pad does not exert a lot of pressure on the top of the head nor does the headphone have a lot of clamp force but my ears touching the driver assembly at all times can get a little irritating in longer sessions. For this Sivga offer an upgrade pad option, high protein leather fenestrated soft memory foam ear pads which are available in their store for $15. They have good foam depth that helps with a much more comfortable fit, where the ear pads engulf the ear even better than the stock ones and the ears never touch the driver assembly. They do change the sound signature a bit (more on that later in the review) but are way more comfortable and much better for longer sessions.