SIVGA P-II

SIVGA P-II

18 June 2021 0 By Petros Laskis

An die Musik

Pros: – Musical and engaging
– Warm and lush yet not dark
– Excellent bass
– Good detail retrieval
– Fatigue free listening
– Comfortable
– Easy to drive
– Value for money
– Excellent build quality
– Wooden cups
– Quality balanced 4.4mm cable with adapter
– Hard carrying case

Cons: – Colored sound signature
– Not suitable for critical listening
– Awkward mids tuning
– Somewhat heavy

The P-II was loaned to me for the purpose of this review.
Sivga never asked for a favorable review and this is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.
The retail price is $399 and you can buy it from Amazon

Introduction

The Sivga company that was established in 2016, is located in Dongguan city in China.
It is a comprehensive enterprise integrating R&D, production and excellent customer service.
Sivga focuses on the innovation and production of high-end headphones. It has got rich experience and technology in the headphone acoustics industry.
The key engineering team is formed by many elites from the electronic and acoustic field.
From raw materials to finished products, the mastery spirit from all Sivga staff is gathered together to bring extraordinary quality life experience to the customers.

Their portfolio includes various products from in-ear monitors like the SM002 to full sized headphones like the P-II that is being reviewed here.

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Technical parameters

The Sivga P-II is a planar magnetic over the ear open-back headphone with real wood ear cups.
It uses 97mm*76mm ultra-nano double-sided magnetic planar diaphragm unit as the driver, combined with the superior sound characteristics of the black walnut chamber.

The planar magnetic driver is combined with independent developed OTV technology.
With PCB ultra-nanometer
diaphragm and aluminum coil, the whole unit is thinner and lighter.
With double neodymium magnet structure and 108 well arranged acoustic holes, the
air flow is very good.

The impedance is 32Ω with a sensitivity of 98dB so it is not that hard to drive from portable sources although it certainly benefits from some extra power.

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Physical parameters , build quality and fit

Ear cups

The P-II features a black walnut wood housing that after the CNC processing is polished and painted by hand.
Craftsmanship is of high quality and the ear cups look and feel nice with smooth texture and excellent paint job/polishing.
Each wood housing grain is different so every headphone is unique.
The outer silver color metal mesh is further protected by an extra cloud-shaped metal grill of black color that is combined together to look very beautiful.

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Ear pads

The ear pads have a unique oblique design in order to offer a good seal and great levels of comfort for fatigue free listening.
The space inside the ear pads is oval to anatomically match the ear shape so it will not cause any pressure.
They are made from high protein leather with skin friendly velvet fabric at the outer surface that touches the face.

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Headband

The main structure is made of stainless steel in matte black color design.
The connection part is made of aviation aluminum material with CNC machining, so it is of high durability.
The ear cups can be rotated up to
90°, convenient for single-side monitoring.
The head pad is made of high protein leather and thanks to it’s bulged design there is no
pressure when wearing the headphone for
long time.
The head pad is self – adjustable with
elastic band inside so it is very easy to get the proper fit.

Wearing comfort

The headphone weighs 420gr but wearing comfort is good thanks to the roomie ear pads and the self adjusting headband that does a great job in distributing the weight evenly.
Clamping force is medium , enough to keep headphones in place without causing pain.
We have noticed some cracking noises while adjusting the headband but nothing was heard during use.
Some users with larger ears might touch the inner part of the pads and some others might not like the inner bumps of the headband.

Cable and accessories

The detachable cable for Pll is made by 6N single crystalline copper wire.
The length is 1.6m and it is very soft without microphonic noise.
The plug that goes into the ear cups is 2.5mm (separate left and right channel) and the other end plug termination is balanced 4.4mm pentacon while at the same time we get a 4.4mm (female) to 3.5mm (male) small cable adapter.
All plugs are metallic and the cable entry points feature a metallic spring stress – relief reinforcement.

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Inside the box we will find a small pouch to store the cable and a high quality hard carry case with protein leather outer and fabric coating in the inside.

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To sum up build quality , design , craftsmanship , looks , cable and accessories are of high standards and certainly a lot higher than the price would suggest.


Listening set up

The P-II is quite easy to drive so we have successfully tested it with portable sources and daps like the iBasso DX300 , the FiiO M11 Plus LTD or even the THX Onyx.

Of course using a dedicated amp yielded much better results , opening up the sound and we had a great time listening to it from the iFi ZEN CAN , Schiit Vali 2+ and Hel 2.

The source used was our entry level reference DAC, the Denafrips Ares II which is kindly provided on a loan from KVS Audio

All gear is powered by an iFi PowerStation and DC blocker.

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Sound impressions

The Sivga P-II is a fairly balanced and natural sounding headphone with somewhat recessed upper mids and not short of technicalities.
Sivga was not afraid to follow an enjoyable and musical tuning rather than focusing on a strictly critical one.
It is a relaxed and fatigue free sound signature with a touch of warmth but without being dark or slow.

Music flows with ease and the sound is nicely blended with natural timbre and full of harmonic wealth.
It is organic with a thick and rich texture while the presentation is of a grandiose scale.

Don’t think the P-II is short of technicalities because everything sounds well defined , focused and clear with fast enough transient response and satisfying detail retrieval.

Sound stage is nicely extended featuring good width and depth while instrument positioning is accurate with progressive layering.
The P-II can represent the recording venue with good decay and reverb able to time shift the listener who is positioned rather close to the performers taking a first row seat.

Of course the P-II is not the most detailed or transparent headphone on the market nor does it feature the sharpest and fastest attack or the most huge soundstage.

But the truth is that the listener is not going to miss much on the long run since this is a headphone mostly meant for easy listening rather than analysing.

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Splitting performance into the classic frequency bands let’s start with the bass which is truly remarkable and exciting.

Fully extended and tuned linearly with a flat frequency response up to the mids it sounds very natural without any unnecessary boost.

The low end is full bodied and visceral with great macro dynamics and slam reminiscent of the best dynamic drivers and the big planar boys.
Fast and well controlled is not ultra tight but still firm enough as not to sound loose and one note.

Intense and organic in its character , it retains high levels of clarity absent of mid bass bloat or any signs of masking so the listener can easily distinguish individual low register instruments.

Mids also sound very clear and clean with a natural timbre , good presence and fine articulation while retaining the full bodied and lush character of the headphone.

But listening carefully we are going to find out that there is some oddity regarding the overall tuning.
Not balanced by any means there is some kind of a mild mid-center boost followed by a generous upper mids dip.

On paper this might sound alarming but actually it isn’t.
It surely adds a specific character and coloration to the sound that will favor some instruments while keeping some others in the background giving a “funky” and strong personality to the headphone.

For example , electric guitar solos or some woodwind instruments and male voices sound more prominent than they should be according to a strictly reference criteria.

It’s a little complicated to analyze but at the end this is a tuning that works well with most kinds of music to sound very enjoyable but purists and critical listeners might not be satisfied.

Higher frequencies sound smooth but not short of extension with enough brilliance as for the headphone not to become dark or dull.
It is a mature and well controlled tuning that never gets harsh or bright while retaining enough energy in order not to miss on excitement.
Best part is that treble is still full bodied with excellent timing and decay with our only minor complaint being some loss of textural quality.

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Compared against the HiFiMan Sundara (2020 model – $349)

The Sundara is one of the best values of the headphone market.

It sports a full metal construction and is built like a tank but the P-II looks and feels more classy with it’s wooden cups and the higher quality finish that is reminiscent of far more expensive headphones.
We do prefer the design and looks of the Sivga P-II but this is rather subjective.

Comfort level is almost the same for both headphones but the Sundara has the advantage here.
The ear pads are more roomy and the weight is 48gr less while the leather headband is more friendly to the head.

The Sundara comes without any kind of carrying case and the included cable is very mediocre so the Sivga P-II is objectively a far better offering regarding cable and accessories.

From a price perspective the Sivga P-II maybe $50 more expensive but the difference is justified thanks for the better craftsmanship, the cable and the carrying case.

The Sundara is rated at 37Ω/94dB and the P-II at 32Ω/98dB so it is easier to drive.

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Tuning and sound presentation are fairly different and each headphone has a unique personality.

The Sundara is very balanced throughout with a reference tuning suitable for critical listening.

P-II Sub bass extension is better with the Sundara rolling earlier but still offers a very satisfying performance
On the other hand , Sivga P-II is more visceral and full bodied with greater dynamics but then the Sundara is more tight and controlled with superior definition and clarity although compared it sounds somewhat lean.

Mids are tuned in a whole different way with the Sundara offering a fairly linear and even response with a touch of added presence although it is not to be thought of as mid-centric.
On the Sundara all the mid region voices and instruments are treated equally with the same importance taking equal shares of the action.
Timbre is natural and notes sound well textured but there is still that loss of body compared to the P-II.

Treble is more spicy for the Sundara with added brilliance and far more energy although not harsh or piercing.
Decay is faster than the ideal so some percussion or high pitched instruments sound thin and faint.

The Sundara is faster and more open sounding while it resolves far better detail.
Soundstage is spacious and wide and feels more open with extra air around the instruments which are positioned with pinpoint accuracy.
Here the listener takes a third row seat and the overall view is more detached and distanced without the same level of involvement.

It is pretty obvious that both headphones are here to fulfill different needs and tastes and can be viewed as complementary to each other.
The P-II is fun and engaging , lush and cosy with a grandiose and upfront presentation while the Sundara is better suited for critical and reference sessions , pushing the action further away but still enjoyable as it is by no means boring or sterile.

At the end

The Sivga P-II is a highly enjoyable headphone full of musicality and the cunning ability to emotionally connect the listener with the music.
Just sit back to dive into our music collection and let’s forget about strict technicalities and other critical listening stuff.
A clear winner that it definitely deserves our wholehearted recommendation and the community’s far better attention.

Test playlist

Copyright – Laskis Petros 2021