Sivga SV023 Review
Wooden headphones are a relatively niche market, but one in which Dongguan-based audio company Sivga is a serious player. Following the popularity of their P-II headphones, they released several other wooden headphones, with the latest in its lineup being the SV023. The SV023 differs from the SV021 because of its higher build quality and open-back design. The SV023 comes in at $449, putting it in a highly contested price bracket. Today, I’m going to see how the SV023 Stacks up with the competition.
What’s in the Box
- V023 headphone: 1pc
- Audio cable
- Leather carrying bag
- Hemp bag
- Adaptor 1: 4.4mm to 3.5mm
- Adaptor 2: 3.5mm to 6.35mm
Look and Feel
Wooden headphones always have such a nice aesthetic to them that’s hard to beat. While on the larger side, the SV023 looks amazing and has a perfect blend between classic headphone design and modernity. The walnut housing and aluminum frame give both an inviting and serious look, and I especially like the integration of the mesh grill pattern for the open back. The headphone is incredibly comfortable and can be worn for hours. My one complaint would be that I wish the earcup swivels had a wider range of motion, but that’s a slight nitpick that doesn’t impact the listening experience. The high-quality cable, labeled L/R sides, and leather carrying case are all very nice touches as well.
The SV023 has a 50mm driver made from an aviation-grade aluminum alloy. The beryllium diaphragm is coated in a Liquid Crystal Polymer. The magnet is made of a High-performance NdFeb Material. The housing itself is made of hand-selected walnut and goes under intense scrutiny when being carved and hand polished. You can tell a lot of thought went into its design. One thing to note is that these have a very high impedance and will require an amp if you want to get the most out of the listening experience.
The Sivga SV023 has a frequency response of 20 Hz – 40 kHz and an impedance of 300 Ohms.
Unsurprisingly, the open-back design of the SV023 lends itself to an incredibly open soundstage. Everything has great width and dimension, with the sound character taking a more open and enveloping feeling overall. The panning is clear, separated, yet still organic. I never listened to these and had panning that was so deliberate sounding that it broke my immersion. I can hear every instrument coherently and everything has a sense of unity in the mix that gives parts just the right amount of separation while still giving the mix a decent amount of blend. The dynamics are fantastic and, once you use a decent amp, can be driven to loud volumes before it begins to distort. The isolation is what you’d expect from open-back headphones, but when listening in a quiet environment, the sounds become incredibly immersive.
The timbre on the SV023’s low end is very dynamic and supportive. The subs aren’t pushed to an extreme degree, but they’re still present enough to provide some light textural rumbling when appropriate. The low-mids provide a nice presence and definition for the bass range that brings out a lot of tone in lower parts, which compliments the rest of the mix very well. The SV023 has a very mellow bass sound that still doesn’t lack in character and fullness, it just doesn’t impose itself.
The midrange on the SV023 compliments the rest of the frequency spectrum incredibly well. The mids add crispness and definition to the sound which is incredibly tasteful. Tonal details come through with considerable breathing room, and I never felt mixes getting crowded at times when it wasn’t appropriate. The mids do a great job of accentuating the best aspects of the sound.
The highs often fall in line with the rest of the SV023’s laid-back sound character. I can hear detail and attacks well, and this detail is what lends itself to the SV023’s spacious soundstage. When it needs to, the highs can also get harsh and add power and snap to the mix that helps to balance the SV023’s overall sound and give it a more holistic and all-around sound. Without this, I feel that the SV023 would lose a lot of the dimension that makes it so versatile. The high range is really what ties these headphones’ sound together to make it cohesive, which is incredibly important.
Every time I test wooden headphones I become more of a fan of them. Sivga did a fantastic job with the SV023. I love the sound character and where it places you in the mix, it’s truly immersive and an incredibly enjoyable experience every time. I had to nitpick to find things I didn’t like about them. While these aren’t what I would use on my morning train commute, they are great for focused listening in a quiet space. If you’re someone who’s looking for a great pair of wooden headphones that are a great value for the money, then you should look no further than the SV023.