Sivga are a brand founded in 2016 in the Dongguan city of China. Under the Sivga and Sendy Audio names, they design, manufacture and market a range of headphones primarily targeted toward hi-fi listening. The Sendy range comprises upmarket planar-magnetic models while the traditional Dynamic designs carry Sivga branding. Traditional though only in their application of dynamic drivers. The real wood enclosures and extensive use of metal components in their designs set them apart from most at this price. I reviewed the Sivga Robin some time ago and herein feature the latest model to join the range, the Oriole.
The Robin and the Oriole are fairly similar in construction, though the difference in style is quite distinct. Both use a 50 mm dynamic driver with polycarbonate fibre diaphragm, which is much stiffer and lighter than a typical diaphragm of paper, foil or polypropylene. A 3 mm thick ND-Fe-P magnet and coil of copper-clad aluminium wire round out the driver which is designed and made in-house.
The enclosure is CNC carved from Rosewood, and-finished, lacquered and air dried to a flawless matte finish with perfect sculpted curves and a distinctive design. They are available either in a black or light brown finish. The headband parts are made entirely of metal (aluminium mostly with the band itself of spring steel) and the drivers are mounted on pivots to allow 18-degrees of rotation to fit the contours of the head or fold flat into a case. Like the Robin, you get a simple drawstring bag of Hemp cloth included in the box.
Crucially the height adjustment mechanisms are also metal, with real bearings in the sliders which give a positive tactile action and ensure that the adjustments hold firm and don’t wear over time. I’ve had the Robins for a year and have used them extensively, and they still feel as good as they did when new. The Oriole is built just as well, if not better.
The ear pads and headband are covered in a supple protein leather, with soft memory foam and large apertures to encase even the largest ears. I would like the ear cushions to be a little deeper to prevent the driver grille contacting the ear as it sometimes does, but they’re still very comfortable. I’m extremely picky when it comes to headphone comfort, and have dismissed many popular and top-selling models from AKG, Sennheiser, Sony etc) for this reason, so this is quite a complement.
The headband has clear engraved markings for left and right orientation. I wish, however, that these were raised above the surface and tactile. It’s impossible to distinguish them by touch. Likewise the cables, which connect to the base of each ear cup, have no tactile markings on their plugs. many headphone cables have a raised ring around the plug of the left connector, and a raised letter L on the respective side of the headband. It would be nice to see Sivga begin to implement these changes into their lineup.
The Oriole headphones include a 1.8 metre cable with a 3.5 mm connector. The package includes a 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm (quarter inch) adapter, and the connectors on the cups are 2.5 mm. The cable is a tangle-free design graded in nylon fabric. I wish it was longer, as it’s too short to reach from a typical headphone amp to a listening position. A 3 metre cable either included in the box or offered as an accessory would be very welcome. The connectors are of excellent quality though, and connect to the ear cups with a firm ‘click’.
I tested the Oriole using my Topping A90D, fed by a D90LE with various digital sources and my Technics SL-1200G with Classic Audio MC Pro and Audio-Technica OC9x-SL moving coil cartridge. The Topping was set to low gain.
The Oriole is easy to drive and is perfect for use with mobile devices and battery-powered head amps as well as home audio setups. They’re sensitive, but not especially revealing of background hiss which is a good thing. And generally speaking I found their tonal balance to be reasonably even, though not flat. Bass is solid, well defined and without too much blur. The mids are forward where it counts, and recessed toward the top of the midband at around 3-4kHz. That slight tip gives way to a polite, detailed treble which rises again before rolling off at the top of the audio band.
This gives the Oriole a vivid, forward presentation that at times is terrific fun, and at times overly laid back. The little dip in the midband enhances detail perception however, not only in the highs where the Oriole excel but in the lows where bass refinement is excellent.
The bass is also very well integrated with the rest of the spectrum, rather than being its own entity. For example a kick drum is heard not as the individual thud of the beater, whoosh of the air forced back through the shell and snap of the beater contacting the plastic head, but as a unified thump with the beater snap producing a little top-end bite. The extra detail comes at the expense of stereo imaging, which is narrow, but detail within the stereo field is very good and if you don’t have a better reference you likely won’t find fault with the expanse of the image.
The Oriole sounds broadly similar to the Robin, as one would expect given their obvious similarity. I prefer the style, and they’re as impeccable in build and finish as any other Sivga headphone I’ve tried. For £219GBP or $199USD, they represent excellent value for money and unlike plastic-laden rivals for similar money, they should last a lifetime if you look after them. Highly recommended.