The Sivga Robin SV021 have been loaned to me by Keydis, the official distributor for Sivga and Sendy Audio (their sister brand) in Spain. They have not made any requests and my review will be as honest and unbiased as possible, but it is worth noting that these headphones have not cost me anything to try out.
Keydis do not sell directly to the public but you can find the Robin via the following stores in Spain: https://www.keydis.es/comprarsivga.html
Let me start by being totally honest, I did not think I was going to like the Sivga Robin. These are not a set of headphones that I know nothing about, in fact, I have read many reviews and seen plenty of graphs of them, which all led me to believe that I would not be a fan of them. However, even though this is a bit of a spoiler, I have actually found that I do enjoy them, even if they are exactly as I expected them to be.
Now, it is not that I had heard bad things about them, just that the descriptions and graphs pointed me to a set of headphones that doesn’t really align with my personal preferences. I will get into more details as we go through the usual review steps.
In case anyone has not come across Sivga before, they are the more budget oriented brand of Sendy Audio, a company that has released some very interesting headphones. I have reviewed another model by Sivga in the past, the Phoenix (full review here) and also a set from their more premium line, the Sendy Audio Peacock (full review here). Both of those headphones are sets that provide a very premium look to them, sith the use of leather and wood, something that the Robin also has.
But I am getting ahead of myself, so let’s get on with the review.
The presentation of the Robin is nothing special. A black box with a sketch of the product on the cover opens to reveal the headphones, a 3.5mm TRS to dual 2.5mm TS cable, a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter and a cloth bag.
This is not a huge amount of content, nor is it really a premium presentation, but it is enough to make the headphones usable straight from the box and, let’s face it, for a set of headphones that retails for less than 170€, I really can’t bring myself to complain. As always, I prefer the money to be spent on the headphones rather than the packaging.
Build and aesthetics…
As with other models, Sivga opts for a build using wooden cups and (faux) leather covered headband and pads.
The Robin is also available in a lighter wood and leather finish, however, the version I have received is a dark stained wood (which is not actually as dark as online photos would suggest) and black leather. The yokes and headband are metal, finished in a dark gunmetal grey, which work well to give the headphones an overall look that I feel suggests a higher price than they actually sit at.
There is a little creaking when moving the headband around, nothing terrible but it is noticeable, and unfortunately there is no swivel in the cups, something that may be a deal breaker for some, but is actually fairly well counteracted by the pads.
The headphone pads are the softest and most comfortable pads I have ever come across on a set of headphones. They really are soft and squidgy, to the point where I keep getting people to feel them. This means that the seal is good, even without any cup swivel, but it also means that comfort is excellent. Even straight out of the box, putting these on my head felt like I had been wearing them forever, in a good way! It’s like an old pair of slippers that are just perfect.
In general, any complaints I may have had about (minor) build issues, is outweighed by the aesthetics and comfort. These really are a pleasure to wear.
As I said at the start, I was certain that I wasn’t going to like these, based on the graphs and the descriptions by other reviewers. The strange thing is that, while they sound like I expected them to, I don’t dislike them, in fact, I find that they make me feel very relaxed as soon as I put them on.
The subbass extension of the Robin is good but it is not exaggerated. There is no sign of roll off on any of my usual test tracks but there isn’t any boost either, well, at least in comparison to the lower end of the midbass. These headphones do have quite a boosted low end overall, which starts to drop off around the 200Hz mark as they make their way to the lower mids.
Tracks like “Way Down Deep”, have a deep and full bass, with some strikes that may be a little overpowering, at least for my personal tastes, but I can see this bass being impressive for a lot of people I know who like bass centric tunings. Something a little more pop orientated, like “Get Lucky”, still has that extra bass going on but somehow manages to keep it from taking over the whole sound.
This elevated low end does give the headphones quite a bit of warmth but as they drop down moving into the lower mids, it doesn’t seem to become overly bloated and undefined. The bass is not quite as clear as I would like, especially as I mainly listen to planar-magnetic headphones lately, but it doesn’t irritate me. Sometimes, when I listen to headphones with this kind of low end, I find that everything seems slow and sluggish (even if it is not the case), but the Robin don’t really leave me with that sensation.
The lower mids are fairly recessed, but do start to climb back up by the 600Hz mark, levelling out between 1kHz to 4kHz, although at a lower level than the bass areas. This means that vocals are present but they are not forward. In fact, there is a general smoothness to vocals except for a peak that follows (somewhere around 5kHz) that can make certain vocals sound a little “honky”.
My usual acoustic instrument orientated music selection actually comes across quite nicely, while not something I would consider to be tonally correct, it has a nice rounded and relaxed presentation to it. For example, “Hotel California (Live on MTV)”, is presented with fairly clean and articulate guitars, even if a little warm. The percussive hits during the intro are a little overly boomy when they start on their own, but balanced with the rest of the instruments, they no longer hog the spotlight.
Moving into the higher ranges, the extension is good but it again comes across as smooth, without seeming to be very airy or spacious. The vocals on “Hallelujah” by The Pentatonix, are sometimes surrounded a little too much by the backing vocals but I have found that I don’t hate the result. This something that does happen depending on the vocals, another example would be “These Bones”, where the deeper vocals take over the space.
There are a few occasions when there is a little too much “bite” depending on the frequencies, which can find me reaching to turn down the volume on ocasiones but to be totally honest, these headphones have tended to make me raise the volume a little more than usual. At my normal listening levels, the odd peak does not seem to appear except on very specific songs.
The soundstage is also rather small. It’s not terrible, remember that these are closed back headphones, but it is not extremely wide either. The overall presentation of images and layers is decent but not amazing. At the risk of repeating myself again, it’s all rather smooth.
The Sivga Robin are a set of headphones that I would consider a guilty pleasure for myself. They sound just like I would have expected them to sound, based on graphs and reviews. To use words that make no sense, I would say that they are “creamy with a little bit of spice”.
The bass is far more elevated than I would like, the recession in the lower mids is something that I would not choose, and the peak around the 5k mark is something that I would avoid.
Yet I like them.
There is something about that creamy smooth sound, with those extra soft pads, that just causes me to relax when I put them on my head. They are certainly not a set of headphones that I would choose to evaluate music, nor to focus on details and layering and all those things that I usually enjoy from headphones, they are just a set to put on, put my feet up and zone out.
I have said many times that I am not someone who enjoys overly present bass,nor extra warm sound signatures, and these are basically everything that I would say I don’t enjoy, but I do.
The whole set up, from build to comfort to sound can be collected in one word, smooth (maybe except for those peaks that can appear in the upper ranges at times). Even the “honky” sound in the upper mids/lower treble is not something that detracts from the overall package.
I really can’t find a way to explain to myself, nevermind to all of you, why I like these headphones. Sometimes we just like what we like and we should stop spending time to justify it.
At the price that these headphones come in at, they offer a very reasonable deal for a set of headphones that gives an extra flavour to the collection.
As always, this review can also be found in Spanish both on my blog (here) and on YouTube (here)