Sendy Audio Peacock: Strutting feathers, but is that enough?
Pros: Build is gorgeous
Craftsmanship is top quality
Cable is quality (as usual)
Warm, rich sound
Bass is good
Treble reach is sufficient
Hard case is quality as well
Cons: Laid-back signature not for all
Warm, rich signature not for all
Some do not like the gold
Not the “curve” signature, which seems to be in vogue (could be a good thing as well…)
Sendy Audio Peacock ($1499): Strutting feathers, but is that enough?
5-stars for the build, 4-stars for the sound, which should avg out to 4.5-stars. Dropped 0.25-stars for the rich, laid-back signature, which some will not like. Hence 4.25-stars for the rating. This is a very good unit to me, and personally it gets a 4.5-stars for my rating.
Intro: I have and own the excellent Sendy Aiva. I have reviewed the Sivga Phoenix and the Sivga SV021. Upon asking about a demo Peacock, Collin and Sendy sent me a one for review purposes. I have this for what we will call medium-term duration. At the end, my review will be posted on HeadFi, my blog, and various Facebook audio sites. Marketed as a rich, warm sounding open back, with a large planar magnetic unit, the Peacock sits squarely at the top of the Sivga/Sendy food chain. Defined by price and technology, the Peacock utilizes the same stunning looks of all the models, and new technology with the size of the driver.
Upon finishing my review, the unit will be sent back according to our agreement. I stand to gain nothing by promoting this model, and as such will give an open and honest review. What follows are the ramblings of an amateur audiophile, who likes to put words to pen. I will do my best to explain the technology, but you should review from the Sendy and Musicteck sites along with peruse other reviews for a more thorough answer. I thank Sendy for the loan of the unit.
Style: Open back
Transducer type: Planar magnetic
Transducer size: 88mm
Frequency response: 20Hz-40kHz
Sensitivity: 103dB +/- 3dB
Impedance: 50ohm, +/-15%
Cable length: 2m
8-core 6N OCC Copper cable 8-wire, 4.4bal jack
4.4bal to 6.35mm adapter
4.4bal to XLR adapter
Hemp accessories bag
Molded leather case
Audeze LCD3 ($2100)
Shanling M6 Pro
MBP/iFi Zen CAN
Cayin N6ii mk2
Joey Alexander-Warna album and others
Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado
twenty one pilots
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Big Head Todd & The Monsters-Beautiful World
Mark Knopfler-Down The Road Wherever
Elton John-yep, still good, still cool
Open the tan outlined box, and you are met with the hard headphone case. I won’t say what it looks like, because it is such a good case. following the typical Sendy/Sivga pattern, but larger to accommodate those huge 88mm drivers, it is a really nice case.
Packed in a hemp pouch is the cable and two adapters: 4.4bal to 6.35mm & 4.4bal to XLR. I have always liked Sendy cables for how good looking they are and the performance they give; which favors my sound; and this one complete with carved wooden slider makes no exception. From unboxing to use, the Peacock promotes elegance and humbleness. I like both aspect.
Quad-former technology is one of the highlights of the Peacock. That promotes double magnets, and double coils on the diaphragms (two on each side). This supposedly allows the diaphragm to act more quickly, giving better response to the tones from within. Combined with a high internal damping of the diaphragm (which took two years to design and build), and you get a rich realistic sound emanating from the Peacock.
The driver housing is aircraft quality aluminum, and each hole promotes proper response by their precise placing, to further enhance the realism of sound. Sendy does not hide from the fact that the Peacock provides the listener with a warmer richness of sound than some may like or expect from an open back at this price. I appreciate their desire to put forth the signature without hiding it.
Adding in a thick gold-stitched goatskin headband, and you get a quality unit with good fit.
One cannot question the build quality of any Sendy/Sivga model, for they are impeccable. Some have noted that the wood looks “too plasticky to be real.” That would be incorrect, for it is the craftmanship of the Sendy models, which to me have raised the bar of what we expect. Exquisite looks combined with first class craftsmanship makes this a trademark Sendy/Sivga product. Even the gold accent under the black “peacock” feathers catches on to me after a while. At first glance, it was garish, but after a bit, you get a slightly subdued look of excellence. That said, I would prefer a bit more understating of the design, but that’s just me.
The wood cups are cut, then carved (I am assuming lathed first), then finished precisely to blend together with the gold accents of the back cover/grill along with the ring, which helps to hold the diaphragm and driver in place on the other side. Precise craftsmanship makes this all seem machined, but the Peacock is hand built to the highest tolerances.
The headband also has an inner cushion made of the same goat skinned leather as the earcups. All are plush and soft, without being too squishy. Fit as a result is plush, but sufficiently snug enough to afford the unit from not bouncing around on your head. Ear cup pressure is sufficient enough to also provide the right fit without being too tight or too loose. I do wish for a bit tighter fit, but the unit does not move when wearing the unit. As a result of all the plush softness, the Peacock can be worn for long periods of time without tiring.
Stitching is even given preferential treatment, with its gold embroidery. But like the grill, it is not too much. The metal parts seem to be powder coated for duration, and so far, have taken the abuse offered of three weeks of hard usage. The gold also matches the copper color of the cable as well (gold & copper). That cable is what has become to me the typical Sendy/Sivga color pattern and weave. But this time the cable of 8-core, 6N OCC is 8-wire, and a bit (slightly) looser of weave. Four each of copper color and four of sheathed brown add to the elegance coming from the overall package. But, to me the cable is a bit too long. It lays nicely, but I did find for best usage, I had to drape a good bit of it across my lap, with the rest hanging down. Due to the mini-XLR connectors though, the weight of the cable was distributed well. Coming in the now mostly standard 4.4bal, the unit also comes with two adapters including a 4.4bal to XLR; a nice addition and hopefully others will catch on. Combine that with the hand carved Y-splitter and cinch strap, and the cable is complete. Smooth of touch, but not slippery of feel, the quality follows suit to the cable and headphone.
The Peacock comes across as a TOTL should. It fits, it is gorgeous at which to look, and the build is as expected of a flagship. In other words, the Peacock can hold its own against those markers from the other makers well.
Summary: Going into this, I knew that the Peacock would have a warm, rich signature, which may not be to the liking of some. This thoughtfulness up front helped me gain an understanding going in. I like warmth in signature as well as a rich emotive sound emanating from whatever headphone I am listening to. And the Peacock does not disappoint. This is a V-shaped signature, which will turn off many (see previous Sivga iterations for the “discomfort” those units have caused some in their reviews. But when presented this way, you can go in expecting that darker signature and meet it with a good mix of genre, which will suit that sound. Spanish guitar work sounds deep, rich and bassy. Blues are to die for on this. Male vocals are sublime in presentation, while female vocals do sound a bit jaded or dark sue to that extra bit of rich character. Mids, as is the case with many Sendy/Sivga models may well be the star, coming across as precise, if not completely accurate due to the richer tonality. You are enveloped in warmth, and there is a bit of bass bleed, but it does not hinder the overall listening experience. Treble is tuned to be a bit forward, matching the bass; but the sounds from upon high are not too bright, thankfully. This is indeed a rich sound signature, but to me this is not a one trick pony.
With an 88mm planar driver, there is no dispelling that the unit is big. Combine all of that technology and you could rightly expect an expansive sound. You would be correct as the soundstage comes across as wide, deep and fairly high. For an open back, this is probably slightly above the middle-rated stages, but not so expansive that separation is decided by miles. Nothing sounds so distant in the Peacock to leave you feeling vacant. All levels tie together nicely. That said, the character is one of richness, and a laid back sound, which you may or may not like.
Bass comes out as more on the pleasant side, than deep reaching. Mind you it is there in sufficient quantities and qualities to show fit, but this is not a basshead model. Fairly deep of reach, it is the quality of the bass that shines here. With a certain richness of sound, you expect attack to be faster than decay, giving that sense of delay and a rich, warmer tonality. This is true here, but never does the decay sound too slow or molasses-like. I would use the descriptor of tight or taut to describe the quality of the bass, adding in that there is little bleed into the mids. There is a bit, but this further aids in the richness of sound signature, without overshowing the mids.
Since this comes across as a V-shaped headphone, the mids are a bit withdrawn, but slightly lifted to me. On Bonnie Raitt’s classic Nick Of Time, her lilting voice sounds sumptuous and sensuous. This treatment plays nicely with the rich bass character, but without sounding muddy or slow in response. The sound is definitely warmer, but not so syrupy that you get bogged down. Laid back, definitely but with enough character to not be overly boring.
To me, the treble treatment falls a bit behind the bass, which gives us a leaning-V. I can clearly hear the cymbal crashes, but they do not take center stage up top. Pat Benatar is an excellent choice for gauging the treatment up top, and here on songs such as Hell Is For Children, her sumptuous voice comes across with distinct purpose, and fortitude; but does so without being overly bright. Again, laid back comes to mind. I do wish for a bit more (better?) treble treatment, which would give a bit more excitement up top, but taken as a whole, this amount works and plays well together (something I never got in school…).
Taken as a whole, the Peacock does provide the listener with a rich, warmer sound; which may not be for everyone but to me that laid-back character works well across many genre.
Even with the fairly wide soundstage and the rich tonality, the separation of instruments and layering are quite good, allowing the layers to play towards that slant of warm texture. The instruments are allowed to play nicely across the width as well, but there is a bit more present in the middle of the stage. This is not necessarily a confuddling of too much going on there, just my take on how the stage tends to compress a bit those instruments, which normally reside in the middle. In other words, you could consider this as an anchor of the soundstage, allowing the others to spread out as needed, and done so nicely.
Sendy Audio Peacock ($1499) v Audeze LCD3 ($2100):
This may seem a bit off base in comparison, but when you promote yourself you should strive for moments above your level. See how far your flagship can go in other words. The LCD3 is my go-to reference (and favorite) for open backs, and I shant part with mine most likely for a good long time. As such, I can gauge it critically for what it does well and does less than well. Its bass is sublime in Audeze flair and character. I have not heard many with bass treatment such as this save maybe the HEDDphone and closed Kennerton Rögnir. But the rumble of an Audeze bass is legendary, and I do love the LCD3 for that. The Peacock cannot match that, nor is it tuned as such’ so this would not be taken as a loss.
The mids to me are where the LCD3 shines. Such treatment is a revelation to hear and feel. Natural, honest, as intended, and organic in sound, the mids come across with a level had by few again. But here, the slightly laid back but lifted sound from the Peacock compares well. Mind you that richness of character shows through on the Peacock, which shows less detail than the LCD3. As a result, the clarity is better on the LCD3 (as it should, but again for comparative purpose not too shabby of the Peacock). There is simply more energy up top on the LCD3 as well, and the Peacock cannot (nor is it meant to) compete up there. The tuning of the Peacock goes against that with the rich texture, but that is the way it sounds.
Even though the detail of the LCD3 shines, the Peacock can hold its head up with confidence, due to the rich texture described above. Those that prefer a certain rich, warm tonality might prefer the Peacock. But as stated, this really is not a fair comparison, so look to reviews f similarly priced headphones for more comparisons.
Sivga/Sendy has gone through much of late. Sivga has come out with a number of affordable headphones, which are quite polarizing. I did have a good discussion on HeadFi with a gent who did not rate the SV021 as highly as me. This showed to me that civil discourse could indeed happen when two reviewers have opposing opinions. I appreciated his take, even though I preferred the sound more than he. I would gander that some of the same will be true (unfortunately) with the Peacock. Some of the big reviewers have come out with high marks for it, and I can agree with them. I can also note that due to the sound signature of the Peacock, some will not like it. Me? I prefer a darker, warmer, richer texture to the notes that permeate my ear. Therefore, I do indeed like the Peacock. From the fairly deep bass note to the warm, coddling mids; the Peacock comes across as another example of that after work, single malt in hand (and possibly a cigar) listen with which you can unwind. In this day and age of go-go-go and self-care needed to make a day seem ordinary (are there really any now?…) or at least give you that retreat from reality and a certain level of enjoyment we all need.
Call the Peacock a self-medication for sanity, for it can calm your edginess of a day and commute with jazz to die for, bluegrass to keep you lifted and blues to get to your inner-core self. And after all, isn’t that why we listen? To steal away a certain moment of our time, for sanity’s sake. For that, I can recommend the Peacock for it did give me notice to ponder larger items than my day to day renderings of time. And for that, it was good.