Does the Sivga sing like an Oriole?
Pros: SIVGA build quality
Overall sound is a positive experience
Good mids, which add a sense of brilliance to the sound
Cons: Fingerprints on cups
Sivga Oriole ($199): Does the Sivga sing like an Oriole?
Intro: Numerous Sivga models have come our way of late. All have had impeccable build construction, with many bordering on fanatical while gorgeous in look. Made of classic rosewood, also seen on the SV021, the looks cannot be questioned.
Having Sendy in their fold as well, Sivga has produced some of the top mid-fi headphones of late. The SV023 is currently one of my favorites in its price category, and the Oriole follows on the heels of that success. With the Oriole, it seems Sivga is trying to catch the lower end of “Budget-mid-fi” headphones, and if the look is anything to gauge it by, they are off to a good start.
Four stars: 1/2 taken off for the microphonics in the cable, and another 1/2 star for no case.
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20KHz
- Sensitivity: 108dB+/- 3dB
- Impedance: 32 Ohm+/-15%
- 50mm dynamic driver
In The Box:
- Oriole headphones
- 3.5mm cable
- Quarter-inch adapter
- Hemp carrying bag
Thinksound OV21 ($399)
Astell & Kern ACRO CA1000 ($2200)
Coming in a thinner black box than previous models, there is an air of portability about the Oriole, not had in the other models from SIVGA. Gone is the typical form-fitting hard case, replaced by a hemp carrying bag. The front and back of the box are highlighted with silver lettering of the headphones on front and specs on back. Protected by soft foam, with cutouts for the headphones, the Oriole is well protected. In the case. I for one would invest in some sort of case, especially with the looks. A 6.35mm adaptor is also included.
Everything about the Oriole says “quality.” There is a subdued upscale look to it, which I can guarantee by design. The brown-bronzish yoke and stanchion meld perfectly with the brown color of the Rosewood cups. More industrial in shape than previous headphones from the marque, but still a looker. I will add that these are also the first ones to show fingerprints after use. Three vent holes help prevent driver flex when putting the units on as well as help control the low end.
The headband has decent thickness to protect the cranial matter, and white stitching on top. The “L” & “R” on both the stanchion and headphone cable jacks are of the same creamy white as well. The ear cups are on the smaller side, but I still found the fit good, even with the foam inside leather cups; which were on the softer side. Ear cups are replaceable, but have that silly “lip,” which holds them in place. I know these are traditional, and the way of many high-end headphones, but they really are a pain to get seated. Thankfully, these are better than most.
The cable is all of 2.0m long, and on the thinner side. No tangling was had, but there was a fair amount of microphonics down to the Y-splitter. You can change the cable with standard 3.5mm jacks on each cup, so the possibility of removing said microphonics is there.
Overall, everything has a premium look to it, which is what we have come to expect from Sivga.
The Oriole comes across with a good grunt down low but is a little loose. A quicker decay would tighten that up nicely. Mids come across as smooth and fairly detailed, with good weight to them, without becoming muddy or convoluted. Treble note extends the reach of notes with good air, but not great. There is a bit of sparkle, without it becoming grating as well. Not overly expansive as a result, I like the tune of the Oriole.
Playing “Questions…?” from Taylor Swift’s excellent Midnights album, the bass runs deep and fairly taut. On this particular song, the slower decay helps expand the listening time as we move from note to note; giving an excellent foundation to the song. It is smooth with good resonation at the same time. There is even a bit of rumble, but not too much.
Mids overall are pleasantly musical, except for the lower mids, which can get caught in the mix with the upper bass. Drums in this region can feel a bit light, but not unpleasant like you might think. Lower piano notes also feel a tad thin as a result, such as on “Spunky” from Monty Alexander. Still good, but that thinness translates into a bit less vibrant tonality here. Moving upscale though, and the rest of the mids make up for that with good weight and a richness to it that also comes across as smooth. As a result, most of the mids are quite detailed, and smooth but lacking a bit of clarity. This is still quite nice, and there certainly is enough detail as witnessed by the strum of bass cello strings resonating within this lower range.
Treble reach can be defined as a tad bright, but not glitzy. There is good sparkle, without becoming grating; which makes up for the slightly bright to me, sounds coming out. Here is where piano notes come across as authentic with very good air between the notes. There is a lingering of upper notes, which give good weight as well. Calling the upper end fun would not be an insult. Slightly forward in the signature without becoming harsh or grating shows a good resolution.
Soundstage is expansive in the width giving very good separation, and adequate (not small or shallow) height allow for good instrumentation. Depth to me is average, which gives the overall stage a bit of intimacy, but still among the better closed-back headphones at this price. The spatial awareness of the sound signature still allows you to clearly pick out separation of instruments, and as a result; good air to the notes, without giving up weight.
Sivga Oriole ($199) vs Thinksound OV21 ($399):
I am a big fan of Thinksound, and I consider their ON2 a cult classic. If you want a thoroughly fun signature, that just kicks down low as well, find a used one. Another fine point to the company is the use of recycled or reused materials. The cups of the OV21 are made from reclaimed wood, and much of the other material is from recycled goods as well.
First impressions when putting the OV21 on was that they are almost an on-ear, much like the ON2. But they are over ear, but with a smaller cup size. A thinner signature came about as well, but with good rumble down low. A near trait of Thinksound is a warmer, richer, deeper signature and the OV21 fits that bill. I do think the signature of the Oriole matches quite well against the OV21, though. Where the OV21 might have better bass, the Oriole has better upper mids. The Thinksound has a certain push in the upper mids, which carries over to the lower treble note, giving a good bit of sparkle; but it feels not quite authentic. If we were to judge purely on the fun factor, the Thinksound would win, with good bass and that sparkle, which also translates into very good female vocals. But so does the Oriole, but with a bit more weight to it.
This would come down to signature preference.
When a new model from Sivga is announced, you can guarantee it will be a good-looking model. Sometimes even stunning. The Oriole is subdued in its good looks, which is another nice turn from Sivga. Think of the Katherine Hepburn scene in Casablanca, where she looks out from the shadows with that sultry look and that is the impression the Oriole gives off.
It also has the goods to back the look. With very good bass, that could use just a bit of help deep down low. The mids make up for that “lack” in the upper end, and one can pretty much forgive the lower mids thinness. Add in a treble, which give good sparkle and adds air to the notes along with the soundstage width and this makes for a very good presentation. This lies just south of the fun line, into a more mature tune; but not as mature as previous Sivga models. I find this signature a refreshing new model from Sivga as a result. Coming off the SV023, which we highly rate as well; it seems Sivga is focusing on their low end to match with their TOTL models. And I for one am glad.
Thanks again to Collin & Sivga for the early release model, and faith in these words. The Oriole is quite good at the price, and well worth a deep look if the signature favors your style. I close with Monty Alexander, Live at Montreux for these final words, and it is good. Very good.