Today we are reviewing the Sivga Robin SV021 headphone. Sivga reached out to us, and they wanted us to test their budget-friendly headphone. The Robin SV021 currently retails for $149 USD; it was $169 originally. Many people claimed that the SV021 is a “fantastic sounding headphone for its price”. So today, let’s find out if those claims are correct and if the hype is real. Please continue reading our Sivga Robin SV021 review below and find out if this headphone is for you.
Sivga Robin SV021 Closed Back Over-Ear Headphone Review
The Robin SV021 is Sivga’s newer budget-friendly headphones, as far as I know. They have several headphones and earphones, but some of them seem to be no longer available at this point. The only headphones that are currently available on Amazon, at least today, are the P-II open-back planar and Phoenix open-back headphones. Both also have general positive feedback from their customers and the community.
Going back to the Robin SV021, Sivga describes this headphone as a “solid wood HiFi headphone for classic and fashion”. The SV021 is available in two color options, Black and Brown. In my opinion, the black color option looks sleek, elegant, and clean. I am not a fan of the brown color option. The Brown variant has a glossy finish, but it’s the color of the headband and ear pads that turned me off.
I’ll discuss more after the specifications table below.
Sivga Robin SV021 Specifications
|Transducer type||Dynamic driver|
|Transducer size||φ 50mm|
|Frequency response||20Hz – 20KHz|
|Sensitivity||105dB +/- 3dB|
|Impedance||32 Ohm +/-15%|
|Cable length||1.6M +/-0.2M|
Packaging and Closer Look
The Robin SV021 came in with an all-black sturdy box. It’s a simple packaging, nothing fancy at this point. But as you can see from the photo above, the headphone is securely cradled inside with thick foam padding.
At its price point, I don’t expect to get a lot of accessories. Aside from the headphone itself, the retail packaging includes a cloth or hemp bag, a detachable cable, and a 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter. That’s all you get from the packaging.
I have to say, the cable included is tangle-free, braided, light-weight and it feels nice. However, during my testing, I observed that the cable may exhibit some microphonic, especially the left/right cables since they are thinner. And by microphonic, I mean when the cables are rubbed on a surface, you might hear some feedback or brushing sound. The cable is 1.6-meters long, making it good for desktop use. But it may be too long for portable audio players or smartphone use.
The Sivga Robin SV021 is primarily made from solid wood, a metal headband, memory foam, and a very soft faux leather. I’m not sure if the black version uses a different type of wood than the brown variant. I was told that the black one uses Zebrawood. While on the marketing materials, the brown variant uses a “natural and high-density rosewood”. The black variant has a smooth matte finish, while the brown variant has a high-gloss piano finish.
Notice that there are vent holes on the top side of each ear cup. Sound doesn’t seem to leak through the holes, but I think it helps with the headphone’s sound staging and imaging. The cables are detachable and if ever you don’t like the stock cable, you can easily replace them with a third-party cable.
So Smooth Pads!
The leather on the SV021 is the smoothest I have felt so far. It’s soo smooth, like skin, and I feel like it can easily get nicked. Too bad it’s only faux leather, so I am not quite sure how long before it starts peeling off. The leather on the headband portion is similar to the one used on the ear pads.
Speaking of the ear pads, it’s sufficiently thick and the memory foam feels really nice and soft. It has an (inverted) tear-shape design. This means that the pads also have the same shape. The space inside the pads measures approximately 5.7cm in length and 4.8cm in width. I think it’s borderline from being a full-sized earpad to an on-ear earpad. I can feel the tip of my ears touching the pads.
The earpads are detachable and replaceable. Sivga is also selling original SV021 Robin original ear pads here. Note that there are two sizes for the replacement pads. The SV021-OEP, which is the stock (larger) pads, and the SV021-SEPB, which measures only 5.7cm x 4.8cm from the inside.
The metal yoke of the headband has a smooth finish to it. A clear “R” and “L” are printed on each side indicating the right and left channel. The headband is also adjustable and it clicks when adjusted. Indentations or small grooves can be seen on the underside of the headphone when adjusted far enough.
Clamping force may not be an issue, as out of the box the headband doesn’t have a strong clamping force. Depending on the size of your head, you may find the clamping just enough or a bit weak. For me, I feel that the clamping force is enough, borderline a bit weak. I would prefer a little bit more force for a snug fit.
Sivga is using an in-house developed 50mm dynamic driver with an ultra-thin and flexible diaphragm. I’m not sure how thin the diaphragm is, but I guess it would not be as thin compared to the ones used inside planar headphones. According to Sivga, the diaphragm is made of polycarbonate and fiber materials.
They are also using a 3mm-thick neodymium magnet, paired with a “special copper-clad aluminum wire” for its coil. Sivga says it helps the headphone to achieve good dynamic performance and ensure high sensitivity, and transparency.
The Robin SV021 has a low impedance of 32 ohms, making the headphone easy to drive. Even a smartphone can drive the headphone. But with any wired headphones or earphones, I would (still) prefer to use a good DAC with AMP for optimal or best result.
I did notice some driver flex when testing the headphone. If you are not familiar with driver flex, it’s that popping or crackling sound you hear when you insert an earphone/IEM or wear a headphone.
Overall Build Quality and Comfort
Generally speaking, I find the Robin SV021 comfortable to wear even for prolonged usage. The only nitpick I can think of is my ears getting warm after an hour or two since the pads are not breathable. And there’s a bit of pressure on the top of my head (mid-scalp region) due to the headband.
When it comes to the headband design, I am a bit biased towards a particular design. I prefer the flat strap-type that can cover a larger area on the head. You can see this on Audeze headphones or MrSpeakers/DanClark headphones. Even if there is a thick or plush foam on the headband, as long as it’s the typical headband design, I just don’t like the feel of it on top of my head. That’s just me, it’s my preference and yours may vary.
Sivga SV021 Subjective Listening Experience
When I get new headphones or earphones, I always burn in the headphone for several hours. Burn-in or break-in is the process where I just let some music play through the headphone without actually listening to the headphone. This is a debatable topic or process, but I think burning in a headphone or earphone, especially dynamic drivers, is necessary. Let me tell you why.
I listened to the Robin SV021 for a few minutes right out of the box. And I noticed that the treble was a bit sharp. It was generally okay to use and listen to out of the box, but I feel that breaking it in would help even things out and let the driver “stretch out” its diaphragm and move its coil more.
After several hours of the burn-in period, more or less 10 hours or so, the SV021 became more pleasant to listen to. The spiky treble was gone, although it was still borderline sibilant. More on that later. Things became more coherent and “balanced” as well.
To my ears, the Sivga Robin SV021 is a warm-sounding headphone with borderline from being a bass-heavy, at least for my taste. I generally prefer balanced and neutral-sounding headphones. So for me, the SV021 is really warm.
Bass and Mids
Sivga describes the bass of the Robin SV021 as “suitable and deep with elasticity”. I’m not quite sure what they meant by that. But yes, the bass region is emphasized and quite pronounced. It can be punchy and can produce a decent rumble on some tracks. But surprisingly the bass is quite clear and not muddy. I don’t think the bass is “well-controlled”, perhaps it is to a certain degree, but it does sound like the bass bleeds a bit to the lower mids.
The Robin SV021 might sound like a V-shaped headphone, but I think it may be more like a U or W-shaped. The bass is elevated including the highs, but the mids (vocals) don’t sound recessed at all. To my ears, the mids sound a bit forward. Sivga describes the mids as “natural”. Perhaps the vocals may sound natural. But because of its wide sound stage and a bit forward-leaning, I don’t think it’s totally natural. The mids do sound good though, and it’s clear as well.
Speaking of sound stage, the Robin SV021 despite being a closed-back headphone has a wide sound stage. It does have a good amount of width to it, but not too wide or too defused. However, for a closed-back headphone, it does sound wide and airy. Layering is good, you can tell the different instruments and elements apart. Whereas its imaging capabilities are decent at best.
Watch Out for the “Treble-makers”
Sivga describes its treble as “clear and gorgeous”. Yes, it is clear, but it may or may not be “gorgeous” depending on one’s preference. To my ears, the upper mids or the treble can exhibit a certain amount of sibilance, depending on the music and/or listener’s tolerance. The “S” and “TS” sounds can be harsh depending on the music.
The Robin SV021 is not a smooth-sounding headphone. It’s a bit crisp or sharp due to the slight treble and clarity emphasis. Although, I don’t think that its treble is well-extended, or (overly) bright. Its treble region hasn’t reached the level of something like the Grado SR225e, which is a bright-sounding headphone.
I don’t have a similar headphone, in the same price category, to directly compare the Robin SV021. Most of my headphones are open-back and planar types. However, I did briefly compare it to my Bowers & Wilkins PX7 and I can say that the SV021 sounded much better than the PX7 in all aspects, not including the wireless and noise-canceling features. I don’t think my PX7 was defective, but the SV021 definitely sounded much better, cleaner, and clearer overall.
I also compared the Robin SV021 to my gaming headphone, the Corsair Virtuoso. Guess who sounded better? The Robin SV021 still sounded better overall. It has better detail retrieval, transparency, cleaner bass, and a wider soundstage. I think the SV021 is not only good for music listening but gaming and media consumption as well.
Before I forget, the SV021 is transparent to a certain degree. Even though it’s a fairly easy-to-drive headphone, the DAC and AMP (source) may affect its sound signature. During my tests, I used Schiit’s Jotunheim and Luxury & Precision P6 DAP. I don’t think it would be a good idea to pair it with a warm-sounding source, not unless you want to emphasize further its bass region.
Price and Where to Buy
The Sivga Robin SV021 closed-back headphone is now available. Originally, it came with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $170 USD. But at the time of publishing this review, it retails for $150 USD. Sivga also offers a 12-month warranty service. For the latest pricing and availability, visit the link below.
Sivga Robin SV021 Headphone Review Conclusion
This is my first encounter and experience with a headphone made by Sivga. And honestly, I am not disappointed. I almost turned this one down because of my initial feeling that it may not sound good and probably early reviewers were just hyping up this headphone. Speaking of the hype, well for me the hype may be real to a certain point.
For its price, the Robin SV021 sounds good. It sounds even better than some $200 (or more) headphones. However, I am not also blown away, nor did it make my jaw drop. But it just sounds good and it did not disappoint, or will not disappoint especially if you are looking for this kind of sound signature.
The Robin SV021 is generally a warm-sounding headphone. It has rich bass, vocals are not recessed and the trebles are crisp and clear. It’s fun and musical in general; and I think it would be a good headphone for casual listening, media consumption, and even gaming. I just don’t recommend this for mixing and critical listening session. You’ll have to look for a neutral and natural-sounding headphone, like the LCD-X, if that’s what you are after.
Overall, I think the Robin SV021 is worth it and it’s a good-sounding headphone for its price. This headphone may be hype by others, but it does have its merits. The only thing that is preventing me from giving it an editor’s choice is it’s not my (primary) cup of tea. I prefer neutral and natural-sounding headphones more. But if you’re looking for warm-sounding headphones, you might want to give the Robin SV021 a shot.