15. July 2021 · Comments Off on Sendy Audio AIVA Headphones · Categories: Headphones, Hifi News, Hifi Reviews · Tags: , , ,

SENDY AUDIO AIVA HEADPHONES

Sendy Audio AIVA headphones are made in China but using traditional, labour-intensive construction methods. They cost £545/€639/$599 and promise a luxurious experience. Stuart Smith takes a listen.

Sendy Audio AIVA Headphones

A good looking and nicely finished package

Sendy Audio are a Chinese company, but, rather than the mass-produced, production-line kind of manufacture, it seems, if the company’s website is anything to go by, that they are a little different and a little more artisan in their methods, with the opening gambit of the site claiming “Each unique Sendy Audio headphone is made by hand with traditional crafts, using high-quality solid wood materials…”. Sendy is, however, a part of Sivga Electronic Technology Co and my immediate thought was “Ah, I get this – big, faceless Chinese electronics manufacturer creates a sub-brand to look more artisanal and in turn gain more audiophile credibility points.” Actually, it doesn’t seem like that’s the case, and Sivga makes just a relatively small range of what look like nicely put together headphones and in-ears. All in all the backstory looks a credible one and the theme is very much along the lines of pushing a product that is carefully crafted and thoughtfully put together. As I’m trying to picture the Sendy factory in my mind’s-eye, I see a small group of craftspeople in a quiet and bijou workplace where each worker is head-down over their bench putting together jewel-like products for a discerning clientele. There is a lot on the website to back this up and to push the idea that this is a small team of dedicated people, where tradition and technology merge to create a brand with traditional values. I can see this appealing to many consumers.

BUILD QUALITY AND COMFORT

The packaging the AIVA headphones arrive in certainly seems to echo a feeling of understated quality. A plain brown box with just a black image of the headphones and their name on the front opens to reveal a large, hard, zippered carrying case. This is of good quality and certainly feels substantial enough to offer protection to the headphones should you want to carry them about. However, it’s also pretty big and so I’m not sure you would really call the AIVA a portable model, thought the case will fit inside a decent sized backpack.

As well as the case you get a small cotton drawstring bag in which a set of cables resides. It’s 6N single crystal copper in a clear jacket with wooden accoutrements. Two solid minijack plugs go into the headphones left and right cups and the termination end is a 4.4mm plug, though an adapter is included to make this a more common 3.5mm plug. The cable is a useful, but not too long, 1.6m and feels of good quality, though you will need an adapter if your headphone amp uses a quarter-inch jack – one of these should have been included in the package in my opinion.

Open backed with planar magnetic dirvers

The most obvious thing about the headphones themselves is their wooden casings which we are told takes a lot of time and effort to put together with the process being “butting, CNC carving, polishing, repeat painting and air drying. The actual housing for the drivers is made up of zebra wood along with CNC’d metal parts.

The drivers themselves are planar-magnetic in an open back design and they are 32Ohm impedance.

There is a fair bit of weight to the headphones but it’s not stupid heavy at 420g. The headband is easy to adjust and they are pretty comfortable over long periods of time, though you certainly know you are wearing them and I’d not really want to do anything but sit at home with them on.

Sendy Audio AIVA Headphones Side

Great finish and good quality accessories

All in all the build feels solid, they look good and they are reasonably comfortable, but how do they sound?

SOUND QUALITY

For the duration of this review, I used an Audio Research DAC/Headphone amp connected to a Windows-based laptop running Media Monkey.

First up was Neil Young’s Comes A Time and the first thing that grabbed me was the very clear separation of the instruments in the mix and the amount of detail afforded by the headphones. This detail is evident particularly on tracks where you can hear movement on the fretboard or body of Young’s guitar. The character of Young’s laidback vocal and the backing harmonies of Nicolette Larson are very easy to pick out from one another. There is also a good feeling of the recording space, particularly on the track Look Out For My Love where you can clearly hear Young move towards and away from the microphone. The tone on the electric guitar on Motorcycle Mama is also very simple to pick out. Overall here the sound is what I would describe as being lush – easygoing and full-bodied. I actually quite like this presentation as it’s untaxing, unfatiguing, and just easy to listen to. Others may feel that the presentation is a bit uninvolving and maybe a bit boring – horses for courses.

Switching the tempo a little to the late Avicci’s True album bass proves to be deep and controlled with vocals on Hope There’s Someone (for example) being clean and uncoloured. However, I can’t help but feel there is something a little too polite for my tastes. Hardfloor’s Acperience just feels like it’s lacking a bit of excitement and feels a little pedestrian when compared to our Oppo PM1s or Audeze LCDs. Now don’t get me wrong, the tone of the 303 is all there and it sounds like a 303 but I can’t help thinking that there is something a little too rounded on this kind of material. There is a feeling that these headphones are aiming to be a little bit polite and inoffensive in their presentation with 4 Hero and Jill Scott’s Gotta Get Up sounding “nice” but a bit lacking in excitement – a sort of laidback Sunday morning feeling to the sound.

Sendy Audio AIVA Headphones Detal 2

A finish that will certainly appeal to the more discerning headphone consumer

With Bush’s Everything Zen everything is there, but again I feel that I’m not getting the dynamic excitement that I’m really craving from this record. Even turning up the volume to high levels (don’t do this at home, kids) leaves me feeling I want something a little more exhilarating.

CONCLUSION

These are good headphones, but they do have their limitations and will appeal to some and less to others, sonically speaking. Sadly, and for my tastes, I fall into the latter category. For me, they are a little too polite and laid back, though I am well aware that some will thrill to this presentation. On more simple music this presentation is a bit of a bonus and the AIVAs are lovely when listening to less complex tunes, especially late at night. I think they are just not dynamic enough for my own tastes.

They are nice headphones to listen to at the end of the day as they are a pleasant sound to wind down to – I hope that makes sense. They are a chilled out, non-taxing listen – sort of the antithesis of a pair of Grado cans.

Comfort is good, though you do know you are wearing them after long listening sessions.

The overall package and finish are very good.

If I was judging these purely from a personal perspective and taking into account my own tastes with regards to presentation the I’d give these a Three Hearts award, however, I am aware that they will appeal to some listeners and their preferred presentation and so overall they will get a Four Hearts award.

AT A GLANCE

Sound Quality:

Detailed throughout the frequency range

Good bass

Warm and a little lacking in dynamics

Build and Comfort:

Good package

Interesting backstory

Good accessories

Reasonably easy to drive

Comfortable

Value For Money:

If you like their laidback presentation (I sort of did and didn’t) then these are a good value package

We Loved:

The feeling that you are getting a luxury product at a reasonable price, allied to a sound that is easy going and non-taxing.

We Didn’t Love So Much:

A bit uninvolving and lacking in excitement.

Price:  £545/€639/$599

Elevator Pitch Review: If you are looking for a luxe-feeling headphone for home at just over five hundred quid and prefer a more laidback, warm presentation then these could be just the ticket. They do a lot right and on more simple music they are lovely. However, on rock and techno they are a little lacking in lustre and excitement. Definitely a “Listen before you buy product”.

 

 

 

 

 

Stuart Smith

Supplied By Sendy Audio

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