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Sivga Luan Open

Aug 26, 2023Aug 26, 2023

Priced at $299, the Sivga Luan offers impressive build quality and comfort. Find out how they compare to similarly priced over-ear wired headphones from Sony, Sennheiser, HiFiMan and Grado.









Sivga Audio and Sendy Audio made our “Best Audiophile Headphones” list and for a rather good reason; the two Chinese brands which are based out of Dongguan, have become one of the best kept secrets in the high-end headphone space and their lineup of products continues to expand and outperform other models at their respective price points. Models like the Sivga SV023 and Luan benefit from a huge pool of local design talent and access to locally produced parts.

Some of the most important electronic brands in the world currently operate manufacturing plants in Dongguan; Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Nokia, and OPPO represent just some of the 1,000 electronics brands that manufacture in the city.

Both the award-winning SV023 (read our review) and Sivga Luan are open-back headphones and the less expensive Luan ($299 USD) features some trickle down technology from its more expensive sibling and some recently introduced features that differentiate it.

The $299 list price makes it a far attractive option for those who can’t afford the more expensive SV023, which retails for $449 USD.

Very similar to the other Sivga/Sendy models that we have tried, the Luan are extremely well-built and the overall design is very well executed. Having listened to almost all of their models, the Sivga Luan feature some of the best industrial design so far with an excellent balance of wood, leather, and metal.

All of that technology and build quality is rather necessary considering the competition between $250 and $300; the Luan need to be better than the Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMAN Sundara, Sony MDR-1AM2, and Grado SR325x.

The Luan comes with a high quality leather hard case of the same style as the higher-end models in the lineup; that is a rather smart move on the part of Sivga and point of differentiation; none of the aforementioned models from the competition include one or anything benefiting a pair of headphones at their respective price points.

Opening the case reveals the headphones, a separate cloth bag designed to hold the cable and supplied adapters; everything was neatly separated to prevent scratches while in transit.

The most striking thing is the mix of brushed aluminum, black leather, and dark walnut cups. The headband is a mix of spring steel and aluminum with machined gimbals and sliders for the suspension headband matching the spring steel outer band.

The suspension band is padded leather and matches the pads which have leather outer surfaces. A matching aluminum ring separates the walnut from the black grills creating a very cohesive looking industrial design.

The only plastic we could find was in the driver baffle inside the cup and in the cable which helps again separate the Luan from the competition; it is not common to find wood, leather, and machined aluminum gimbals for less than $500 USD.

Grado charges $295 for the SR325x as a point of comparison and whilst the headphone is a very strong performer and we would certainly consider them to be a strong alternative to the Luan, the industrial design is more utilitarian overall and lacks the blend of wood and metal that makes the Chinese headphone feel more substantial.

The ear pads are a hybrid leather on the sides and soft cloth on the face; Sivga designed the pads for better fit so they are sloped outward from the cup with the body of the pad sitting mostly outside the cup providing more space for the ear without requiring a larger and heavier cup to do so.

They are also easily replaced should the need arise with a simple twist lock mechanism. The cups have plenty of space for my ears and were comfortable with glasses with only a moderate level of clamping force.

The adjustable suspension headband and rotation of the cups also helps make this a very comfortable headphone for longer listening sessions; the cups rotate on both axes with roughly 25° to either side on the vertical axis and 15° outward on top and 60° inward on the horizontal.

Cables attach at the bottom of the cups using 3.5mm connectors for easy replacement as needed.

Internally, the Luan uses a 50mm composite dynamic driver with an outer ring coated in nickel for additional stiffness and the central dome being made of carbon fiber.

A copper clad aluminum wire voice coil is used along with a 24.5mm magnet structure to create a fast, efficient driver. The drivers are mounted at an angle facing slightly forward inside the cups.

The drivers have an impedance of 38 ohms with a sensitivity of 100dB/mW ±3dB which puts the Luan in a class that is easily driven by just about any source device.

The cables are 6N OCC in a 4-strand braid from jack to splitter and two strand twists above. All cable fixtures are matte black anodized aluminum matching the frame and the dual color (clear and brown) wires really set it off well. The cable is terminated using a 3.5mm jack and an adapter is provided for 6.35mm.

Having had the opportunity to review most of the Sivga and Sendy headphones that have been released so far, it is fair to say that the first generation of products were a real crapshoot when it came to sonic performance. They certainly did not challenge HiFiMAN, Sennheiser, or Beyerdynamic models at that time.

However, the most recent models like the Oriole, SV023, and Luan are a very different story and when you combine their strong sonic capabilities with the excellent build quality and value for the money — they give the aforementioned brands a really good fight and in some cases — make a more convincing argument for themselves.

The sub-bass region has a mild degree of emphasis with a peak at 80Hz; there is a gradual degree of roll-off on either side. At the extreme low end, one can discern the roll-off around 25Hz where bass notes lose their definition and detail and one feels the impact more than anything.

The bass range is generally well controlled with the mid-bass region exhibiting very good control and texture; clarity through this range into the lower midrange is quite good and there was very little coloration or any dip that we could discern.

Male vocals had more than enough texture and weight and the lower midrange never really comes across as being too warm or thick with vocals or instrumentation.

The overall presentation does not push male vocals forward of the mix and the worked well with most genres of music.

Guitar notes had excellent presence and edge and lower strings were reproduced with excellent tonal accuracy and detail. Higher strings and the upper registers on the piano were reproduced with some additional emphasis which gave music more energy but some listeners might find both to be slightly bright sounding.

Female vocals feature a similar emphasis and whilst clarity and detail were good, poorly recorded tracks will certainly come across as slightly strident in this area. Better quality recordings where female vocals are slightly laid back or cleaner sounding did not excite the Luan in the same fashion.

The additional emphasis in the upper midrange does not cross over into the lower treble; the overall presentation becomes slightly polite but there are some issues at this point that will bother some listeners more than others.

We noticed some grain in the treble range that impacted the sound; percussion had good snap and cymbals were delivered with accurate tone but the hi-hat came across as slightly “metallic” sounding as a result of some additional emphasis around 8kHz.

That late boost in the treble might give the Luan a more open sounding presentation, which also helps balance out the emphasis in the bass range, but it proved to be slightly fatiguing during longer listening sessions.

Soundstage depth and height are well reproduced, but the width is most certainly narrower than other models in the same price range. the Luan competes well overall in this area but it does not offer the spaciousness of the Sennheiser HD600.

Instrument separation is very good which helps when seating the orchestra or tracking movements and overall imaging is solid as well. Musicians are locked firmly in place on the stage but they never really feel like they are playing outside of your head due to the soundstage width limitations.

The HD600 recreate a much larger sounding soundstage with a better sense of scale; most certainly when listening to large scale orchestral pieces and symphonies.

Having already mentioned some of the Luan’s competition at the price point, it behoves me to explain how it compares to the Sivga SV023, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMAN Sundara, and the Sony MDR-1AM2.

Comparing the two Sivga models that are separated by $150 in price might seem unfair to the less expensive model, but it also provides some perspective on why the SV023 is more expensive.

The two headphones are similar from the perspective of build quality and some aspects of the tonal balance; the bass range is very similar.

The Luan features a ‘V’-shaped presentation whilst the the SV023 is much more akin to a ‘W’ and that matters in a very significant way.

The soundstage width and overall proportions are superior on the SV023, but that doesn’t mean the two offer a similar degree of transparency and openness. The less expensive Luan wins that battle which we did not expect.

If both headphones were priced the same, I would still pick the SV023 but the performance of the Luan makes me question the $150 difference in price.

The Sennheiser HD600 feels somewhat cheap compared to the Sivga Luan and that’s primarily because of the build quality of the Luan and materials used in the design. The HD600 has a plastic construction and when you hold both in your hands — you really realize what a good value the Luan represents.

Bass depth and impact are superior on the Luan, but I would rate the midrange performance rather equal. The Sivga comes across as slightly fuller sounding compared to the HD600 which offers more detail.

The treble range is not a strength of either headphone and those expecting clear, silky highs from either model will be disappointed.

Whilst the Sennheiser HD600 struggled, the HiFiMAN Sundara offers a much tougher opponent when it comes to the overall tonal balance, soundstage performance, and detail retrieval.

The Sundara offers a more linear sounding presentation that is more spacious and detailed, but that is not the only thing that matters when buying a pair of headphones at this price point.

The Luan’s build quality is vastly superior and in every possible way; quality of the materials, comfort level, finishing, and overall durability.

If one could merge the sound quality of the Sundara with the build quality of the Luan — it would be easy to recommend that model as the best below $300 and have zero hesitation in that regard.

The reality is more complicated and you do have to spend between $450 and $500 to achieve that.

The Sony MDR-1AM2 is good headphone at its price point but it really does not compare all that favorably with the Sivga Luan in a few areas; the plastic construction makes it feel less durable and the industrial design is certainly dated in comparison.

The supplied carry bag doesn’t offer the same level of protection as the hard case of the Luan and that will matter to those who will want to commute with these or take them on vacation.

The bass response on the Sony is more robust but comes across with less control and definition; the Luan offers superior clarity, detail, and is also leaner sounding in that range.

From the perspective of passive isolation, the closed-back Sony MDR-1AM2 does not offer a huge advantage over the open-back design of the Sivga and that surprised us.

With the exception of the treble range which can be somewhat grainy sounding with poor recordings and rather average reproduction of soundstage width, the Sivga Luan proved to be a rather refined sounding pair of open-back headphones below $300.

The ability to drive them with smartphones, Dongle DACs, and any DAP on the market make them a much easier recommendation; especially for those who may not want to invest in a desktop amplifier or very expensive digital source outside of their existing smartphone. Any reasonably priced dongle with a smoother sounding treble and a clean sounding midrange will work well with these.

The icing on the cake here is the build quality and attention to detail in the design; the Luan are built to last and proved to be rather comfortable during extended listening sessions.

The Sivga SV023 might be a better headphone, but the gap isn’t huge and that’s a huge win for a headphone that is $150 cheaper.

Where to buy: $299 at Amazon

Home > Latest > Reviews > Headphones > Over-Ear Headphones > Sivga Luan Open-Back Headphones: Review


August 30, 2023 at 12:41 am

Hail and well met indeed, Sir Will of Minion!

And now for something completely different..,

“We are the Knights who say…Oui! We are the keepers of the sacred words, Oui, Buy and Maaaaaaaybeee! We demand a sacrifice! We want… headphones! Ones that look nice. And NOT too expensive!”

And the mighty Knights or Arthur, King of the Britains didst choose the Sviga Luan Open-Back ‘phones which didst cause much rejoicing amongst the Knights who say Ni and much like when in the frozen land of Nador, where they were forced to eat Robin’s minstrel…there was much rejoicing amongst Arthur’s men.

I really think, not “feeeeeeeeeeeeeeel” these ‘phones are not just worth a lookie-see, they are worthy of my moolah and my ears.

If I do not save up and purchase a pair, I shall say…Ni! To myself.

Sir LancelORT, the not so wealthy but quite wise.

We now return control of the Ecoustics website to the EIC, until next time at any time, when the Control Voice will take you to…Reality. 😉

Ian White

August 30, 2023 at 12:50 am


She didn’t look French to me. And these are headphones that most certainly did not fart in your general direction.


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