Sivga SV021 Robin review

Could Sivga’s wired headphones be your new over-ear sidekicks? Tested at £149 / $149 / AU$299

Sivga SV021 Robin over-ear headphones on wooden table next to Astell & Kern music player
(Image: © What Hi-Fi?)

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

While Sivga’s wired Robin SV021 are an upbeat pair of over-ears, crucial sonic drawbacks make them hard to recommend wholeheartedly.


  • +

    Front-footed, energetic sound

  • +

    Dig out ample detail

  • +

    Appealing wooden aesthetic


  • -

    Sound could be more solid, weighty and insightful

  • -

    Rivals offer greater dynamic contrast and overall musicality

  • -

    Overly soft earpads don’t provide the most stable fit

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

You may not have heard of Chinese brand Sivga before. Established in 2016, the somewhat fledgling outfit is seeking to carve out a name for itself in the world of wired headphones, with a quick trip to the company’s official website revealing a healthy stable of wired over-ear cans backed by robust sonic claims and adorned, to varying degrees, with swanky wooden exteriors.

Carving out your own niche is never easy, especially for young bucks trying to make a name amid a packed crowd of established players, and while those retro wooden exteriors may be enough to catch some wandering eyes, few companies make the grade if the goods they tout simply aren’t up to task. At this relatively affordable price point, our spotlighted contenders – the Sivga SV021 Robin – have substantial competition from the likes of Røde, Austrian Audio, Sennheiser and AKG, none of whom will be keen to concede ground to the new boys without a fight. 

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and Batman isn’t swinging by to save them. Time to find out if the Sivga SV021 Robin have the makings of true headphone heroes.


Sivga SV021 Robin over-ear headphones held in hand with earcups together

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

The Sivga SV021 Robin officially retail at £149 / $149 / AU$299 and, as of yet, we haven’t seen that number drop during their short lifetime. That figure puts the Sivga on a collision course with some notable rivals, including the punchy AKG K371 (tested at £151 / $145 / AU$145) and the Award-winning Røde NTH-100. We tested the Røde last year at £149 / $149 / AU$249, but discounts are starting to pull prices down a touch, making the Sivgas’ task of competing with the best in the business just that little bit trickier. 

Build & comfort

Sivga SV021 Robin over-ear headphones detail on headband

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

In terms of their general shape and profile, the SV021 Robin are something of a mixed bag. A pair of headphones sporting wooden earcups at this price level is a welcome sight if you like that sort of thing, and while the cups’ exterior surface does seem susceptible to external scratches, the overall impression given by combining leather and wood is one of retro elegance. The external stitching atop the headband is uniform and neatly done, while the cans’ adjustment sliders are relatively smooth and simple to operate.

Sivga SV021 Robin tech specs

Sivga SV021 Robin over-ear headphones

(Image credit: Sivga)

Type Over-ears, closed-back

Noise cancelling? No

In-line remote and mic? No

Drivers 50mm dynamic 

Claimed frequency response 20Hz – 20kHz

Cable length 1.6m (3.5mm connector with separate 6.5mm adaptor)

Impedance 32 Ohms +/- 15%

Weight 275g

Thanks to their soft and squishy (that’s a technical term) memory foam earpads, the SV021 Robin initially seem to offer a light, easygoing fit, but it’s a somewhat fleeting impression that soon gives way to the realisation that the combination of the pads’ excessive softness and the lack of proper clamping pressure from the headband doesn’t keep the headphones completely stable when in use. We also notice significant on-ear heat as minutes of listening turn to hours, so bear that in mind if you’re planning on using the Sivga to delve into a non-stop exploration of Tool’s back catalogue or thinking of devoting a day immersed in Wagner’s Ring Cycle.

Further issues may arise depending on the wearer. While many of our more cranially-endowed team had few problems with the overall fit, those blessed with more diminutive domes struggled to obtain a comfortable clamp, bemoaning the fact that the cans, even on their smallest adjustment, sat too low on their ears. 

Elsewhere, these aren’t the most lavishly furnished pair of over-ears you’ll find, but that’s understandable considering the Sivgas’ reasonable cost. You’re provided with a solitary 1.6m cable for directly connecting to most standard headphones via a 3.5mm connector, although Sivga has been good enough to include a 6.5mm adapter should you require it. You don’t get a bespoke case, though, meaning a rather basic fabric carry bag is charged with keeping your cans protected from the perils of the outside world. 


Sivga SV021 Robin over-ear headphones on wooden table next to music player

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Sivga may still be a relatively unknown name, but fears that the brand is yet to find its “voice” are soon assuaged when we get the SV021 Robin plugged in and firing. A Tidal recording of Paolo Nutini’s intimate, sincere Through The Echoes reveals the sensibly priced over-ears’ personality as the track benefits from a reasonably well-ordered and detailed display, with the Sivga picking out the timbres of gentle guitar strums, disparate piano touches and Paolo’s throaty, nasal rasp. 

There’s unquestionably detail here, but the SV021 Robins’ main currency is that of propulsive, slightly treble-happy assertiveness – they’re as keen to please as a fresh-faced intern on their first day on the job, throwing themselves into the action and conveying tracks with a peppy, eager spirit. As we plug the Sivga into our Astell and Kern A&norma SR35 hi-res player and pick out a 24-bit/96kHz FLAC recording of Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop, we’re struck by how crisp and spritely the familiar tune feels, even if the upper-end can stray into sounding a touch harsh and shrill to our ears. These are cans keen for you to like them, and a part of us wants to oblige. 

Sonic shortcomings, however, prevent mild affection from blossoming into full-grown infatuation, and that eagerness to please can often lead the otherwise likeable headphones to stray into decidedly one-dimensional territory. There’s a point in Muse’s Hysteria when the bubbling, bassy verses are side-swiped by the introduction of crunchy, ripping guitars, signalling not only the chorus’s arrival but the track letting loose as it explodes into full-on tornado mode. It’s a key moment that feels more momentous and impactful through the more dynamically engaging approach of Røde NTH-100, as these Award-winners contrast the building verses with the explosiveness of the chorus to make that entrance feel like a real event. The Sivga, by contrast, are so busy colouring everything with their forward, enthusiastic palette that they can forget to bring out the track’s distinct textural and dynamic elements.

Sivga SV021 Robin over-ear headphones on wooden table with unplugged cable

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

Hysteria exposes more issues. The track’s relentless sense of propulsive drive is captured effortlessly by the fast, forward-thrusting SV021 Robin, so much so that you can almost feel they are straining at the leash to jump from one note to the next. Nuances are picked out with relative competence, but often the Sivga lack the necessary robustness to add oomph to the composition. More problematic still, their lack of lower-end refinement – especially when compared with the Røde – can sometimes leave that iconically intricate bassline feeling somewhat muddled and misshapen when contrasted with the clean, taut performance of the more capable NTH-100 rivals.

As we bounce through tracks of varying genres and styles, the SV021 Robin don't quite have the breadth of talent to bring out the full range of shades and dynamic contrasts across the listening spectrum. The Sivgas’ energetic approach brings snap and timing to proceedings, but be it conveying the well-ordered intricacy of Radiohead’s Reckoner, the sparky drive of The Black Keys’ Gotta Get Away or the subtle melancholy of Nils Frahm’s Ambre, they simply don’t possess the adaptability or insight to trouble the class leaders.


Sivga SV021 Robin over-ear headphones held in hand showing earcup detail

(Image credit: What Hi-Fi?)

If you can secure a proper fit and you’re in tune with their particular sonic approach, you may find something to enjoy from the Sivga SV021 Robin wired headphones. For us, though, they need more muscle, not to mention more refinement at both ends of the sonic spectrum, to gain greater plaudits. It may initially be hard to resist the Sivgas’ peppy and outgoing personality, but established rivals offer far more involving listens. 


  • Sound 3
  • Comfort 3
  • Build 3


Read our review of the Røde NTH-100

Also consider the Austrian Audio Hi-X50 

Read our AKG K371 review

Best over-ear headphones: wired and wireless pairs tested by our experts

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