SendyAudio is a fairly new Chinese company, only started in 2015, the Aiva is their entry into the open back headphone market. It features a 97x76mm planar magnetic driver in a stylish wood and metal enclosure.
This unit was provided sent to me by a friend and has since been returned.
In the box
- 4.4mm balanced 6n OCC cable
- 4.4mm to 3.5mm adapter
Build quality and accessories
The headphones themselves feel good quality, the headband is lightweight and thin but at the same time is sturdy and solid. The wood on the cups has a nice finish and to me tries quite hard to feel premium, which to me does a bit of the opposite. The case even though solid looks a bit silly and is bulky. Having a case makes me think the Aiva is supposed to be transportable, however, the design lacking a fully swivelling cups and a flat-packed case makes it look like an afterthought.
The cable is very good quality, tight weave makes it look nice and clean while sacrificing a bit of flexibility. The included adapter is a nice addition even though I’d like to see another one for full-size XLR.
Fit and comfort
Aiva isn’t the lightest of headphones but the mix of pad shape, comfort strap and clamp pressure makes it very comfortable for me. Cups could be a touch deeper but that is only a small issue.
Aggressive, narrow and bright.
Bass isn’t a classical planar implementation, instead, it has quite an aggressive attack and decay which makes it feel detailed but lacks a natural feel to it. The subbass is a touch lacking versus the midbass.
There is a bit of a lift in the midrange, because of the narrow presentation the Aiva renders itself as very detailed but yet again it feels unnatural and in your face, all the details are forced onto the listener which to me makes it a no go for longer listening. Any poorly recorded music like “HammerFall – Hearts on fire” renders itself unlistenable due to this presentation.
Sharp and unpleasant. A dip in the lower treble followed by a sharp rise gives the Aiva pronounced ringing especially while listening to electric guitars, solos from “Axel Rudi Pell – The Masquerade Ball” are basically unlistenable. The upper treble is quite a bit north of neutral, even as someone who isn’t particularly sensitive to treble it makes the Aiva unusable for long periods of time due to being physically painful to listen to.
Imaging and Soundstage
The stage is narrow, even very narrow for an open back. The images within the stage are defined well, with a decent amount of air and separation especially considering how narrow the stage is.
I came into this review expecting a good mid-fi planar, I couldn’t have been more disappointed. Aiva is an unpleasant experience I wish to leave behind and not hear again. Usually, I’d try to find a crowd for whom the product is good or interesting, in this case however I do not recommend those to anyone (unless you want to experience how a headphone can be a painful experience.).