With the Aiva, Sendy Audio present a pair of open, circumaural headphones at the upper end of the price range. This manufacturer has worked on fine-tuning these headphones over a period of three years, targeting and optimising even the smallest part. We were therefore looking forward to seeing how these planar-magnetic headphones performed in our test.
These headphones come in a sturdy plain cardboard box, inside which is a robust real leather case. This provides four small feet to stand on and is closed with a rough-toothed zip; a riveted leather loop is attached to the slider. A carrying loop, also made of real leather, is attached to the case with a snap hook. All the metal parts have a chic anodised finish.
As well as the Aiva and the transport case, the package also contains a small fabric pouch with a drawstring. Hidden inside is a high-quality interchangeable cable, which consists of braided strands of high-purity oxide-free 6N copper with a transparent sheath. The cable’s connectors are made of solid metal, the splice protector and a sliding cable holder are made of wood and engraved with the manufacturer’s logo or name. All contact points are gold-plated for corrosion protection. At the bottom end of the cable is a cable adapter that connects the cable’s balanced 4.4 mm Pentaconn plug to an unbalanced small jack plug. This allows the Aiva to be used with dedicated headphone amplifiers such as the Sennheiser HDV 820 as well as in conventional consumer environments. This makes for an impressive first impression.
A number of visual features on these headphones immediately catch the eye. The design of the Aiva is a mixture of classic yet stylish materials and an elegant design language that does not immediately reveal its technical sophistication. The first thing that stands out is the ear cups made of zebrawood. They are handmade and, with their slightly different grain, make each pair of headphones unique. Their backs are sound-permeable thanks to an aluminium perforated plate and generous plastic grille with a fish scale pattern. All metal parts of the Aiva are made of high-quality aerospace aluminium, with an anodised scratch-resistant finish
The Aiva’s one-piece headband is backed with a thin suede strip on the underside of its black aluminium. The leather strip, stitched along the edges, is held in place by an Allen screw on the plastic tabs of the size adjuster. The ear pads have an ergonomic shape, with narrower sides at the top than at the bottom. Sendy Audio have used Big Data analyses of different head shapes for their design. It is claimed that the result is ear pads that fit particularly snugly and well. They are made of protein leather and filled with memory foam. The insides, which rest against the head, are fitted with velvet fabric. The soft material is not only pleasant on the skin but also prevents prolonged wearing of the headphones from causing the head to sweat. They’ve really thought of everything.
The Aiva’s technology is also of the finest quality. The headphones’ oval drivers measure 97 by 76 mm and are fitted with an ultra-thin diaphragm. This is supposed to ensure that the headphones deliver an especially clear sound and lively dynamics. Technically, we are dealing with planar-magnetic headphones, where the diaphragms are held between high-precision magnets. This technique usually results in a particularly detailed sound reproduction.
The frequency range of 20 to 40,000 Hz extends to the lower end of the human hearing range in the bass. In the treble range, the Aiva has enormous reserves that clearly exceed human hearing. With an impedance of less than 36 ohms (averaged), these headphones are also suitable – in keeping with the times – for headphone amplifiers that only provide a relatively low output voltage. Therefore, it should also work well with Smartphones, tablets, notebooks etc. However, their volume is not particularly high, with a maximum sound pressure level of less than 93 dB SPL as measured by us.
The fit of these headphones is comfortable right away. With a weight of 425 g without cable, these headphones seem comparatively light despite their imposing appearance. The ear pads fit snugly and the contact pressure is not too strong compared to the size of the headphones. Nevertheless, they fit securely even when the head is moved quickly. However, the size adjustment takes some getting used to. I only achieved the best fit when I manually adjusted the headband to the smallest size using its two adjustable tabs, so that it could then adapt to the shape of my head when I put it on. With their special swivel mechanism, the ear cups can be swivelled both horizontally and vertically. The adjustment to the head shape is therefore excellent. The wearing comfort level is high, even during longer sessions the ear pads feel comfortable on the head. The 160-centimetre cable is well-suited for using the headphones with mobile devices, but audiophiles will probably not be happy with this short cable.
The sound I perceived consists of dense mids and finely draw highs. Although low tones are well perceptible right into the low bass range. However, in combination with the very warm mid-range of the Aiva, the bass seems dull. The sound of these headphones can be described as rather “warm” and this becomes especially clear in the presence range of voices. Sibilance is not a problem at any time. Nevertheless, the mids are well resolved and fine, which becomes especially clear when listening to guitar music. In the super-high range, these headphones show no upper limitations, even though the sound here lacks final brilliance. The treble range is also rich in detail, although slightly underrepresented in the overall sound image.
The stereo impression the Aiva made on me was pleasant and not too wide. Since the treble seemed somewhat “contained” in the overall sound, the signal resolution also made a decent impression on me. However, this takes complaining to a high level, as these headphones are in the major leagues in terms of sound. As expected from the values we measured, the maximum volume at which these headphones can emit undistorted sound is not particularly high. The acoustic isolation of the headphones is low, as is usual for an open model. Accordingly, there is also a fair amount of sound leaking out from the inside of the ear cups.
The Sendy Audio Aiva is an ear-enclosing, open headphone that features an elegant design, fine materials, first-class workmanship and high-quality accessories. The fit of these headphones is just as comfortable as their handling. These planar-magnetic headphones deliver a warm sound image. Although the bass sounds a little dull, the headphones impressed us with their dense mids and subtle highs. At the upper end of the frequency spectrum, their sound is open “in a restrained way”. Correspondingly, the richness of detail of the signal resolution is discreet but appealing. The Sendy Audio Aiva are high-quality headphones for hi-fi enthusiasts who want to enjoy audio with a warm and unobtrusive sound. This means that fans of jazz and classical music, in particular, will get their money’s worth.
- Ear couplingOver-ear
- Transducer principleplanar magnetic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 40.000 Hz
- Impedance35,8 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)92,43 dB
- Pressure averaged from big and small head670 g
- Weight with cable478 g
- Weight without cable425 g
- Cable length160 cm
What's in the box
- Interchangeable cable
- Adapter pentaconn to mini jack
- Carrying case