Review - Sendy Audio Peacock

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 

These headphones have been very kindly sent for review by Keydis, the official distributor for Sendy Audio, along with Sivga, in Spain. Keydis does not sell directly to the public but here is a link that shows the various stores that carry these brands in Spain: https://www.keydis.es/comprarsivga.html

I am very grateful to Keydis for sending these in and, as always, I will leave my opinions in the most honest and unbiased way possible but, as I always say, it is good to consider the fact that it has not cost me anything to try these headphones.

Intro…

Not long ago I reviewed the Phoenix, which is a headphone by Sivga, who are a brand that belongs to the same company, Sendy Audio. While Sivga focuses on more budget orientated models, Sendy Audio is responsible for the higher end models, with the new Peacock being the TOTL planar magnetic headphone which was released quite recently.

It is my first experience with Sendy, however, this headphone is priced similarly to a headphone that is commonly recommended in this price range, the Hifiman Arya, a headphone that I do have quite a bit of experience with. So, although my review will be focused on the Peacock and how it performs in general, I will make a few comparisons to the Arya later in the review.


Presentation…

The headphones arrive in a simple brown box very similar to that of the Phoenix, with contents that are somewhat similar also but with more focus on quality.

Inside the box we find a headphone case that is also very similar to the one supplied with the Phoenix, however, in this case it is of a brown colour, with a gold coloured zipper and hardware, and has the Sendy Audio logo embossed on the top. This case, while mulded to the shape of the headphones, has four feet on the bottom to allow it to stand upright, making it much easier to store.

Inside the case we find the headphones and a drawstring cloth bag. The bag contains the cable that is supplied with the Peacock, a nicely braided two tone cable which ends in a 4.4mm balanced connector. The nice thing is that Sendy also includes two adapter cables, to convert the 4.4mm balanced to either a 4 pin XLR or a 6.35mm TRS, for those who want to use these headphones unbalanced. There is no 3.5mm option but this is to be expected, as these are not really headphones aimed at being used portably.


Build and aesthetics...

Let’s start with the cable. This is an 8 core braided cable, in two tones of brown, with a wooden chin slider and splitter that has Sendy Audio carved on it. The connectors seem to be of good quality, although I am not sure of the brand. The 4.4mm connectors (both male and female) have spring type cable strain relief and in general feel very nice. In fact, I would say that the cable is one of the nicest cables I have received with headphones for quite some time. I also want to say that I am not a fan of proprietary connectors on headphones, or at least ones that are not common, as I like to make my own cables, but the ones used on the Peacock are very nice, they are smooth and easy to connect and remove. I have found that I am quite a fan of them.

Moving on to the headphones… well… they are certainly aimed at looking high quality. I must say that while I love wooden headphones, I am not really one for gold (not just on headphones but in general, I don’t have any bass guitars with gold hardware either) and the cups sport very large gold and black grilles that certainly stand out. However, independently of my personal tastes, I can not say that these headphones do not look and feel like headphones of their price range.

Everything is well matched, well put together, I really can’t see any flaws in either build or aesthetics (again, ignoring my opinion of gold). Everything that should be metal is metal, everything that should be wood is wood, and even the pads feel and look premium (they actually smell of leather, so I am guessing they are real leather, although I may be wrong). The same goes for the headband, which is metal covered in leather and yellow stitching, with a very nicely padded leather comfort strap.

The headphones do have a little weight to them but they are not heavy enough to be uncomfortable, at least I haven’t found them to be tiring on long sessions (and I have certainly had some long sessions with these over the past week). In fact, I find them to be very comfortable in general, with nice openings inside the cups that are plenty large enough for my ears.


Sound…

When I receive a set of headphones for review, the first thing I do is open them and give them a very brief listen before I put them on another rig for burn in. This is usually only for about a minute, just to make sure that they work correctly and then I put them on the burn in rig for around 150 hours (I am not entering the burn in debate, it just doesn’t cost me anything to do it, so I do and avoid discussions while also avoiding brain burn in). When I did the brief listen of the Peacock, which was just with a Modi3 and Atom, I literally had to force myself to take them off about 30 minutes later.

Admittedly, at the time I was listening to the Marshall MID ANC (preparing for the review), so I guess it wasn’t surprising that the switch to these was very positive, but I just vibed with the music and really enjoyed them. I was actually very sorry to put them on the burn in rig and go back to the MID ANC.

During last week, I did listen to them a few times while I was testing the Zen Signature Stack and found them to be very nice on that set up but I refrained from using them too much until I could dedicate myself to them this week. Now, if you saw my review last week, you know that I finished the week listening to various Hifiman headphones, one of which being my favourite headphones, so normally anything would have been a bit of a let down after those, which is why I usually reset by listening to something else for a couple of days in between. In this case, I just went straight to the Peacock and can’t say that I felt let down but it wasn’t quite as perfect as my first listen may have led me to believe.

Starting with the subbass, as always, these are certainly not a sub bass heavy set of headphones. There is some roll off and I found that the iFi Zen CAN Signature HFM was a very good match for this, giving a little boost in the lowest regions (although the 2kHz boost that came with it wasn’t as much of an improvement as on other sets). This small boost in the lowest regions could be obtained with some very simple equalization but, as you probably know my tastes by now, I really don’t think it needs it because the music that these headphones make me want to listen to really doesn’t have much in the way of subbass anyway.

Moving on to the remaining mid and higher bass frequencies, here the bass is much more balanced and has a very nice warm and rounded sound to it. I have enjoyed listening to lots of blues, rock, simple electric guitar and bass tracks and, of course, my usual acoustic selections. I find the timbre of the bass to be very pleasant and smooth. There is plenty of detail in these lower regions but I don’t find it to have the dryness that I find on other planar offerings, such as the Ananda for example.

To give some examples from my usual test playlist, I basically enjoyed anything with a natural low end, from “No Ordinary Love” by Sade, “Crazy” by Daniela Andrade or “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” by Paul Simon, all sounded great to my ears. Other tracks that were more focused on electronic bass, such as “Sun is Shining” or “No Sanctuary Here” didn’t sound bad but didn’t seem to bring out the natural flavour that these headphones exhibit in these lower ranges. The Peacock doesn’t really inspire me to listen to EDM or even Hip-Hop, although it certainly doesn’t do a bad job of it.

In the transition to the mids, I did find that on some songs there was something that sometimes stood out as strange. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was, just on a couple of tracks I found that the bass sort of disconnected from the midrange. Now, this was something that was so slight and so ocasional that I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it or if it was really happening. I noticed it on parts of “Killing in the Name” (although not throughout the whole track) and also in “Hotel California” by the Eagles (the acoustic version), along with a few others.

In the end I cheated and looked for measurements online (usually I don’t look at measurements until after I have listened and come to conclusions) to see if I really was hearing something or if I was just making it up. I found that (according to a couple of graphs) there is a little bit of a dip followed by a slight rise between the 500 to 1000Hz range. It is only slight and I really don’t think it is enough to be noticeable on 99% of the tracks I have listened to (I have listened to a lot of music on the Peacock) but obviously just sometimes coincides with certain frequencies in recordings and makes it seem more apparent. I really don’t think I would have ever been able to find it if it wasn’t for the graphs, in fact, it really isn’t even in the transition between ranges, it is just after the transition, but I thought I would mention it (especially after looking at graphs to make sure I wasn’t going crazy).

In general, the midrange is very nice. It is the sort of midrange that manages to provide plenty of detail while seeming relaxed, not throwing the detail at you. Voices sound rich and smooth, giving them a very intimate feel without feeling close like they do on something like the HD6XX. Voices such as Zella Day in her version of “Seven Nation Army” manage to be present without being overpowering or harsh.

However, moving up towards the top end of the mids and into the treble, here is where I find these headphones differ from what I am used to in planar magnetics. There is the usual dip found around 2kHz that is inherent to the Hifiman line up, however, the following frequencies don’t return quite like they do on said headphones. Rather than 3kHz being higher than the lower and middle of the midrange, the Peacock do not bounce back in the same way. In fact, the frequency response of the higher ranges is at a lower level than the mids all the way up to the highest of ranges.

In fact, the treble range is a little strange, it sort of seems like it is rolling off but in a bit of an intermittent way. This can cause the treble range to sound a little blunt but with certain frequencies cutting through on occasions that are not expected. The positive side to this is that the Peacock does avoid sibilance and harshness in its majority, except for those frequencies that seem to appear on occasions and are sort of unexpected.

I can’t say that I hate the treble, it is not quite as clear as I would like it to be but at the same time does help these to be a bit more of a relaxed listen than other options. I do feel that some EQ could go a long way with these headphones however.

As far as soundstage, it’s also sort of midway. It is not huge and open like on something like the Arya but it does not ever seem to be too closed in either. The image placement is very good, “Bubbles” is very 3D like, but it does it in a way that still feels close though not claustrophobic. For example “Letter”, also by Yosi Horikawa, has great movement but does not really go wide off to the left or right.



Comparison to the Hifiman Arya…

First let me say that these are the Arya 2020 version, not the new Arya with the Stealth Magnets (I will be reviewing those soon but have not yet heard them). If you want to know what I think about the Arya, then you can see my full review of them here. I also want to point out that this is comparing them side by side on the Asgard 3, not on the Zen CAN HFM, which I feel improves the Arya with the HFM+XSpace engaged.

I moved over to the Arya after about 3 hours of constant listening to the Peacock, so obviously things jumped out at me straight away, probably in a more exaggerated fashion at first.

I must point out that, to be at similar listening levels, I kept the same level on the dial of the Asgard and just flipped it to high gain when moving from the Peacock to the Arya (and vice versa), meaning that the Peacock does need less power.

The first thing that struck me straight away was the open soundstage of the Arya. Now, I have mentioned on many occasions that the Arya can sometimes be too open for my preferences, making things sound too far away. However, that is also a very impressive sensation when you first listen to the Arya and coming to them from the Peacock was no exception, the soundstage is huge and does make the Peacock seem very intimate in comparison. I am not saying this as a bad thing, I really like a closer sound on many occasions, but it is certainly something to consider if you are contemplating between these two headphones.

The next thing which is obvious is the treble of the Arya, being more elevated, making for a brighter sound signature but without losing that power of the bass that the Arya can portray when needed. But at the same time, the lower end of the Phoenix is far warmer, even if it is not more elevated in those frequencies than the Arya. It is the reduction in the higher ranges that makes the low end more noticeable on the Peacock.

For example, listening to “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman on both headphones, it is as though the guitar is being played through two completely different amplifiers/cabs. On the Arya it comes across as a rather clean guitar tone, while on the Peacock it comes across as a much warmer tone, as though it is being played through a warm tube amp (if that makes any sense to you non-guitarists, or even to the guitarists out there). Her vocals are pleasant on both headphones, however, the Arya does seem to bring them further forwards.

In fact, the comparison of amps I just made is quite relevant to these two headphones in general. As a bassist, and a lover of both clean tones and warm tubey tones, I would say that the Arya is the clean rig while the Peacock is the warm tube rig. Which one anyone will prefer will depend on their personal tastes.


Conclusion…

I really like the Peacock but I like it for reasons that are not usually my main focus when listening to, or chosing, headphones. The Peacock brings a warm and relaxed presentation, which I have found very enjoyable for long listening sessions, especially for a lot of my acoustic and also blues genres.

There is plenty of detail, however, that treble range does make the detail take a bit of a back seat behind the lushness of the lower end. It is certainly something that I have found more enjoyable for a relaxed session rather than a “focus on detail” session.

These are a set of very well built headphones, they look good (if you are into wood and gold) and they perform very well in comparison to so many other headphones. They include accessories that I wish other companies would take note of, especially in the cable department, and are quite easily powered for such a large set of planars (although the answer is no, I don’t suggest connecting them to a smartphone).

The question of whether these are for you or not will depend far more on your taste in sound signature than anything else. If you want a relaxed, warm set of planar magnetics, then the Peacock should certainly be on your list to try. If you are more of a clean and extremely detailed person, then maybe you might prefer some other options.

SenyorC