My Video Review:
Sendy Audio and their sister company Sivga Audio always appeared on my radar on a regular basis, as those two always resonated with good looking headphones at affordable prices, that hopefully were good sounding too. A few months ago, we bumped into their AIVA headphone and although we had some quibbles, criticizing their cup size, their limited slam, weird tuning up top and questionable measurements, at their price point all those felt as minor drawbacks, awarding them with a Bronze Award for their first attempt. Two months later, Sendy Audio returned back from their labs with a brand-new headphone in their hands, that looked by orders of magnitude better, carrying a similar tech, a much bigger driver, cup design, higher quality components and it felt like everything was dialed-up to eleven. Their earcups are looking unlike anything I’ve seen before and although I don’t wear precious metals, the golden peacock feathers are looking quite interesting, catching easily everyone’s attention in the room and it was just natural choosing a name like that.
This is their flagship headphone, their best shot at personal high-end audio and as such it was priced accordingly. From $599 on their AIVA, Peacock’s price went up to $1499 and that’s a very dangerous territory, as headphones like Audeze LCD-X and Hifiman Arya Stealth are reigning supreme as king and queen for quite some time now. Can the newest challenger dethrone the old rulers of the past? We’ll find that out very soon, as Peacock will be compared with both models in the latest chapters of this review. Are they worth it though? That’s a powerful question that I’ll try to answer today and before I’ll tell you more about them, let’s dive deep inside their package first.
Sendy Audio prepared a similar unboxing experienced to their AIVA headphones that I’ve tested a few months ago, as they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Double boxed is already a norm, wrapping everything with environmentally friendly materials. A high-quality hard-case is included that has a leathery texture to it. It’s similar to that of the AIVA, it’s just bigger as it follows the curves of a larger headphone, having just a different color scheme. It’s a high-quality hard case no doubt, that follows the shape of the Peacock. It’s thick and hard on the outside, but soft and gentle on the inside, protecting the precious headphone during shipping. After opening the travel case, I was pleasantly surprised by how bright and vivid Peacock looked in real life. Everything felt improved, starting with looks and finishing with build quality and comfort levels. Their detachable cable and two headphone adapters are located in a textile pouch and the headphones are standing still in their natural position. No manuals or additional papers have been included in the package, if you would like to learn more about them, please check their official web-page right here.
Cable quality is impressive, it seems to be hand-made, it uses thick and high-purity (6N) single crystal copper conductors. It has a beautiful wooden splitter, sturdy stainless-steel jacks, terminated with a 4.4mm Pentaconn jack – that is currently my favorite balanced connector. Two headphone adapters are also included terminated with a regular 6.35mm jack and the second one with a balanced 4-pin XLR option. I’m glad they ditched those flimsy 2.5mm connectors on their AIVA and went with much sturdier locking type 4-pin jacks. Thanks to its headphone adapters, I will be using it with my portable DAPs and also with several desktop headphone amplifiers.
Build Quality & Looks
We are talking about a hand-made, fully open-back headphone that uses only long-lasting materials with just two little pieces of plastic and I cannot fault their build quality at all. While I liked the overall feel of their AIVA, Peacock improved all the issues I had with its predecessor. Their earcups are now bigger, their earpads followed the same path and they can accommodate bigger ears, which seems like a major improvement already. Their earpads are softer and thicker too and those are made out of higher-quality goat-skin, filled with memory-foam for prolonged listening sessions. The only thing I dislike about these earpads are their limited earpad opening. It wasn’t an issue for me, but it might be for bigger (elven) ears.
Their reinforced steel headband seems to be integrated as a single part throughout a complex process. Its leather headband is much softer to anything I’ve used before and I wish its competitors would use a similar headband like this. To adjust the headband, you’ll need to gently pull it up or down and that’s it. I’m having a bigger head and the middle position seems to work just fine and there is plenty of travel left. Peacock offers a high comfort level, with little to no side pressure or on top of my head. Seriously now, this is an amazing headband that helps a lot in dealing with a heavier headphone in longer listening sessions.
Their earcups are looking gorgeous and those golden peacock feathers are adding plenty of style points, always stealing everyone’s attention when putting them near some other cans. Those earcups are bold and massive looking, very similar to the Audeze LCD line and to the Kennerton Wodan, only slightly smaller to Erzetich Phobos V2021 and to oval shaped Hifiman creations as Arya Stealth and HE1000SE.
Luckily, Sendy Audio ditched those fragile 2.5mm connectors on AIVA’s cups and replaced them with much stronger locking type 4-pin connectors that you can also spot on DCA headphones. Pay attention as these aren’t 4-pin XLR connectors, as Sendy Audio is specifying on their website.
Last but not least, Peacock weighs 578 grams and while that’s a lot more to 420 grams on their AIVA, it’s featherweight compared to high-end headphones as Audeze LCD-4 (690 grams) and Erzetich Phobos V2021 (680 grams).
Their earpads are much deeper now, softer and are stuffed with plenty of memory foam. I find them gentle on my cheeks and soft enough to be used in long listening sessions. These are breathing a little and shouldn’t be an issue in the summer time. Their pads resemble the stock ones of Audeze headphones and I can hardly differentiate them. They fit around my head snugly and provide enough padding, putting little to no pressure around my ears. I didn’t feel a higher side pressure in their stock configuration and adjusting them to my head size didn’t change the final outcome. In the end, there isn’t much to complain, as thanks to their fluffy earpads and to an evenly distribution of weight, I can wear them for prolonged periods of time, without feeling discomfort or pain around my ears.
Tech Inside them
We are looking at an open-back planar-magnetic headphone that uses massive 88mm drives that are being pushed by double sided magnets in a push-pull configuration and by double sided coils, Sendy is calling this QUAD-Former Technology. Four coils and double-sided magnets were put to ensure a greater magnetic flux and energy conversion. Their driver housing is made out of aviation grade aluminum carved with precise CNC machining. Their diaphragm is being developed for two years now, it’s a composite one that uses a combination of materials. Of course, it’s extremely thin and rigid and it seems that a higher power should control it better, taking care of distortions happening in the entire audio band. As an open-back headphone, they will be leaking a great deal of noise outside their cups, so they should be used mostly at your listening battle-station.
I’m quite surprised by its high-ish sensitivity of 103 dB per a single milliwatt of power, add a lower impedance of 50 Ohms and you can be sure that Peacock will sound decent to good enough even out of ordinary headphone jacks found on most computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. I don’t see them as power hungry cans, but they will definitely benefit from dedicated audio sources and amplifiers.
Their Quad-Former Technology seems to increase their sensitivity, making them work nicely even with portable devices. I will be measuring them in the latest chapters of this review, please make sure to read until the end for a full measurement analysis, but until that happens let’s hit some eardrums and check them out!
I. Preliminary Sound Impressions
Before kick-starting this review, I want to remind you that I and the team behind this website have a huge passion for all things audio, we are individual and self-sustained, we aren’t hired by anybody and nobody pays for our reviews. There aren’t huge corporations behind us, that check every single word that is being written. We aren’t here to hype things to the stratosphere; we will be always on your side and not on anyone else’s. If you care for honest, reliable and in-depth reviews, that are backed-up by measurements and subjective impressions made on several portable and desktop setups, then you came to the right place. While some reviewers around the globe might virtually compare the Peacock with a lot of headphones of other manufacturers, without putting at least a photo of the units that are being compared, you shouldn’t take those (misleading) reviews seriously. Those are bad for you and especially for your wallet.
With that out of the way, let’s focus on the most important part, on the sound quality. Although I’ve measured them several times now (about ~10 times), I must admit that I’m a little spoiled after seeing them, as my actual subjective impressions aren’t mirroring them exactly. Let’s start with things that weren’t that impressive and I will slowly transit towards their good parts, which are plenty to write about.
The biggest let down for me was their slightly metallic treble that carries an unnatural vibe to it, like music is fired up from a metallic cylinder - a strange effect that was also present on their AIVA headphones. I am not about being bright or harsh, not at all, just about its texture and about the way it is being delivered to the listener. I’m very much into treble intensive music, I know how a drum kit should sound in real life, but that’s not what I’m hearing on the Peacock. When it comes to frequency response, they have an almost relaxed presentation in the treble, it feels right, it’s quite gentle and you can hear its nuance without too much trouble, but when it comes to the way it shimmers and vibrates…something just isn’t right from the get go. Especially with cymbals crashes, hi-hats, bells and tambourines, there is an unnatural vibe to them, an unwanted resonance and echo. I’m not sure from where that metallic ringing is coming from, as their cups are made out of wood, maybe their outer grilles made them unstable or maybe the whole driver assembly isn’t well-secured and perfectly decoupled from the earcups, but at this point I cannot be 100% sure, treat it as an educated guess.
In my case, that unnatural ringing posed a problem in long listening sessions, as my attention was (unwillingly) dragged towards it and I started searching for it even with calmer music as blues and jazz. Problem no.2 I have with them is their tunnel-like vision, like everything is coming towards me from a wooden barrel or metallic cylinder. The soundstage itself is good and I find them open and sometimes wide sounding, but their depth and imaging aren’t that impressive. For example, I can’t focus that easily on micro-details happening in the midrange or sub-bass, they feel blurry and dispersed around my head and I can’t feel the layers of bass coming in waves towards me. While the golden peacock feathers on its earcups are looking stunning and really unique, sound wise they probably did more harm than good. There is plenty of energy behind their drivers that wants to go outside, but it is being stopped by tiny holes on its earcups and that probably distortion and subsequently damages the imaging and depth. I can feel that these drivers can provide a little more, I feel their quality and their potential, but something is dragging them down and that is quite apparent when comparing them with open-shade system headphones of Hifiman, or with Fazor equipped Audeze headphones that are improving the directivity of the sound waves. Those two are my biggest complaints for the Sendy Audio Peacock, I’ve tried them with different earpads and their sound didn’t change that much, meaning that their shortcomings are indeed happening inside their cups.
With that out of the way, let’s focus on the good parts that made them good sounding in the first place. Sendy Audio clearly wanted to deliver something else, something that would please music lovers first and hardcore audiophiles much later on. Their technicalities maybe aren’t that impressive, there isn’t an immaculate detail retrieval, nor a need for speed that I so crave with my electronica tunes, forget about micro-details being brought from the shadows or about counting mastering errors. Peacock focuses on the macro-dynamics and on everything that makes you move while listening to music. With Peacock on my head, I could easy multi-task around my PC, I could easily walk with them around while helping my son doing its homework, it is a very universal and almost harmless sounding headphone. While they deliver a decent thump and slam, low-end notes are sensual and aren’t moving that fast, there is some warmth and liquidity in the music that bonds the notes together, never wanting to steal your attention. In some ways, this is the opposite of the Hifiman sound that wants to impress with technicalities galore, but falls short when trying to put you in a relaxed state of mind.
These can be described as natural sounding to some degree, focusing your attention mostly on the bass and midrange region, while discarding brightness. I immensely enjoyed listening to slower and mid-paced music on them, hell, even bad mastered music sounding great with them, because they were never shoving those imperfections down my ears. My older jazz and blues recordings sounded fantastic, on Hoodoo Man Blues all the grain and hiss just magically disappeared and I could focus on the most important parts, on the music itself and on what makes it beautiful in the first place. It does remind me quite a lot about their AIVA, as they carry a similar tuning, with the exception that Peacock is slightly more technical and considerably bigger sounding. If I’m closing my eyes (and my ears) on some of those drawbacks and if I wouldn’t be into treble intensive music, then for the love of Odin, Peacock is a good sounding headphone and I totally understand if you might pick one.
II. Power Requirements & Amps Pairings
What I really like about the Sendy Peacock is their incredibly high sensitivity of 103 dB per a single mW of power, putting them in the same bandwagon with headphones as Erzetich Phobos V2021, Kennerton Wodan and GoldPlanar GL2000 (double sided magnet version). In simpler words, you don’t really need the biggest, the meanest and the most expensive amplifier for excruciatingly loud levels. My smartphone, tablet and laptop couldn’t drive these adequately as I was almost maxed out, but small USB dongles as Shanling UA2 surprisingly worked good with them. Little Bluetooth critters like FiiO BTR5 and Qudelix 5K had enough oomph and headroom for an enjoyable experience, something that isn’t usually the case with big planar headphones.
They aren’t sucking as much juice and you’ll never need some oversized amplifiers to awake nicer dynamics, making them impactful and jumpy sounding even with ordinary desktop amplifiers. Compared to some other headphones that I have around me, they sound a little louder (by ~2 dB) compared to their lower-tiered AIVA and they need considerably less power to something like Hifiman Arya Stealth or Audeze LCD-4. They have a loudness factor of two compared to the latest headphone, sounding two times louder. They don’t need a lot of current, nor a lot of voltage to sound loud and that’s important if you don’t like blowing lots of cash or high-end electronics.
Portable digital players like Shanling M6 V.21 and FiiO M11 Plus LTD worked outstanding, there was plenty of headroom remaining on tap, technicalities improved considerably compared to small dongles and Bluetooth devices, but if I were to choose, Shanling players sounded better, due to a better output stage that focuses on a warmer and more likeable tonality.
Putting them on several desktop headphone amplifiers, it was clear to me that their tonality, all their good and bad parts carried over and that is precisely why I wouldn’t use them on THX-AAA amps, on Topping’s NFCA amps or on the latest SMSL’s PLFC amps, mostly because their treble ringing was aggravating with such units. Moving them on transistor-based class-A amplifiers, things started to improve and I almost forgot their nasty treble with such units, their depth improved a little and I could look deeper into my tracks. Most importantly, portable DAC/Amps, portable DAPs and desktop amplifiers sounded fantastic and I see no point in getting expensive amplifiers only for them. If you need an all-in-one unit that impressed me greatly with them, check the xDuoo XA-10 and their TA-10R and if you need only an amplifier that tames some of its cons, then check the Singxer SA-1 that is pretty much unbeatable at its respective price point.
III. Transient Response
Putting them on higher-class amplifiers that could deliver an almost infinite amount of current to their drivers, made them quite impactful and engaging to a certain degree. Class-A amplifiers were definitely nicer sounding on them, adding some oomph and density down-low, something that portable devices just couldn’t deliver so easily and gracefully. When it comes to transients, I find them good on the final kick and above average when it comes to speed, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone, as mid-level planar-magnetics are performing more or less the same. Their heavier magnets needed more punch coming from the amplifier that was driving them, add a bigger diaphragm and you can almost feel the impact of the notes. As usual with planars, a wall of sound is relentlessly hitting you, but that act didn’t feel nimble or extremely fast and dynamic. Transient response afficionados might look elsewhere, as Peacock is a smooth easy rider.
Going through a series of fast and impactful tracks, it was clear to me that Peacock were good, but not outstanding like higher-tiered planars are doing. On the other hand, relaxing and chilling type of music, made me recline my chair so I could find a cozier spot, for a complete relaxation of body and spirit. I do believe Peacock was made for music like this, they did work incredibly well with my older music collection, even older pop and rock didn’t run out of breath, as Peacock was great when it comes to bass and midrange presence. From a bigger collection of planar-magnetic headphones, Peacock is one of the few that lags behind when it comes to transients and I believe, that was made on purpose. Not every individual wants to boil his blood while listening to music, others want exactly the opposite and Peacock truly shines with orchestras, classical, soprano, acoustic, jazz and blues.
With Peacock on my head, I just can’t get enough of slower-paced progressive rock or gangster blues like Hoodoo Man Blues (Qobuz / Tidal). From an old record loved by many, these added some of their own character, wiping clean all the grain, hiss and mastering errors, while elevating a little some of that mid-bass and midrange, adding a beautifying filter all over my music. These were jamming front to back, adding some width and void space in between the notes. When people started jamming and interplaying with each other, dynamics rose too, highlighting that wild harmonica and vocal performance more than anything else.
The more I listen to them, the more I am realizing that Peacock was never designed to be linear, straight as a line, but different, unlike any other planar that passed through these hands. If you are hunting for a different pace, or for a different approach to music reproduction, Peacock just might be that headphone.
IV. Soundstage & Depth
Having bigger drivers and considerably larger earcups to their AIVA, the golden child of Sendy Audio definitely stretches its arms wider like Elongated Man. With Peacock, things are mostly happening outside my head, hovering just a few centimeters away, from which all the sounds are radiating, sounding bigger and airier to its smaller sibling. Its sharper leading edges amplifies my feelings that I am dealing with a well-spread sound field that is almost holographic sounding to me.
Almost, because they can’t wrap my body entirely as it usually happens with Audeze LCD-4 or with upper class Hifiman headphones as HE1000SE or Susvara. On the plus side, they are slightly deeper and wider sounding to the likes of Audeze LCD-X and Hifiman Arya Stealth. What was obvious from the start is that portable sources of all types weren’t as big and 3D sounding to me and more like bi-dimensional, drawing a smaller picture in front of me. Bigger Class-A amplifiers like Flux Labs Volot were pushing those sounds into the abyss, trying to impress with its effortless, liquid sound of colossal proportions. I could make them sing on many other units, that small and affordable xDuoo XA-10 sounded like a poor’s man Volot, infusing the same medicine, while improving their scale on all axes.
I could sense the inception and decay of each and every note, without closing my eyes and I believe that Peacock strikes a nice balance between being musical and relaxing, while sounding wide enough but not overly so to impress a loudspeaker afficionado as myself.
Midnight Blue (2012 Remaster) by Kenny Burrell (Qobuz / Tidal) is one of those massive sounding albums that always makes you wander around those tracks, inhaling and exhaling air like a hardcore smoker. Kenny’s band put a lot of air in between the notes, leaving their innards perfectly preserved, so I wouldn’t hear an empty shell, but a full-bodied representation of this album. Peacock’s excellent mid-bass & midrange region helped them a lot and they were able to slow down and relax my body. They added some weight that was gently hitting my eardrums in waves. Peacock weren’t ethereal sounding, they never lacked body or muscle mass, on the contrary their warmer tonality improved the final outcome, including their limited stage size.
They have what I’m calling a natural sounding soundstage, very similar to that of Kennerton Wodan, Audeze LCD-X and Hifiman Arya, never being artificially enhanced as it usually happens with cans like Sennheiser HD800 and all its variants. Still, if you would like to improve them, use an amplifier with a close to zero channel crosstalk, go with an overpowered transistor-based unit or with a tube hybrid that could preserve their pace, while expanding the stage in all directions.
Their depth was passable and it wasn’t something special to write about. It was just okay, I felt a few layers of sounds and I could differentiate that several notes played closer and some farther away, but it wasn’t such a magical experience as it usually happens with upper-class planars on well-mastered music.
V. Detail Retrieval
Sendy’s Peacock is a detailed sounding headphone and could sometimes show you some of the smallest nuances hiding behind your tracks. I find them more detailed to their AIVA headphones, which is a great accomplishment. However, considering their price point, these are underperforming a little. Their direct competitors as Audeze LCD-X and Hifiman Arya Stealth (which are staying by my side) are slightly more detailed and I didn’t need too much time to figure that out. After trying a lot of musical genres, I started to understand that maybe detail retrieval and a higher transparency wasn’t one of their goals? Maybe they wanted to focus on the whole picture, on the music itself and not all the smallest nuances?
Don’t get me wrong, Peacocks was outstanding sounding at times, especially when bells, tambourines, hi-hats and cymbals wouldn’t make an appearance, slower paced music worked great too and I didn’t have as many complaints. But for $1500, I was expecting higher technicalities and a nicer focus on the smallest things. When I was going from entry-level sources and amplifiers to higher tiered ones, I could spot those changes, but they couldn’t show an increase of focus and inner detail, as it was happening so easily with Hifiman Arya Stealth. Due to a slight treble ringing, these were highlighting the whole treble area, making me feel that leading edges were better, but I don’t believe that was really the case. They were marginally better to their AIVA and I expected a bigger increase in technicalities.
On the flip side, Peacock were still clearer and more focused to something like Erzetich Mania (€1200), Kennerton Vali (€990) and Gjallarhorn (€1080), slowly approaching to the Audeze LCD-X levels of performance, but never surpassing them. With all that said, I am aware that not everybody is so keen on technicalities like I am, some people don’t really care for speed, impact, stage size or detail retrieval and they just want to be carried away by music, a thing that Peacock does really well and there is no contest to that. All in all, these were good and sometimes even great, but never outstanding in this department.
VI. Frequency Response
I don’t know a planar magnetic headphone that doesn’t do justice down-low, while it’s being driven by a mean sounding amplifier and Peacock is no different. You are reading this review for this reason alone as they are doing bass and midrange really well. Peacock’s uneven looking earpads could be potentially bothersome for people with bigger ears and some adjustments are needed until a good seal is being reached. Once that happens, prepare for an engaging experience. Even if there is a gentle roll-off below 40 Hz, they can still go low and sustain those notes pretty easily, sending layers of bass and providing a higher quality type of bass. I believe I just described most planar-magnetic headphones out there as when those are being juiced-up, some glorious bass notes would always make an appearance. Their mid-bass is elevated by a little and that adds some warmth, some coziness and weight to the whole experience. They sound full-bodied and quite natural thanks to this part alone and I really cannot fault them for a close to immaculate bass performance. A job well done in here.
By far the nicest frequency range of the Peacock is the midrange that has only a few dips in the upper region. Otherwise, it is quite strong, it’s highlighted a bit and that makes them natural sounding. I couldn’t stop when blues started appearing on my playlist, as they provide a great flow, while putting more meat on the bone. Peacock feels more impressive in here compared to their AIVA, the midrange area wasn’t pushed forward as aggressively, appearing laid back, always putting me in a relaxed state of mind. This is not a technical midrange, but more like an easy-going one that is smoothing out the rough edges, while infusing some soul and body into the midrange area. The upper midrange was less impressive and could sometimes feel as a little hollow and empty, especially when female voices reached their crescendo, which felt muted as if higher dynamics were pressing the brakes. Again, this headphone isn’t here to impress with technicalities, but more so with a relaxed and likeable tuning that could be listened for hours without adding listening fatigue.
Their treble region felt like a double-edged sword. On one hand, it never goes higher than the rest of the frequency response, including in the most sensitive part of our hearing, so you can discard brightness for good. On the other hand, it’s not the cleanest type of treble, it feels distorted by a little, pouring a metallic texture all over it. If percussion work wouldn’t make an appearance in my music, then I can’t find treble issues with them, but when I’m switching to my rock and metal, then things are going sideways and I’m cannot move my attention anywhere else, focusing only on that unnatural ringing of the diaphragm. My measurements will show you a relaxed treble region and a slight increase in distortion, but my subjective listening impressions are quite different.
What’s more interesting to this story is that their AIVA had a very similar treble rendition and while at $599 I can overlook those cons, for $1499 I can no longer pass on that. These issues shouldn’t be here as we are talking about a flagship and a high-end pair of headphones that should sound close to perfect in the first place.
After offering my subjective opinion, it’s time checking them out under a magnifying glass. When it comes to measurements, I have the highest confidence in the Benchmark HPA4, as it is as linear as headphone amplifiers could ever be and I have resumed at using the Matrix Audio Element X as the main DAC for the job. The measurement rig used was the MiniDSP EARS calibrated with HPN (Original Headphone Compensation) files. Do note that MiniDSP EARS is not following any IEC standards, meaning that my readings can’t be used as reference measurements or anything like that, I’m doing them only to get a general idea about their sound signature.
I have measured them for several times now, as finding the perfect spot on the test jig wasn’t that easy. No side-pressure was applied on the earcups, they stood still in their natural position and I’ve measured them several times before both channels were matched at less than 0.5 dB.
Take a look at their RAW measurements without any smoothing applied. Driver matching isn’t the best I’ve seen, especially in the treble region. Do note that I’ve zoomed this reading quite a lot and all the deviations from the treble region cannot be spotted as easily while listening to music.
Applying a gentle 1⁄12 smoothing, I am getting this graph and you can see that Peacock starts strong from 50 Hz upwards and it gets a gently roll-off below that point. I’ve sent an 84 dB Sine Wave, so everything above or below that point is a deviation from linearity. Mid-bass starts strong, it’s elevated by just 1 dB, midrange looks outstanding, dropping up to 4 dB in the upper region. There are several slopes in the treble, but I can’t spot nasty rises that could make them harsh and bothersome. There is a substantial drop at 4 kHz, at 6 kHz and then at 10 kHz, scaring all that brightness and listening fatigue. The rest of the treble looks alright and there is plenty of presence even above 10 kHz.
As you can clearly see, Sendy Peacock highlights bass and midrange regions the most, while dropping down small portions of the treble, making them somewhat warm and cozy sounding, without causing too much trouble.
Their THD reading is just alright, as it reached 5% in the bass and 1% in between 2 and 3 kHz – exactly where they were hollow and unfocused sounding. Usually, it should stay a little lower and it is clear that their cups or their driver assembly are adding some distortion of their own.
Spectral decay looks good, after sending a 300 Hz sweep tone at 84 dB and after a short time frame of 160ms it drops to 13 dB at the lowest point and to 60 dB at the highest point in the FR, strengthening my claims that this headphone doesn’t have a need for speed, as newest planars are outperforming them in here.
Waterfall combines the FR plot and decay into a single graph and you can clearly see the hot spots in the FR and the slower driver movement in the bass, but that’s a normal phenomenon.
Spectrogram is clean, I don’t see nasty distortions building up around its diaphragm and earcups, which makes me quite happy.
Overall, I have recorded an uneven frequency response, a good spectrogram, a decent THD reading and a less impressive driver matching. Their uneven FR was made on purpose and that’s what makes them quite fun and warm sounding.
A. Sendy Audio Peacock ($1499) VS Audeze LCD-X 2020 Edition ($1199)
Although I really like the Audeze’s LCD-X durability, heavy-duty build quality and their back in black gangster look, there is something special with the Peacock once I’m holding them in my hands. They just look amazing from any point of view, they’re lighter and they’re putting less pressure on top of my head. I like the Peacock a little more when it comes to comfort and looks, but I’m pretty sure that LCD-X will sustain more use and abuse thanks to their metallic frame, cups and cup covers. Both are looking outstanding from any point of view, LCD-X is a lot stealthier, while Peacock attracts a lot of attention with its golden feathers. Sendy’s creation are winning when it comes to accessories, as you are getting a nicer cable terminated with a 4.4mm balanced jack, plus a 4-pin XLR and 6.35mm adapters are also included in the package. Their hard case is much smaller and I could carry it easier in my back-pack.
When it comes to sonics, with LCD-X I’ve felt immediately that I’m sitting in a smaller room listening to music, as everything came closer to me. With some music, that added some additional energy and with other music I’ve felt a little uncomfortable. Peacock pushed everything farther away, so I could look at a bigger picture and easier focus on the tiniest details. Peacock sounded wider from left to right and both models had about the same depth and it seems that Peacock scores its second point.
When it comes to transients, it was the other way around, as LCD-X was adding a nice thump and I could literally feel how my ear-drums are vibrating. LCD-X sounded more visceral and more authentic with electronic beats and I’ve felt that they were going faster too. In this regard LCD-X plays on a higher league, hence scoring a point.
Midrange performance was more or less the same, with the exception that upper midrange felt a little hollow and emptier on the Peacock, something that wasn’t happening on the LCD-X and that’s why Audeze’s are winning another point.
While there was a little more treble energy up top with Peacock, LCD-X were never metallic or unnatural sounding in the treble. There were more nuances with Peacock, but some nasty ringing in the upper regions, making them harder to swallow with rock tunes. In this regard, LCD-X were easier to listen to and they just won another round.
The rest of the technicalities like detail retrieval, speed and decay were more impressive on the LCD-X and they were easier to drive too. It appears that LCD-X is just a more technical sounding headphone from any point of view, they could easier slow-down or accelerate on the spot and it seems that Peacock wasn’t shifting gears as fast and furious. Tonality wise, LCD-X is one of the most linear sounding planar headphones, with just a smidge of fullness and naturalness on top. Peacock was slower and smoother sounding, wiping clean some micro-details while focusing a lot more on the bass and midrange regions. Overall, it really depends on what kind of listener you are, but for me LCD-X were a little more impressive and they’re also more affordable
B. Sendy Audio Peacock ($1499) VS Hifiman Arya Stealth ($1599)
Build quality wise, there is no contest, as Peacock looks and feels considerably more expensive from any point of view. You are looking at a steel frame, wooden cups, leather earpads and headband with just two little pieces of plastic. Arya is also using a steel frame, but their cups are made out of plastic and their headband smells like TPU (fake) leather. When it comes to comfort, Arya Stealth wins massively as they are considerably lighter, have a much bigger earcup opening and they put little to no pressure around my ears or on top of my head. Arya is really one of the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever used and its difficult beating them at their own game. When it comes to accessories, hands down Peacock offers a lot more in return, with its cute travel case, balanced detachable cable and two headphone adapters. With Arya you are stuck with a boring display case and with a single cable terminated with a 6.35mm jack.
Sound wise, Peacock sounded more visceral with electronica beats. Bass was heavier and way more impactful, even if they weren’t as fast sounding. With Peacock bass notes were hitting my eardrums like a small hammer, something that wasn’t happening on Arya Stealth. The later sounded more ethereal and didn’t carry as much low-end, impressing less an electronica addict as myself. With bass intensive music, Peacock was more imposing and they just scored their first point.
Midrange felt a little fuller, smoother and more natural sounding on the Peacock, although Arya wasn’t lagging far behind. I could easier relax and enjoy my time with the Peacock, while Arya could sound a little robotic at times, thinner in a way, as they weren’t putting as much meat on the bone. Arya was certainly more linear and straight as a line, while Peacock elevated its bass and midrange, adding a bit more soul into the music and that’s why Peacock scores another point.
Treble felt considerably clearer, way more transparent and more detailed with the Arya, there is no contest about it. On top of that, there is none of that ringing happening with the Peacock, although on several occasions Arya could become bright and fatiguing and it seems that Arya scored its first point.
When it comes to technicalities as detail retrieval, speed and decay, Arya was just more impressive, it felt like a serious sounding headphone that cares for the small things, it was faster and it didn’t linger for a microsecond longer. Arya was clearly on top of its game and it is quite difficult beating it in here. Arya easily scores a point.
Soundstage is delivered quite differently with both models, while Peacock will impress you more with its left to right soundstage, arranging everything beautifully in a bi-dimensional space. Arya will impress you more with its depth and with a taller stage. While listening to headphones, I believe that it’s more important hearing your sounds coming from your left and right, exactly as it’s happening on a good stereo setup and that’s why Peacock scores another point.
When it comes to frequency response as a whole, Arya is just more impressive top to bottom, it’s more extended at both ends, there is simply more texture and more nuances to be heard, hence scoring an additional point. It seems that we have a tie, but in reality, these two are very different sounding headphones and they have little to nothing in common and it really depends on what’s more important for you. For most, Arya might be a much better proposition and for others, Peacock would sound more majestic and heart-warming.
In the end, Sendy Audio delivered a much better-looking headphone, that is even more comfortable to wear in long listening sessions, building it to higher standards than before. If you are a big fan of Sendy Audio and Sivga Audio in general, then you might consider putting them on your Christmas list. Otherwise, there are plenty of great sounding headphones in the same price bracket that will outperform them when it comes to measurements and technicalities. I know that not everybody cares about them as I do and if all that matters to you is being touched or carried away by music, then for the love of Odin, I see the Peacock as a worthy addition to your headphone collection. Peacock is still a good sounding planar; I find them quite gentle and smooth, they’re full bodied, weighty in the bass ‘n’ midrange and they could portray a fairly large left to right soundstage. Feed them enough juice and they will certainly sound jumpier, more alive and engaging and if you want the best out of them without breaking the bank, take a closer look at that Singxer SA-1 and xDuoo XA-10.
Peacock wasn’t an offensive sounding unit and I could multitask easily with them on my head, something that not a lot of units are doing as of late. These are one of those cans that will surely turn heads in an office, thanks to their eccentric look and bright color scheme.
For $1499, I expected more when it comes to sonics, but they still hold their ground against similarly priced planar headphones.
- An eccentric but good-looking headphone, it attracts a lot of attention to it
- Great build-quality and material choices
- Amazing set of accessories and headphone adapters
- Easy to drive, even portable DAPs and DAC/Amps worked incredibly well
- An open and wide left to right soundstage
- Great bass and midrange regions
- Lacks brightness and listening fatigue
- Warmer and fuller sounding, which makes system matching an easier job
- Higher dynamics are making an appearance only on powerful amplifiers
- Relaxed and easy-going for the most part
- A metallic texture and a longer vibration (more like an echo) plagues its treble region
- Depth wasn’t that great
- Not the fastest sounding
- Not very detailed and clean sounding
- Lacking technicalities
- Questionable measurements
- DACs: Audiobyte HydraVox & HydraZap, Musician Aquarius, Matrix Audio Element X, Gold Note DS-10 Plus & PSU-10 EVO, SMSL D1 SE, Topping D90 SE, Singxer SDA-6 Advanced
- DAPs: FiiO M11 Plus LTD, Shanling M6 V.21
- Headphone Amps: Flux Lab Acoustics Volot, Benchmark HPA4, Burson Soloist 3X, Musician Andromeda, Gustard H16
- Preamps: Musician Monoceros, Benchmark HPA4, Topping PRE90
- Power Amplifiers: Benchmark AHB2 (x2), KECES S300, SMSL SA400, Burson Timekeeper 3i
- Integrated Amplifiers: KECES E40, Burson Timekeeper 3i
- Loudspeakers: KEF Reference 3, Sound of Eden Crescendo UNO, Natural Sound NS17
- IEMs: FiiO FA9, FH7, FH5S, FD7, Meze Rai Penta, Rai Solo, LittleDot Cu KIS, Hiby Crystal 6, IKKO OH10, Moondrop KATO, 7Hz Timeless & others
- Portable headphones: Sennheiser Momentum 2, Meze 99 Classics, Sony WH1000-XM4
- Full-sized headphones: Sendy Peacock & Aiva, Hifiman Susvara, HE1000SE, Arya Stealth, HE400SE, Audeze LCD-4, LCD-X, Erzetich Phobos 2021, Phobos V2018, Mania, Kennerton Wodan, Magni, Gjallarhorn, Vali, M12S, Ollo S4X Reference, Apos Caspian,
- Interconnects: QED Reference (x2), Topping TCX1 (x2)
- Speaker cables: Kimber PR8, Audioquest Type4
- Power Cables: Isotek EVO3 Premier (x3)
- Balanced Isolation Power Conditioners: PLiXiR Elite BAC1500 (stereo setup), Elite BAC400 (headphone setup)