When Sennheiser hands over its headphone division to a Swiss company that is the market leader for hearing aids at the end of this year, it will be even more worthwhile to take a look at distant countries, where well-established brands can still hold up and new ones can emerge. Japan continues to maintain the tradition of high-end. Brands like Stax are still used as a reference. You rarely hear the name Final here. The long-established audio company has been building fine headphones that have established themselves in Japan for eight years.
In contrast, Sendy Audio from China is still relatively young. The brand originates from the company Sivga, which has been producing headphones for the mass market for five years. In China, more and more companies are emerging in the audio sector that take advantage of the fact that research and development as well as production are in one location.
We approached both brands from above and tried out their flagships. The Sendy Audio Peacock costs 1,500 euros and is distributed in Germany by Audionext. Final asks almost three times as much at 4000 euros for its top model, which is distributed to dealers by Audiotrade in this country. Both are magnetostatic headphones. With this technique, very thin conductor tracks are placed on the membrane in order to make it vibrate by magnets placed in parallel. The process is becoming more and more popular, and for many manufacturers it is almost a matter of course.
In terms of appearance, the two headphones couldn’t be more different. The Peacock from Sendy Audio presents itself in a rather playful guise. The leather of the temple is quilted with yellow seams, the mighty upholstery is also made of leather. For the shell, Sendy Audio chose lacquered wood to coat the grill that spans inside with real gold. All of this makes the Peacock a warm, friendly appearance that some people might come across as too golden. The mixture of wood and leather on a magnetostat might remind some of the American brand Audeze.
The Final D8000 Pro Edition is completely different: with its silver-colored housing made of an aluminum-magnesium alloy, the black leather strap and the black plastic upholstery, it looks like a technocratic statement by Japanese engineers. Whoever grabs it and puts it on feels like chosen. We do not know of any comparable phenomenon in the world of headphones. Although the case looks massive and heavy, the D8000 Pro “only” weighs 523 grams, which is around 50 grams lighter than the Sendy Audio Peacock. The golden one is a little more comfortable to wear than the silver one. The double frame construction of the Peacock distributes the weight better. In both mussels the ears have enough space and air. The plastic of the D8000 Pro is just as pleasing on the skin as the leather of the Peacock.
It all comes down to the membrane
As important as the position of a headphone is, its sound is just as important. Both Final and Sendy Audio try to influence this, among other things, by using a technical trick to construct the membrane so that it moves in a more controlled manner. The Japanese arranged the aluminum tape that sits on the membrane in a circle. It is etched into the foil and not glued. The film also has a slightly wavy shape. Because of these properties, the membrane should move as quickly as possible and in a controlled manner. The engineers at Sendy Audio are interested in similar properties. You have developed a “quad-former technology”. Briefly explained: The Chinese double the magnets and coil sides so that they have four coils on each side.
Light-footed fellow and honest skin
All of this seems to be working. The Chinese and Japanese – which is to be expected especially with the price of the final – deliver remarkable quality. It is always fascinating to realize that the sound can be different, but at a high level. With the Peacock, Sendy Audio presents an entertaining all-rounder. The peacock is a relaxed and light-footed fellow who is still on the big stage without being sloppy. Details are important to him, he knows where to place them, and he sometimes resolves so finely that you are shocked by tones that you have not heard in this song before. Discipline is the order of the day when it comes to bass. It has to be exact, but it is never thick. With the Peacock you can be on the road for hours without it annoying you.
In return, the D8000 Pro demands more attention from the listener. He’s an honest skin. He doesn’t like glossing over. He tries to play music as it was recorded. He is not completely neutral. It presses the bass more than the peacock, and it gives the highs a delicate sheen. His proud gaze is always directed forward. He has a direct manner. As a true friend that makes him a bit exhausting, also because he relentlessly reveals the weaknesses of poorly produced albums. Every course is a special event.
The trip to the Far East is worth it. Both headphones maintain their sound culture in a convincing way.