SHIVR is an on-going Kickstarter campaign claiming to be the 1st Headphone to eliminate dizziness for long time wearing as well as 3D immersive audiophile sound which basically allows you to move freely and still retain the tracks inherent acoustic positioning separating it from traditional headphones. You can check the SHIVR headphone at SHIVR Kickstarter.
SHIVR’s campaign timeline shows that they have released their 2nd SHIVR prototype and next is already mass production. They reached out to me to be a part of the early prototype testers which I gladly accepted. The SHIVR headphone sent to me is indeed an unfinished product and has no Bluetooth chip installed as well as the overall build not being final. What the 2nd prototype however has is the 3D immersive feature as well as the ANC function and the proposed final accessory set. The battery performance would be relative as there is only 1 song pre-downloaded on the SHIVR headphone to test out the 3D immersive feature and the ANC function.
The initial build of the SHIVR is good with materials giving out a premium feel reminiscent of the Sony MDR1A. There are no rattling noises and the headband although has no foam cushion doesn’t feel hot on the head yet once again differs for those who have bigger craniums. The headband adjusting lever is metal and has great grip when adjusting it while the headband itself has a very thin foam lining, putting pressure on it and you could feel the plastic underneath, it however goes back to its original shape after pressure is released. The stock earpads are hard to remove yet they feel great to wear which feels and is built like the authentic protein leather earpads that I have from Brainwavz. The SHIVR headphones are true over-ears and personal experience with it didn’t even touch the hind part of my earlobes yet once again differs for those who has bigger ears. The Bluetooth switch has great feedback tick when used as well as the ANC, play/pause, volume + and – buttons, they didn’t work though. The battery life is doing well so far, I haven’t charged it yet since I have received it 2 days ago with running usage time of around 9 hours with ANC turned on since the 3D immersive feature is turned on all the time.
Now to the SHIVR’s sound, having only 1 song downloaded in the SHIVR made it a less appealing experience, would have loved to try out my own playlist on them. Turning on the Bluetooth switch enabled the SHIVR to play the track and I’ve used the ANC function all throughout of the test. The SHIVR emanates a warm sound signature with great emphasis. The ANC function was able to reduce external noise quite well like the hum of fans and the AC in my office as well as the regular conversations of my workmates, I was able to feel a sense of serenity but then heavy scrapes of footsteps, clanking of keys, washing of hands and usage of kitchen utensils are very audible, not to mention students playing and shouting outside my office. The 3D immersive sound feature in my opinion is 50% complete on this prototype, slight head movement is detected but very minor and the acoustic imaging isn’t retained as much, major head movement coupled with immediate body movements like standing and walking and the 3D immersive feature seems not to be there, there is however one promising aspect from the 3D immersive feature, the soundstage and imaging is stellar, sound resonates wide and left to right panning is easily identifiable, vocal positioning is almost scary like an intruder is slowly coming towards your location and then shifts back showcasing the vocals getting louder and bigger while also getting soft and silent. Using them wired is also a positive experience, lows are adequate yet lacks thump, the midrange are laid back yet clear, the treble isn’t too detailed and lacks treble extension however it doesn’t sound sibilant or harsh to the ears.
Overall the 2nd SHIVR prototype has ticked the 8 marketing bullet points that they are claiming with the 3D immersive sound feature needing that 50% more of progress to be right in the bull’s eye. Keep your fingers crossed.