Audeze Euclid Review – Stepping it Up!
Testing Methodology: Measured using Arta via IEC 711 coupler to Startech external sound card. 7-9KHz peaks may be artefacts/emphasised due to my measurement setup which I found to be the case here. Measurements besides channel balance are volume matched at 1KHz. Fit depth normalised to my best abilities to reduce coupler resonance. Still, due to these factors, my measurements may not accurately reflect the earphone or measurements taken by others. I gave the Euclid 100hrs burn-in to ensure maximum performance prior to subjective breakdown.
The Euclid strikes me as a balanced and mostly neutrally toned earphone with a standout airy treble response. It lies on the coherent side which can make it sound a bit lacklustre coming from more contrasted, revealing Harman-target in-ears. Though not the most extended and revealing in-ear but one with great long-term listenability. Bass isn’t emphasized but has a slightly fuller character due to a slight bump in the mid to upper-bass region. It extends well and upholds a natural voicing. The midrange has defined and well-present vocals alongside a mostly transparent instrument representation. It also carries a denser and smoother character due to the upper-midrange nadir which is becoming a sort of house sound for the company. Treble is reasonably articulate and avoids the problematic 6kHz region to my ears with a lower 5k peak. In this sense, clarity remains perfectly enjoyable yet without imbuing midrange elements with over-articulation and excessive sharpness or breathiness. There’s also a mid-treble bump that gives it an abundance of air and background detail presence, aided by the impressive resolving power of the planar driver. It simply provides a clean transient response meaning the note delivery throughout is clean and well-defined.
Traditional thinking with dynamic drivers tends to suggest that a larger driver is capable of delivering bigger bass. However, if you were to apply that logic here, it would be incorrect. The low-end achieves a sensible tonality that is neither bassy nor explicitly neutral. It reminds me in many ways of Campfire Audio’s later models with a bit more warmth through the upper bass but not too much hump in the mid-bass. In addition to the mild level of emphasis, this permits the Euclid to deliver a slightly full but otherwise naturally expressed note presentation. As mid and upper bass sit in relative parity, notes aren’t overly rounded or tubby but there is some tonal colouration through the midrange. Sub-bass does take a small step back by comparison and this is exacerbated by the note delivery. Planar headphones tend to have some flub in the bass and the same appears to be the case here, especially in comparison to a good dynamic driver in-ear. The Euclid lacks the same sense of slam, weight and authority at the very bottom if still outperforming your typical BA earphone in this regard.
Otherwise, there’s much to enjoy here as the Euclid offers impressive speed in all regards. Though note attack isn’t aggressive, the sub-bass is clearly tight and surely not anemic. This gives the earphone a good sense of drive and pace on complex tracks. Similarly, notes decay swiftly, aiding separation and the perception of cleanliness. Though lightly warm in tone and full, the Euclid ends up sounding impressively transparent as its quicker note presentation mostly counteracts any theoretical loss to separation. As aforementioned, dynamics are not its strong point nor is bass overall especially present. It occupies a balanced position and offers a mostly natural voicing with a slightly laid-back sub-bass. What stands out is the technical nature of its low-end which makes it a delight on fast and complex tracks.
I bring up the Campfire Audio comparison as the midrange too much resembles these models – chiefly, the Ara, Andromeda 2020 and Solaris 2020. This means you get some warmth carrying from the bass, a relatively clean lower midrange to uphold separation and a progressive climb to a 2kHz hump. The latter is key, being somewhat lower than many competitors that peak at 3-4kHz instead. While some find this tuning to create honky vocals, I personally don’t mind it as it permits superior balance between male and female vocals. It also means vocals sounds quite large and clear but aren’t pushed overly forwards. This is especially so as the Euclid has a nadir above, instigating a dense and well-structured voicing. While vocals avoid being laid-back and are well resolved and defined, the Euclid definitely isn’t the most detail-forward or revealing earphone as a result. That said, with a peak around 5kHz, they are quite articulate which aids the presentation of fine details.
A light warm tone permeates, however, due to the lower midrange sitting slightly behind, bass/midrange separation and general definition performs at a good level. There’s hardly any fuzz to vocals despite the added warmth and those that found the old Audeze headphones too laid-back also shouldn’t find that to be the case here as the earphones uphold a balanced vocal presence and have plenty of instrument presence too. It is rather the voicing that is affected, being dense and voluminous. I do find the layering performance to be sound alongside resolving power operating at an impressive level due to generally snappy and well-defined notes, further aided by the tuning. As the bass isn’t too present, the dense midrange comes across as balanced and doesn’t overwhelm. To reiterate, the Euclid isn’t perfectly neutral, but a very well-balanced earphone with a light warm, coherent voicing that aids good genre flexibility and great listenability.
In the context of this tuning, the top-end is really the make of break component and I’m delighted to report that it is in good taste. The key here is consistency, as the top-end complements the remaining sound well. That doesn’t mean you get the most linear, neutral treble, but one with some emphasis and a notable crisp, airy character. This is derived from a small 5k peak that aids articulation in the midrange alongside general note crispness in addition to a later 8kHz hump. As the amplitude of mid-treble emphasis is lower, the earphones don’t strike me as bright or strident though certainly don’t have the darkest background either. Rather than prioritizing strict layers, this earphone strives with atmosphere, shimmer and general sense of openness. Notes are presented with a lighter body and a surpassingly smooth character with the planar driver smiting any sense of brittleness or crunch. In so doing, the earphones sound quite refreshing with a sense of refinement that many competing monitors lack.
Much of this comes down to the note presentation that is especially focused and precise. Notes are well articulated with a very defined leading edge and higher instruments such as high hats are especially well resolved relative to other IEMs. There is an excellent sense of immediacy and detail on display here. The downside to the more uneven tuning here is that there is reduced if still ample note body in the foreground. This means instruments sitting in the lower treble can miss out on fine textures and can sound slightly small relative to more linear earphones. Instruments are presented in a vibrant over accurate manner in general though, as aforementioned, lack any harshness which further contributes to the sense of atmosphere and air on display. Another quality to consider is that these earphones lack the same sparkle and top-octave extension as some BA monitors around this asking price. Despite this, you do get frankly terrific resolution of foreground and mid-treble notes and a unique presentation that isn’t quite replicated by earphones with other driver types.
Despite not being the most extended earphone, the Euclid still delivers a very inspiring soundstage presentation. While a more open form factor does generate an inherent advantage in this respect, I was impressed equally by the amount of width and depth on display. The Euclid feels well-rounded, and its vocals are focused enough to generate a stable and solid centre image that ties everything together. Imaging is also a highlight. Instruments and vocals are well positioned, and layering is superb. Each layer in vocal harmonizations is easy to discern, aided equally by the earphone’s strong resolving power and articulate nature. Similarly, the background and foreground have a good amount of separation despite not being especially contrasted in terms of volume. I also found positioning to perform at a high level as the earphones are able to accurately place across the stereo image and also generate good distance portrayal. While they lack the holographic character of some competitors and aren’t top-tier in terms of space, the performance here is in the upper leagues. Separation, due to the balanced sound and snappy note presentation doesn’t disappoint either. More revealing earphones will have more space around midrange notes especially, but this never felt like a limiting aspect of the earphone’s sound and busy passages were easily dissected.
Output Impedance Sensitivity
The Euclid is a single-driver planar magnetic earphone which suggests that it should have an essentially flat impedance curve. Indeed, my measurements back this up as do subjective listening tests. From a source with a 20 Ohm output impedance, the Euclid sounds tonally identical. While source colouration still creeps in, it is in a far more subtle manner than multi-driver competitors that lack a flat impedance curve. This means the Euclid is a good choice for those desiring a very consistent sound profile from multiple sources.
Comparing between the Shanling M2x and THX789 revealed that the Euclid scales nicely with a better amp but can be very much enjoyed from portable sources. The key difference was with regards to sharpness and soundstage with the M2x sounding a bit more brittle in the highs and stronger but less controlled in the bass. The THX789 sounded generally more refined with a larger stage in all axis. Layering was notably improved as well. Otherwise, the two sources struck as tonally similar with no drop off in terms of bass extension or other miring oddities. While they do scale, the Euclid is an efficient earphone that works well with a variety of sources.
Suggested Pair Ups
The Euclid is tuned in a manner that makes source pairings something to consider. In particular, the dense, warm leaning bass and midrange mean that a warm, mid-bassy source are best avoided despite bass being fairly reserved in terms of quantity. A dynamic, sub-bass-focused source is a better choice, one like the THX789. The issue lies in many portable sources instead emphasizing the mid-bass simply due to space and power restraints. Still, as the earphones are balanced, you can get away with additional warmth. I found the top half of the sound to be less particular. This isn’t an earphone that will become strident with brighter pairings nor does it sound closed off with darker sources. There is plenty of separation meaning portable sources with a smaller soundstage make for a good companion and hiss resistance is also good, especially compared to BA-based in ears. Combined with their flat impedance curve, the Euclid happily pairs with a wide range of sources – just be conscious of added bass warmth on many portable sources.
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