Audeze Euclid Review – Stepping it Up!
SHOUER S12 ($119): The S12 is astronomically cheaper but similarly employs a planar driver. The general peaks actually lie in similar regions with predominate 2 and 5kHz prominence. However, the Euclid is a lot more linear in its implementation with a more progressive and balanced tuning altogether that makes it more ear-pleasing and less polarizing. The key is coherence as the Euclid sounds more ordered and natural, the S12 energetic but also a bit diffuse. What is instantly apparent is the S12’s warmer, bigger bass. It doesn’t have the biggest sub-bass slam either, but a good deal more wallop in the mid-bass. Though its notes are fatter and rounder, the S12 retains great control and speed. The Euclid steps it up unsurprisingly and it is greatly aided by its more linear tuning. This gives it a notable advantage on both texture and separation alongside general detail retrieval being better. The midrange pleases me a lot more on the Euclid. It’s not perfect but is much more balanced.
There’s a better sense of room and better harmony between vocals and instruments. The S12 has higher contrast and clarity, but this also makes it sound a bit sparse by comparison, lacking the same layering and nuance. The Euclid has better vocal body and size which contributes to this impression. Similarly, the treble has a similar peak but it is more isolated and contrasted, lacking the same coherence. The Euclid has a sharper leading edge and better note body. It extends better and delivers a good jump in background detail retrieval above. The S12 actually keeps up well in the lower treble, it lacks the same natural note presentation but has almost as much fine detail. The Soundstage is another area where the Euclid pulls ahead, it is both larger and its imaging more accurate. The S12 manages to sound surprisingly technically proficient even in direct comparison but clearly lacks the same tonal refinement.
Campfire Audio Solaris 2020 ($1499): Though wildly different in terms of driver setup, the Solaris and Euclid don’t differ hugely with regards to tuning. The Solaris has a bit more bass and a more weighted character here too. It also has a brighter mid and upper treble giving it a more energetic overall sound. On measurement, the two have a similar bass curve, yet sound distinctly different in listening. Specifically, the Solaris provides a more affirmative, pressurized sub-bass. It sounds thicker and more aggressive. The Euclid meanwhile comes across as a bit softer but also more balanced. Whilst it lacks the same dynamics, it provides a good jump in note definition in the mid-bass especially. Both are composed and controlled, but the Euclid strikes as having a step up in terms of resolution while the Solaris boasts superior dynamics. The midrange tells a similar story. The Solaris is once again more coloured.
Its midrange is more vocal-forward and has a more revealing character on behalf of a more present upper midrange. The Euclid meanwhile sounds a bit more sedate. It has a balanced presentation with a more coherent, dense character. It lacks the same separation but makes up for it with greater listenability and similar resolving power to boot. The top-end is where the two vary most. The Solaris has a brighter, sparklier and airier top-end. The Euclid sounds more grounded and focused, its foreground is more even and has a more accurate body. Notes have superior texture and decay more naturally. Meanwhile, the Solaris provides more shimmer and air. It has greater sparkle and does retrieve a bit more micro detail in addition to being more forward. The Solaris also has a slightly bigger stage. The Solaris has more holographic imaging, but the Euclid feels more realistic in its placement of each element.
Craft Ears Aurum (1295 EUR): The Aurum is a tribrid IEM with a tuning I adore. It has a bigger sub-bass boost with a flatter mid and upper bass, replacing the Euclid’s warm tilt with a bolder style of bass. It has greater slam and excellent tightness and cleanliness. The Euclid has better definition, but the Aurum has great dynamics and texture that showcase the best of dynamic drive performance with a clean tuning on top. As aforementioned, the Euclid has a bit more fullness in the mid and upper bass which also gives it a slightly warmer tone and more rounded notes. The difference in bass presentation is stark yet the quantity is balanced on both – it depends if you want warm and fast or dynamic and textured. The midrange presentation is slightly higher contrast on the Aurum and more traditional relative to the Harman IEMs that have been popularized of late. That said, both earphones share a denser character, the Aurum just has less lower-mid body and room alongside a higher 3k peak.
It isn’t a shouty or intense earphone at all that said but is noticeably clearer and more forward than the Euclid. The Audeze in-ear sounds more coherent. Its vocals are bigger and fuller with a more laid-back, easygoing character. Like the bass, it prioritizes listenability. The Aurum has better subjective balance and greater separation without pushing too far into it, this gives it a leg up on detail retrieval to my ears. The top-end is also slightly brighter on the Aurum and emphasis sits higher in the frequency range. This gives it a wispier but also more pristine presentation. The Euclid has a more defined leading edge, its lower treble is more defined and boasts superior fine detail retrieval. Meanwhile, the Aurum though lacking the same texture, boasts almost effortless extension and micro-detail above. It has a slightly wider stage but less depth and both image similarly, being accurate and well-organized. The Aurum has better separation while the Euclid layers better.
A decade ago, the prospect of squeezing Audeze’s full range of technologies in a compact in-ear form factor would have passed as an appropriate April fool’s joke. So, some appreciation must be had for the technical marvels that sit in our pockets. At the same time, the entire market has enjoyed the same technical leaps. We have 3D-printed acoustic chambers, miniaturized electrostatic hybrid IEMs and also far cheaper planar implementations. However, with experience has come refinement and it’s clear that Audeze’s approach is more mature, hence, the premium price. The company has been able to extract the best of the driver’s technical abilities, able to deliver a highly coherent image, a beautifully airy yet low-distortion treble and excellent note definition throughout. They’ve done so with a balanced tuning that is certainly within the realms of their laid-back house sound but can easily please with no eQ required. Unfortunately, the downsides of the driver type remain, that being a somewhat lacklustre sense of dynamics of note. The Euclid also isn’t the most extended in terms of upper-treble sparkle even if it offers excellent resolution below. If you want the most revealing sound signature or a sparkly, dynamic sound, these won’t fit the bill. The Euclid is an IEM that excels in long-term listening if not making the most sizable first impression, offering a balanced sound with excellent listenability, imaging and definition.
The Euclid is available from Audeze (International) for $1299 USD at the time of writing. I am not affiliated with Audeze and receive no earnings from purchases made through these links.
Track List –
Billie Eilish – dont smile at me
Bob Seger – Night Moves
Courtney Barnett – Rae Street
Cream – Wheels of Fire
Dire Straits – Communique
Dirty Loops – Next To You
Eagles – Hotel California
Elton John – Honky Chateau
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
H.E.R – I Used To Know Her
Jasen – BYE
John Mayer – Continuum
Kanye West – Ye
Missy Higgins – The Sound of White
Radiohead – OK Computer
TALA – ain’t leavin` without you
The Beatles – Abbey Road
The weeknd – After Hours
Vampire Weekend – Father of the Bride
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