Great set of cables including Bluetooth, Smooth yet balanced tuning, Excellent driver control and definition, Clean and airy treble, Spacious and organised stage
Housings remain large for an in-ear, Tuning may lack midrange clarity for some, Dynamics leave to be desired
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. The Euclid offers a balanced sound with excellent listenability, imaging and definition.
American company Audeze is a big name in audio and much of this can be attributed to their legendary LCD range of headphones. However, the company surprised more than a few when they started releasing their iSine range of planar magnetic in-ears. While their efforts bore fruit in the form of excellent staging and technical performance, these earphones were criticized for their awkward ergonomics and unconventional tunings requiring digital correction via the company’s CIPHER system. After years of waiting, the Euclid is their response. This is a new high-end closed-back design sporting a planar magnetic design. Moreover, the earphone implements Fazor, Fluxor and Uniforce just like their full-sized headphones. Perhaps most impressively, the Euclid does all of this in a far more compact chassis than before and sports a more balanced tuning out of the box to boot. The Euclid represents the maturation of the technology the company set out to capture years ago and also a higher-end response to the popularization of planar tech in recent budget earphones.
The Euclid is available for $1299 USD. You can read all about it and treat yourself to a unit on Audeze.
I would like to thank Ari very much for reaching out to organise a review of the Euclid. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review.
- Driver: 18mm Planar Magnetic
- Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 50 kHz
- Impedance: 12 Ohms
- Sensitivity: 105 dB
Behind the Design –
Planar Magnetic Driver
The headline feature of the Euclid is its planar magnetic drivers that set it aside from the vast majority of earphones on the market. Planar magnetic drivers relative to dynamic drivers offer a much more even distribution of force across the diaphragm due to the use of a magnetic trace as opposed to a voice coil. This also permits the diaphragm to be thinner and lighter, therefore, able to move faster and with less distortion. While planar drivers aren’t as exclusive as they once were, the drivers in the Euclid are especially large at 18mm in diameter and were developed completely in-house. In turn, they implement the various technologies created by Audeze over their years of experience with high-end headphones.
The desirable qualities of planar drivers are further compounded upon by sensible design features on Audeze’s behalf. This includes the magnet array dubbed Fluxor. In essence, the company is using strong N50 neodymium magnets (the 2nd strongest available) to increase electro-motive force and, in turn, efficiency and control. As diaphragm lightness is the largest factor playing into sound quality, the conductive traces must be made thin. This means a stronger magnet array is required to create desirable sound and volume. Fluxor does so by using magnets with high flux density magnets that means this is achievable without excessive overall driver weight.
Ultra-thin Uniforce Diaphragm
Audeze is using parallel traces within the diaphragm of variable width. This has been implemented to ensure the most uniform force is applied over the driver’s entire surface, thereby, minimizing distortion. The company posits that this enables improved resolution by improving control over driver motion.
In essence, this is the company’s approach to phase coherence. This concept is best explained via noise cancelling, otherwise known as destructive interference. By sending an inverse sound wave, the incoming sound is reduced in amplitude/volume. This occurs on a micro level due to resonances and reflections in the driver housing and ear canal. Fazor is a waveguide that promotes more homogenous sound waves with less interference and diffraction, resulting in a more detailed sound with a more even frequency response.
The Euclid comes with a generous selection of accessories that are handsomely presented within a basic card box. Opening it up reveals a compact pelican case that is water resistant, has a pressure relief valve and lanyard for safekeeping. This is surely one of the best tough cases on the market and it has a custom foam inlay that snugly holds the earpieces and cable for maximum security during transport. The earphones equipped with small silicone tips and 3.5mm cable come within this case and a separate bag contains the remaining accessories. Also within the case is a cleaning tool and ¼” adaptor. The other bag includes a soft drawstring pouch, 3 pairs of Spinfit tips, the 2 pairs of medium and large Audeze silicone tips alongside 3 pairs of Comply Isolation tips. There’s a user guide and driver card alongside a certificate of authenticity. The company also supplies a 4.4mm balanced cable and Bluetooth Cipher cable, both excellent additions that many competitors forgo.
The Euclid immediately is not a compact in-ear but a far cry from the iSine range that came before it. No longer is this an awkward ear-loop style design but a svelte and sculpted chassis that can be fully accommodated by the ear. Build quality is spectacular delivering an excellent sense of in-hand solidity and they’re also surprisingly lightweight, employing metal shells milled from a single block of aluminium. The faceplates meanwhile employ carbon fibre that complements their sporty aesthetic. Though large, the housings are smoothly angled and rounded in all regards, minimizing the risk of hotspot formation. Though the nozzle position doesn’t appear to be especially ergonomic, I was personally surprised by their excellent seal and stable, locked-in fit.
Cable choices are also abundant since they use the ubiquitous MMCX connector standard. The connectors used aren’t quite as snappy as Campfire’s Beryllium ones but seems to be built to a good tolerance with even tension between sides. I did find the Bluetooth cable to be intermittent at times, however, I was able to fix this with a liberal application of Deoxit and the two regular cables had no issues at all. The cables themselves all offer a similar design. The 3.5mm and 4.4mm cables are both identical 4-wire braided units with a smooth and pliable jacket. Using a twisted braid pattern, they aren’t quite as compliant as woven designs but are still soft enough to coil without issue. They have straight plugs and solid strain relief. The pre-moulded ear guides are rather long but don’t aggravate during wear. Overall, sound quality items.
Fit & Isolation –
Though large, the housings are rounded and well-sculpted in a fashion that reminds me of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. They have a sloped rear end that locks into the concha area of the ear, aiding stable wear. This works in tandem with a slender nozzle, creating a very flush, low-profile and slightly deeper-than-average fit with a strong seal. Once fit, they fill the outer ear and provide excellent stability with a very locked-in sensation. That said, I do feel the nozzles could do with a bit more forward angle as I had to be more particular than usual with the angulation of the housings to achieve a reliable seal. Spinfits are available if this is a larger issue for you. The bulk of the housings also means that for some listeners, hotspot formation will be an issue and those with smaller ears may be unable to accommodate them at all.
For my average-sized ears, they were comfortable for several hours with only minimal discomfort after due to the rear pressing into my outer ear. As they are rounded and contact a large surface area, hotspots are ironically mostly mitigated. Isolation is quite good too, not as much as some sealed BA earphones I’ve tested but better than your average vented DD design. I wouldn’t consider them suitable for especially loud environments but they are a great choice for general daily use and commute. Though they aren’t the bassiest earphone, the above-average isolation aids a balanced listening experience on the go in addition to at home.
Bluetooth Cable –
I was surprised to hear that Audeze includes this in the box as the cable sells for $209 AUD domestically. This is about in-line with other enthusiast audio cables, and it has the feature set to match using Qualcomm’s CSR8675 BT chip. The cable itself is a dual-module unit with controls and circuitry on the left and a battery module on the right. In terms of weight and size, the two are well balanced which aids ergonomics though they are reasonably large. That said, the aluminium shells are of great quality and the size permits the use of larger, more spaced out buttons that are easy to identify even during active use. What I am less a fan of is the length of cable between the two modules and lack of slider/clip to keep the slack in order. The modules are already quite heavy, and this adds additional bulk. Still, it is easy to fashion a slider with shirt clip if you’re DIY savvy. The cable itself is also rubbery and the memory-wire ear guides don’t hold their position especially well. Despite this, I was able to use the cable quite confidently during day-to-day activities though the aforementioned issues with weight and excess cable slack did mire during active use such as when running.
The actual usability of the cable is straightforward and delivers a positive experience. The control module has playback controls, and the play/pause button also functions to control power and pairing. Both occur seamlessly and audio cues are unobtrusive. There are no added features like an aware mode or companion app but BT5.0 support and a wide range of codecs including aptX and aptX HD that provides a great quality jump over SBC alongside lower latency. The cable doesn’t have a noticeable background hiss to my ears, an immediate improvement over cheaper units and it offers a solid 8 hours of battery life, which may justify the larger size to you. One thing I did note is that the cable doesn’t have water an IP rating and the Audeze MMCX connectors are a little looser than most competing brands. This means that audio was often intermittent with other IEMs, albeit, was far more reliable with the Euclid that it was designed for. In addition, the spec sheet mentions that the cable features the company’s Cipher DSP. However, as far as I could tell, the frequency response was identical to wired if the usual suspects of a slightly looser bass and less involving soundstage were present relative to a good wired source.