Audeze’s first closed-back planar magnetic earphones aren’t cheap, but they do an excellent job of distilling the exciting performance from their full-sized headphones into a much smaller and lighter form factor.
Back in 2016, Audeze released the iSine 10 and 20, the first planar magnetic in-ear headphones, and while they were exciting, no one would mistake them for your run-of-the-mill earphones.
This was both good and bad. It was good because the new open-back design put planar-magnetic speed and articulation in a smaller form factor. However, it was also bad because the large diaphragms made these IEMs a little unwieldy.
Plus, the open-back let in outside noise, which was less than ideal in mobile environments. But at the end of the day, most would say they were more good than bad.
Well, today, I’m looking at Audeze’s $1299 Euclid Closed-Back Planar IEM, the company’s latest in-ear planar headphone. It’s something of a departure from Audeze’s previous earphones, as it is their first closed-back model with a smaller planar magnetic driver.
As such, the Euclid is a sleeker earphone that more closely resembles other IEMs on the market and can be comfortably used in more scenarios than the previous open-back models.
So I’m sure you want to know “how does it compare to its larger over-ear siblings?” And the answer to that question is…amazingly well! This IEM has much of the same speedy, immersive “front-seat” performance people have come to expect from “full-size” Audeze headphones, all in a remarkably portable package that you can drive from a smartphone. Just be ready to pay for the quality and convenience!
Disclaimer: The Audeze Euclid Closed-Back Planar IEM was sent to us by Audeze in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to them for the opportunity!
|Transducer type||Planar Magnetic|
|Magnetic structure||Fluxor™ magnet array|
|Magnet type||Neodymium N50|
|Diaphragm type||Ultra-thin Uniforce™|
|Transducer size||18 mm|
|Frequency response||10Hz – 50kHz|
|THD||<0.1% @ 100 dB SPL|
|Sensitivity||105 dB/1mW (at Drum Reference Point)|
|Max power handling||500mW|
|Min recommended power||> 50mW|
|Wired connection||Braided MMCX|
|Weight||15g/pair without cable|
|Sound port diameter||5mm|
As stated earlier, the Euclid has a sleeker more traditional IEM design than previous Audeze in-ear headphones, and I must say they look pretty damn good. I guess this shouldn’t come as a shock, since the earphones were designed by Designworks, which is BMW’s in-house design studio.
The housings are made of made of milled aluminum and carbon fiber, which allows them to be robust yet lightweight, and their ergonomic shape allows them to sit comfortably in the ear canal, at least in my case.
The enclosures are a little on the large side, so I can see them possibly causing discomfort in smaller ears, but in my dumbo ears they were super comfortable, especially with the pre-installed black silicone tips.
Speaking of eartips, the Euclid comes with three different types of tips to ensure a proper seal in the ear, including the aforementioned black silicone tips, softer translucent SpinFit tips, and Comply memory foam tips. I liked the black silicone tips the best, as they were low profile and slipped easily into the ear.
The Euclid’s long nozzles which push the buds out of your ear canal, combined with the smooth contoured curves on the inside of the housing, also aid with the excellent fit, as does the pre-formed “ear hooks” on the cable, which guides the wire around your ears and keeps the earphones in place.
Inside the housing, Euclid has Audeze’s ultra-thin Uniforce 18mm planar magnetic drivers, which are miniaturized versions of the drivers inside of their full-sized planar cans.
They have scaled-down versions of Audeze’s patented technologies like Fluxor magnets for efficiency along with Fazor waveguides for a cleaner sound, and astonishingly they have a lot of the same openness and immediacy as their full-sized (and open-back) brethren.
When I looked at the exploded view of the Euclid, I was astonished at how they fit all this tech inside the relatively small enclosures.
As far as accessories are concerned, you get quite a bit of stuff, which includes a detachable 43” braided cable with MMCX connectors and 3.5mm plug, a clip to attach the cable to your clothing, a nozzle cleaning tool, a mesh drawstring carrying bag, a small Pelican Travel Case w/carabiner for additional protection, then 9 sets of eartips (3 sizes of each type), plus assorted documentation.
The detachable cable isn’t super fancy like you see with some flagship earphones, but the black coating on the wire strands keeps it from being microphonic, and also adds some tangle-resistance. Overall, it’s high quality and gets the job done.
Listening To The Audeze Euclid In-Ear Monitor Headphones
An old pair of Audeze EL-8’s first made me fall in love with planar magnetic tech. That headphone had a “live” dynamic quality that I had never heard before, a sound so fast, open, and engaging that I could close my eyes and imagine I was at a concert.
However, those headphones were giant, and they needed a powerful headphone amp to get the best sound out of them. That means I was pretty much stuck in the house whenever I wanted to listen. But it was a price I was willing to pay for the experience.
Fast forward six or seven years later, and I was listening to a pair of earphones?! that gave me a lot of the same feels I got from those EL-8s. However, this time around I had planar magnetic headphones that could fit in my pocket, and be driven by any device.
I plugged the Euclid into an old Moto G phone, a Shanling M2X digital audio player, plus a variety of DAC Amp combos of varying capabilities. All of them could drive it to ear-splitting levels (it pushed the Moto G to the limit), but it definitely scaled up with better gear.
One my favorite parings with the Euclid was the $749 iFi Audio micro iDSD Signature DAC amp combo, as it had just the right amount of detail and refinement, even though it was definitely overkill from a power output standpoint.
For the bulk of my sound testing, I connected the micro iDSD Signature to my HP Envy X360 laptop, and played some tracks from the TIDAL Desktop App.
When listening to drummer Abe Rounds’ “The Confidence To Make Mistakes”, an energetic exercise of solo percussion, I was impressed by its speed, resolution, and separation. The textures of the individual drum strokes were so realistic it was uncanny.
If was like you could hear the beginning and end of every note precisely, and could easily distinguish all the disprate elements of the mix. I really loved the presence and “live” quality of the performance, something I have come to love about the Audeze sound. It’s just astonishing to me how they produced this type of nuanced sound from earphones with a single driver.
The Euclid’s Tonal Balance is pretty good from my vantage point, balanced overall with a slight lift the in lower/upper bass for warmth and excitement, plus a slight lift in the upper mids/treble for detail and air. The central mids seem slightly recessed, but not enough to be distracting.
If I had any complaint it would be a slight bleed of the bass into the midrange causing a touch of honk at times. That said, it didn’t really cause any muddiness or lack of clarity.
Also, I loved how the bass was so articulate and impactful. The Bass drum kicks were very clean and extended, albeit maybe just a little too energetic to be natural.
The other issue I have to mention even though it’s far from a dealbreaker to me, is the slight bit of hardness in the upper mids. Some of Rounds’ Rimshots were overaccentuated by this, I and know this may give some pause.
As far as Soundstage and Imaging are concerned, I only have one word, and that’s stunning. The placement of elements within the mix was immaculate, both depth and widthwise. The width of the soundstage was also good, especially for an IEM. The soundstage was remincent of what I heard in the open-back Hifiman SUNDARA, which was surprising to me.
Listening to Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged”, I was amazed at the separation and placement of Clapton’s vocal juxtaposed with the background singers on the opposite side on the soundstage. I also loved how the performance seemingly stretched out beyond my ears.
While I have heard even better separation and placement on multi-driver IEMs at the Euclid’s price point, I don’t believe i’ve heard it in conjunction with the fullness and dynamics of the Euclid.
The Wrap Up
I know when you have a pair of earphones that sell for $1299, there’s going to be some nitpicking about the performance of said earphones, and rightfully so. When you talk about the tuning of the Euclid, while it’s not perfect, it’s pretty damn close, outside of a little bit of edginess in the upper mids. Some people (like myself), are sensitive to too much of this, so its worth mentioning, even though I don’t think it’s a big issue here.
That said, I feel the real story about these is how Audeze imported the “live” energetic performance, soundstage and resolving capabilities of their big LCD headphones into a pair of IEMs. I would even say they are more resolving than some of their full-sized offerings. This is nothing short of amazing. If you love the sound of high-end planar magnetic headphones, and want to bring it wherever you go, you need to check out the Audeze Euclid Closed-Back Planar IEM. It’s a great all-rounder that will make you want to listen to your whole album collection over again.
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I’m an audio writer who started as a young audio salesman/consumer electronics professional back in the late 90s. That’s where I discovered the magic of 2-Channel sound. My thirst for great sound has led me on a delightful music quest that continues today.