If you’re expecting sonic fireworks for the not-inconsiderable outlay, you may be disappointed. If, however, you want the most precise, insightful and realistic version of whatever you put into it, the Audeze Euclid is nothing short of thrilling.
- Balanced, natural, confident sound
- All-business specification
- Comfortable despite hefty dimensions
- Expensive and then some
- Not the punchiest listen
- Wireless connectivity is rather inelegant
- Driver 18mm planar magnetic transducer
- Cable Braided cables with MMCX connections, 3.5mm and 4.4mm terminations
- Ear tips Three sizes each of three different types of ear tips
Since 2008, California’s Audeze has created some of the best pound-for-pound headphones you can buy – even if the asking price has generally been significant.
The company’s particularly keen on planar magnetic technology, which goes some way towards accounting for the size of both the asking price and the headphones themselves.
Audeze isn’t about to let the need to keep in-ear monitors small enough to be fit for purpose get in the way of its thinking, either. So, the Euclid is a pair of in-ear buds that features both the planar magnetic tech and the chunky price tag that’s the company’s raison d’etre.
But even when you take into account the wired or wireless flexibility of the Euclid, this is an awful lot of money for in-ear monitors. Can it possibly be worth it?
The Audeze Euclid in-ear buds are available for £1,099 per pair. This translates to $1,299 in the US, while in Australia, you’re looking at about AU$1,999.
You don’t need me to tell you this is a lot of money for a pair of in-ear monitors – even if that pair features complicated innards and both wired and wireless connectivity options. After all, some of our favourite wireless in-ear headphones cost about a third of this price – so Audeze had better be offering something special with the Euclid…
- 3.5mm, 4.4mm and Bluetooth receiver cables
- MMCX connections
- Audeze, Comply and SpinFit ear tips provided
Sometimes when dealing with small objects that cost a lot of money, manufacturers find themselves in a bit of a bind design-wise. No one in their right mind wants a pair of over-designed earbuds, do they? So while the sound quality may be worth every penny of the asking price, how exactly can the premium nature of a product be made apparent to the casual observer?
Audeze has done a good job with the design of the Euclid. That’s not the same as saying these earbuds look like they’re worth the money, of course. Short of covering them in Swarovski crystals, how could they? But the smoothly contoured precision-milled aluminium housings look and feel good, and the shiny company logo on a slice of carbon fibre that caps each earbud offers some nicely judged bling.
Each earbud is attached to the supplied braided cable using click-on/click-off MMCX connectors. The Euclid is supplied with lengths of cable terminated in 3.5mm single-ended and 4.4mm balanced plugs at one end and flexible ear hooks at the other – the earphones fit in the classic twist-to-lock manner, with the cable ideally fed behind the ears. A Bluetooth receiver integrated into a cable that joins the two earbuds together is bundled too – it has eight hours of battery life per charge and can handle codecs up to aptX HD .
Audeze has gone to town as far as the ear tips are concerned: in the Euclid packaging, there are three pairs each (S/M/L) of Audeze silicone tips, Comply foam tips and SpinFit silicone ear tips. So, getting a comfortable fit while not aggravating any skin conditions should be straightforward.
- 18mm ultra-thin planar magnetic transducer
- Fazor wave guides
- Fluxor magnets
Despite being light and beautifully made, the Euclid ear tips are a fair bit chunkier than you’re probably used to. That’s because Audeze has fitted each one with an 18mm planar magnetic transducer and, along with its attendant technologies, it requires a bit of space.
The ultra-thin Uniforce transducer contains the voice coil that does the audio business, supported by Audeze’s patented Fazor wave guides to negate any phasing and distortion you might expect from a closed-back in-ear design. Fluxor magnets reduce distortion even further, improve sensitivity and keep frequency response as even as possible. This is the usual Audeze methodology – just on a far, far smaller scale.
Basically, that’s it as far as features are concerned: your money buys two lengths of cable, a whole stack of ear tip options and some mightily complex small-scale engineering.
- Scale and dynamism to spare
- Hugely detailed and properly organised
- Low-frequency realism may not suit every listener
First things first: don’t expect the Euclid to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear that is your laptop’s audio performance. Earbuds like these can only make your source player’s shortcomings more apparent, so be prepared to do the right thing. And by the right thing, I mean an appropriate DAC and digital audio files of decent quality, too. Of course, if you’re using the Bluetooth receiver cable, a 24-bit-resolution DAC is already available…
Hooked to a MacBook Pro via an iFi Go Bar USB DAC, and with a hefty high-resolution file of Crush by Floating Points playing, the Euclid initially sounds slightly undemonstrative. But it’s safe to say this is a false alarm – in fact, the Euclid is entirely naturalistic and precise.
Certainly, these earbuds play no favourites where the frequency range is concerned. The notion that they might extend all the way to 10Hz is fanciful, but the low frequencies they generate are deep, rapid, martially controlled and extensively detailed. Some listeners may hanker for a little more outright punch, but it seems highly unlikely that anyone will find the momentum and variation in the Euclid’s bass reproduction deficient in any way.
The top of the frequency range is similarly well-controlled, rapid and well-judged as far as tonality is concerned. Treble sounds are crisp but comfortably short of hard, and they have just enough bite to make the top end shine. Detail levels remain giddily high, and there’s plenty of attack that’s always on the right side of unruly.
In-between, though, is where this set ceases to be merely very good earbuds and begins to take flight. The midrange is spacious enough for even the most fleeting or minor details to be identified and contextualised, robust enough to give substance to voices or instruments, and neutral enough where tonality is concerned to make every element sound believable.
The entirety of the frequency range hangs together well, with nothing overstated or underrepresented. There’s plenty of dynamic headroom available to make the most of crescendos or other big changes in attack, as well as hawkish attention paid to subtler harmonic discrepancies in recordings of a solo instrument.
And everything takes place on a big, well-defined and remarkably three-dimensional soundstage. So even if the recording in question is complex, dense, or both, each element of it has more than enough breathing space in which to stretch out and express itself. The control and speed of the lowest frequencies also allow the Euclid to convincingly describe rhythms.
In short, there’s remarkably little here to pick holes in. Yes, punchier, more muscle-bound earbuds are available for nothing like as much money. But if you’re interested in the most faithful and accurate reproduction of your favourite tunes with no added emphases, the Euclid is just the ticket.
Should you buy it?
If you don’t mind paying for performance rather than stuff: The Euclid earphones sound like they’re worth their price all day long, but it’s safe to say they don’t look it.
If you’re expecting these earphones to transform the sound of your laptop or smartphone: They will only emphasise how rough your computer or phone sounds, so consider a USB DAC (or similar) a compulsory purchase.
For an undeniably niche product, Audeze has done well to make the Euclid as adaptable as it has. A choice of wired or wireless operation, balanced or unbalanced hard connections – there’s a configuration to suit everyone here. And its sound will delight listeners who value realism over bombast, which really is the whole point. Of course, as far as the price is concerned, suiting everyone is the last thing the Euclid will do…
How we test
We test every set of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy .
Tested for more than a week
Tested with real world use
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The Euclid is in-ear monitor capable of wireless playback via a Bluetooth receiver that connects to the headphone.
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