Audeze Euclid Vs Dunu Zen Impressions
I posted this here because I didn’t feel it belonged in the Dunu Zen thread. Admins, feel free to move this wherever it should be.
The battle of the drivers begins here. The Zen is an absolutely awesome single DD driver IEM. The Audeze Euclid is the challenger with a single planar magnetic driver. Is one better? Let’s find out.
See TLDR section at the end if you don’t want to read gobs of text.
The Euclid was basically an impulse buy once I saw the FR graph. I looked at it and thought “Geez, I wish the Sundara or Arya had that bass shelf.” Since it’s pinna region wasn’t silly like other Audeze products, it was an easy purchase.
I don’t normally cover this kind of thing. I don’t actually care about it, but I must say, Audeze is lame on this front. This is the cheapest flimsiest presentation I have seen on any headphone product. The only thing good about it is they included a very nice protective pelican case that I will never use.
The box is thin cardboard with a foam insert that holds the pelican case. Quite underwhelming. Again, I don’t care. But I know people do.
The zen is just a joy to unbox. 'nough said.
Fit and Finish
I am not going to go so far as to say they feel cheap. But it is plastic. And not like the shell of the Blessing 2 dusk, but like an electronic plastic. On the plus side, even though they are large, they are quite light.
This is not something I care about unless it created longevity issues. It’s possible they are more durable than most, in which case I would consider this choice to be the correct one. Again, this is not expected for this price point.
The Zen metal build feels solid and premium. Again, Zen for the win.
They are quite big. In fact, they felt insecure enough that I actually selected my initial tips based on how grippy it would hold. So I used the Xelastec which just stay in once molded no matter what you do.
The nozzle is pretty short compared to the Zen and Dusk. This has not been an issue for me. But I could see it being hard to get these things to sit nice in smaller shallower ears.
In the first few hours of listening, I found the Euclid got irritating. I haven’t done enough tip rolling to see if I can fix that. This has not changed yet over more ours. The zen really only does that if the tips are problematic. Otherwise the Zen is wonderful for me on comfort. Yep, Zen again for me.
I will be using my qudelix as well as the iDSD signature to drive them. The Zen are still much easier to drive than Euclid. But both work quite well on the qudelix which matters greatly to me.
For critical sound comparisons, I used iDSD Signature with Amazon HD as source to rule out any “low quality” issues from BT, Portable gear or Apple Music. (I still can’t tell a difference between apple music and Amazon HD on this chain).
There is a lot of similarity between these two headphones. The most noticeable differences are more in how things are presented than what is presented. Don’t worry, I’ll explain that more as I go.
In all things, the Zen feels a bit richer and denser. This seems to cross the entire FR response. Whether this is good or not is a personal preference and music choice thing. On rock and other tracks where you want more “power” to come through, it is definitely a plus. I think this is primarily in the upper bass and lower mids. And this is not a huge difference. It’s much smaller of a difference than between the Dusk and the Zen. But the Euclid is just a bit leaner. And I am not sure this is FR so much as it’s the planar sound.
The bass is the biggest difference between the two. And by bass, I mean bass impact. The Euclid’s bass is very very good. It’s clean, gorgeous and articulate. It goes on endlessly and sounds absolutely amazing. The bass on the Zen? It’s pretty much all of those things and you feel it. It is visceral. When you turn up the volume on a song that uses lower bass frequencies, you can literally tickle your ear drums. Until the Zen I have never experienced that. Technically, the Euclid can tickle too, but it needs to be much louder and it feels like it is going to war with your ears. Again, this will come down to preference, as the Euclid probably edges out in articulation in the lower end. Feeling the bass really is the major difference between the two. They are both superb.
The Euclid has one glaring flaw for me here, when I seriously turn it up, it occasionally distorts in the bass. This may be an absolute deal breaker. It was doing this on bad guy by billie eilish. I am going to explore this, see if it changes after a lot of break in, other amps… etc. Currently it looks like a power issue when running things in low power on the Qudelix. On higher settings I have not observed it. And you have to go really loud to get it to distort.
Let’s talk about impact a bit more. Often when switching back to the Zen to compare a song, there is a “woah” moment as you feel the song a bit. This does happen outside of bass frequencies. DD just seems to move more air.
The useless frequencies above 300mhz
So what about those pesky mids and trebble? I am starting to suspect my hearing gets a bit compromised up above 15khz. Which would be pretty normal for a 40 year old. The Euclid is a bit more relaxed. I think it has a bit of a larger open and airy sound sometimes.
The Euclid does have a feeling of a more “complete” presentation at times. I think the FR response on both ends may extend a bit further in ways I can actually hear. In very busy music that has all kinds of things going on, it can be more prevalent.
The combination of the above makes the Euclid feel a bit more relaxed all around. It’s a bit more casual of a listen. Everything is just a touch less in your face and more open and fluid. Not by a lot, but I could see the appeal of this. It’s very easy to listen to across the board. The down side is this headphone is slightly less capable at “grabbing your attention” compared to the Zen. Again, preference plays its part here.
Sound stage and Imaging
I don’t know if it’s just the magic of planars, but I have felt like the placement is superb. I have heard things off behind me and way in front. But, more importantly, the projection is cohesive. On the arya, stuff was so separate that it felt like they aren’t even related to each other anymore. This is more like filling a sphere around me equally and correctly.
The zen is more intimate. That sphere is smaller but also cohesive.
I think the Euclid wins this aspect simply because it does everything as well as the Zen, maybe better but in a larger space.
You know, this has become a category that beyond a certain point, I am not sure it matters to me. Both these IEMs are beyond that point. Dusk was right at the edge partly because it was there in the mids but not in the bass.
Does the Euclid have more detail? I think so. But honestly what matters more is how these two present their detail.
The richness and impact of the Zen imparts an authority to the detail that is wonderful. The Euclid’s tight planar quick nature obsesses over exceedingly clean organized presentation. And this is on FR responses that are very similar in bass through much of the mids. So this character is much of what distinguishes the two.
Both are extremely good and agreeable, but different. In this aspect I would focus on the character of the sound you want and pick based on that.
It came with foam, some weird large bore ones and spinfit cp145. The spinfits are excellent on it. I actually just got cp145, cp155 and cp500 to add to my Zen tips review. The cp145 is what I am using on both IEMs currently. It’s not as isolating as some, but otherwise produces superb sound. And the fit on both is good. Great tips.
I find it useful to compare across typically separate types of headphones.
I think these are what I thought I wanted from the Arya and Sundara. Yep, I kinda just called the Euclid a hifiman. Whoops! Sorry Audeze!
But seriously, as a planar, many of my favorite attributes about them are fully present. It is essentially a more engaging tuned version of a sundara. From my perspective that is a huge compliment. If Sundara had bass response like this, I probably would have stopped looking. One and done. From memory, the Sundara is more open and airy, but both have a very pleasing overall sound signature.
I often describe the Arya as the most beautiful headphone I have ever heard. It is still that. The Euclid does have some of its properties as a planar, but it is more engaging than beautiful. The arya is dainty and eloquent. The Euclid is tougher and stronger while still being pretty.
On Qudelix and Signature
The Zen masks the differences between these two more than the Euclid. With Euclid you can hear that Qudelix is a bit leaner and possibly brighter. The richness of the Zen kind of overpowers that aspect. By the same token, the signatures smoothness is more apparent because of the planar lean quality.
The thing that the signature brings to both IEMs is effortless power. Both do well with that. I have found the Euclid can eat up power and can reasonably be used in standard mode on the Signature.
I still don’t care much about the differences between qudelix and signature. I care more that the amp can power the headphone in question. Both do this for both IEMs. The differences between them required intense a/b testing to hear. I just don’t care about that little difference.
But Diminishing Returns!
Euclid is nearly twice the price of the Zen. That is a tough sell for me. It feels more like a side grade than an upgrade.
I also want to say, many of these differences required concentrated a/b comparisons.
By contrast, the Dusk → Zen was definitely much more apparent. It took a bit of a/b to figure out what was different, but the fact that it was different was immediately obvious. The Zen was twice the Dusk and easily justified to me.
I can’t say the same about the Euclid. At least not yet.
The Zen vs the Euclid is a tough comparison. Both have some great strengths. They are kind of like twins that took entirely different paths to get to the same place. They both solve the same problem but use entirely different methods to do it. I can’t imagine having strong opinions liking one and disliking the other.
I can say that if the physical impact of music is important to you, the Zen is hands down the better choice. But if planar sound appeals to you, the Euclid is the obvious choice.
The Euclid is a fantastic IEM. But, from where I am sitting, it appears to be an overpriced IEM. That is really the biggest flaw I have with it.
Zen wins on impact and physicality.
Zen wins on Presentation and build.
Euclid Takes imaging and sound stage.
Zen takes comfort because of the Euclid size.
Euclid takes detail kind of by default.
Both Qudelix and Signature work well.
Feels more like a side grade than upgrade making it kind of pricey.