Borrowed an Auteur Classic for a few days earlier this year for but only had time to listen on 2 days. Consequently, these impressions will be shorter. Chain: rpi2aes > Yggdrasil A2 / Spring 2 > Stellaris. Didn't have time to use with my smaller amps. I normally prefer the Spring 2 > Stellaris, but with this HP, I preferred the Yggdrasil A2 due to the overall sound signature of this HP. Pads / wood: I think I liked the original Autuer perf lambskin pads vs about 4 other pairs. Don't remember the details of why. Also, I don't remember the wood this pair had right now, only that it wasn't a darker colored wood such as ironwood, bocote, ebony, etc. - I mention this as the wood makes "enough" of a difference with ZMF headphones for me. Sound: If I had to sum it up, it's an Autuer with Atrium tonality, timbre, and tuning with similar or better technical performance vs the original Auteur. To me, it sounds more like the new Atrium than the original Auteur. Much like the Atrium, this is also a tuning with "less ZMF sauce", more energy, euphoria, and "overall brightness" (not bright sound like more highs, but bright like the sun is out - I don't have better words for this right now). Not as dry, doesn't have as much that sort of organic granular sound, and tighter / cleaner transients and overall more focused (but not extremely focused relatively speaking) sound vs the original Auteur. Personally, given that these are closer to the Atrium, I would rather keep my original Auteurs and get an Atrium to go with it. Performance was at least par with the original Auteur but again, with a different sound signature. Except for the staging - it's probably a half step down. Also, because of the more euphoric in your face sound signature, you have to focus a little bit to hear plankton now where as with original Auteur it was just kind of there - like walking into a hot room - you don't have to think about it - it's just hot.