A friend picked up my custom UE18 Pros and stuck them in his ears (without asking). Said, "Sounds pretty good" and handed them back to me. He asked how much they cost, so I told him, and he laughed in my face.
Jude's qualifiers and somewhat reserved praise definitely made me raise an eyebrow. I'm also a bit worried that his more open and less lush comments might translate to real world lack of bass, but who knows!
I would choose universals, but I'm not sure how a universal could ever be as comfortable as a custom. For some reason the pressure from universal tips just kills my ears. Customs feel almost like nothing is there at all.