Pros: Great all-rounder, enveloping presentation with captivating mids, punchy but unintrusive bass, and delicate treble, moddable filters
Cons: AWFUL DURABILITY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE, will hiss with most sources, distorts at medium-high volume, awkward plug, short cable
These were my favorite sounding universal IEMs, and my praise for their sound can be read throughout the most recent iteration of the SM3 appreciation thread, but I feel a strong need to let people know about the durability issues with Earsonics products, and the company's treatment of customers as a whole.
My first pair of SM3 V2s lasted about 3 months before half of the right shell came off while walking down the sidewalk. I pinched the IEM gently by the shell to pull it out of my ear, and it just came straight apart. I got in touch with Earsonics customer service, and shipped them to France for about $60 with the assurance that they would be repaired at no additional cost to me. The repair took about 3 weeks, and it was over a month before I had my SM3 back in hand, only to have them fall apart in exactly the same fashion the first time I used them. I sent them back again, and had to pay repair costs this time, because Earsonics decided it was my fault, despite being within the warranty period. Again I was patient for a month, and got them back, only to have them fall apart a THIRD time. This time I demanded a full replacement; I had to climb to the top of their sales ladder before Max, their manager, gave me a replacement, along with self-righteous admonishment that I would not receive such treatment in the future. I sold my replacement, still sealed in plastic, but the Head-Fier I sold my pair to had build issues within a few weeks of purchasing them from me, and was denied ANY kind of service despite being well within the warranty period; I had to email Max again and threaten to do exactly what I am doing at this moment in order to get my buyer a replacement.
I tried other universals, but unfortunately I was addicted to the SM3s sound, so I eventually sold off my other IEMs and repurchased the SM3. Fast forward a year of using them as sparsely as possible, and almost exclusively at home to avoid any issues, and despite my highest efforts, they fell apart a FOURTH time. And then I was done.
If you own the SM3, just look at them, touch them, and if you forget for a moment that you paid $350 or more for this product, you will see that they are made out of the same kind of plastic as those cheap toys you get from the little machines you put a quarter in and turn the knob. iBuds and Skullcandies are made from more durable material, and, in my experience, hold up much better.
For those looking for alternatives, I am now in love with my UM3X and do not have, nor foresee, any durability issues; the shells are made of sturdy plastic and seem well-built, and the stock cable is more flexible with a less awkward plug. They also don't distort at higher volumes. If I could have the Earsonics house sound without distortion or hiss, a less claustrophobic presentation, and the build of Westones, I'd gladly pay $400, maybe even more, but as a complete package, the UM3X destroy the SM3 in my opinion.