Well I'm moving out of my apartment this weekend and my parents have been visiting so I haven't had much time to listen, but here are my initial impressions:
I really like the styling of the unit. Seems to be built very solidly. The pot does seem rather small and I have been having the microphonic tube problem as detailed in the thread. Kind of a mixed bag there.
Most importantly, the sound. I've thrown some counting crows, tom petty, collective soul, yes, ben folds, u2 and a little bit of classical at it. With my 580's, I've noticed I don't have to listen at as loud a volume as I previously did. I feel more drawn into the music even at lower volumes. I've noticed two really big positives in the sound. Soundstage and separation of instruments is really great. The other improvement is an increase in detail and dynamics. Live recordings sound especially amazing; the ambient noise and reverb sound just like being at the concert. On the down side, I do find the bass a little loose with the 580s. It's very musical, but not as tight as you might want for techno/industrial. I found it was still good for rock.
Some things I noticed on specific cds:
In Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen. The Bass (instrument, not type of sound) sounds great. You can hear the bass lines without having to concentrate on them and they sound very musical. The insects chirping on "Cigarette" sound like insects, not like static.
In U2 - Rattle and Hum. The X-cans really worked well with both the cd and dvd. It really brought out the ambience of the live recordings. It sounded like I was in the same room as U2. Some of the tracks are not live, but possibly the best live disc I have heard. Bono's voice is particularly haunting.
In the other music it's pretty much more of the same. With my Grado sr60's the unit also sounded great. The bass was much more punchy and grado-like. I can see why some people might find this combination too bright, but I liked it.
At first I thought the difference in sound from the x-cans was fairly subtle, but after listening to it for a while and going back to no amp, the improvement in sound was quite noticeable. It's hard to quantify the improvment in sound so I can't really say whether the x-cans (or any other amp for that matter) is an amazing value or not. The main problem with audio equipment is a serious decreasing marginal rate of return. The difference in sound isn't as dramatic as buying a pair of sr325's compared to panasonic earbuds. At the same time, my system sounds better than I could have ever imagined when I first bought a pair of Grados 3 years ago. I'm sure there are amps out there that sound better and headphones that sound better, but for now I'm very happy with the sound and content to not upgrade for a while. In that sense (great music at a price point I can afford without wondering what's next) it's a great value.
Also, thanks to MacDef for taking care of the unit such that you wouldn't know it wasn't new.