I just got my wife her second zune. She had a zune30 which she liked but started running very seriously so she needed something lighter. I bought her a red zune 8gb flash.
The relevant part is I now have the ability to do a direct comparison between the newer zunes without an EQ and the old zune with an EQ.
Sorry to say the EQ wins for me, turns out I made the right choice in keeping the older zune and just putting a 100GB hard drive in it.
The new flash zune sounds good but using the same headphones and the same tracks ripped lossless showed me that I REALLY like the EQ settings, I mainly use the acoustic EQ setting.
The newer zunes sound flat and kind of dead in comparison to the older Zunes using their EQ settings. The sound quality of the new zunes is a good starting point, very clean, very flat, very neutral but without any way to customize it I feel it leaves me a little bored with the sound and not much emotion going on.
I was using a pair of super.fi 5EB's for this.
I admire MS for putting out a great sounding audio player which even the flash is a great sounding player, but they really need to give us back more options to customize the audio in the next zune.