I think you are focusing WAY too hard on flaws. Id look into a better source vs a new set of phones. Your listening is only as good as your source.
Also look at the X5s in if a new source is not an option or customs like FreQ trip drivers.
As for durability in an iem thats gonna be a tough spot, I don't go spalunking with my x10s but they do hold up to a head-fiers daily use.
I will get a better source, after I have got a IEM. A SA6 would probably be better than my CX300, when using my Creative Zen v Plus. I suppose getting a iAudio D2 would not improve my CX300's more than getting a SA6.
I think you have to be very careful in trying to categorise sound signatures based off of forum postings
And whilst the advice of try before you buy is sensible, truth is it is nigh on impossible to do so if you do not live in Tokyo or NY. But it is all part of the journey
Equaliser = distortion is my book. Muddy is relative. I haven't used my UM2 since buying the ESW9 but I have posted elsewhere already on the matter. I sold my E4G (black E4C) and kept the UM2 as I wanted that punchier bass. And they have an incredibly fun sound that is easy to enjoy if you are new to IEM
Indeed, trying IEMs would be the best option, but here in Belgium, I don't really think it's possible. So I try to decide by reading what other ppl post.
I'm not really new to IEM, I just don't want to upgrade many times. So I thought: Why don't I just pick one of the top-IEMs?