I have heard the best of the new...the W3, UM3X, IE8, CK10, e-Q7, GR8, FX700, etc. and to my ears the SM3 is a different beast. Something better may come along, but until then...
I have seen many here proclaim just how superior the various IEMs are from the IE8 to the FX500 to the FX700. And if something does come out that is as good or better than the SM3 for a lower price, that is great for all of us! But I am going off the here and now.
And as of 5/31, the DDM has been in the chart.
I think much disagreement in opinion derives from an unmentioned rift between the 'fun' sounding camp (usually dynamics) and the 'reference' monitor camp (usually BA's). Too often we get carried away advocating a sound without being clear about what it is we find important in our search. From what I have read the JH13/16's bring you most of the accuracy and reference quality one could want but can be lacking a bit of fun factor in certain respects. While dynamics like the DDM, FX700, and MTP's seem to bring out the funsome feel them to be 'colored'. The EM3's seem to be the best compromise/synergy between the 2 camps from what I have read but I am still waiting to see someone whose opinion I value come forward and make such a supported claim.
IMO, the SM3 just exposes the other IEM's weaknesses. It is not about fun or analytical sound. It is about true to the source reproduction that changes with each album and mastering. It is about no color vs. the same color across the spectrum. If the song is fun, the SM3 is fun. It has fantastic dynamics, visceral bass, incredibly accurate treble, liquid mids and can use them at command, not to mention the highest resolution of any IEM I have heard. Oh, and the best proportion in an IEM I have heard. But the biggest thing is they are different because they don't have their own signature. I know it is hard to understand as they are the only IEM I have heard that does that. If you remember earlier in this thread, I was struggling with figuring out the 'sound signature' of the SM3. Are they mid forward, or laid back? Warm and veiled or crystal clear? Depends on the recording.
I would rather put that money toward the EM3 Pro. I am sold on EarSonics products. I trust searches ears, as we have compared notes many times and agree on pretty much everything. I am sure they are good and they might be the best bang for the buck at the price point, but to me the absolute best bang for the buck, the best purchase of mine since I have been on head-fi is the SM3. I don't regret selling my other IEMs and putting the Copper and RE252 back in my ears for the first time in a long time reinforces this for me.