I don't really like heavy bass for what little classical music I listen to but unfortunately I haven't heard the regular GR02. The GR99 is a touch less bassy than the GR02 BE overall, which might help.
Thanks for your thoughts Joker. I've done a bit more reading on the ones you've mentioned, but I get the feeling that unless I spring for something like the RE272 I'm going to get a different but not necessarily better overall sound. Maybe I should give the q-jays a try with some other tips while saving and looking out for a used RE272. Do you have suggestions on what tips to try with the q-jays? I have a hard time figuring out what's compatible because manufacturers never list it specifically.
The q-JAYS and ER4 are both top-tier IEMs so I wouldn't expect huge jumps in quality from there, just sound signatures more to your liking and mild jumps in performance here and there. Aside from stock silicones, I liked Klipsch gel tips and smaller Sony Hybrids on the q-JAYS.
I just want to thank you, Joker for your suggestions and for this thread. Despite your cautioning against it (I'm not too fond of bass heavy sets), I went for the GR02 Bass Edition. I have to say that you are spot on in your advice and reviews. They are extremely nice phones, great sound quality, but there is a bit more bass than I would have liked. I switched my iPod eq to "Bass Reducer" and couldn't be happier. They sound balanced and analytical and not at all lean. Additionally, the GR02 can be had even cheaper from Lend Me Ur Ears without the Sony Hybrid style tips. I seem to have very finicky ears, nothing fits my left ear. I think that my inner canal is very narrow and my outer ear is very wide, so few tips fit well, including bi-flanges. On a lark, I placed an order with Meelec. I got some of their "Balanced Sound" tips, small triple flanges, over ear loops and a case. Everything they sell is reasonably priced and very well made. I couldn't get the triple flanges to fit, but the "Balanced Sound" bi-flanges are incredible! They use a much softer, thinner silicone that isolates incredibly well and is extra comfy! Do they balance the sound of the GR02? Not really, but boy are they comfortable! I found that by installing the GR02s upside down, with or without over-ear-guides, they insert deeper and the comfort is incredible!
Anyway, those are my thoughts, somewhat non sequitur, but I wanted to share.
Thanks! I still have the MEE 'balanced' tips on my GR02 as well. They are meant to work with the M9 - the M9 stock tips are thicker so in a way the balanced tips do cut the bass a little. Like you, I just like them for the comfort, though. I have a second pair of them on my beater/gym phones (H2O Audio Flex) and a bunch more scattered around.
I have an FX101 on loan. It's an improvement on the FX1X, which had an overly intrusive mid-bass hump for my taste. The signature is somewhat reminiscent of the M9, or even an Atrio, but without the deep bass of either. Aside from poorer deep bass it differs from the M9 with less recessed mids but slightly more hyped-up lower treble. My old M9 (which must have a thousand hours on it now) is less fatiguing but also not as clear and detailed as the JVCs.
All equipment will 'burn in' naturally with use so I don't see why that should be part of a buying decision.