Didn't get on with the Panasonic HJE-900s on my J3, so returned them and bought Ultimate Ears 700 on a special offer. Nothing special, I thought, very detailed but lacking in low-end bass and in attack in general. Was getting ready to return them too and give myself the luxury of a good audition of a few models. Then I misplaced the J3 and sparked up my elderly Cowon X5 instead. Now I am thinking of getting shot of the J3. What a difference. Some real slam from the X5, something I didn't realize I had missed. And the detail was superb. I was able to follow all parts of the percussion for the first time on a pair of IEMs over a mix of music over many hours.
I am not necessarily saying the X5 is better than the J3 but the UE 700 must be a mismatch with the J3, considering the X5 was on flat EQ with just MP enhance and that I couldn't come near to matching it with the J3, no matter what BBE bells and whistles I threw at it. This leaves me a bit confused. Surely the J3 has more power than the X5, or at least enough to make the 700s sing? Now it seems to me that the J3 has going for it: good battery life and better SQ than my ipod (or mini TV as I prefer to think of it). This doesn't justify the outlay. Maybe brand loyalty was a mistake and I should have replaced my D2 with something else. But what?