Enough for the packaging, the looks, the gold. You find impressions on those everywhere now.
Equipment: iPod Classic 160GB, Late 2009 Edition + RAM I-Extreme LOD + HeadRoom Portable Micro Amp (LOW gain, crossfeed OFF, volume at around 11 to 1 o' clock)
The first thing I noticed when I inserted them (original large SuperTips) is a plastic crackling. I automatically presumed that it was the diaphragm deforming under changing pressure. I asked here and was told of a phenomenon called 'driver flex', which happens a lot with dynamic IEMs. I can only hope that it is a normal occurrence.
The large SuperTips don't insert that easily at first. Gradually, I learned to breath warm, humid air (or CO2) on the tips before inserting.
I tried all the tips supplied and these are the ones that fit:
SuperTips, both small and large; the large triple-flanges; the foam tips.
Speaking of isolation, the large SuperTips isolated a bit more than I first expected, but are still not quite up to the MDR-NC60 level. Lower frequencies do go through, however the large SuperTips isolate speech much better than the NC60 does.
I had about the same impression for the smaller SuperTips and the large triple-flanges: less driver flex noise, much more low-frequency isolation than the large SuperTips. Speech isolation is about the same.
Foamies isolate unbelievably. They are also a bit more comfortable than the other tips. These tips isolate about as well as I ever imagined.
Now the sound. The large SuperTips provided quite a nice soundstage, wide enough for IEMs I guess, albeit a bit shallow (Audio STAX: when Gunter is 'in front', I cannot feel it - but hey, nor with my DT880, so this may be a source problem). Bass impact is much less than I thought (thank you Monster advertising), however the details are incredible. Depth was undescribable, I always thought IEMs have muffled sound. Vocals cut though very clearly, but don't exactly 'stand out' like the Burj Dubai (Kalifa)... more like Manhattan Island. Quite to my surprise, I can somewhat 'see' the bow gliding on the strings of a cello, with the strings rippling and shaking off dust. Highs extend very well, though when you're in the extreme-high zone, they do feel stressed (try gunning a Smart to 90MPH).
Both the smaller SuperTips and the triple-flanges provided something that was lacking on the large SuperTips: bass impact that could actually be felt. However, this came at a big cost: the entire frequency band is pushed back, with low freqs standing out more like the pyramids of Giza. Soundstage was narrower, more 'moved forward'. Vocals are a bit too soft (pour water on a sand castle and watch) and the highs are attenuated. Guitars no longer sound crisp and clear.
Foamies: pulled them out after three seconds. Unlistenable. Don't bother.
At this price, I believe its main rivals would be the EX700 and the IE8, since dynamics and armatures are very different creatures. It took me to go though some difficulties to obtain this IEM, I believe that they're a keeper. Got them on sale, saved me some money anyway.
PS: On large SuperTips, bass impact seems to improve after 10 to 12 minutes. Perhaps the temperature of the ear-canals is softening the oil (I believe the SuperTips are oil-filled, then silicon-sealed) inside the SuperTips to the point that the tips conform better.