Just in case I need a rep or something ridulous for me to gain credibility...
I test speakers and raw drivers for various websites with hardware and software that runs well over $10k.
I have a home reference setup consisting of scanspeak towers well placed in a very large room.
I have an ego the size of king kong. Just kidding.
Thanks to this review, I purchased a set of these last month and was pretty happy with the overall sound. They don't have the bite like the Triple Fi Pro 10's did but these, IMHO, are much more close to reference than those were. The TFP10's were very lively but unnaturally so and made more out of the music than what was there. In other words, they weren't what I'd call reference. They were just fun.
The ety's are much more a true to the original sound than with anything else I've used. For $130 on amazon, I was very, very pleased.
Upon purchasing the HF3's, I promptly located a local audiologist who participated in Ety's "Custom Fit" Program. I called them up, asked for an appt, they said stop by anytime, so I did. I was in and out of the office in about 15 minutes; molds done. The staff knew exactly what I was getting and had already done a few molds for the custom fit program before. I didn't have to pay at that point. They said they'd take care of everything from there...
Fast forward to now.
Just picked up my molds today. So, it took about only 3 weeks. Sweet!
They fit great. I must admit, however, they feel funky in my ears. Not bad or uncomfortable... just odd. Sure it has more to do with the fact they actually enter the canal rather than are just a bud sticking in your ear.
With a few tracks in, comparing back and forth the molded tips vs the oem tips, the bass response is much better. Not earth shattering bass, but present and smooth. It is more robust than with the original tips I chose (the ones that fit the best out of the 3-4 sets that came with the hf3's) but, again, not in a bad way at all. Quite honestly, I think it's damn near perfect. I consider it very much 'reference' quality.
The overall sound of these, IMHO, is that these are stellar. I can't say for sure the tighter fit has allowed me to notice things or if it's that I've been critically listening a lot lately and taking notes to better myself as a listener, but I just listened to Janis Ian's Breaking Silence and wound up writing down 3 things in the song I hadn't noticed before.
I can't say for sure whether or not they do a better job at blocking ambient noise, though. First take seems to be that they're no better than the ones that I had been using but I haven't really done anything scientific to prove this one way or another. They do sound, however, at least close to as good as before and I'm pretty sure, given the fit, they do block ambient noise better to some degree; even if it's not night and day.
Overall, for $108 (tax is 8% here), I'm very pleased for the molds. These are going to work great for the long plane rides where the headphones don't leave my ears from the time I board to the time I exit. I was becoming very disgruntled with the supplied tips because after about an hour or so they'd start to work themselves loose and the weight of the chamber and cabling didn't seem to help (side note: a small remedy is to wrap the slack cord around your neck). I couldn't really work out with them, either because they'd fall out of my ears. So I tested the molded tips for 'exercise capability' (ie: I shook my head all over the place) and the headphones stayed put with no budge at all. :thumbsup:
Overall, I'm about $250 in to these and must say that, to me, it's money very well spent. I can't say that if you don't care to listen critically or have relaxation sessions at night before bed or need a good set of headphones for travel that you'd appreciate the cost/value but if you fit any of those three and you love music (which you should because you're on an audio forum reading this) then it's very much worth the price of getting these headphones and the molds. I honestly feel like the headphones are a cheaper way to get you closer to great sound. You can start off with the hf3's at a value price and pay for the molds which take them above and beyond the final $250 price tag
Hope that helps some of you guys who might have been on the fence.