Edited by david8090 - 4/4/11 at 4:25am
Yea.. the problem you described regarding price-performance value and all that goodness is only the tip of the iceberg you are discovering. Just search and read the multi-IEM guide/comparison. ;)
We all have different opinions and preferences. You won't know what you like until you've listened to a few of those. It's even harder to recommend for other people. So...can't really give you a good recommendation since it seems like you haven't a clue about what you are looking for. (you liking rock music doesn't really help a whole lot... there are dozens of sub-genres and even then people have different preferences for how their rock music is presented through their earphones)
Read the multi-IEM guide/comparisons and just pick a pair. If you end up not liking them, you can always return them, sell them here, or put them up on eBay or something.
Multi-iem comparison the person above is talking about -
By Joker - http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/478568/
By ClieOS - http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/541204
I've been looking around myself, these are couple that caught my attention based on what others have said about them. Maybe you can start with these - (These are in dollars, I'm from the US, so this is what they'll cost for me, not sure if it'll be the same for you, sorry)
-Fischer Audio Eterna ($68)
-Phonak Audeo PFE 022 ($99) - (This is what I'm getting once I get the money, primarily because it comes with the green filter. I can exchange it with the grey or black filters to try out what I like without spending money on three different phones, I like the little flexibility with this phone; the different filters change the sound signature, and each set of grey and black cost $15 each on store.audeoworld.com)
-Sunrise Sw-Xcape ($90?)
-Sennheiser ie7, someone found a pair of ie7 on JR (an authorized dealer) for $120 couple of weeks back, so maybe you can get lucky? I heard they were discontinued early march, so if you try hard enough, you may get it.
-Spend an extra $20 for Brainwavz B2? Pre-order on them is $140 right now, it'll be $160 once they're out. People who have auditioned them really like them.
OP: I've been in the same boat as you. I was lucky enough to be able to try the S4's and VModa Remix from Best Buy but return them for a full refund. I bought some Monster Miles Davis Trib's and sold them 2 weeks later. I had the S4's for 2 days and the Remix for 1 day. Returned them both. I have Sony XB500's that I'm trying to sell. I had AKG q460's for about a month, gone by way of ebay. I still have my PortaPro's because for $30 USD...you absolutely cannot beat them.
Now then...I have recently purchased some refurbished Monster Turbine's from Monster's outlet site for $49. I was all ready to send them back until I mucked around with the EQ just a tad and opened up the spacial width via Rockbox on my Sansa Clip+. Now, I really love them. I'm even starting to enjoy them for Rock. (not what I perceive them to be designed for) They're probably nothing like some nice HD25 cans, but I still need some noise isolation in a small package for certain situations, so I'm definitely keeping them.
As far as my EQ settings...I changed them from a pretty drastic "V" to a more subtle "V" or "U" setting. The Turbine has more of the sound sig that I desire than what I've been trying, thus I don't need much EQ to make them how I want them to sound.
The Remix was a little to "tinny" in the mid range. The S4 sounded like music was playing through a plastic tube...very unnatural. (probably has something to do with how tight the nozzle is)
I really, really like the Turbines now that I've given them a fair shake. $49 is a killer price. You can always return them within 30 days if you don't agree.
I think someone must be insane to compare even low-end shures to low-end sennheisers. Everything from sennheiser under ie6 just blows and should cost way lower. Anyone claiming cx300, cx300-II and similar are any good is clearly pretty high. Yeah, out there you can find really awesome iems for under 100$ and better than the older shures but the sennheisers aren't those. I frankly wouldn't consider anything from the CX-series of sennheiser unless it costs like 10-15 bucks.
kova4a: The newer ones are worth a shot the ones i've heard (cx250, cx271) are much less abusive on the ears, although they retail at about $30 not $70ish.
@OP Just an observation but you're hovering around virtually every iem in the price range that has ever had a good review. Bear in mind all reviews are subjective as is sound. A lot of the choices you've mentioned are in this thread which I think would be well worth a read for you: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/541204/concise-multi-iem-comparison-meelec-m16-m21-m31-sp51-added-april-2nd-2011 Maybe read Joker's mammoth review thread too in the appropriate range. Bear in mind the date of a review, a series of ten glowing reviews from 2005 are worth absolutely nothing, chances are an earphone sounds better for about half the price.
It's kinda out of his budget and I don't think that armatures are the best option for rock music, especially without an amp.
Thanks for answers. @ Marcus, thanks for the link.. I already have seen some reviews about in-ear headphones and these are my favorites because the sound quality is the best for their price (so the value either)
What do you guys think of these?
Audéo Phonak PFE 122
/EDIT: Oh, @ Zenesis, thanks for the coupon.... let's search for some reviews about these buds.