Didn't he, uh, die?
well...the 8.A isnt 3 or 4 times the price of the other two for no reason...
Now that you mention it....
I don't doubt that the 4ai is better sonically when all is optimized but I think the Shure untrimmed triple is the worst tip supplied with them both comfort and sound wise. I think by just using that tip, you've compromised the comparison. What did you find uncomfortable about about the 530? I thought them more comfy than the 535. Their fit with a single flange is very similar to the Heir. Isolation with the triple or olive tip should be better than any single flange without foam but a tip with a seal is usually good enough.
Did you have some olives around as well? With those tripples, I found the highs even more rolled and without the stems trimmed almost impossible to get the shures flush. Just shows that we're all different. I guess I spoke too soon.
I gotta say, Anaxilus was spot on, these 4.AIs aren't really neutral, more like a warm, midrange oriented sound though the highs aren't lacking. A tad much midbass/lower midrange warmth and the midhighs a bit too conservative. Results in a safe sound that many will enjoy, really is a an upgrade to the A161P as mentioned, they're similar but these take it up a level. Will get more in-depth for the full review. From what I'm using, Etymotics aside, I think the EX1000 may be technically better by a bit, still though the EX1000 is pricier and it can go either way as I'm still evaluating.
3AI was a disappointment, no need to edit that, but that's taking my criteria. Even accepting it's heavy coloration I think this kind of sound has too much competition for a much lower cost like the XBA3 and TF10. I think for a lower price, these will do much better imo.