Like you, I'm looking at top-of-the-line bass heavy IEMs that can do it all (for Pop, R&B, Rap, Blues, etc,.).
I'd prefer a universal IEM so I'm kinda waiting on consensus opinions on some of the models (out or coming out soon--IE800).
It seems the AKG K3003 doesn't isolate well enough for my somewhat noisy environment. FitEar TO GO needs to come out with a bass heavy version (335?). I need more info on the Tralucent 1plus2. Aurisonic AS-2 has no G-model and so on....
On my shortlist for customs are the JH16 and Merlin so far. I've been reading about the 8.A, but I don't know....
I really need to hear some demos of customs before I'd be willing to make such a large investment. Pretty words on forums (and review sites) are tempting but no one has my ears but me. No one has my headroom but me. Plus, around here, contrasting opinions about the same earphones are abundant.
If I had a JH16 and was happy with it, I'd be fiddling with other components (source and amp).
Interestingly enough, king8888, there's a forum member whose handle (I believe) is 88king who has a Merlin and listens to Pop music. Maybe he can chime in. I believe he had a defect with his Merlin.
That's another thing that scares me. It's bad enough to go thru all the time and shipping issues of getting customs from China, but to have to send it back. I don't want to fall in love with a sound then deal with the separation (of having a loved one leave the country--sappy right?) while I worry, wait and miss it terribly.
I appreciate you comment. I have heard K3003 from my friend, he said k3003 was kind of overpriced through to it's performance.
I am still undecided for which one is the best for pop music : merlin or 8A