These definitely are better than the old Apple earbuds. For starters, the fit is way better than the old ones.
As for sound quality...
The presentation of these are way more refined than the old ones. The old ones used a very direct approach and the sound almost seems to come from a recess in your head. These have a better presentation whereby the soundstage seems to be significantly widened, perhaps by the bass vents that Apple has decided to include.
Bass is average.
The augmentation of the soundstage, though, is at a price. It makes the overall sound cheap and hollow, especially the mids that lack body.
Trebles are significantly more detailed than the old ones too, and there is a certain degree of clarity to these, though not what I would describe as sparkly.
The bass bleeds into the mids and makes it sound a little muddy, and that hollow muddy space is not pleasant at all and a pain to listen too after a while.
EQ is set to flat.
Tried listening to it on Bass Reducer, but that made it even more hollow.
Plugged it into an iPhone 4 with LOD and PA2V2, and it actually sounded worse than direct from the iPhone's 3.5mm jack.
1) Sarah McLachlan - Angel
2) Alan Parson's Project - Ammonia Avenue
3) U2 - I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
All CD ripped lossless.
Overall, these Earpods are better than the old ones, but are extremely fatiguing to listen to after a while. I found myself dying to pull them out during the course of writing this review.
Of course, for all you fanboys out there, YMMV.
The iPhone 5 is great and I'm just sad I can't use my LOD with this
Oh, and I'm sorely tempted to plug these into a Darkstar to see what happens :P
Edited by Russell Tan - 9/21/12 at 10:31pm