I'll try and keep this short but explain my situation well enough so you can help!
I scoured the forums for hours, decided on a pair of Grado SR80i's. I listened through my iPad 2 w/ Spotify at 320kbps and MacbookPro with Flac converted to Apple Lossless in iTunes. I was initially blown away. But both scenario's have produced some pretty sharp feeling highs to my ears on some songs. I read all about how Grados have a bright tone, but didn't expect certain noises to actually cause me discomfort. Alicia Keys "Girl on Fire" for example, is on the threshold of amazing and painful. I can't decide which. While all of my Dave Matthews stuff sounds better than I knew it could.
So I read more about break-in and dac's and amps, and in keeping with my "budget build" got a FiiO E7 to hopefully boost bass a bit at a lower volume and balance things out. This amp/dac combo definitely makes things sound better, the little bit of bass boost (level 1 of 3) is to my personal liking. I am still finding certain songs that just don't seem to sound right though. I have the stock comfies and have done no mods.
I only have about 25 hours on the headphones, I did not perform any break-in as I read so many conflicting ideas on whether or not it even exists. I used to listen to a ~$80 pair of Sony IEM's. Very bass heavy and muddy sounding comparatively, and while I don't think they sound good now, compared to the Grado's, they still don't hurt...
And one final detail, that just kind of dawned on me... I have been having some sinus (cold related issues) could this cause over sensitivity in my ears?
Lastly, I have until November 24th to return the headphones. So I am not opposed to other suggestions in the $100-175 range, keep in mind I now also have a small amp/dac, while not the greatest, can still drive a larger can if needed.
Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read this....