This is one of the most sensible and accurate posts I have seen on Headfi in many years!
I have tried a number of multi driver IEM's and some customs including some demo JH's (Yes, I know I don't get the full experience but it was enough!) I find this fascination for multi driver IEM's confusing as I find every single one I have heard exaggerates sound and smears it as well.
After all my explorations I went back to my trusty old ER4S's and simply enjoy the music now. If you really want custom ear molds for a hundred bucks extra you can have them on these though personally I prefer the three layer insert for isolation and musical performance.
Kind of the point of the new JH13 freq phase update. It has the group delay and phase character of a single driver with the advantages of lower distortion, better balance (IMO) and complete vibration cancellation with 3 pair of siamesed drivers. In fact, I think you'll find the phase character overall better than the ER4. The Er4 is a great phone but it's etched beyond natural and the bass quantity is a few db below accurate IMO. I like the hf5 just as much and recommend them a lot. Not as detailed but less etch. This coming from somebody that likes original Quads, Sonus Auditors and Dynaudio C1s as home speakers so I don't go for extra bass or rolled off highs.
It's a custom thread and the OP chose his original while those ER4s were around. Lets not change the subject.
I, like the OP prefer the jh13 to the jh16.
Of those he mentioned, the 8a is out as it's an extra bass model, the ES5 has a bit more midbass and the uerm has a bit less bass overall compared to the JH13. Heard good things about the Miracle as well.
Edited by goodvibes - 3/23/13 at 4:35am