I had a pair of Etymotics HF2, which I had a love and hate relationship with.
Sound-wise I loved them. I listen to NYC Punk (Television, Pati Smith to the Ramones), alternative, and jazz (Parker, Monk, etc.).
I also loved the level of sound isolation—I commute through some noisy spaces.
The hate part had to do with:
1. Ouch those things hurt at first, but I think my ears are now adjusted to the Etymotics ear invasion.
2. First pair had wire issues (short near the jack) even with very careful treatment.
3. Second pair had separation issues, with the ear piece back becoming detached (a little crazy glue fixed it, but I feel the build quality is lacking).
4. I have waxy ears and need to replace those little green things about ever 6 months. Etymotics sells them fairly cheap, but charges more for shipping them than the cost of the filters! I find that obnoxious.
My Etymotics HF2 lasted about 3 years before wire fatigue near the jack finally too them out—they work, but slight sifts in the wire can cause my phone to skip songs and do other odd things.
I've narrows things down to a handful of options. For this thread, I'd like to focus on my top two options: Klipsch X7i vs Etymotics HF3—how do they compare for both sound quality and durability.