Agree with thoughts. I've tried about 4-5 of the ones you tested in the past 2 weeks,
The Kef M500 are my favorite of the bunch. I can't believe how good they sound and how comfortable they are. I've learned to just live with discomfort and these proved how wrong I was.
The only thing I disagree is with you assessment of the carrying case. I fit mine in with the cable just fine. Jude even mentioned that very same thing in his review in the Winter Guide. But you are right about the case being big.
I may try other headphones but its going to be hard to beat the M500s