got some nice PMs from folks. thought I'd quickly edit....
decided to put a bunch through the ringer -- in ascending order of price. Came into small windfall from other circumstance so was able to fudge my budget a bit to see if it made a difference.
Ety HF3 ($120)
Found sound dull. But, would definitely have its place if I was building a stable of IEM -- Precise sound.
Brainwavz B2 ($130)
These were okay. Sound was good but sibilant to me. Build quality left something to be desired.
VSonic GR07 MkII and Bass Edition ($179)
Impressive. Can see why folks are so fanatical. BE more fun for me to listen to, but not a huge difference. Fit was surprisingly good.
Westone 3 ($179)
Found cheapest price on Amazon. These are currently en route. I know I liked them, wonder if I'll still like them as much.
UE 900 ($290 for what I'm sure are gray market on ebay, but with returnability).
Very nice. I find the cable rotation kind of annoying. Also not a big fan of the memory cable. Fit is nice, sound is nicer. Quite balanced, but punchy bass. Wish there was a bit more in the mid. REALLY nice soundstage. like the headset feature. Been listening for a few hours tonight and it is impressive across genres.
UE TF10 ($300)
Had never tried them. Figure since I'm buying and returning a bunch, might as well try it out. Not expecting to keep over the cheaper UE 900.
Anyhow. I think in a vacuum and more firm budget I would have taken the GR07 and called it a day (or maybe ordered Westone 3 when I noticed they were discounted and on eligible for Amazon Prime to compare to GR07 directly).
The biggest lesson in all of this is remembering why I stayed away from these forums in the first place. came for one, purchased 6. oy vey.
Edited by jws919 - 12/2/13 at 7:14pm