Back in 2009/10, I got caught up in the flavor-of-the-month type IEMs and was burned by the poor build quality/ quality control of the early Phonak PFE and the Head-direct RE0.
So, I am looking for an IEM under $150 usd that has been available for at least 2 years with a great record in build quality. I have considered the Etymotic HF5 but I think because of their deep insertion I would find them uncomfortable. Metal construction is not required. As seen from RE0, metal construction means 0 if quality control isn't there.
Sound wise, I am willing to make some compromises to detail if I can get better construction. I listen mainly with Audio Technica AD700, so any similar sound signature is a plus. Both RE0 and PFE were acceptable in terms of sound quality. I do not enjoy huge bass or a very bright sound.
Thanks for reading
The plastic casing on the PFE cracked within weeks; I exchanged it, cracked again. I returned it under warranty.
The glue holding RE0 right metal casing came apart within a year of purchase. I was lucky not to lose any small parts as I was walking outside when it happened. I sent it back for a replacement. The replacement unit showed obvious re-gluing on the same side as my originals. Now, 4 years after purchase, the right side driver has died. Recabling didn't help, so I am fairly certain it's the driver. I have been extremely careful with it as it was my most expensive IEM. It is out of warranty, and the only help I got from Head-Direct is to purchase some out of box RE0s for $50. Nice try.