I want to purchase my first pair of customs, preferably quad-driver ones. The UE11, JH11 and UM Mage seem to be the obvious choices, but I'm having a hard time deciding which one to choose... The UM Mage seems to have (reputably) the best build quality, and it's also the least expensive of the lot at 630 USD, while the JH11 is 850 USD and the UE11 is at 1150 USD. I'm trying not to spend more than 900 USD on these.
In terms of aesthetics, I'm leaning more towards the UM Mage, as I do like the style of the faceplate and interchangeable colours and customization on them, but at 630 USD, I don't want to be skimping on that which matters most: how good they sound.
I will be using these 99% of the time on my iPhone 3Gs 16GB, with a L/O dock (a relatively inexpensive one) and a Go-Vibe Petite DAC+Amp, which I love using. In terms of music preference, I listen to a lot of alternative rock and pop, but also a lot of female vocals in the form of J-Rock and J-Pop. All songs are in Apple Lossless or 320 kbps.
I am upgrading from the Ultimate Ears Triple-Fi 10 with a custom silver cable. If anyone has any experience with these quad driver IEMs, and tips and comparisons as to which ones are better than the others, or has any other suggestions for other 4-driver custom IEMs, please tell me!
Average_joe's Super Custom Thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/541494/multi-custom-iem-review-resource-mfg-list-discussion-thread-15-reviews#post_7302109
I haven't heard any of customs yet, but I did just order an Heir Audio 4.A... Heir Audio is a new company founded by a Head-Fi member; it has been getting a lot of buzz lately for the craftmanship and excellent customer service; they're probably the most affordable 4-driver CIEM on the market right now at its promotional price of $450. If you're looking for other affordable options, there's also 1964Ears in Oregon, which might be easier for you to do shipping with. Just read through average_joe's resources and you'll find a lot of very helpful information.
I would think the UM Mage would be the way to go.
The UE 11 and JH 11 would be better if you were looking for a heavier bass response, but your musical tastes would lend itself well the the Mage. Plus it kind of seems like that's the way you're leaning, so it all works out.
I pretty much use my UE 11 exclusively with my iphone 3gs, though I'll plug it into my home amp every now and then if I want to block out some external sound from the living room. Mainly listen to alternative and progressive rock, jazz, and some jpop/rock (mainly Kalafina lately). They sound great right out of the iphone, bass is a bit emphasized but does not drown out the mids or sparkly treble so guitars and cymbals are still wonderful.
However, with your budget, going with the UM Mage is the best path. Factoring in getting impressions and shipping costs, the Mage will likely be perfect for your musical tastes and they have developed a nice following here.