I think you might be a little unlucky with them, I have 2 HE-560's, the first one is about 2.5 years old (got them about a month after they were introduced) and is in great shape considering that my son has them with him in college for 2 years now, it gets daily use by him, his GF and sometimes the roommates, I just did a grill mod for him last month before he went back to school, pads are still good and the 2 cables I built for him are still in great shape. Mine are about 2 years old and I haven't had any problems with them either. As for the looks, some of my son's friends parents asked about them since they though it was really nice high end looking compared to stuff they normally see like Beats/Bose/Sony gear, I guess looks is in the eye of the beholder with these. Funny you mention the treble of the HD-600, its one of the few headphones that bothered me with some tracks, after a while someone suggested it might be the peaks in the 4-5khz range that I'm sensitive to, other headphones like the HD-700/800 which are brighter don't bother me since the peaks are at a higher frequency. I also though the HD-600 was grainy in the highs compared to other headphones, one of the reasons I sold mine. As for well balanced headphone: HD-650 is my choice but needs a decent OTL amp to go with it, other would be HD-700, better bass, sound stage and highs compared to HD-650 but the treble can be a problem for some, depends on what bothers the individual.