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The MX980 is actually pretty nice sounding and the best sounding earbuds I've heard. However, why not saving up a little more money and get the Shure SE535? A used SE530 is risky due to cable breakages problems (had that problems twice). Unless you really dislike the comfort of IEMs, I highly recommended the Shure SE530/535 over the Senn MX980 as the sound quality is much better. Shure SE535 doesn't isolate a lot and sound really good unamped.
I've seen most of your posts and we are looking for something similar it seems. I'm about to buy the Dream Earz 7X. It is basically a Westone ES5 with better bass response. Underhysteria compared the 8.A and ES5 here, and it seems like they are already very similar, but with the extra drivers in the 7X, which was created based on ChrisSC's "ES5+" seems like it should be highly comparable to the 8.A for ~300 less.
idk, it's what i'll probably do. Save my $300 and maybe snag the ASG-2 or something in the future.