So, the first bestbuy in my town opened today and there is a big sale, couldn't get the monitor (screen) i wanted, but got these headphones for ~35 bucks CAD. These are my initial impressions, I've had these opened and on for a few hours now. Ive tried it straight through ipod, using apple lossless files, and some lower quality audio (128kbps), ive tried it with the d10 amp, and also from pc->d10->xb500. I'll just say right off the bat, the amp did increase clarity when using with the ipod, but not by much. Ive been using the shure 440, which i was selling for comfort issues, but ended up keeping due to some idiot buyer. anyways i will start with the build quality: the first thing i can say is that DAM these things are ridiculously comfortable! i think i would pay 40 bucks for the cushions alone <_<, maybe i can mod them into the shure 440 hmmmmmm, i have glasses + slightly weird ears, but the cushions are unbelievably comfortable, it clamps tight, its not a huge deal, and i'm guessing would be fine as time passesThe headband cushioning is better than the Shure 440's, the heavy shure 440 has no chance against the comfort of the xb500. Note, the xb500 is not foldable or anything, yet it seems much more portable/transportable than the shur440. The headphone is very light, the band is mostly plastic and so is the size adjusting portion ( i suspect it not being the most durable ), however, adjusting size is smooth and easy. The cord is light, flat, and ends in a 90* plug, i don't mind it, may annoy others. On to the sound, now note; im not the most experienced with the terminology, but ill try to explain best as i can. These things are muddy. very muddy, not ipod bud muddy, but still very muddy, if your into vocals and musical cans these definitely will not work. Sony claims "Deep Bass", Deep= muddy?, it is muddy/blurry, bass, impact is present but very little. and i am coming form the shure 440, which is known to have very little bass impact or even much bass at all. The lack of clarity can be fixed with an equalizer, i didn't bother with the ipod presets, on foo bar adjusting the highs makes the xb500 sound much better, vocals can be enjoyed and will still sound bassy, yet the muddyness will not entirely disappear. I wouldn't use these on low quality audio files, they sound terrible, equivalent to ipod buds if not worse, if you are going to use these with an ipod i suggest using music at least 320kbps anyways, my initial conclusions; if you are deciding to get phones in this price range ~100, im guessing you may have looked at the shure 440, ATH M50, or some other phones. the shure has minimal bass but it seems very defined compared to the xb500, i haven't heard the m50, but everyone says they are similar to shure440 with better bass. if you can get the xb500 for the same price as i did, do it, they will most likely sound better than the next 35$ phone, don't buy these phones if your into sexy female vocals, works great in games and movies, much better the shures, and comfort wise if i can create an imaginary rating system i would rate it 9 out of 10, the feeling on the ear is really nice, but at the moment they do clamp a bit, and isolation is very good considering how soft and plushy the cushions are. edit: i guess i should mention atleast one song i compared phones with, i didn't have many songs that were bass heavy. i used The Knife - Silent shout to compare, the xb500 sounded very fun and bass impact was much more present compared to the shure 440, i enjoyed it out of foobar with the equalizer, on the ipod; not so much. Though i have to admit, i did miss the shure 440 highs in this song, even though they are borderline painful in some other songs.