I got a set of these today finally and have been auditioning them over the past several hours. I have been using in-ear headphones for over 12 years when I bought my first set of Sony in-ear headphones for use with a Mini-Disc player. I have probably owned over a dozen sets in that time. My "low end" set is a pair of modified JVC Marshmallows and my "high end" set is a pair of Shure SE530s (these go for about $300 or so and are reference quality). My music is all very high bitrate LAME encoded MP3. I bought the Apple in-ear headphones for the convenience of having the microphone and track skip controls built in. I was under the belief that I would be willing to handle audio compromises to gain the controls and microphone that the new Apple headphones offer. I also don't like beating my Shure SE530s to death doing yard work and other chores around the home. On the whole I would say that the Apple IEM are "okay". There are many $50-$80 headphones that sound better, but don't come with the integrated microphone and line controls. One of the problems with the Apple headphones is that they can be hard to get a good fit with. If the fit is off even a little bit then *poof* there goes the bass. When sealed properly they have okay bass but it's pretty laid back compared to a lot of other headsets. I got these for 10% off and am still debating on keeping them. They are just good enough that I can stand listening to them but it's a bit disappointing that Apple couldn't do better with them.