UPDATE: I've moved up to the E3cs, discussed here.
I told myself I wasn't going to do this, but I can't help it — I have to talk about my new headphones, the Shure E2cs. It's no secret, I'm a music junkie and take the "listening experience" thing very seriously. Enter the Bose TriPort headphones I got last Christmas. There is no denying that these are great headphones, but I needed something smaller. I'm in and out of the law library all day and so I needed headphones that I could fit into my bag without being worried about breaking them. I also wanted them to be better at blocking outside noise.
I never thought I would buy in-ear headphones. It just never dawned on me that they would sound better than the over-ear types. Looking back, I'm not sure how I could have thought that. Logic suggests that speakers that are situated in your ear canal and aimed directly at your eardrum would offer superior sound. Logic prevails — these things are sick. That isn't to say that all in-ear headphones sound like this, certainly some [most] sound like shit. But, I did my research (as usual) and everybody was raving about these things. I remember looking at the Etymotic ER-6s a couple of years ago and wondering what they sounded like, but I couldn't convince myself to take the $140 plunge, especially given the fact that they looked like they would break if you touched them wrong.
After having used the Bose headphones, I really had no desire to seek out another pair until I started law school and the aforementioned problems presented themselves.
I've been using the Shures for a few weeks now and have nothing to complain about. Nothing. While I will admit that in the beginning they were slightly uncomfortable in my right ear, the discomfort has since dissipated completely. I can't really blame them for this though — they come with three sets (of various sizes) of foam and rubber "flex" sleeves. Apparently my right ear canal is very small and so I had a little trouble getting even the smallest "flex" sleeve in there. You can strike a lot of that difficulty up to inexperience — it's no small task to put these things in your ear; it has become much easier over time.
Now, to the fun stuff: these things rock! I genuinely feel that I will never go back to regular headphones. It just wouldn't make sense — I would be denying myself sonic bliss. All the reviews were correct; there is nothing better than good in-ear headphones. They almost completely block out ambient noise, while injecting your brain with the best sound you've ever heard. It's like listening to old music for the first time. You can even make out artifacts in some MP3s that, after listening to the song 100 times before, you never noticed.
I'll concede that I was worried slightly about the bottom end of these things; how could they create bass with no real woofer? Answer: as long as you get a tight seal, you'll get that bottom end, and it's wonderful. I've been extremely happy with the bass reproduction.
The high end on these bad boys is nothing less than spectactular. Listen to [insert incredible female vocalists here] and prepare yourself to be absolutely blown away.
Another perk you get with plugs is that you can turn them up as loud as you want and you won't disturb anyone. You absolutely can't hear them outside of your own head.
I think the greatest testament to these plugs is to say that when I'm listening to the music, I sometimes feel that if I open my mouth the music is going to come pouring out. Incredible.