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Got mine today. Been listening for two hours! They're everything I remember about my HF5. Can't do a direct comparison because the HF5 is long gone. The isolation is second to none, and the triple flanges are more comfortable than my cIEMs. Despite ordering the XR, I can't say these are anything but dead neutral. I have some real bass monsters in my lineup, and these are not that at all. I love the sound signature, it's just smooth and level. Bass extension is there, it's just not emphasized. You get used to it pretty quick!
I have to disagree with cIEM comment. The HF5 seemed warmer in contrast to the SE, but ever slightly so. Note that I'm using MEElectronics' cable since mine wasn't functioning properly.
Why? It’s not like we all have the same ear.
My cIEMs are a $700 disappointment. Nothing about them is good- SQ, comfort, attenuation, or CS. YMMV.
What cIEM is it? I guess I'm the outcast, though I only have one pair of customs. They're the HiFiMan RE-1000 (same price range as you). I have good comfort, OK attenuation, and good SQ (though the signature isn't my favorite, the quality is good overall). Bad SQ and comfort typically means a bad fit if I'm not mistaken. I guess bad CS would ruin that as well as refits require courses through the CS department.
I'm waiting for my SE to come back from Etymotic, who I know has good CS though (they replaced a pair of HF2 that were like 4 years out of warranty at no charge even when they couldn't reproduce the issue I was having).
Isn't this the entire idea behind a cIEM? That they custom fit it to your ear. If it's not done properly, then it will be very uncomfortable. But assuming a couple things 1) the impressions are done properly and accurately and 2) the IEMs are molded properly and accurately, then they should be one of the, if not the, most comfortable IEMs available for anyone.
Reading below it seems that the OP's IEMs may not have a good fit (something went wrong) which would result in discomfort, bad SQ, and bad isolation (he states all three). Granted it's possible for each of these problems to appear independently of one another, but a single issue (bad fit) can account for all three. Then the comment about bad CS seems like the customer service was bad which means getting a refit may not be possible for him so he's left with a 700 dollar paper weight (a bad paper weight I might add) and a lot of buyer's remorse.