well, thankfully some adjustments/trying out all sorts of different combinations saved these for me. Couldn't get past the wonky treble in the silver filter or the complete muffling in the black filter. The gold filter was actually the best to my ears... But was still way too bright with the stock tips (foam or silicone). However, I found the conform tips TX400 (extreme isolation plus wax guard) cut a lot of the harshness from the Gold, but still kept it linear and smooth. It was still lacking in the bottom end at that point though. It sounded okay, but was fairly severely rolled off in the bass. So, I used the iPhone's bass boost (which is really a low pass filter, not a "boost" in any sense). And that was the trick. Even with all that it still wasn't bassy, but the signature reminded me a lot of the HD650. Not nearly as refined obviously, but the same basic signature. And the isolation was dramatically improved.
So for me, that is what made these go from "my god I'm going to have to return these or just give them away" to "I can definitely live with these. I'd call this arrangement: good detail, smooth, good soundstage, very isolating.
Now the "problem" is I tried the same tips on my $10 inateck woody IEMs and they also improved a lot, to the point where I think I still prefer them. They're bass monsters, but no in a bloated way with the conform TX400 tips. I used the Jazz EQ setting on the iPhone with that setup and they reminded me a lot of the THX00 (again, in signature, not refinement).
I also have the "sport" conform tips that I'll probably try out as well.
But yeah, big sigh of relief, because my initial response with the stock tips and the silver filter was "no amount of burn in will ever make me like this signature, and no way an iPhone EQ setting can fix this either."
My take on the filters:
Gold sort of leaves the base signature alone. And the base signature seems to be really treble hot. I guess it makes sense given the inverted dynamic driver and metal construction. The gold signature almost reminded me of an extreme version of the old SR325i.
Silver cuts 8kHz but otherwise stays the same as the gold response. Basically it digs an 8k hole, to make it less sibilant. To my ears though, this instead made it sound simultaneously bright yet distant.
Black cuts 4kHz-12kHz. It's not so much "bassy" as it is lower midrange-y. It sounds really muddy to me, though much smoother than silver.
So, to me Gold was the best starting point, as I found treble the easiest to tame via tips + EQ. While silver probably sounds the best with no adjustments, it's also the hardest to adjust without resorting to parametric EQ, because the peaks and dips are so extreme.
But if you ignore everything else BUY THE CONFORM TIPS. they're 129834729837423 times better than the stock tips in sound, comfort and isolation.