I'm a lifelong, fully-confirmed, over-ear headphone wearer. I've moved away from closed back to open back, forgoing the comfort of fellow train users for the increased sound quality you get when you stop bouncing bass around a pair of fully sealed cans. And let's not even start on active noise cancellation. Ech. In addition, I've never enjoyed the experience of wearing in-ear headphones; prolonged use generally leads to discomfort and some mildly disturbing incidents involving 'waxy deposits'.
All that considered, the Etymotic Research HF2 headphones were not preordained to please but, after a good bedding-in, I'm happy to say they perform and impress on every level. All frequencies (including bass), are present, correct and perfectly turned out. Yes, you do need a good seal for them to work but, no, this is not painful or difficult to achieve if you follow the instructions. Prolonged usage, weirdly, does not lead to painful ear canals... though some of the (admittedly easy to clean) ear tips supplied are more prone to collecting ear funk than others.
The other plus is the mic and control button. This works incredibly well and I use it on my bike all the time to receive calls, skip tracks etc. Anybody on the other end of the line can here me fine even with background wind, so that's really quite impressive. If you are using these on a bike, you should only ever ride with one ear in as otherwise you will be totally oblivious to even the most monstrous of trucks bearing down on you from behind. You have been warned.
So, in summary, a great pair of phones at a very reasonable price. Be sure to give them at least a week's worth of listening to bed them in and get used to the sound before you pass judgment on them, especially if you've moved from a pair of artificially bass-enhancing headphones: you'll be very glad you did. Build quality is great and functionality is spot on, though a 'last number dialed' call option would be welcome if they could figure out how to do it. One final note, if your remote stops working (as mine did), but you can still hear music fine through the headphones, it's probably not because they've busted but because you've got some lint or dust in your iPhone headphone jack - definitely worth fishing around in there with a paperclip before you get on the phone to customer services.