Hi end ear buds

I would like to hear experience from users of high-end ear buds like Shure SE530PTH which goes for something like US$ 450 to 500. Granted they do not require a headphone amp, but for the price one can get a decent pair of reputable cans from Sennheiser, AKG, etc., which I thought would have more uniform frequency response than these small sized diaphragms. Or am I missing something wonderful with these little buds ?
There is nothing worse than cheap ear buds, but good earphones have changed my opinion about personal monitoring and listening. With the soft, ear-conforming flex sleeves that seal well, quality earphones are comfortable, provide excellent ambient noise reduction/isolation, and very high quality sound. I have both the Shure E2, and the Etymotic ER4. Both can rival my Stax electrostatic headphones in most every way, yet the earphones do have better low bass (with a good airtight ear seal). For convenience and comfort, and especially portability, I would highly recommend earphones. Technically the Etymotic is supposed to be better than the Shure E2 (don't know about the SE530), but for the price the E2 wins. Had a pair of Sennheiser headphones. They were good, but didn't have as smooth a frequency response, were heavy, and didn't block out enough noise.
Read comparisons and pro/con's ad infinitum at www.head-fi.org on this subject. I have Senn 650, AKG 701, various Beyerdynamic, and both Etymotic and Shure SE530. The earbuds can be used successfully even without a headphone amp (ie into an iPod) but the big phones must have a headphone amp to hear their potential. You must also make sure, probably by experimentation, to use the proper sized earpiece with either pair of earbuds. The Shures and Etys really seal out external sound and are great on airplanes or at the gym, when you don't want to hear anything but your music. Outside sound leaks in with the bigger, over the ear phones. I don't think the earbuds are necessarily inherently or always better in terms of sound, but they _can_ be better because of the better isolation you get from sealing up your ear canal completely.
Also wanted to add: the classifieds at head-fi.org are a goldmine for finding and trying lightly used earbuds and headphones. Trying used earbuds may sound gross, but they always come with new unused tips so they are worth exploring. You can try various models going the used route, commonly done on head-fi.
I use a pair of HD 25 -II Sennheiser pro broadcast monitoring headphones for electronic drums.

These are excellent - one of the best sounding isolating headphones(-17 db isolation and surprisingly comfortable/lightweight when you get used to their small cups). They don't look like much (cheap looking) but the sound isolation is excellent and the sound quality is really good (no boomy wet bass as seems standard these days on headphones and proper dynamics without audio compression)

I prefer open type headphones for casual listening - like my old Studio AKG 240's (but these are not good if you have background noise and are not very efficient - so they won't work that well with cheap sources like an iPod)

....Earbuds....forget it as far as I am concerned as the bass always sounds just terrible and synthetic - I never liked them.