is a significant improvement in my opinion. I also like my JVC Marshmallows better (albeit, they've gone through a good burn-in and have been modded to sound better). I use X3i's on the go with my Zune 80, really great combo, good bass, nice soundstage (great for IEM's), good clarity, the right amount of noise isolation (so I can block out some sound and still be aware of my surroundings enough). At home or somewhere where noise isolation doesn't matter I use Koss KSC75's (also modded), also a good combo.
To be honest the zune premium headphones/earbuds that come with the zune 80 are good. Not the best but good. Really good for headphones that come with a mp3 player. The sound is good, not the best bass response. Magnetic feature is AWESOME!!! The material of the cord is cool. But their are some downsides(bad) to these headphones.
1) The cord! When the cord rubs on your shirt a desk or just rubs against something you can hear a disruptive like fricition sound. It's hard to explain... but to make to word it different. When the cord rubs against something you hear this weird sound.. that is bad. Not like a screetching sound or anything like that just a wierd sound. But if your like me and play your music at like the volume of 10+ you hardly and sometimes never hear it.
2) The cord gets kindy tangled up, like it gets wrinkly or something like that. It just gets all coiled around, in other words it doesn't stay straight. Gets all twirly and weird like.
3) Now I don't have this problem but people say that the earbuds fall out of their ears easily.
But yeah overall their pretty good headphones that come with the zune 80. Sound is good, the whole disruptive sound though when they rub against something sucks though. But yeah good headphones, when you get them and check them out. If the whole rub against something sound thing annoys you alot then I suggest you get some skullcandy buds or just other headphones. Because their is really nothing you can do to stop the cord's rubbing/friction disruptive sound thing.
Noise is common with canalphones and IEMs, some cords make it worse, the ones on the Zune premium earphones are particularly bad because of the material used. People often wear their earphones flipped upside down with the cord running over and behind their ears, that usually gets rid of 90% of the noise. I guess the issue of whether or not these earphones are "good" is relative, if all you've ever used is the included earphones on the players you get, these are significantly better and you'll be happy with them, but in my opinion they are not worth the price they go for when sold separately and can easily be topped with not much money.
My buddy has the premium earbuds with his 80, and they probably are the best earbuds to come standard with any mp3 player I have heard. However, I still prefer street styled headphones for clarity, bass, and comfort. Funny, but $20 Sony/Philips street styled headphones sound markedly better than the MS premium earbuds to me. Obviously, there is a little thing called "physics" that is indisputable ... 30 mm filliment headphones will produce a much richer sound than 9-10 mm earbuds.
Yes, the Zune premium headphones (ear buds) are excellent. They're nowhere near as good as high-end headphones like the Bose on-ear or over-ear headphones (which are absolutely incredible), but for in-ear headphones the Zune premium ear buds are very good and certainly better than anything I've ever seen included with an MP3 player purchase. The premium headphones don't completely cancel out ambient noise, but they do a good enough job that you'll be paying attention to what's playing on your Zune rather than the noise in the background.
Yes like its been said here, for an included set they are good. They did that so you would not hear your zune through crappy ones and think your zune sucks.
I love them. They actually stay in my ears comfortably and for me thats rare.
My wife, she says it hurts her ears but the rubber is thin and soft so it creates a nice comfortable seal inside your ear.
She is a hard critic of a lot of stuff though.