Despite my misgivings about Skullcandy now, I decided to keep them anyway. All in all they're really not bad phones. I was able to get the plastic snapons from the cloth earpads on the G.I. headphones to work with the leather earpads, but I still wasn't 100% happy with the G.I.s, so I went shopping for another set. Like I said, I still harbour some doubts about the brand, but I found a set of "Metallica Artist Edition Hesh" headphones on sale with a 20% discount, which means in Oregon (the land of no sales tax) I was able to pick them up for $29.99. Not too bad considering that 1) I'm a pretty big pre-1991 Metallica fan (despite Lars' dumba$$ Napster rants) and did enjoy their latest album which is more reminiscent of the Metallica of old and 2) the drivers in the Hesh models are 50's versus the 41's in the G.I.s. So I picked them up, and my 17 year old son, who was very envious of my phones to start with, inherited the G.I.s, and thus my wife inherited his pair of Lowriders to replace her half busted old headphones, so everyone's happy. So far the driver's in these parabolic earcups are LOUD, and actually produce some pretty decent sound. I swear I heard a guitar lick in a song I've been listening to for at least two decades and never noticed before. The padding on the Hesh earcups is about 10x more comfortable than the G.I.s, too (although I've read varying opinions on this point based on individual ear size - mine seem to fit perfectly). The fact that the design painted on the cups is pretty badass looking doesn't hurt either, and neither does the fact that they came with a code to download the "Death Magnetic" album in DRM free 320kbps MP3 format, but I do kinda wish I could get rid of the lame embroidery on the headstrap (which is pretty thick and comfy in it's own right). Anyway, the headphone situation in the household has been resolved and everyone's happy - that's a good thing.
On a side note, I just wanted to share an observation. Something I've noticed from reading reviews in various places is that people are pretty divided when it comes to Skullcandy's products. They're kind of like the old AMC Pacer - you either loved or you hated it, there's no middle ground. I don't think I've seen a single neutral review of a Skullcandy product yet, either the reviewer thinks they are a gift from God, or on the opposing side the worst products ever made in the history of electronics. But anyway, like I've mentioned before, I'm pretty happy with mine and with a lifetime replacement warranty you can hardly go wrong for the low prices you usually pay for them. 'Nuff said.