My clock radio puts out a similar sound as the Onkyo system at/near zero volume levels. It's obvious what happens as you turn device and system up.
My 7 year old ($9) Skullcandy earphone actually sounds a little better (bass/treble-wise) than my old ($400) Shure E5 earphone out of the headphone-out on my iPod Touch 3G. As I connect these earphones to different sources (using other software apps), the E5 scales up while the Skullcandy just get annoying loud. It's not as dramatic as the clock radio to Onkyo system but it's quite noticeable. And when you're like me and almost exclusively use IEMs in a noisy work place for many hours a day, noise-blocking is a must.
I wish wish wish Google, Apple, Samsung (and others) would treat sound the way they do the video screen of their devices (i.e. make it better with every new edition). These companies really have the capability of doing the headphone aftermarket like they did the GPS market (just obliterate it by bundling great sounding IEMs with top-notch sounding devices).
I've never heard the Earpod but I'll give it a listen. I love a bargain. I'm not married to the notion that more expensive means “better”. I'm more annoyed by the pricing structure.