I think I'd like to chip in my accounts of the reactions of non-audiophiles. I'm not that much of an audiophile myself (as I am a basshead), but I crave lots of detail, which was born from my time here in Head-Fi. Though my Beats cannot achieve a level of detail that I wanted, I found that in equalizers, and it's helped me a lot.
But I've strayed way too far from the topic now, so here I go. I realized that gen-coms (general consumers) want lots of bass, whether or not it's muddy or not. They couldn't tell the difference between good bass and bad bass either. An example of this is...my family. My dad was the most recent case. He'd bought a phone online (a TCL Idol X if you really want to know), and it arrived earlier this Friday. My dad was tinkering around, setting up the phone, etc. when he found the earphones. They were IEMs, and they were pretty black. Like, all black.
My did tested it with teh music player and a pretoaded track (a jazz one, to be more specific) and what he remarked was something like this:
Well, he wasn't speaking English, so obviously that wasn't what he said exactly. It's an accurate enough translation (done w/o Google Translate) because most of what he said were exclamations, translating to "Wow." Well, the bass booms like he said, and my sis was impressed too. But for a user of Apple EarPods (which are probably the best 'phones to ever come with a phone), my sister was still quite oblivious to great sound.
Speaking of great sound, the living room sound system has Diamond 9.1 speakers on L and R, and I tell ya, those things sound amazing. Even the, my dad puts an EQ that takes away some of the treble, which only I disapprove of (everyone else in my family is okay with it). Nevertheless, when it comes to headphones, he's "just as blinded" (Love the Way You Lie reference). (If you didn't get that, I'll quote a line from the song: "But your temper's just as bad as mine is, you're the same as me. But when it comes to love, you're just as blinded.")
Okay, back to the main topic. After a little fight of the earphones with my sister, I got to test it with the phone. There was a hell of a lot of bass. But unlike my EQ'd Beats, the bass muds up everything else. It's as crappy as my Apple earbuds (without the EQ). After another struggle to gain access, I finally got to test it with my iPod Touch. Eq was set to the brightest treble that it could allow. The mud was still there.
I put on my Beats. No, the bass wasn't muddy (only slightly on some tracks). I put the earphones back on, and there it is again. WTF.
So I've come to a realization of just how oblivious gen-coms are to great sound. Even with access to awesome-sounding speakers, headphones were different. They wanted bass, even if there was nothing more. I too love bass, but no, I wanted a different kind of bass. It felt like a better basshead's bass.
Will they ever learn?