When I was a kid, it was Bose. Our parents (middle and upper middle class) fell hook, line and sinker for Bose marketing. Audiophiles (read: those who weren't tone deaf and listened to music other than pop with boosted bass and treble) could easily hear the difference between a $3k Bose Wave (believe they were "Acoustasmass" systems or some other stupid name) and a $3K B&W setup with just about any cheapo amp (Pioneer, Sony [god forbid] etc.) running them. Add in a decent amp and the Bose system just sounded plain silly in comparison. Over the last couple decades, there have been article after article measuring frequency responses from Bose systems and other thorough tests proving that they are 99% about marketing and 1% design/material quality (paper cones, anyone? yeesh).
And here we are in 2012. Now we have a bazillion headphone/speaker options. The new trend seems to be, find a rapper who wants to make a bunch of money [ahem: Dr. Dre] and slap his name/logo on it and watch them fly off the shelves. Looks to me like kids are falling for the same thing all over again, just in a new generation of marketing.
The problem now, however, is two fold:
1- Music. The kind of music kids listen to now is bass-heavy, lacking any sort of actual full band instrumentation.
2- Kids, for some reason, equate bass response to "quality". If they hear a set of $30 "Beats" headphones that boost the hell out of low frequency, they think; "These are badass yo!" Then, you stick a $500 Sennheiser on their head and they're like '"WTF, these sound like ****, where's all the bass?"
Sure, this is partially a rant, but it's also a sincere question. Are there ANY kids left these days who are interested in music that isn't "song of the moment, we'll be gone in five years" hop-hop/pop/vegas-club-mix crap? You know, songs where you can actually hear a guitar pick hitting a string in the mid-range? Songs where [god forbid] you can actually hear a french horn break-out from the trombones and trumpets for a magnificent solo?
This really is a lost cause, isn't it?
I shoot photography for a cheap to mid-range headphone company. ALL their products under $150 have bass frequencies boosted because that's what the target market wants, I've literally listened to the two owners bitching about having to do that, but it's what sells.