Huh? My AM transistor radio with mono ear plug sounded way better than any of these fancy shmancy mp3 thingies young folks are into nowadays!You say that like people "back in the day" generally cared about audio quality. It will always be few and far between that people care enough to chase down quality equipment because the return on investment to eek out a little bit of audio quality extra becomes exponentially more expensive.
You have groups of them out there
I went down the rabbit hole of buying quality studio headphones, a mini pre-amp, etc. and ultimately I got a similar amount of quality out of a cheap pair of KSC75's and sold them.
And then there's the people that insist vinyl has better sound quality than high quality digital recording which is demonstrably false. They just enjoy the nostalgiac relics the media imparts on the sound quality, it's not better.