Originally Posted by dynhm6
Unfortunately, alot of heavy metal's recorded with copious amounts of compression and limiting, which leaves recordings sounding kinda flat and two-dimensional. And if they've also been converted to mp3 format using a low-end converter (or the "fast" option in a good converter), that only makes things worse. If you have the original CD or LP of a couple of your favourite songs that aren't sounding good through your headphones, you might try re-converting them to 320kHz and be sure to use the "High Quality" (as opposed to "Fast") recording option. That may help a bit.
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor
my main problem isn't the recordings it's my onboard conexant soundcard. i will order a fiio e7 later this week.
I'm not sure what equipment you're currently using but like he said dynhm6 said earlier, better headphones or IEM's resolve information fed into them better. I completely agree with him on the heavy metal recordings, especially older ones being very flat, and a lower quality file will only exacerbate the situation. Then, anything you have that is recorded or mastered better will unfortunately make those worse recordings and files sound even worse. It's all relative.
If I may use an example:
You live in New York City and drive a Toyota Camry, and its a fine car, gets you where you need to go, smooths over the countless potholes, you're comfortable with it. You then decide to get a BMW M3, a sport tuned sedan with much more power and stiffer suspension to better handle driving inputs and better communicate road feel to you. Now you drive to work over those same roads and, by the time you get there, your ass feels like you just got deemed the pretty guy in prison. Every little bump and blemish in the road is now your worst enemy. You blame BMW for the car, New York for the roads, and yourself for your stupid choice that you are now stuck with for most likely some time and will probably lose money on if you can back out of your decision.
You were fine in the Camry, now you're disappointed that you can't really enjoy your new car because every 10 feet, you feel like you hit a tiny wall.
Even after I got mid tier IEM's, I realized that 192kbps is the bare minimum not to be disappointed, and now that I've moved up, I can tell that even with 256kbps, I'm missing something. Anything below 192kbps just sounds very veiled and I often skip those songs now unfortunately. It becomes a constant state of upgrading but it really is rewarding in the long run when a smile just comes across your face as you listen to a song as you've never heard it before.
"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link."
Maybe your problem is the soundcard, but don't be disappointed when you upgrade and then your music is still not how you expect to hear it, because then you'll have a new weakest link.
Expectations can be a big problem in life, and I'm not sure where you got yours, but the part about making even 128kbps files sound great seems pretty unfounded to me.