I'll start off with my setup: (for listening to 2 channel only) Paradigm Monitor 7v2 PW2200 sub Yammy RXV 800 receiver And my computer is an IBM Aptiva, AMDK62 450Mhz, 256MB, SoundBlaster AWE64. Now before I start I'll let you know that I am a college student who downloads a lot of MP3s (90% rock music), and I don't own many cds. Heck I don't own a CD player other than my discman. But I'd like to put the moral/legal issues aside here. I listen to a lot of rock music (anything from U2 to System of a Down)(I love classic rock and really hard rock and everything in between). I blast it quite loud from time to time for enjoyment sakes. Critical listening and really loud are equal in my eyes. I have been to friends houses who have lower end systems (ei JVC reciver, OLD Bose 701, Sony 5disc changer) and when we listen to music is sounds louder and more dynamic. I came back to my place and listened to some of the same songs, and it just didn't seem the same. I don't download crappy quality mp3s. I try to keep them all above 192k, if not 320k and the larger files size to boot. And I am quite sure that most of the music that I have heard at my buddy's place is MP3's burned on cd. I even decided to try out a new soundcard (SB Autigy MP3+ vs my SB AWE64) and it sounded like garbage, very crackly and made my speakers ditort at much lower levels. (I tried many configs but still sounded the same) Popped my old one is and I was back at square one. I've been thinking of getting a quality CD changer (NAD, Marantz, or Sony ES) and starting to buy CDs again. My only fear is that I won't get the sound I am looking for, or that maybe my system isn't as capable at reproducing music as good as I would like it to. Or maybe my room is terrible for sound, but the problem with that theory is that DVD movies sound absolutly incredible. Very dynamic, lots of bass, wide open soundstage. PLEASE HELP!!! Is it the MP3's? Is it my system? Is it my room? Or is it just my ears?