An introduction to computer audio
If you use your PC as an audio source you need a media player.
If you go the streaming way, you at least need something to rip and to tag.
The major ones, Windows Media Player and iTunes both cover the basic functionality well and offer a straight forward interface.
Most media players to a good job ripping your CDs.
There are dedicated ripping programs like dBpoweramp and EAC.
Iím a dBpoweramp fanboy as it is fast, supports AccurateRip, offers excellent Meta data and has a very reliable format converter.
This is covered here.
My experiences is that the players them self often matters less than the driver you choose.
Players like JRiver or Foobar allows you to choose different drivers.
This enables you to fine tune the sound quality of your system.
I recommend a media player:
iTunes and WMP don’t fulfill all of these criteria.
Have a look at JRiver Media Center (paid, my personal preference), Foobar or a very elegant piece of freeware like MusicBee.
If you are into classical music have a good look at MusiCHI.