Media player

You have your audio files stored on a hard disk, so you need software to manage and play your collection.

If you go the streaming way, you need at least software to rip and to tag.

The major media players Windows Media Player and iTunes both cover the basic functionality well and offer a straight forward interface.

Meddiaplayers are covered in more detail here.

Ripping

Most media players do a good job ripping your CDs.

There are dedicated ripping programs like dBpoweramp or EAC.

Iím a dBpoweramp fanboy as it is fast, supports AccurateRip, offers excellent Meta data and has a very reliable format converter.

Do media players have a sound?

This is covered here.

My experiences is that the players themselves often matters less than the driver you choose.

Players like MusicBee or Foobar allows you to choose different drivers.

This allows you to bypass the operating system audio stack to avoid any possible degradation of the sound quality..

Recommendations

I recommend a media player:

iTunes and WMP don’t fulfil all these criteria.
Have a look at Foobar or a very elegant piece of freeware like MusicBee.