Optimizing your PC system for audio
Most Important: use kernel streaming or in any way bypass the Windows mixer and send audio output directly to your soundcard or DAC. If you use Winamp, try the Kernel Streaming Plugin. Asio does the same thing, but, strangely, without any effect on stuttering, while using the Kernel Streaming Plugin all stuttering disappeared! Winamp now provides also a Wasapi plugin that works great.
* While you listen to music avoid programs that make heavy use of the hard disk, such as defragmenters.
* Keep your PC in the lowest possible temperature.
* Changing the scheduling of your processor from Programs to Background services, may help a little. By default, the computer is set to use a greater share of processor time to run your programs. You can change this by going to System properties – Advanced – Performance Settings – Advanced.
* At Control Panel – Sounds, go the “Hardware” tab, select your DAC or SoundCard device, open its properties and in the “Properties” tab – “Audio Devices” select again your device, open the Properties and check the option “Do Not Map Through This Device”.
Cf. TheFreeWindows’ PC Hi-Fi Guide.