FAQ: What is Bit-Perfect?
Bit-perfect: This is how the audio stream will come from your PC. If you are running bit-perfect, you will have a more true reproduction from the media that you are playing. If you are looking for the best possible audio from your system, you will want to know about bit-perfect.
By bypassing the Windows KMixer and running either ASIO or Kernel Streaming, you are ensuring that you are hearing the music as it was encoded on the CD.
The downside to this? If there are errors on the CD, you will hear them as there is not any correction being made to overcome the error.
In essence, by runinng bit-perfect, you are ensuring that there is no difference in information between the CD that is being read and what makes its way out of the digital output of your sound card.
The quality of a sound card can have an effect on the quality of the output, even with bit perfect playback enabled. The timing and/or jitter can vary between sound cards, usually with the lower end sound cards having a higher likely hood of jitter.
KMixer:The KMixer is a part of Windows that enables your computer to take multiple audio sources and play them back at the same time and at the same bit rate. The KMixer is also how Windows handles your volume control. Regular CD audio is 44.1 kHz. Many times, due to poorly written drivers, sound cards that will interact with the KMixer wil cause this 44.1kHz data to be resampled to 48kHz. Obviously this will result in an undesireable result when trying to achieve the upmost in sound quality. The mixing algorithm as implemented by Microsoft has been shown in many cases to only have a signal to noise ratio of about 92dB. CDs have a signal to noise ratio of about 96dB (technically 97.5dB). The KMixer effectively reduces the data from 16bit to 14 bit.
To bypass the Windows KMixer you either need to use ASIO or Kernel Streaming.
ASIO:ASIO is a professional audio standard that provides for a low-latency audio stream from the computer. ASIO bypasses the KMixer entirely. ASIO is used by the recording industry as a standard. For more information on ASIO, please see here MP3Car.com Thread
Kernel Streaming:Kernel Streaming is just about the same thing as ASIO. It is Microsofts answer for being able to play audio files in a bit perfect format on a Windows machine. Kernel Streaming make efficient real-time streaming of audio possible. However, Kernel Streaming is not an industry standard. ASIO will have many more supported plugins avaliable for various media players. Kernel Streaming requires less CPU time than the regular 'wave out' method.
What you need to achieve Bit-Perfect