CD audio from your PC CDRom typically goes over an analog cable to your built-in Soundblaster-compatable card. To use a professional audio card, you will need to go digitally from the CDRom through the computer to the audio card, as long as it supports standard MME or WDM drivers (all of the cards we sell do). Several programs support this, including Winamp 3. This will take up a stereo pair of outputs while the cd is playing, but will produce higher quality reproduction of the CDs (you’ll notice it immediately) because of the higher-quality D/A (digital to analog) converters.
We do not recommend using Windows Media Player to playback CD audio because you must change a setting in Windows to allow Windows access to your soundcard. This often conflicts with your pro audio recording software.
Winamp 3 (http://www.winamp.com) comes with a CDDA (CD Digital Audio) playback plugin and is free. Winamp will allow you to select your playback device in the output preferences. It has very good controls and playlist management and can playback many formats. And it does not add to your Windows system directory.
One potential problem in using this method is with some of the new copy-protected CDs. There may potentially be a problem in getting this to work since using this method of playback is essentially the same as “ripping” a CD track to a file, but with most CDs on the market, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Several other programs do the same job: Music Match Jukebox, Sonic Foundry’s Siren, and many other mp3 players.