I have an Audeze LCD-2.2 that I'm running with a fully balanced Mjolnir/Gungnir stack (usb 2.0), using iTunes, (mostly 256/320 files, a few 96/24) with Windows 7 (AMD/Realtek). As good as the sound is with this setup, I feel like I'm still losing out on significant SQ because I am largely uninformed about sound settings, better audio players, and how it all comes into play with the amp/dac. I have a few questions, I hope you can help.
1. Does using my DAC bypass the windows mixer, and if not, would I manually have to change the sample rate and bit depth in advanced sound properties for every different type of file I play on itunes to avoid resampling?
2. In the settings, there is a shared mode and an exclusive mode. Does checking the exclusive mode option boxes allow the dac to "take exclusive control of this device?"
3. I've read a little about audio players, and that itunes playback combined with windows sound settings is less than optimal. All I have are ALAC files, so what is a quality, easy-to-use player to use, and would I have to transfer all my files to the player?
4. What would be the optimal settings for said player?
5. Is it possible to obtain bit-perfect audio with windows 7, and if not, what is the best way to reduce unnecessary resampling?
I know I'm probably missing a lot. Your help is greatly appreciated, and if anything needs to be added, please do so. Thanks!