Windows Media Player

I just bought a set of Audioengine A2s. They sounded great in the store with nothing more than a MacBook Air. So I brought them home and hooked them up to my new Gateway computer. The sound is not all that great with Windows Media Player playing .wav files or mp3s. I also tried PowerDVD 10 player, and the sound is somewhat better but more different than anything else. With WMA the sound is slightly distorted and pulses some, is noticeably louder at times, and it just distracting. PowerDVD 10 gets rid of these problems but is still lackluster. I want my A2s to sing like they did with the Mac. I'm not trying to do audiophile sound, I just want cleaner sound than I am getting and to be able to enjoy them while computing. What to do?

BTW, I checked the driver (Realtec I think) on my machine and it is the newest. Then installed the PowerDVD 10 with only somewhat better results. I also Googled my problem and really didn't find any definitive help in a couple of hours. I'm hoping I can get some solid direction here.
could also be that the soundcard in your gateway just isn't very good--most of the audio snobs on this site (myself included) use an external dac for computer audio, which almost always improves sound significantly. there's a gazillion threads on the best dac for your budget.
My guess is and guess only, you were probably listening to files that were 16/44 or better in the store demo and at home you might be using 320k or so now. There is a noticeable quality difference. The above suggstions from the other 2 guys will get you going. I'd download foobar 2000 also, it runs smooth and tells you what resolution and bit rate the files are that are playing. Also, you didn't say, but I guarantee your store demo used some sort of DAC. What about you? Night and day improvement there.
Good Luck, Tim
Foobar is indeed a great music player. You can try the Kmplayer as well. Have you tried some eq tweaks or different positions? placement is very important.

Your post provides a lot of really useful tips. I have a question that you might know the answer to. Have you ever tried any type of line conditioner with a computer and external drives? Given that computers are not really made for high end audio, I can't help but think that it may make a substantial improvement.
Great explanation Almarg and Xxqq250. These tips should help others in the future with similar questions.