I've mentioned it before, but now a Microsoft employee admits to the problem in his blog. Windows Vista does not properly playback sound -- whether from CDs, MP3s, or DVDs.
The problem is that Vista has so much going on that sound playback occasionally gets a low priority, resulting in a split-second blip or gag every few seconds. The problem is severe enough that I reinstalled my 15-year-old Pioneer cartridge-CD player in order to listen to music.
What Microsoft hasn't admitted yet is the reason Vista has so much going on that music becomes a low priority for my computer's dual CPUs. Was it so poorly programmed compared with XP?
Here's the irony: I'm having the problems on a notebook computer that HP has labeled its "HP Pavilion Entertainment PC." (Another problem: the computer's built-in DVD watching software randomly starts up, even when I do something as everyday and innocuous as right-clicking the mouse in another application.)
So, avoid Vista if you love music (or watch movies on a PC). Even when powered with dual CPUs, Vista is too weak to keep up with a, oh, Nano iPod in smooth music playback.