Thanks J Lewiston
I had exactly the same problem using iTunes 11.1.4 on Windows 8 . Your solution appears to have fixed it. Thanks.
using realtek high definition audio
open "sound" in control panel, highlight "speakers", go to the playback tab > hit properties button > select advanced tab > in the default format pull down menu > select 16 bit, 96000 Hz (studio quality) > hit apply, then close the windows."