I read an article a while back about mixes sounding quite different after bouncing. I experienced this in my early ventures of audio production but since then I have no such issue.
My solution was XMPLAY with asio support. The reason your mix sounded different was because of the windows default sound driver. These drivers have a reputation for sounding terrible. Just get XMPLAY http://support.xmplay.com/index.phpand use an asio driver like asio4all with it and your life instantly becomes a little bit easier.
Hope this helps someone. Cheers.
"Music is a mission not a competition" -Rugu Nation
If you are playing out of Windows and recording back (bouncing live) you need to make sure that the drivers are 'bit perfect'. Windows could be doing all sorts of bad things to your audio stream in its own mixer otherwise.
ASIO drivers are always bit perfect and are your 1st choice if you have them.
WASAPI drivers *should* be bit perfect in 'exclusive mode', but this needs to be confirmed with your own drivers.
WARNING: The latest beta of ASIO4ALL enables re-sampling on the fly in the background that is most definitely not bit perfect. Watch out for that
ASIO4ALL 2.11 Beta1
Changes since version 2.10:
Support multiple sample rates concurrently - for as long as they are physically derived from a common master clock, are integer multiples of each other (except 44.1/48kHz special case), etc...
Support a number of sample rates on the ASIO side that the audio device does not physically support. Basically, this means an extension to the on-the-fly rate conversion capabilities.
On the other hand, if a person is working totally in the box, and the audio is never sent out and back in, audio drivers have nothing to do with what happens to the audio since everything happening in the processing is all math. The sound quality definitely affects the decisions that a person will make while mixing, but I would blame below average monitors and listening environment before I start dealing with drivers. I know that this is basic stuff, but I just wanted to throw in the obvious to get it out of the way.