Unlike some mac operating systems or older Windows systems, Windows 10 is not very clear about which build is installed. But just like different point versions of a Mac OS or service packs for Windows 7, different Windows 10 builds may be very different from each other and can affect the way that your software or external hardware interact.
As an artist, engineer, DJ, producer, or any other creative professional, it's crucial that you understand your tools and how to use them. This means keeping track of your system updates and how they are changing your system as a whole, which includes any gear that interacts with your computer, like a DJ mixer, audio interface, keyboard controller, and more. We like to think that computers are inherently more stable than vintage mediums like crates of vinyl, CDs, ADAT, tape, etc., but on the other hand, one wrong update could cripple your entire system.
Due to reports of audio distortion with the Windows 10 Creator builds, the goal of this article is to help you keep your Windows 10 system in check. We urge anyone experiencing this behavior to contact Rane DJ, Denon DJ, and Numark
- Audio Distortion with Windows 10 Creator Builds
- Checking your Windows Version
- Turning off Automatic Updates
Audio Distortion with Windows 10 Creator Builds
The Windows 10 Creator builds (1703 and 1709) have seen widespread reports of noisy, choppy, distorted, or tinny audio playback that appears randomly. Serato and Rane have received limited reports of this behavior with our products, but in every case, a Windows 10 creator build is at the center.
We are working hard together to find solutions to this. At this stage, we can not pinpoint the exact cause and a simple fix is not available. It appears to affect various hardware and can be heard when the hardware is connected to various software.
We urge every user experiencing distorted, noisy, or choppy audio through their Rane DJ mixer or interface to send their system information to our support team. Go to our Rane Contact page and submit a Technical Support request with the following information:
- Rane product
- Version of Serato or other DJ software in use
- Computer make and model
- Windows 10 Build
- Processor Type/Speed
Please see the following sections for checking your system information and potentially rolling back to a previous Windows 10 build.
Checking your Windows Version
If you're unsure which build of Windows 10 your computer is running, there are a few simple ways to check. This process will be the same for any Windows 10 build, but the wording and exact location of information tends to change depending on your OS version.
- Click the Start menu (Windows icon in the bottom left) and choose Settings.
- Select System.
- Select About at the bottom of the list.
- You'll be given an Edition (Windows 10 X), a Version number, and a Build number, as well as other system specs like Processor, RAM, system type, and more.
- Press the Windows key on your keyboard
- In the Run window, type "winver" and press Enter.
- An About Windows box will appear that provides the Windows edition, version, and build.
Turning off Automatic Updates
Part of the problem here is that Windows updates are mandatory, which makes them difficult to ignore or postpone until a later date. While there are registry tricks to prevent the system from updating entirely, these can be complicated and are only recommended for those that understand the ins and outs of the Windows registry. A wrong move here could cripple your system far worse than any OS update.
How you delay the update will depend on the edition of Windows 10 running on your system: Home or Pro
Windows 10 Home
This operating system will only allow users to postpone the update for 6 days at a time, but this may be worth it to prevent updating and the constant reminders:
- Open the Settings menu
- Click on Update & Security
- Click on Windows Update
- Under Update settings, click the Restart Options link.
- Turn on Schedule a Time and then select the time and date you want the upgrade to occur.
Windows 10 Pro
Windows 10 Pro users have the option to defer the update for 12 months.
- Open the Settings menu.
- Click on Update & Security.
- Click on Advanced Options under Update Settings.
- Choose Current Branch as the readiness level.
- Choose the number of days you'd like to postpone the update.
Windows will hold off on feature updates until the date that you have specified, however, you will still receive security updates.
Rolling back to a previous Windows 10 build
If you've updated already, only to discover that your gear is not performing correctly, your audio output is distorted or noisy, etc. it is possible to roll back to the previous Windows 10 build. This would allow you to continue working, while Microsoft works on correcting the behavior of the operating system.
The only caveat here is that you will need to do this within 30-days of the update, after which the operating system will delete the cache of the previous OS. Most creative professionals who work regularly should notice if something is wrong within those 30-days, and should be able to make this decision within this time period.
Thankfully, rolling back is easy to do:
- On your account login screen, hold down the SHIFT key and click on the power icon. Choose Restart and the computer will reboot into Advanced Mode.
- In the Advanced Boot mode, choose Troubleshoot and then Advanced Options.
- Choose Go Back to Previous Build.
- Choose your User Account and login, then choose Go Back to Previous Build again when prompted.
As long as your previous build is prior to the Windows 10 Creators updates, this should resolve any issues with audio noise or distortion.