3 weeks ago I published my aha moment after discovering JPLAY FEMTO running on regular but optimized Windows 10 music streamer. Today, the trial period for JPLAY FEMTO expired, so immediately without any doubt, I purchased the license online through JPLAY website. The activation code arrived immediately through email.
I have been doing a lot of LPSU measurements lately, most of them not ready to be published. Today I take a break from measurements to enjoy music again. I want to use this opportunity to try Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC (Long Term Service Channel).
Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC
I am excited with the upcoming release of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC 2021 – Build 21H2 in October 2021. It is targeted for OEM where the license cost, which depends on CPU, is very competitive, given that my music streamer only uses Pentium Silver SoC which has 4 cores.
Arrow’s website has the Windows 10 IoT Enterprise roadmap in good graphical illustration with other details.
The official and legal way to try Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 is to register and download it from Microsoft Evaluation Center. The trial period is 90 days, after which the system will automatically shutdown. After the 4GB ISO image downloaded, I created a bootable USB drive. A 250GB SSD is used to install the O/S. The installation takes a bit longer than regular Windows 10. After installation is completed, it looks more like the old Windows NT installation.
I did similar things like before, namely disable all background apps, adjust processing scheduling for best performance of background services, setup Windows password, and only install the necessary apps, namely Marantz SA-10 USB Audio driver for Windows 10 64-bit and JPLAY FEMTO. JPLAY was installed for Intel Core and optimized for single PC setup. Marantz SA-10 ASIO driver was selected in JPLAY Settings.
I have to clear the data and cache of Android’s BubbleUPnP app since it needs to point to ‘new’ machine. Even though I am using the same motherboard, the O/S SSD is different, and in software anti-theft terms, it may have different fingerprint. I use JPLAY’s TurboActivate to enter the activation code.
The first thing I notice is lower clock speed seen by JPLAY. In standard Windows 10, the clock speed defaults to 1.0ms but most of the time changed to 15.6ms (slowest) since it is a global value shared among apps and services. With Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC 2019 , the clock speed seen by JPLAY remains at 0.5ms. I also tried BIOS setting with and without HPET (High Precision Event Timer), and I prefer the later.
It is interesting to note that with Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC, gapless DSD playback works fine with Hibernate mode turned on. JPLAY’s Hibernate mode disables a few unnecessary things (display is one of them) resulting in better SQ. It was not the case when I use regular Windows 10 previously where gapless DSD playback had problems, forcing me to use JPLAY in trial mode with Hibernate mode turned off.
The sound quality is now at a new reference level. I am very eager to compare my streamer with any high-end music streamers/digital music transports, since almost all are based on Linux. I already know the magic I can get from Windows 10 which Linux cannot provide. It makes me not willing to go back to any Linux-based playback software like Euphony, except for convenience during product demonstration.
When my music streamer is ready for sale, the recommended optimal configuration for best sound quality will be Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC 2021 – Build 21H2 with JPLAY FEMTO, both with OEM licenses. This is almost like Taiko Audio SGM Extreme O/S and playback software setup, but without having to pay its high price. Taiko uses something similar to Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 2019 LTSC High-End due to dual Xeon processors inside their music server.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please note that HYSOLID does not work with Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC, in case if there are some thinking of using HYSOLID with Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC.