Ask Como Audio
In light of recent events, I thought this would be an appropriate time to post another Ask Como Audio article. I’ve split this article into 2 sections. The first is about the company and the second section covers more product questions.
- Has Como Audio closed for good?
Yes. As of February 28, 2023, our office is closed and we ceased accepting orders. We did everything we could to keep the company going but in the end we had to face the fact that it was impossible for the company to survive under the circumstances. We didn’t try to keep it a secret. We sent emails to everyone on our email list and ran ads in the New York Times. It’s been our pleasure to bring you great sounding music over the last 6+ years and we hope you enjoy your Como Audio music system(s) for years to come.
2. What was the issue?
Electronic components have been harder to obtain and at higher prices and much higher required quantities. This resulted in us being out of stock of our best selling and most profitable model, Musica, for quite some time. We fielded questions almost on a daily basis from customers asking us when we’d have Muscia back in stock. It would likely take us a year to get more Musicas, possibly even longer. The company couldn’t sustain itself on such a business model. We tried to cut expenses as much as we could but the reality was the company couldn’t continue to operate under such conditions.
3. Will I still be able to tune Internet stations?
Yes. The company that manages the Internet radio station database has no financial connection with Como Audio.
4. Will My Favorites and the Nuvola station portal still work?
Same answer as #4 above.
5. Will the Como Control app still work?
Yes, but it won’t be updated. The free generic version, UnDok, will continue to get updates and operates mostly the same as the Como app.
6. Will my music system still receive free software updates?
Not likely. The updates were defined, tested, and debugged by Como Audio and we paid our software partner to issue them. That infrastructure will no longer exist. However, we haven’t issued a new software update in nearly 2 years and our models continue to operate well.
7. What happens to my warranty? What if I need a repair?
There is no longer any method to support warranty claims or out of warranty repairs. You would need to consult a local electronics repair shop. The potential of not having a warranty and software updates was factored into the low prices in our big clearance sale. As of February, we are no longer accepting repairs. If your Como Audio Turntable requires repair we suggest you inquire here. Turntable Pro-ject belts and styli (Ortofon OM5e and OM10) are not proprietary to Como Audio and can be readily sourced over the Internet.
8. I own an Amico or a Como Blu Stereo. Where can I buy a replacement battery pack?
No party ever expressed an interest in licensing our proprietary battery pack so Como Audio was the only source. There’s no other place to source one. If you come across a ‘copy cat’ battery we strongly advise you to avoid it because it wasn’t authorized and likely won’t meet our specs or include the thermal protection circuit.
9. What about future tech support?
Normally when a company goes out of business they simply disappear. As a courtesy to our customers, we’re keeping our support resources (how-to videos, user manuals, blog articles) available on our website through most if not all of March. What happens after that is unclear since there are costs involved to maintain our site. Our how-to videos will remain accessible for free on YouTube. Former General Manager Peter Skiera who authored the user manuals, quality control criteria, web blog articles, recorded the how-to videos, and Product Managed every Como Audio model, can be contacted through his website: www.RecommendedStations.com. He has copies of all the user manuals and most of his Como blog articles. If you enjoyed Como Audio’s blog, you’ll find interesting music and radio station related articles on his website.
10. Is your Braintree, MA office still open?
No, our office is closed.
11. Can I still phone your office?
No. Messages will not be monitored and calls won’t be returned.
12. What does “all sales final” mean? If I made a purchase from your clearance sale can I return it for a refund or an exchange?
No. Due to the extreme discounts and the significant loss we’re taking, all sales are final, and we’ve tried to make this clear in our emails. There’s also no longer any infrastructure in place to facilitate returns/exchanges.
13. Why does everything say “out of stock” on your website?
Most models were sold out during our big February clearance sale. Any remaining inventory now belongs to our creditors. Our website can no longer process orders and our office and warehouse are closed.
14. What about your plans for US manufacturing?
Despite multiple attempts, we fell far short of raising the millions of dollars necessary to create a manufacturing facility, purchase equipment and materials, and hire the required staff.
- Does Amico have a low battery warning?
Yes. You’ll see a splash screen warning. The amount of time you have left on the battery varies depending on what you’re playing and at what volume level but you should connect the external power supply ASAP or replace the battery with a fully charged spare pack.
2. Can I use the Ambiente instead of the Amica speaker with Amico?
You can use an Ambinete with an Amico without causing any harm but Ambiente wasn’t made in teak wood like Amica, its drivers are oriented differently, its rear bass port doesn’t double as a carry handle, and it has 4 rubber bumpers instead of a flat rubber pad. Other than those differences it sounds almost the same as Amica.
3. Why aren’t the Amica and Ambiente speakers wireless?
It might strike you as odd that we designed wireless music systems, yet these speaker models aren’t wireless. This was a cost decision. To make them wireless would require adding an amplifier, Wi-Fi module, controls, and a display. Adding these things basically makes them a Solo or an Amico. In order to offer a less expensive stereo option we made these models with an audio cable. You can buy a second Solo or Amico and get true wireless stereo without a cable between the two models.
4. Can I use a pair of Ambiente’s as regular wired passive speakers with a receiver or amplifier?
Yes. The Ambente was designed as a regular wired speaker but its audio cable terminates in a male RCA connector. You can cut the RCA connector off, strip the insulation, and connect the exposed wire to your amp or receiver. The side with the printed text should go into the positive terminal of your receiver/amp. Note the Ambiente is rated to handle no more than 30 watts max so watch your volume!
5. I heard a message on a BBC station warning that BBC Internet stations might not be available after the middle of 2023. What’s that all about?
The BBC will stop streaming using the older Shoutcast platform which some Internet radios don’t support and will switch over to both HLS and DASH starting around mid-2023. Your Como Audio model supports DASH technology so we are expecting our customers will still be able to listen to BBC Internet radio stations after the changeover. Please be sure your Como Audio model’s software is up to date: System settings > Software update > Check now.
6. Why is it when I play certain Internet stations in the portal a separate player opens up?
It’s a work around because in such cases the station’s stream is using the older http protocol instead of https and only the newer https protocol is supported.
7. Why are all of my Spotify playlists stuck in shuffle mode?
Per Spotify, the free version of Spotify is frozen in Shuffle mode. There is no ability to cancel Shuffle mode unless you have a paid Premium Spotify subscription.
8. Why can’t I save a Spotify playlist to a preset? Can I store more than 1 Spotify Playlist?
Per Spotify, if said Playlist is too long, the preset is unable to store it. Spotify has yet to define what “too long” is, so it’s trial and error. Assuming you find lists that aren’t too long, you can save each to its own preset. There is no limit.
9. Why is the volume control with Spotify behaving erratically?
This was caused after Apple updated to iOS 16. Previous software versions didn’t exhibit this problem. The work around is to stream Spotify from your computer instead of your iPhone or use the free UnDok app which behaves similar to the Como Control app but is the generic version.
10. I’m getting no sound/low sound/distorted sound from my Turntable. What can I do?
There is a plastic yellow/orange band at the end of the included audio able. Be sure the end with the plastic-colored band is connected to your Como Audio model (or the 3.5mm adapter) not to the Turntable’s jacks. The direction is important.
Also, be sure the audio cable and power supply are not next to each other or bundled together. This can pick up noise and inject it into the audio path.
Be sure the 3.5mm adapter is fully seated in the input. Try the other Aux input and see if that’s any better.
If you’re using the audio cable instead of Bluetooth, be sure the cable is connected to the correct output of the Turntable. If you’re connecting to a Como Audio model or other device’s Aux in, depending on which model you own, be sure to use the Turntable’s Line out jacks or set the phono pre-amp switch to Line. I have a video on our site that runs through these tips.
11. I’m unable to pair my Bluetooth Turntable (BT TT) to my Como Audio model or other BT device. What can I do?
There are several tips you can try.
First, be sure the TT’s power supply isn’t near the TT. Same thing with a Wi-Fi router. Both of these can interfere with Bluetooth.
Next, if possible, get the receiving device or the TT very close to each other. Once they’re connected you can then place it where you want it.
The BT TT has no memory but your receiving device probably does. Clear it’s memory (this might be done via a Factory reset) and try pairing again.
Place the BT TT on and leave it for about 30 minutes and check it again. Sometimes it takes an extended time for initial paring and connecting to occur. Once connected it shouldn’t take so long the next time.
12. Do you recommend any kind of “preventative maintenance” for your radios?
Yes. Resetting your router/modem every 4 months or so helps reduce Wi-Fi-related issues. There should be a reset or reboot button on the back of your router. Some routers might have a recessed button that requires inserting a bent paper clip. You can also unplug your router for 10 seconds and plug it back in as a reset. Even if other devices are fine, this often prevents Wi-Fi related issues with our models.
13. Do your models use an auto backlight dimmer?
Except for Como Blu Stereo, our models don’t have an auto dimmer. There are, however, basic adjustments provided in the backlight menu.
14. Does Como Blu Stereo use the same DSP, digital stereo amplifier, and drivers as your other models?
Yes, it does, so the power and sound quality will be almost the same.
15. I cannot access the Menu in Bluetooth mode except in the Musica.
This is normal software behavior in all of our models except for Musica.
16. Why doesn’t Tidal work in the Como Control app on Musica?
Tidal made changes to its log in requirements, presumably for security reasons, and these changes caused a problem with our app. You can log in using the free UnDok app which works mostly like our app but isn’t branded with Como Audio’s name.
17. Can the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) in my model be switched off?
No. You can tailor the sound in the EQ menu but the DSP cannot be switch off.
18. My Amico didn’t come with a US plug for the external power supply. What can I do?
The supplier of the various snap-in plastic plugs for the external adapter closed and we were unable to get more US plugs. These plugs were proprietary so we couldn’t get them anywhere else. In it’s place we provided a US adapter allowing you to install the CE plug onto the Amico power supply and then sliding the US adapter over the CE plug so it could be safely used in a US electrical outlet. After we closed we received word from several customers that their Amico shipped without this US adapter. Now that we’re out of business, we no longer have the ability to provide the adapter. Our apologies for the major inconvenience, yet the good news is this EU to US adapter is universal, inexpensive, and can be sourced from many different places including Amazon.
19. I get a “timeout error” when I try to tune any Internet radio station. I have a ASUS smart router. What can I do?
Disable the “Smart Connect” feature on your router and then you’ll be able to tune Internet stations. Just tap the “Smart Connect” entry and choose “Disable”. Then tap “OK” followed by “Apply” and “OK”. Your router will require a couple of moments to restart the Wi-Fi and apply the new settings.
20. I’m was an investor. Where can I get information about the company’s performance?
The Annual Report, Form C-AR, should be available on our WeFunder page. It’s public information and is also available for download direct from the SEC’s website: https://www.sec.gov/edgar/search/#/q=Como%2520Audio
Peter Skiera lives in southern MA, worked in radio broadcasting throughout New England, and also worked for Cambridge SoundWorks, B&W Loudspeakers/Rotel, and Tivoli Audio for 15 years before joining Como Audio as V.P. of Product Development in 2016. In addition to Tech Rap, Peter also writes for his own blog, www.RecommendedStations.com. He can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org