Tech Rap: Ask Como Audio
This month marks the five-year anniversary of Como Audio. It is hard to believe it was five years ago I was sitting in Tom DeVesto’s home office discussing what kinds of products he would design for his new company. He saw no point in repeating what he did at his last company, but also did not want to offer the exact same type of smart speaker products already on the market. We spent many hours over the ensuing months reviewing different designs and materials, evaluating prototypes, and fine-tuning the acoustics and software. All that work gave birth to our first two models, Solo and Duetto. Eventually, Musica and Amico followed. Today, we have thousands of customers from around the world and our models have earned very favorable reviews on Amazon and from the independent press. As we look to the future, Tom’s new goal for Como Audio is to try to create more high-paying US jobs and bring more manufacturing back to the USA. Neither of these will be fast nor easy, but with your support, we think both are achievable.
You Don’t Know FAQ.
Over the years we have received many questions about our company and our products. The bulk of the questions land during November through January each year, as those have historically been the busiest time for us with respect to sales. Just when we thought every possible question had been asked, we would receive a new one. I sifted through literally hundreds of queries over the last three months in order to bring you a fresh roundup of insightful questions asked by your fellow Como Audio music enthusiasts. There were so many great questions, I ended up with a longer list than I expected. Here now is the third installment of Tech Rap’s Ask Como Audio.
Even if you think you know your Como Audio music system inside and out, I am willing to bet there is a question and answer or two in this list you were not aware of. In this edition of Tech Rap you will learn about a compatible universal remote, using Calm Radio, what a Global Edition is, helpful troubleshooting tips, Como Audio dealers and inventory levels, and much more. I hope the answers help you get even more out of your music system!
- I missed the access code I need in order to register on your free Internet station portal to setup My Favorites. How can I get the code again?
With the unit on in Internet radio mode, go to Station list > Help. Alternatively, launch the free Como Control app, tune an Internet radio station > Browse > Help.
2. Will my Logitech Harmony remote control work with your models?
Yes. Just add our model to your remote.
- Is there a complete Internet radio station list somewhere? How can I check if a station I like is supported before I buy?
With 60,000+ radio stations in our data base and more being added every day, we cannot list every station and update it continually. However, you can email us the name of the station and its streaming URL and we will let you know if it is in the data base. If it is not, in many cases you can add it to your Como model by using our free portal as explained in Tech Rap: My Favorites Explained.
- I’m experiencing a problem with an Internet radio station. What can I do?
The first thing to do is perform a router/modem reboot. Failing that, go to the station’s website and see if it is streaming on its website or if the website has posted a notice about a problem. If so and the site has a contact page, contact the station about the problem.
If there is no obvious problem with the station then check your Wi-Fi’s firewall setting. It might be blocking out certain stations, especially foreign stations, just as it might do with foreign websites. If your firewall is set to Maximum, try Medium. If it is set to Medium, try Low.
As a last resort, you can open a ticket directly with our Internet radio station aggregator and ask them to investigate the problem station.
- Can I leave the external adapter plugged in all the time in my Amico?
The protection circuitry in Amico will prevent overcharging of the battery pack should you leave Amico mostly plugged in. However, it’s a good idea to run the battery down and fully charge it about every 5 or 6 months to keep the battery properly conditioned.
- My Amico battery pack isn’t charging. What can I do?
If the battery is not used regularly (see FAQ #5 above) it could develop a charging issue. To “jump start” the battery, with the Amico playing an Internet radio station at volume 3, plug in the external adapter and let it play non-stop for 4 hours. At the end of that time the Amico battery should be fully charged. Run it down and then charge it up again as you normally would to recondition it.
- Why can I not turn on my Amico with the remote when it is turned off and not connected to its external power supply? And why does it take so long to boot up?
When the Amico is off and not plugged in to its power supply, it is essentially dead, which is why nothing is shown on the display and it will not respond to the remote control. This was done deliberately to preserve battery power, as the internal Wi-Fi module and display require a large amount of power in standby mode. Otherwise, you would have to charge Amico quite often. This behavior is noted in large, bold text on page 5 of the Amico owner’s manual available on our website under “Support”. This also explains why the free Como Control app will not work with Amico when Amico is off and not plugged in.
This is also the reason why it takes Amico longer to boot up when off and not plugged in. As mentioned above, the unit is starting up from an essentially dead state.
When Amico’s external power supply is connected, the remote and app will work as normal and the boot up time will be faster. Note there’s no harm in leaving Amico plugged in continuously but it is advised to run the battery down and charge it up every 5 or 6 months to keep the battery conditioned.
- Why is the wood cabinet on my model darker or lighter than what’s shown on your website?
Our walnut, hickory, and teak (Amico only) cabinets use real wood veneers. Wood is a product of nature and thus will vary by shade and grain pattern which is what gives each cabinet its unique look. Even our piano high gloss white cabinets can have a slight shade variation, as paint varies from batch to batch.
Also, just like televisions, computer screens are calibrated differently and some do a better job at accurately reproducing colors than others.
- Where can I view an image of the back panels?
Please consult the user manuals on our website (hyper link) for the model you wish to see the rear panel of.
- I am a paying Calm Radio subscriber. How can I access that stream from my Como Audio music system?
Calm Radio posts detailed instructions on their website on how to accomplish this.
- Can I use the rear USB jack with an adapter to connect an Ethernet cable?
No. Our USB jack is for charging a smartphone/tablet and for playing back music from a USB thumb drive. Our Musica model supports an Ethernet connection on the rear panel.
If you’re having difficulty with your Wi-Fi signal coverage, be sure your router/modem is not an old model. Also explore the available options with your provider about upgrading your Wi-Fi service.
- My turntable, tape deck, MP3 player, or outboard CD drive has a USB connection. Can I connect it to your models?
No. Our USB jack is for charging a smartphone/tablet and to playback music from a USB thumb drive. It is not an audio input for audio components having a USB jack, or an output to record audio from, or has enough power for an audio device. Moreover, typically when you connect a USB CD drive to a computer, the controls to operate the CD drive pop up on the computer’s display. Since our models are not computers, this would not happen with Como Audio systems and there would be no way to control the CD drive.
Outboard audio devices can be connected to the Auxiliary input of our models using the device’s audio output or Bluetooth (assuming they have one or the other) and powered using their own cord/adapter.
- Is it okay to use a record weight with my Como Audio Turntable?
We don’t recommend record weights. They put extra strain on the motor bearings and the belt. If you use a weight and it causes a problem, it will not be covered under the warranty.
- Do you ever make CD, record album, Internet radio station, and/or equipment recommendations?
Yes to most of those. Our monthly Tech Rap, as posted on our blog, regularly makes such recommendations. We shy away from making audio product recommendations for things like CD players, headphones, surge protectors, Bluetooth transmitters, record cleaners, etc., unless we have had direct experience with them ourselves. Your best bet is to read user reviews on Amazon along with reviews by audio magazines/websites. For recommended Internet stations, visit www.recommendedstations.com
- I have an existing stereo system. Can I connect one of your models to it and hear the audio through my system?
Yes. Our models include both a 3.5mm stereo Line out and Headphone out. You can use one of those outputs to connect to the Auxiliary input on your existing stereo system and essentially use our model as a tuner for Internet radio, FM, Spotify, etc., that will play through your own speakers. We suggest using the Headphone out since it will mute the Como Audio model’s integrated speakers. Set the volume at a good level and then use the volume control on your existing system from then on. It is easy to connect to the incorrect jack since they look the same, so be sure you plug into the right connection.
Alternatively, if your existing system has Bluetooth, you can connect a Bluetooth transmitter to the Headphone out of your Como Audio system and stream the sound wirelessly to your stereo system.
- Why are there so few Como Audio USA dealers and none in Canada or Australia?
Como Audio is a web-based company in the USA. We do not sell or ship to Canada or Australia. Nothing against our wonderful neighbors to the north o down under. We would love to make our products available to the Canadian and Australian markets but without any physical support there, customers would have to ship their model(s) back to us in MA at their expense if there ever were a problem or if they decided they did not want it. And the expense for us to ship a replacement at no charge is too much for a small start up to bear. Factor in the long wait for this process, and the constant issues with Customs, and it is not worth the difficulties for either side.
We previously sold our models through Amazon Canada and Australia but the shipping and taxes/duties became prohibitive. Note there might be some sellers on Amazon Canada & Australia selling Como Audio products but they are unauthorized third party sellers, not Como Audio, meaning you will not get a warranty. Buyer beware! Como Audio has no control over who sells what on Amazon.
The same holds true for eBay. We have no idea how eBay sellers received their Como unit(s) or what the history is. You won’t get a warranty even if the seller represents the product as brand new, and if there’s ever a problem, you’ll need to contact the seller to try to resolve it before you contact us. Our two year warranty applies to the original buyer.
Selling direct in the USA without dealers allows us to offer the best possible prices direct to consumers without the added cost of a middleman. A distributor will raise the price to make a profit, then his dealers will raise their price so they can make a profit. The end result is a very high retail price. In addition to favorable pricing, when purchased direct from our website, we offer a 60 day return window to provide plenty of time for you to decide if our system is right for you (Amazon is 30 days). Also, the system will sound different in a dealer’s demo room. Auditioning the system in your own home with your own music is the best way to judge sound quality. Moreover, we try to provide many resources on our website to help you with your buying decision such as videos, blog articles, user manuals, and reviews by the media. There are also many honest user reviews on Amazon and YouTube. You can also contact us with any questions before or after your purchase.
- Is there a Como Control desktop app?
Not currently. App development is not inexpensive, especially for a small startup like us with limited resources. We have this on our wish list but we have no timetable.
- Why is the Como Control app suddenly not finding my Como Audio music system(s) or I have to constantly connect the app to my unit or am experience other app-related difficulties?
If you use an iPhone, be sure to turn your iPhone’s “Location Services” ON or else the Como Control app won’t be able to “see” your Como Audio system(s).
If you use a VPN, you need to turn it off in order for our app to work reliably.
If you do not use a VPN, press the refresh button in the app to re-scan for devices.
If that does not solve it, it is possible your smart device has connected to different Wi-Fi networks over time. It remembers them and will connect to them automatically depending on which ones are available and strongest. It will do this without you knowing it. If your phone is not connected to the same network as your Como Audio system, the Como Control app cannot “see” the unit. For instance, if your phone is connected to your Guest network while your Como Audio system is connected to your 5 GHz band, the app will not work. Be sure your phone and your music system are both on the same network.
If none of these tips help, please reboot your router/modem, restart your phone, and perform a System reboot on your Como Audio model in the System settings menu. Rebooting your router every few months is good preventative maintenance regardless.
You should also delete, uninstall, and reinstall the Como Control app and try again.
If these tips do not help, try downloading the alternate free generic version of our app called UNDOK. It has mostly the same features and some users have reported higher success with it.
Performing a Factory reset in System settings in your Como Audio system will require repeating the setup and re-saving presets, but it should be tried as a last resort.
- I have all of my Como Audio systems grouped. How can I keep one of the units off while using the other(s) or control one independently from the others?
Grouping by definition means all grouped units will mimic the host. Therefore, it is not possible to have one unit off and the other(s) on, or control one individually, if they are all grouped together. However, you can turn the volume all the way down on any unit(s) in a group. The other option is to delete the group and then create the group again when you are finished controlling the unit individually. If you have more than two units grouped you can easily remove specific units from the group to control them independently and then add them back in later using the Como Control app.
- What is a “Global Edition” and how does it differ from a non-Global model?
A Global Edition comes with both a US and a CE power cord, support for DAB/DAB+ radio (used primarily in Europe), finer tuning of FM stations, a power saving/safety feature which automatically turns the unit off if there has been no sound or usage for twenty minutes, and additional safety and emission certifications such as CE and DRUK. It otherwise can be grouped with non-Global models for whole-home audio, has the same features as a standard model, the same free lifetime technical support, two-year warranty, and return policy. If you are unsure if your model is a Global Edition, if you see a CE logo printed on the rear panel, it is a Global Edition.
We are slowly transitioning to Global Editions because it has become a production and logistics nightmare for a small company like ours to have two different versions of every model in 4 different finishes.
- Why am I unable to connect to Bluetooth using my Como Audio system? How can I clear the memory of all paired Bluetooth devices?
Our models remember up to 8 different Bluetooth devices that have paired and connected. Anyone of those devices could pair and connect automatically to your Como Audio model if the device’s Bluetooth is turned on. If someone else in your household has previously paired and connected to the Bluetooth, their device (computer, phone, tablet, speaker) might be connecting and preventing your device from connecting (only one device can connect at a time).
Likewise, if you have other Bluetooth devices like headphones/earbuds/speakers/soundbar, etc., your phone/tablet/computer may have automatically connected to one of those instead of your Como Audio system, as they will connect to the first device they find. The solution in both cases is to turn the Bluetooth off in the other audio device(s) (headphones/earbuds/speakers/soundbar) you don’t want to connect to, and/or to go into the other source device’s (phone/tablet/computer) Bluetooth setting and select “Forget” or “Unpair” for the non-Como devices listed.
To view the recent history of paired devices while in Bluetooth mode, press and hold the remote’s Play/Pause key: View details > Paired Devices List.
To wipe the memory of all paired Bluetooth devices in your Como Audio music system you must perform a Factory reset in the System settings menu. This will prevent all previous devices from automatically pairing and connecting but it will require repeating the setup process and re-saving presets.
- My MAC says it’s connected to my Como Audio music system via Bluetooth, yet the sound still emanates from my computer. What am I doing wrong?
Once you have connected via Bluetooth, go to System Preferences in your MAC (the icon that looks like a gear). Look for the “sound” icon and click on it. Click on the output section in the top bar, then make sure the output is set to your Como Audio model. From there you can use your MAC’s volume to adjust the volume on your Como Audio unit.
- Are software updates automatic? How do I find out the latest software version and what changes are included in a software update?
Updates do not happen automatically, but you will be notified whenever an update is available via a message on the display. You will be given the option of performing the update now or at a latter point in time. If you think you may have missed an update you can manually check anytime in System settings > Software update > Check now.
We recommend you sign up on our email list so we can notify you of any important issues with an update.
To learn the details about software updates, go to our website under Support > Software Updates.
It is important you keep your system up to date so you have the latest features and bug fixes.
When you perform a software update, be sure the unit will not lose power during the update or else it could get locked into protect mode (the display will show “PC Wizard…”) which will require service.
- We changed our Wi-Fi network name and password or have a new router. How do we reconnect to our Como Audio system?
With the unit on, go to System settings > Network > Network wizard. Select your new Wi-Fi network (“SSID”) and enter your new password (“Key”). You must enter your password exactly as it appears, as the entry is case sensitive. Us the up and down arrow keys on the remote control to access other character options.
- Can I use a CD lens cleaner in my Musica?
The Musica’s CD mechanism was not designed to accommodate a lens cleaner disc, even one designed for a slot loading mechanism. In most cases this is unnecessary.
If you think the lens requires cleaning you could try injecting a blast from a can of compressed air (such as those used to dust computer keyboards) into the slot opening. Be sure the Musica is unplugged if you try this.
- Why does the volume level differ between and within many Internet radio stations?
The music playback software used by Internet radio stations does not include any type of volume/compression leveler, so volume levels will vary.
- Can I stain or paint the wood cabinet of my music system? What do you recommend in terms of wax? How do I cover over scratches? What do you recommend for the piano finish?
Modifying the wood cabinet in any way from the original will void your warranty, and if we ever had to exchange your unit, we could not salvage your original cabinet for you.
If you need to clean your wood cabinet, products like Murphy’s Oil Soap usually do a good job.
If your wood cabinet is looking dry or dull, we recommend using furniture oil such as Old English, as rub-on oils generally provide better results than spray-on waxes.
If your real wood veneer cabinet has a few scratches, consider furniture markers. They come in a variety of shades and generally work better than wax touch-up sticks.
For our piano high gloss finishes we suggest a non-abrasive car polish applied with a soft cloth.
28. Why have you been sold out of certain models or finishes for a while?
The impact of the pandemic to our supply chain cannot be overstated. Production and freight shipping delays have been significant. Luckily, we have had a lot of stock and have been able to make it through this challenging period, but there have been some casualties. We are working hard to try to replenish as much product as we can as soon as we can, but the production lead times require several months. You can check in with us every few months or in some instances we can place you on a wait list and notify you when the item is back in stock again. Your patience is appreciated. Our advice- If there is an item in stock you are interested in, we suggest you not wait until it goes out of stock!
- What is the metal post on the backside of the Como Audio Turntable used for?
That is a ground connection. If you are connecting the turntable to a device, such as a stereo receiver, that has a ground post, run a wire from the Turntable’s ground post to your receiver’s ground post. The audio cable supplied with our Turntable includes such a wire. A ground wire is not used when connecting to a Como Audio music system.
- What is DAB/DAB+? What is DRUK?
DAB/DAB+ (Digital Audio Broadcasting) is the standard for digital radio outside North America. Our CE and Global Edition models support DAB/DAB+, but not our US versions. The rear antenna must be extended for DAB/DAB+ reception. Some DAB/DAB+ stations also broadcast over the Internet and can be found in our Internet radio station data base.
DRUK is an optional standard in the UK that certifies a unit includes both DAB and FM and meets certain DAB performance standards. All of our CE and Global Edition models have DRUK certification.
Bonus FAQ: Can you repair my old Cambridge SoundWorks radio or speakers?
Although our CEO, Tom DeVesto, co-founded Cambridge SoundWorks, neither he nor Como Audio have any affiliation with CSW today. We do not have access to replacement parts, user manuals, schematics, specifications, etc., nor do we repair them. We suggest you consult your local electronics repair shop for a repair estimate, or better yet, consider replacing it with a new Como Audio music system.
We’ve Got Your Back.
We pride ourselves on providing the best possible technical support to our customers at no charge. We know our models do a lot of things and can sometimes be a challenge, and it is important to us that your experience to be a positive one. We do not route our calls to some outside agency. Our knowledgeable, full time Tech Support Team is based in our MA office. They are fluent in setting up and using our models and do not read from scripts. Rest assured they will take the time necessary to help you, and if they do not have an answer at the ready, they will research the issue and get back to you. We do not claim to be perfect, but we will try our best to help.
Our many how-to videos and blog articles like Ask Como Audio will address most questions, but if not, please never hesitate to reach out through firstname.lastname@example.org. We try our best to respond within a few hours if not sooner. When possible, we will answer email questions outside of normal business hours, weekends, and even during holidays. If you live locally, you can make an appointment to come in to our office for one-on-one assistance from one of our support staff. We just ask that you wear a face mask and socially distance to protect our staff and yourself. Few companies today invest as much as Como Audio has when it comes to experienced customer support.
It is my hope that by sharing these questions and answers you will better know your system, while also helping to educate prospective customers with important details before making their purchase. At the end of the day, our singular mission is to help you enjoy the music.
Next Tech Rap: Recommended Stations
General Manger Peter Skiera lives in southern MA, worked in radio broadcasting throughout New England, and also worked for Cambridge SoundWorks, B&W Loudspeakers, and Tivoli Audio for 15 years before joining Como Audio in 2016 as Vice President of Product Development. In addition to Tech Rap, Peter also writes for his own blog, www.RecommendedStations.com. He can be reached directly at email@example.com