Sunday, August 28, 2016

How to remove the armrest on a 2015 Honda Accord (9th generation)

Quick post without any pics; my phone is sooo far away (in the next room).

I just wrestled with my 2015 Accord's rear armrest and I was unable to find any information online about how to remove it, so now I'm posting the secret :-)

On the right-side of the armrest there is a plastic spacer.  This is easy to find and remove, and implies that you should now be able to push the armrest 'in' on the right to unclip the opposite side.  But it wouldn't move.  Eventually I figured-out that you have to pull back the carpeting around the left side and then you'll see a spring-loaded clip holding the left-side in place, too.  Pinch to remove and now the assembly can be pushed out, to the right.

It also looked like there was a bolt on the left side and I took a wrench to it, shattering the plastic.  I don't think it needed to come off, the assembly was just stuck.  But, by then, I was impatient :-)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Review of Yamaha MusicCast WX-030 for DLNA playback

ABOUT MY DLNA COLLECTION

I have a large library of music on my home computer which I share throughout the house via J River Media Center and its DLNA service.  I also use the BubbleUPnP app on my Android phone and tablets to act as the front-end, to select songs and direct the playback to either the local device (typically bluetooth headphones) or my family-room stereo.

Over the years I have gone through multiple AV receivers from Denon, Sony and now Yamaha.  They generally work alright but both the Denon and Yamaha receivers tend to freak-out if I skip a song, i.e., they corrupt the playback and need to be power-cycled.  Also, the playback is restricted to one room -- albeit the most important room.  But I still hoped to find a solution for music listening in the kitchen and other rooms.

MY SEARCH FOR DLNA SPEAKERS

About six months ago I started a thread on the AVS Forum asking for input about DLNA playback on all the available network speakers, e.g.

  • Sonos
  • Denon Heos (Play-Fi)
  • Paradigm
  • Samsung
  • BlueSound
  • Definitive (Play-Fi)
  • LG MusicFlow
  • Polk Omni (Play-Fi)
  • Martin Logan Crescendo
Unfortunately, none of them seemed like a perfect match for my needs. The Play-Fi based models could act as DLNA 'Renderers' at least, but they were very expensive.  I had been prepared to pay a lot for high-quality sound but then, for instance, the Definitive floor-models (at Best Buy) had broken buttons so I worried about their design.

NEW YAMAHA SPEAKER

Now I have a new toy -- the Yamaha MusicCast WX-030 network speaker.  It's very affordable @ $250.  It has its own MusicCast app which allows you to playback from various streaming audio services like Pandora or Spotify, but I've yet to commit to any of those. It also lets you playback from 'Server' (DLNA) but then its track/playlist control is non-existent.  Fortunately the speaker also works perfectly with BubbleUPnP.  Probably the most important feature of the app is that it allows you to EQ the speaker as well as couples two speakers into a stereo pair.
BubbleUPnP playlist

DLNA Playback

When the speaker is asleep, I can initiate power-on and playback entirely from BubbleUPnP.  I can also control the volume.  And I specifically tested the EQ -- the settings I chose from the MusicCast app are saved by the speaker, they're not dependent on using that app.  So once I 'fixed' the EQ I never need to use their app again, I can rely exclusively on BubbleUPnP.

HOW DOES IT SOUND?

well... You get what you pay for?  It sounds alright, good enough that I'm not going to return it.  But its definitely a small speaker without any deep bass, also the EQ seems to change based on volume.  At low volumes the speaker sounds muffled, enough so that I boosted the high-band in the EQ.  The bass sounds better at high volumes, probably because of the relative-loudness phenomenon.  I also dialed-back the mid-band because the speaker seemed 'shouty'.

In conclusion, I am happy with the speaker.  Maybe 3 out of 4 stars?  I plan on buying a second unit and pairing them together for stereo.  That can't help but fill the room with sound, and hopefully it will improve the bass performance, too.

UPDATE: August 2016

I still rate it 3 of 4 stars.  I bought a second unit and set up stereo-pairing but it quickly had problems. If the system had been 'asleep' and I woke it up from either the MusicCast app or BubbleUPnP (DLNA), the two speakers would be horribly out-of-sync.  The right/master speaker would play on while the left/slave speaker would stop and start.

I contacted Samsung tech-support and they insisted it was something wrong with my home network.  They showed me where to access the diagnostics screen and that solved the problem.  It is accessible in the MusicCast app under Settings > (speaker) > Information > Diagnostics.  From this screen I could see that the right speaker could 'see' 5 or 6 of my neighbors' wifi and the ping time sometimes jumped from 0.03 seconds to 4.5 seconds!  The left speaker didn't see any neighbors and its ping was consistently solid at 0.03 seconds.

So I installed a PowerLine ethernet adapter for the right speaker.  So far it works perfect, although time will tell.