Crestron Adagio vs. Control4 - $15k Budget - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 12:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been doing a bit of research around here and wanted some of your thoughts.

I'm moving into a new home in a few weeks (5000 sq ft. on two levels + 2000 sq ft. in the basement). I'm looking to get home automation and I think I've narrowed my choices down to Control4 and Crestron Adagio.

The requirements for what I need to do are:
- Control for A/V (5.1 or 7.1) in main movie watching area in basement (likely will want it to control lighting here as well)
- Ability to hear stereo music (ipod, and sirius) in 5 or 6 other rooms (one being outside)
- 1 or 2 touchscreens and either touchscreens or regular controls in the other rooms

Other things I may want to do but aren't requirements:
- Control for lighting throughout the house
- Control of the HVAC system
- Ability to listen to different music in different rooms
- Ability to shut off system from Master BR

Other things I may want to do 5-10 years down the road
- Advance control for a dedicated home theater (if I build a separate room)
- Viewing of video surveillance camera (don't currently have one)
- Who knows what else

Basically I want to put in around $15k now, but there is a good chance in 3 years I'll want it to be able to do a lot more and would be willing to put in another $15-20k then. I don't want to have to start over at that time.

I saw a Control4 setup in a store I went to and I really liked the look of the interface. I read around here some questions about quality, but those seem to be more related to 1-2 years ago. I'm assuming if I go with Adagio I'll never be limited with what I want to do in the future b/c I can easily switch it to a more advanced Crestron system and continue using what I currently have.

Now this may sound a little lame, but one of the most important things to me is the aesthetics of the system. I'm moving into a high end home and I just really like the idea of the touchscreens in the walls. I'll usually just use them to turn on the music and change songs or volume but I want it to look sophisticated. The C4 system I saw had a photo slideshow playing as a screensaver and my wife and I loved it.

If you have any thoughts about which system will be better for me and if what I'm looking for sounds reasonable within my budget (including installation and programming) please let me know. I'm pretty sure all the wiring is already in place and I'll meet with installers for both systems but I imagine they'll each sell their own systems and I figured I'd get some unbiased thoughts here.

Thanks for the help.
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post #2 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
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One other thing I'm starting to wonder is if I'm limited to the main Crestron Adagio control pads, namely the Apad, the TPS-4L and the TPMC-4X.

If that is the case I'd probably strongly lean towards Control4 b/c I really like the 10.5" touchscreen they offer. As I mentioned, one of the main things I like about the whole concept of the home automation project are the aesthetics.

So could I use any of the Crestron control pads with Adagio, and if yes do I start to lose some of the cost benefits of Adagio?

Thanks.
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post #3 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 06:38 AM
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You can use any of the Crestron control interfaces with the Adagio, the ones you mentioned are listed because they are on the lower end of the price scale with Crestron. I am not a fan of the A-pad, but the 4 l's are fine.

Make sure you know if you are using 5 or 6 zones. With an AES you can power 5 pairs of speakers and feed a line out to a local receiver for 5 channel stereo in the main room.

You can also add processors when you want to add more flexibility to your system to answer you question in another post. When we do lighting, hard wired or Infinet I always put that on an additional processor. This is easy with Crestron...
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post #4 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ks-man View Post

I saw a Control4 setup in a store I went to and I really liked the look of the interface..

That's good since that is all there is.

With Crestron you can have an interface customized to how YOU want it. Check out www.guifx.com for some sample interfaces to give you an idea of how customizable the Crestorn interface is.

As for some of you other questions, I have an Adagio AES running 6/8 zones of audio. There are 6 controlled zones, but 2 of them have 4 speakers (MBR/Bath are on one zone, but there are speakers in each room and it works fine) I have Sirius, and an Ipod as sources and when I get time I am going to add my DirecTV XM channels as well.

I am running 2 APAD's and 2 TPMC-10 touchpanels controlling 6 thermostats in addition to the audio. And again when I get time I am going to add full Lutron control vs. using the Lutron web interface I use now and also interface with my security system.

The nice thing about Crestron is that when I kick my daughter out of her playroom and turn it into a full HT, all I have to do is add a second processor to be able to have full integration with what I already have.

So yes the Adagio is a good place to start. And with the new AMS you can have your 5.1 sound all in one package.

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post #5 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roddymcg View Post

You can use any of the Crestron control interfaces with the Adagio, the ones you mentioned are listed because they are on the lower end of the price scale with Crestron. I am not a fan of the A-pad, but the 4 l's are fine.

Make sure you know if you are using 5 or 6 zones. With an AES you can power 5 pairs of speakers and feed a line out to a local receiver for 5 channel stereo in the main room.

You can also add processors when you want to add more flexibility to your system to answer you question in another post. When we do lighting, hard wired or Infinet I always put that on an additional processor. This is easy with Crestron...


A couple of questions.

One of the great things I've heard about Adagio is the lack of programming required which is one of the things that keeps the cost down. If I start using other control interfaces do the programming requirements spike up considerably or do they fit in pretty seamlessly with the Adagio interface?

As far as zones, is a zone considered anything that can play music or is it when you can play independent music? For example if in the main room we are listening to Stairway to Heaven, we can turn on that song in 3 other rooms but in a fourth room somebody can listen to a the Beatles (perhaps on a server or through a different source). For this do I have 5 zones (original + 4 other rooms) or only 2 zones (b/c in the 3 rooms I can't have the music be independent)?

It also sounds like from your post with Adagio I can start with fewer zones to save on cost and down the road when I want to add more zones I just get another processor. Is this correct?

Thanks for the help.
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post #6 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 07:03 AM
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The more you customize the more the cost goes up with anything, including Crestron. I consider a zone anywhere you can play an independent source. The AES starts with 6 zones and you can add AAE's, which are just expanders at 6 zones at a time. With the AAS-4, you can 4 independent CD servers playing at once all in one box.

I gotta hit the field, hopefully more can help out...
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post #7 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ks-man View Post

One of the great things I've heard about Adagio is the lack of programming required which is one of the things that keeps the cost down. If I start using other control interfaces do the programming requirements spike up considerably or do they fit in pretty seamlessly with the Adagio interface?

I would also really like to know the answer to this question. Is there an Out Of The Box graphic interface for touchscreens connected to an AES or AADS (assuming I'm only controlling "plug and play" devices such as the idoc or AAS)? I've also been considering the Adagio system with very similar requirements and my wife really dislikes the APAD but I don't want to spend a ton on programming.
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post #8 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 09:33 AM
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One nice thing about the Adagio is that you can use System Builder to configure almost anything you would want to do with it. Some hard core programmers want nothing to do with SB, but for the Adagio it seems to work pretty well. (At least it has for me it has.)

An experienced programmer should be able to configure and program an Adagio system with SB in a couple of hours where it would probably take me twice that if I were to start over from scratch. The downside is that you get the SB touchpanel interface which is nice, but not spectacular. Changing the TP interface will add programming time.

The OOTB gets you APAD's and maybe one other interface (4L??), an Ipod dock and an AAS and up to 3 AAE's. Over that will require real programming.

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post #9 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 05:59 PM
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Here's a good write up of Control4.

http://www.cepro.com/article/control...me_controller/

It is from last June but I like how it talks about the direction Control4 is moving in the future so a lot of things that they don't offer now may be available later on.

For setting up my basic system (see above) and ignoring future expandability, do you think Control4 or Adagio would be cheaper assuming similar levels of touchpads/keypads in the different rooms (i.e. C4 4" touchpad and Adagio 4" touchpad etc.).

Thanks.
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post #10 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ks_man View Post

Here's a good write up of Control4.

http://www.cepro.com/article/control...me_controller/

It is from last June but I like how it talks about the direction Control4 is moving in the future so a lot of things that they don't offer now may be available later on.

For setting up my basic system (see above) and ignoring future expandability, do you think Control4 or Adagio would be cheaper assuming similar levels of touchpads/keypads in the different rooms (i.e. C4 4" touchpad and Adagio 4" touchpad etc.).

Thanks.

The C4 will be cheaper in all ways, good and bad. There is much more to the real cost of a system than what you pay for it.
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post #11 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by herdfan View Post

That's good since that is all there is.

With Crestron you can have an interface customized to how YOU want it. Check out www.guifx.com for some sample interfaces to give you an idea of how customizable the Crestorn interface is.

As for some of you other questions, I have an Adagio AES running 6/8 zones of audio. There are 6 controlled zones, but 2 of them have 4 speakers (MBR/Bath are on one zone, but there are speakers in each room and it works fine) I have Sirius, and an Ipod as sources and when I get time I am going to add my DirecTV XM channels as well.

I am running 2 APAD's and 2 TPMC-10 touchpanels controlling 6 thermostats in addition to the audio. And again when I get time I am going to add full Lutron control vs. using the Lutron web interface I use now and also interface with my security system.

The nice thing about Crestron is that when I kick my daughter out of her playroom and turn it into a full HT, all I have to do is add a second processor to be able to have full integration with what I already have.

So yes the Adagio is a good place to start. And with the new AMS you can have your 5.1 sound all in one package.

I must have missed your post earlier. I took a look at that website you mentioned. It is really interesting to look at. When it talks about downloadable templates for $300-$500, does that mean if I have Adagio and one of their mentioned keypads/touchscreens that I can install that template and the functionality will work, or would I need to bring in an installer to program the functionality on top of the regular Adagio functions?

Also does Adagio/Crestron have a 10" in wall touchscreen? I'm sure they do but I can't seem to find one, only small wallpads or large detachable controllers. (edited--I found the wallpanels I was looking for on the Crestron website)

Thanks.
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post #12 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 09:17 PM
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TPS 4000L is 10.4" There are 12", 15", and 17" as well.
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post #13 of 44 Old 04-09-2008, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by roddymcg View Post

TPS 4000L is 10.4" There are 12", 15", and 17" as well.

Thanks for the reply, I actually saw that as well and edited my post (although only 1 min before your response )

I've been looking at the Guifx that herdfan mentioned above. I'm really loving what I'm seeing. Now my hope is that I can still do some of this stuff for within my budget even if I want to go with Adagio.

I'm imagining that I can start simple just to get the system up and running for basics and just add more stuff (more programming and higher end panels/pads) down the road.

I'm imagining even one of these mid-range panels or controllers could start at $2k and go up to $5k-6k pretty easily. Even just one of those would start to eat into my budget real quickly.

Is there a good place to get a ballpark idea of pricing on these panels other than just googling or ebaying them?

Thanks.
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post #14 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ks_man View Post

When it talks about downloadable templates for $300-$500, does that mean if I have Adagio and one of their mentioned keypads/touchscreens that I can install that template and the functionality will work, or would I need to bring in an installer to program the functionality on top of the regular Adagio functions?

It's just a template. You'd need to have a programmer do the programming.
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post #15 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 07:28 AM
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C4 all the way baby. For 15k you can get a great system with several components and a lot of programming. Different GUIs are coming in the future and I can promise you they wont cost $300. C4 will do everything that you need to do now and is easily expandable.

-Matt
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post #16 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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C4 all the way baby. For 15k you can get a great system with several components and a lot of programming. Different GUIs are coming in the future and I can promise you they wont cost $300. C4 will do everything that you need to do now and is easily expandable.

mj,

Thanks for the response, that is helpful. I hope I don't offend you in any way, but I'm curious as to whether you are a C4 customer or dealer. Around these boards there are obviously tons of people who push Crestron and no where near as many who recommend C4 (especially over Crestron).

If you are a happy customer, could you explain what C4 controls for you. Also do you know of a place where I can find specific information about C4 and their future plans?

Thanks.
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post #17 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 01:11 PM
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First of all, I have no dog in this fight, though I am a Crestron integrator in case you think that biases me. Regarding mjtoopes post, I'll simply post this link, it's especially appropriate re: C4:
http://www.tigerpawsoftware.com/blog....aspx?BlogID=6

C4 first told me over 5 years ago that the GUI would be customizable. 5 years later, it's still not. "Different GUI's are coming" could also mean just about anything. I am NOT saying that C4 is not for you, in fact I think it may well be, just that IF having a customizable GUI is important to you (it's important to some people, others could not care less), I would not purchase C4 based based on a promise of what will exist in the future. In general, you should buy these products base on what they do *now*.
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post #18 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 01:30 PM
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just to get it out of the way...my company is a control4 dealer.

for $15k...you can get a great system. the look and feel of it is a bit cheap, but as far as functionality and breadth of the system, you can't get much better for your budget.

i'll leave with this - you can EASILY automate your entire house for $15k - lighting and otherwise. if you want to get real complex with your lighting scenes and other general scenes, you will push the budget. but as far as hardware goes... you have more than enough.
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post #19 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dantothe4thpower View Post

just to get it out of the way...my company is a control4 dealer.

for $15k...you can get a great system. the look and feel of it is a bit cheap, but as far as functionality and breadth of the system, you can't get much better for your budget.

i'll leave with this - you can EASILY automate your entire house for $15k - lighting and otherwise. if you want to get real complex with your lighting scenes and other general scenes, you will push the budget. but as far as hardware goes... you have more than enough.

Thanks for that info dan,

I've been looking into things a little more and one thing that I'm now also trying to keep in mind (there seem to be 100 things) is my beliefs on HDMI vs. component.

It seems for most of these systems most video sources are passed through component. For new features (1080P, lossless audio, etc) you need HDMI, which the industry seems to be going towards making standard. I have a PS3 and an HD-DVR. I'll likely be adding in more HD sources and would use an HDMI receiver. Will I have the opportunity with either of these systems to have those hooked up through HDMI or will I need to keep it hooked up with component?

I don't know if it is a budget issue or the fact that HDMI isn't good for long runs, but I'd really be surprised if people were willing to settle for component instead of HDMI when spending so much money on all this top of the line equipment.

Thanks for the help.
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post #20 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dantothe4thpower View Post

just to get it out of the way...my company is a control4 dealer.

for $15k...you can get a great system. the look and feel of it is a bit cheap, but as far as functionality and breadth of the system, you can't get much better for your budget.

i'll leave with this - you can EASILY automate your entire house for $15k - lighting and otherwise. if you want to get real complex with your lighting scenes and other general scenes, you will push the budget. but as far as hardware goes... you have more than enough.

I tend to think C4 may be the way to go for him as well, but promising someone they can "easily" automate their "entire house" for 15K, with no qualifications, seems a major stretch to me. What about labor and wiring? Where does that fit into that 15K promise? I'm a firm believer in providing realistic expectations to people, and that not doing so is often the cause of "unhappy projects". I've seen a lot of C4 projects that cost a LOT more than 15K.

Seems like everyone just wants to be a fan for their particular product.
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post #21 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ks-man View Post

It seems for most of these systems most video sources are passed through component. For new features (1080P, lossless audio, etc) you need HMID, which the industry seems to be going towards making standard. I have a PS3 and an HD-DVR. I'll likely be adding in more HD sources and would use an HDMI receiver. Will I have the opportunity with either of these systems to have those hooked up through HDMI or will I need to keep it hooked up with component?

I don't know if it is a budget issue or the fact that HDMI isn't good for long runs, but I'd really be surprised if people were willing to settle for component instead of HDMI when spending so much money on all this top of the line equipment.

There are no HDMI matrix switchers currently in existence. Crestron has the only solution I have seen, it is in prototype form, but it will not be an Adagio component (i.e. expect a high price) and has no announced release date.
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post #22 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

There are no HDMI matrix switchers currently in existence. Crestron has the only solution I have seen, it is in prototype form, but it will not be an Adagio component (i.e. expect a high price) and has no announced release date.

I think at this point I would only need to send HDMI content to one tv (in my basement). I'm imagining that initially that the control for my other tvs would be independent of the system.

Based on this I'm now thinking that the AMS could work for me but I'm wondering if I would start pushing out of my original budget.
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post #23 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 04:02 PM
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Is your 15K a turnkey budget including installation? Is this new construction? Retrofit?
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post #24 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 04:06 PM
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Q should qualify his statement. I'll help him out. There are no HDMI matrix switchers in existence that work. There are several sold, Gefen being one 4x4 for about 2-3k. But it doesn't work. (okay, I guess its possible to make it work in a very specific way, under very specific circumstances, but in the real world it doesn't work)
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post #25 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fletch999 View Post

Q should qualify his statement. I'll help him out. There are no HDMI matrix switchers in existence that work. There are several sold, Gefen being one 4x4 for about 2-3k. But it doesn't work.

A minor detail . I've also got a perpetual motion machine in my basement. It doesn't work, but it is a perpetual motion machine.
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post #26 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 04:52 PM
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Is your 15K a turnkey budget including installation? Is this new construction? Retrofit?

15k is a number I pulled out of the air of what I felt is reasonable to spend at this time for this project. We are moving into a new construction home that has already been "completely wired for the future."

I don't know just how much wiring there is behind the walls and should find that out in a week and a half after I take possession of the home.

My big thing is that I'm willing to spend $15-20k for this project at this time. I may be willing to spend another $20k in two years to do more than I can do now.

I'm also considering waiting 12-18 months to do anything and seeing if my budget goes up to the $35-40k or higher rather than doing it in pieces.

If I wanted to put in $15-20k now and chose Adagio and I then in 2 years wanted to spend another $40k, obviously the Crestron control panels would still work, but would I find any use in the AES or AMS?

Thanks for all of the invaluable help I've been getting on this thread. I really do appreciate it.
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post #27 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 05:05 PM
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I made the decision to go with the control 4 system and don't regret it. I have complete control over my PS3 streaming videos stored on my MAC PRO using the 10.5 touch panel. My music hard drives is connected to the Control 4 HT300. The system controls the following


Sony 200 disc blue ray changer
Sony 400 disc changer
Directv HD receiver/dvr
Sony G90
Lexicon MC12HD sound processor
Sony PS3
Scientific Atlanta 8300HD cable box
Yamaha 6090 receiver
Pioneer 60 inch tv
NEC 42 inch plasma
Pioneer receiver
Seagate 500 gb music hard drive
Lights in the home theater room, TV room, Great room, kitchen
3 panasonic network outdoor cameras
Panic outdoor and indoor lights
Weather forecast, traffic report on 10.5 inch touch panel

Think of What You Have Instead of What You Want
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post #28 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ks_man View Post

If I wanted to put in $15-20k now and chose Adagio and I then in 2 years wanted to spend another $40k, obviously the Crestron control panels would still work, but would I find any use in the AES or AMS?

Sure. The Adagio would still be a great distributed audio hub for Sirius/XM/Ipod/AAS or other source. Another processor could be added for additional functionality. And like you said, your current TP's would still work.

Going off on a side tangent, AMX has just come out with a product called AMXHome. It is supposed to compete with Control 4. IIRC, it has control for media to 5 rooms, lighting, HVAC, distributed audio and other basic whole-house controls.

I got to play with a dummy touchpanel and was impressed with how well it was put together. Check it out here: http://www.amx.com/amxhome/

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post #29 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by herdfan View Post

Sure. The Adagio would still be a great distributed audio hub for Sirius/XM/Ipod/AAS or other source. Another processor could be added for additional functionality. And like you said, your current TP's would still work.

Going off on a side tangent, AMX has just come out with a product called AMXHome. It is supposed to compete with Control 4. IIRC, it has control for media to 5 rooms, lighting, HVAC, distributed audio and other basic whole-house controls.

I got to play with a dummy touchpanel and was impressed with how well it was put together. Check it out here: http://www.amx.com/amxhome/

That looks really interesting. Is it going to be like Adagio where it is an entry level setup, but can integrate with all of AMXs full fledged products (panels and touchpads etc) and be easily upgraded down the road?

Also if someone is a certified AMX dealer, can they automatically offer this or do they need to certify themselves for this product as well?
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post #30 of 44 Old 04-10-2008, 06:27 PM
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AMX home is really just prepackaged AMX systems with predefined programming. In other words, it's not really a new AMX line or anything like that. The concept (prepackaged systems and predefined functionality) is good though, insofar as it helps to lower the price for people who want AMX but don't require full "customability".
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