Savant or Crestron..for new home - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Which system do you prefer for your Home automation?
Savant 13 36.11%
Crestron 23 63.89%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 46 Old 07-25-2012, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys i've been reading on the forums for a couple of days now but would like some concrete answers...

So I am building a new home and am stuck between crestron or savant. I have two different dealers bidding out the project but i just need the system that will be future ready for any changes 5-10 years down the road as this is the house i plan on living in for the next 25 years.

Just to give you an idea, the home will be roughly 25,000 sq ft and will have everything from automated shades, HVAC control, lighting and all that. Currently i have savant in my home but it hasnt been the best experience. I previously had a one man dealer install and ghetto rig which resulted in lag, crashing and an inefficient system. Luckily I found another reputable dealer that was able to fix all of these problem, but it did come with a heavy price tag. Now the system is working better but i still feel like savant has more to prove. My house was retrofitted for the job so thats what im blaming it on.

I went by the crestron showroom in houston and everything works instantaneously. This is the main issue at my house, lag. But one thing that really bothered me was the fact that everything seemed antiquated, remotes, panels etc.

The savant dealers are telling me that over the last 5 years savant has swept the market and has left crestron with only commercial products. how much of this is true? they also say that the processors that crestron uses work at a tenth of the speed the Mac minis that savant uses. can someone please shed some light on this.

I just need someone that will provide an unbiased answers. Which system will have enough horsepower to power my future home?

I live in houston tx and plan on selecting the system within the next few weeks. please help guys!
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post #2 of 46 Old 07-25-2012, 12:33 PM
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I have never used Savant, but those sound like blatant lies, from the Savant dealer. Scumbag salesman. Try not to hold it against Savant.

I'd speak with references from both dealers.

The programmer makes a big difference. Maybe you can test drive some of the programmers' work locally.

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post #3 of 46 Old 07-25-2012, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been to both dealers showrooms, both systems run like glass. smooth. but im a little worried how much they will try to charge (savant)..they are an expensive dealer but i know their work is promising..
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post #4 of 46 Old 07-25-2012, 09:13 PM
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Being a Savant dealer I picked Savant. It sounds like you had a bad execution of your current Savant install. There's no reason you should experience lag with a well designed system and network. Good luck on your project.
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post #5 of 46 Old 07-25-2012, 11:20 PM
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We are dealers for four control systems including Crestron and Savant. There is no reason at all for the Savant system to run slow. To give an example of the same for Crestron, we were called in a "rescue" job where the exact same scenario was going on there. Client would hit a light switch and you could literally watch the lights come on in sequence. That was caused by poor architecture and design by the previous company. Response should be instantaneously to such user input.

Vast majority of these problems as noted is caused by inexperienced dealers/installers. You couldn't get a job at Google because you took a two day course but unfortunately that is about all it takes to become a "programmer" for some of these systems or designer for that matter. Result is that systems are not reliable or performant. So poor system after poor system is installed and the customer suffers. I can't tell you how many times we have been called in to rip out current control systems and just put in a simple system plus an iPad and that is it. It puts an end to misery of years of customer not being able to get the system to do simple things despite having spent huge sums of money.

A year ago I would not have recommended Savant simply because it was not clear they had staying power. But during that time the company has made huge progress with a ton of adoption. It is helped considerably by the popularity of Apple products and them adopting Apple touch surfaces strongly (which by the way is also available from others but not pushed as strongly). So we added it to our arsenal and have not had issues in the installs we have done and we continue to use it in our medium to larger installs.

Crestron is still doing well and it not anything remotely like what the Savant dealer told you as far as them being focused only on commercial. It is not a good sign that they would give you such incorrect sales information. They should instead be able to justify savant based on its other value such as ease of programming which should keep your future costs lower. This makes me think they are not understanding the true architecture of these systems if they have to hide behind that kind of misstatement.

If you have problem getting things resolved on Savant, feel free to PM me and I will back channel your issues to Savant and get them resolved. An install in your size project should be a showcase project, and not a borderline one as seems to be the case. I would stay with Savant if I were you.

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post #6 of 46 Old 07-26-2012, 04:26 PM
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Either one you go with, make sure it's the same programmer that did the demo. Programmers change.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #7 of 46 Old 07-28-2012, 04:55 PM
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What system will you be using for lighting control?
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post #8 of 46 Old 07-29-2012, 07:20 PM
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In my opinion the number one thing that gets overlooked in all these comparisons is the most important piece of the pie, and thats the integrator. All of the major control companies offer a solid product, if they didn't they would be hard pressed to stay in the business. However, they all can be installed with nightmarish outcomes if not designed, installed and programmed correctly. Ive had lots of experience with both Crestron and Savant, both offer solid proven control protocols....but if not implemented correctly it doesn't really matter. I would tell you the same thing I tell my potential customers....get some good solid references, not ones from the dealer..... anyone can cherry pick a few good references. Ask your contractor, your framer, your hvac guy, your flooring guy and so on. Subcontractors tend to know the main players in the area and can be good ways to find out about other companies. Also, ask friends, coworkers and so on. But remember, negativity travels by word as mouth twice as fast as fast as positive feedback. With enough asking around you should be able to gather info to help with your decision. With the size and caliber of your project dont be afraid to look outside your area for good quality integrators. We are based in MO and do projects out of state on a regular bases....just did a prewire in the Austin area few weeks ago.
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post #9 of 46 Old 07-31-2012, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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More than likely i will be using Lutron, considering homewerks
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post #10 of 46 Old 07-31-2012, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Very good point DBALS, I think that i just had a poor installer do the job originally and havent found the right fix until now. I need to make sure i go with the right system, as i do like both. Im leaning towards the savant, they are doing a great job resolving my current system.
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post #11 of 46 Old 07-31-2012, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KG007 View Post

Very good point DBALS, I think that i just had a poor installer do the job originally and havent found the right fix until now. I need to make sure i go with the right system, as i do like both. Im leaning towards the savant, they are doing a great job resolving my current system.

good to hear. Im personally a savant guy but I do appreciate Crestron in certain installs. I just feel that for the dollar spend savant offers a better value to the customer. programming is still intense but not as intense as crestron can be....for MOST customers, thats a good thing because the integrator can concentrate on the advanced programming and not so much the basis programming because alot of that is done for you. now with that being said there are some cases where i can see the added value of Crestron and some of there solutions..but it is very programmer dependent. I have just seen way to many Crestron systems that are over sold and under delivered....but that brings me back to my original point that is so dependent on the integrator. youve got to find someone that you trust and does the quality of work you expect at a price your willing to pay....

oh...and you cant go wrong with lutron. Top notch company and products
-D
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post #12 of 46 Old 08-07-2012, 08:51 PM
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I spec systems based on the needs of the client, the systems are just a means to a desired result.

I run a consulting company who writes specs, handles the bidding process and in many cases manages the system deployment on behalf of the client.

Additionally, I also own a portion of an integration concierge firm, doing only large scale projects around the world & servicing large integrated systems.

Both systems are great and both have strengths over each other. So, what matters is that you end up with the system that has the strengths which you prefer.

As for the rumors about Savant crushing Crestron in sales or Crestron being better built than Savant... It's all a bunch of crap that is likely originated by rep firms for each manufacturer. The only real fact you could point to is this... Crestron is a 600m a year company, Savant did 22m last year... Which while it was almost double the year before, is still a long way from 600m.

Ultimately, the strengths are clear...

If you are an Apple nut, if you want a completely integrated solution complete with phone system, if you love iTunes, if you like the Savant user interface, likely a lower cost of ongoing service, a system built with the premise of "we can make it do whatever you want but this is how we do it"... If this is you, Savant may be a better option.

If you want a company with 35years of control experience, a company who is not at the mercy of Apple; who could make a change tomorrow & negatively impact their organization, a huge support base, a system that supports Apple as well as Android, Windows, Flash; a company who offers a complete & VERY comprehensive selection of subsystems, a system built with the premise of, " Because what we think is right may not be right for you, we just give you a blank canvas". If this sounds like you, Crestron may be the right solution.

The other side of this is of course the competency of the integrator. I will say that while a crappy programmer can make a disaster of either system, it is much more difficult for someone to screw up a Savant system, simply because it's more of a configuration process in software than it is programming like in Crestron world. This does not necessarily mean your going to have more trouble with Crestron, it just means you need to be more concerned with the programmers competency with Crestron.

All that said, I would never leave this completely up to my clients, when we create our designs, we gather a lot of info which guides us to the right solution for the client... But in its most raw form, we start with the User interfaces... 90% of the time, clients end up with a system based on being drawn to a user interface style.

As for my preference personally, I really don't have one. I have Crestron in my house but that's mainly because I could afford it (got free for selling lots of Crestron). All I can tell you is Savant is the first company to come along that I feel has the ability to force many of the big guys to rethink they're business model.

Send me a private message to respond as I don't subscribe to the threads & don't frequent the forum often.
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post #13 of 46 Old 08-08-2012, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KG007 View Post

I have been to both dealers showrooms, both systems run like glass. smooth. but im a little worried how much they will try to charge (savant)..they are an expensive dealer but i know their work is promising..

You are building a 25,000 square foot house. Are you seriously worried about how much either of them will charge?
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post #14 of 46 Old 08-08-2012, 09:29 PM
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You may want to consider Vantage for the lighting controls.
It works very well with either Crestron or Savant.
The install is a bit faster than Lutron (less wiring, fewer 120v connections, fewer parts), and the built in fuses protect the modules from blow outs.

I also that it may be a little less expensive.

In any case the programmer/installer make the system.
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post #15 of 46 Old 08-09-2012, 06:25 AM
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Crestron's distributed video system is better than Savant's.

For the record, Crestron has been around for 44 years, not 35.

Crestron made in the USA. Crestron employs 350 engineers, not sure how many of Savant Systems LLC's 60 or so employees are engineers.

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post #16 of 46 Old 08-09-2012, 12:09 PM
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In what way is Crestron's distibuted video better than Savant's? Not trying to pick a fight, just genuinely curious. So hard to find any sort of objective comparisons between systems, and so much depends on the competence of the installer.
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post #17 of 46 Old 08-10-2012, 11:34 AM
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In all honesty, I only have the experience of what I've read online and what I've seen at tradeshows - all really 2nd hand. But if you search "Crestron DM" at remotecentral.com, you'll see it's the most respected distributed AV system, by the pro installers.

http://www.remotecentral.com/cgi-bin/forums/search.cgi?sid=445071

If some of the pros want to chime in, let's hear it.

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post #18 of 46 Old 08-12-2012, 01:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KG007 View Post

Hey guys i've been reading on the forums for a couple of days now but would like some concrete answers...
So I am building a new home and am stuck between crestron or savant. I have two different dealers bidding out the project but i just need the system that will be future ready for any changes 5-10 years down the road as this is the house i plan on living in for the next 25 years.
Just to give you an idea, the home will be roughly 25,000 sq ft and will have everything from automated shades, HVAC control, lighting and all that. Currently i have savant in my home but it hasnt been the best experience. I previously had a one man dealer install and ghetto rig which resulted in lag, crashing and an inefficient system. Luckily I found another reputable dealer that was able to fix all of these problem, but it did come with a heavy price tag. Now the system is working better but i still feel like savant has more to prove. My house was retrofitted for the job so thats what im blaming it on.
I went by the crestron showroom in houston and everything works instantaneously. This is the main issue at my house, lag. But one thing that really bothered me was the fact that everything seemed antiquated, remotes, panels etc.
The savant dealers are telling me that over the last 5 years savant has swept the market and has left crestron with only commercial products. how much of this is true? they also say that the processors that crestron uses work at a tenth of the speed the Mac minis that savant uses. can someone please shed some light on this.
I just need someone that will provide an unbiased answers. Which system will have enough horsepower to power my future home?
I live in houston tx and plan on selecting the system within the next few weeks. please help guys!

Savant hasn't swept anything. This is total sales guy BS. Im sure you will soon run into the crestron dealer who tells you the same story except this time it will be crestron whos sweeping the market. Ask them how many Savant systems they have installed and ask to tour 2 of them to see what they are like. I belong to 5 CI oriented forums and every time the question comes up "whos doing savant" about 2% of the users answer "us". But... that doesn't mean anything. They are relatively new to the industry when you consider Crestrons long history. This explains why they do fewer systems but it in no way says "they are better" or "they are worse" than any other product on the market.

I dont really know what crestrons processor speeds are but what i can tell you is that those Mac Minis are not dedicated devices. They are PCs (personal computers) that run a host of applications...one of which is the Savant control system environment. This is just another tactic used by IMO bad salesmen. Crestrons 2 series processors are work horses that last forever and function instantly. The 3 series processors are even better. Either product will function properly when installed properly. Ignore stuff like that when listening to sales guys.

I am curious as to what you mean by "antiquated". Crestrons V panels are great large wired panels. They are as attractive or better than anything else i have seen at those sizes and DM makes wiring them for video a snap. The iPad/android tablets are used for wi-fi panels. You really cant beat these CE tablets for price and functionality and its why Savant dropped their controllers in favor of all iPad/iPod/iPhone control. Crestron has a new in-wall panel thats pretty cool(see pic below). If i had to pick the one interface that i don't find as good or better than the competition i would point to the handheld remote. Don't get me wrong the wi-fi(TPMC-3X) and RF version (MTX-3) are reliable and operate instantly but i hate glossy finishes on things that get touched. You can always use RTI or URC remotes with Crestron but you give up feedback so no volume level indicator no ability to see subsystem status (lighting levels, security status etc).

Mentioned above...The number one most important thing that will make or break your system/home is the integrator. I have seen budget small scale jobs done with xantech and no name touchpanels that rival anything ive seen from crestron and savant all because the integrator put in the time and effort to make it work. I have seen crestron systems that are embarrassing because the integrator didn't know what he was doing. Ask for portfolio photos. Ask to physically go tour a recent previous clients house. Test drive the system that they installed (and that they will be installing for you). Look behind the racks. Neat wiring? Sloppy? There isnt a sales guy on the planet who can sell a system better than an existing finished installation. If you walk in there and feel the WOW you found the right company.

Crestron DM (especially with fiber) is just a thing of absolute beauty. It isn't just an HDMI switch. Its a damn beast/miracle product that currently has no rival on the planet. Switch in the rack. 1 fiber to each displays rmc and you have video/control/ethernet/2way audio video. I have installed a lot of crestron and some AMX and let me tell you there is nothing like it on the face of the earth. I hated HDMI until i installed my first DM switch. having said that... There are perfectly capable products on the market that can give you all of this functionality. http://www/.zektor.com has awesome HDMI switches. You can pull additional cable and get control and ethernet and mimic the functionality. At the end of the day we are just routing signals. SWAMPS for audio are just as cool but again everyone has audio switches so who cares what logo is on the box?

The goal for you should be to have a great system not a great crestron or savant system. As i said above...ask to tour and test drive their existing systems. This ends the sales pitch and separates the good companies from the bad.

CrestronTSW-750.PNG

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post #19 of 46 Old 08-12-2012, 09:38 AM
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Lots of sales guys will happily sell you a gold-plated rack and holographic interfaces and let the installers/programmers figure out how to make things work come install time.

Step 1 - Decide on your budget and what you need.
Step 2 - Then figure out what you want.
Step 3 - Then talk to the sales guys.
Step 4 - Go back to Step 1 and reassess.
Step 5 - Visit the integrator's previous jobs with examples of the features you are buying. Do they work well and in the manner you expect? Is the work clean?
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post #20 of 46 Old 08-13-2012, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westcojack View Post

You may want to consider Vantage for the lighting controls.
It works very well with either Crestron or Savant.
The install is a bit faster than Lutron (less wiring, fewer 120v connections, fewer parts), and the built in fuses protect the modules from blow outs.
I also that it may be a little less expensive.
In any case the programmer/installer make the system.

And yes, for lighting controls, I agree with Westcojack. In our integration firm, while we don't offer Vantage (purely for business reasons), pretty much everyone in our company prefers Vantage.

While I'm a fan of Cretron lighting, their biggest weakness (@ least in the residential products) is there lack of protection from power issues... We have been forced to go to big extremes in our designs which also adds to hardware costs to compensate for some difficiencies (we feel) Crestron has in particular with their remote dimmer modules. Since we began adding a number of 3rd party devices to the mix of Crestron lighting systems, we have almost eliminated power related take-downs... But with Vantage or even Lutron; aside from outdoor lighting; we don't have to add in extra protection.
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post #21 of 46 Old 08-18-2012, 05:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Crestron's distributed video system is better than Savant's.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

In all honesty, I only have the experience of what I've read online and what I've seen at tradeshows - all really 2nd hand. But if you search "Crestron DM" at remotecentral.com, you'll see it's the most respected distributed AV system, by the pro installers.

Nice. Nothing like stating facts without actually having a clue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

If some of the pros want to chime in, let's hear it.

I will say up front that I have no personal experience with the Crestron DM system but do know that it's a good platform, well respected in the industry. I DO have a lot of experience with Savant and their distribution and I can't find any fault with it. I would consider them to be on the same playing field.
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post #22 of 46 Old 08-18-2012, 06:57 PM
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I have the experience of hearing praise about DM from many pro installers, online. It has issues with bad hardware out of the box, but once up and running, it can't be beat.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #23 of 46 Old 08-20-2012, 05:07 PM
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Really, Savant or Crestron? From a programmer's perspective there's no better system than an AMX system, then Crestron and everything i've heard about Savant is it's slick but you pretty much have to stick with supported products and customization isn't anywhere as good as the other two choices (AMX or Crestron).

Personnaly I'm not a big apple fan either, their products or the way they do business so I wouldn't want to base an elaborate home system on apple equipment since Savant has no control over any direction apple may take.
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post #24 of 46 Old 08-21-2012, 08:58 AM
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You don't like how apple does business? I wish every business was ran like apple. http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/20/technology/apple-most-valuable-company/

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post #25 of 46 Old 08-21-2012, 04:28 PM
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I also believe that AMX is a much better system, easier to add on additional masters for more horse power where required and best of all if you like Apple, cool I have programmed AMX systems that use Apple iPads exclusivily for touch panels. But if you are a Droid fan then these work just as well, or you can look at the AMX touch panels themselves and see that they lead the market.

Typically when a system turns out bad it was caused by one of two reasons; 1. Poorly Designed, to make sure a system will perform in the end it needs to be designed properly in the begining. 2: A bad programmer, you have to ask these questions; how long have they programmed, has it been continuous, or just one here or there, and lastly do they truely GET the client and what they want the system to do. Whether you choose AMX, Crestron or Savant you need to ask the integrator about who they use to program, and at a minimum you want to make sure to see thier training certifications. And each of these manufacturers have certified independent programmers that have to maintain current certification, AMX has the VIP (Valued Independent Programmers) program and Crestron has CAPE and most of these guys are design consultants as well.
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post #26 of 46 Old 08-22-2012, 03:24 AM
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Not to mention that AMX is HQ'd in Richardson, TX while Crestron is NJ and Savant in MA. Since I'm assuming you're also from the Houston area you might want to check them out too. There are sone very good AMX dealers in the Houstan area too.
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post #27 of 46 Old 08-26-2012, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbals View Post

In my opinion the number one thing that gets overlooked in all these comparisons is the most important piece of the pie, and thats the integrator. All of the major control companies offer a solid product, if they didn't they would be hard pressed to stay in the business. However, they all can be installed with nightmarish outcomes if not designed, installed and programmed correctly. Ive had lots of experience with both Crestron and Savant, both offer solid proven control protocols....but if not implemented correctly it doesn't really matter. I would tell you the same thing I tell my potential customers....get some good solid references, not ones from the dealer..... anyone can cherry pick a few good references. Ask your contractor, your framer, your hvac guy, your flooring guy and so on. Subcontractors tend to know the main players in the area and can be good ways to find out about other companies. Also, ask friends, coworkers and so on. But remember, negativity travels by word as mouth twice as fast as fast as positive feedback. With enough asking around you should be able to gather info to help with your decision. With the size and caliber of your project dont be afraid to look outside your area for good quality integrators. We are based in MO and do projects out of state on a regular bases....just did a prewire in the Austin area few weeks ago.
-Drew

We are taking over another Crestron job and I was testing the previous company's interface. After figuring it out I looked at the customer and said, "this is confusing". I have worked in the automation field for many years now and am pretty good at figuring out how to make these things work. So yes, whichever way you go make sure the interface works for you!!

I work with all 3 control systems mentioned here, in my biased opinion I prefer Crestron. As Stamp mentions with DM it makes like a bit easier... At the end of the day it is the integrator you use that makes or breaks the system.
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post #28 of 46 Old 12-26-2012, 05:40 AM
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Hi KG007,

I am building my new home and have a similar dilemma.

I was wondering which system did you eventually install and how is it working out for you.

Thank you.
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post #29 of 46 Old 02-27-2014, 06:13 PM
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You should strongly consider Savant for your new system. We have taken out a number of poorly performing Crestron systems and replaced the with Savant. Nothing but happy clients!

Travis Leo
Denver, CO
Residential Systems, Inc.
www.ResidentialSystemsInc.com
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post #30 of 46 Old 02-28-2014, 11:22 AM
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To be fair, there's always a bit of correlation vs. causation involved in such statements, i.e. you'd likely never be called to replace anything else but a sub-performing installation. That doesn't necessarily mean that all (or even most) of them are sub-performing. Not that I have a horse in the Crestron vs. Savant race. It'd be to my advantage if both companies went under. I'm just saying...

Dean Roddey
Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd

www.charmedquark.com

 

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