Quote for NYC 3BR apartment - $50K for Crestron system. Feels like a rip-off, but I'm new to this. Some insight would be appreciated. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 56 Old 11-20-2012, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I am moving into a 3BR apartment in Manhattan next year that's currently under construction. The apartment size is about 2000 sq feet.

The developer connected me with a friend of his who runs a company that sells Crestron. The company gave me a quote on the different systems I could buy to fully automate my apartment. The big selling point they're pushing is that they will have special access by the developer to do pre-wiring before the sheetrock goes up in my unit. They claim that the installation costs will be 2-3x what they are quoting today if I were to do this after the apartment is built and the walls are all up. I can see the appeal of doing the pre-wiring before the walls go up, as it makes logical sense to me that it should be a lot easier to deal with than to have to do some type of cut and paste job later on, although I'm not sure if that should be that much more expensive given their current quote is extremely expensive in my mind. This is my first time dealing with any of this, so I'd appreciate some insight.

The details of the quote:

Audio:
Head-end, rack, 4 sets of episode-500 in-wall speakers around the apartment and Crestron AES to control the audio.
Equipment: $13K, Wiring $1.5K, Installation 4.5K, Head End assembly and testing 1K, programming 2.5K, project management 0.5K totalling 24K

Shade control wiring and integration:
Wiring: 1K, Installation 2.5K, programming 1.5K, total of 5K

Lighting Control:
Crestron Lighting processor and gateway, 6 Crestron dimmers, 6 Crestron 4-way keypads, 6 Crestron Light Switches
Equipment: 5K, Installation 2K, programming 2K, total of 9K

Climate Control:
7 Crestron Thermostats
Equipment: 4K, Installation 2K, Programming 2K, total of 8K

TV Wiring and Cables:
Mounting one TV in living room and one in bedroom, and running some CAT6/HDMI to connect them to the head-end.
Equipment+Wiring+Install: 4K

Total for the whole project is about 50K.

This feels like a lot of money to me. The total programming charge alone would be almost $10K.

I'm pretty comfortable with technology and I'm thinking of a much cheaper set up with no Head-End, Sonos for music, Nest thermostats, Roomie Remote and Lutron shade and lighting with RA2. I haven't done any research on Lutron yet, and I know it's not cheap, but I imagine I can build my own system with these components for a lot less than $50K.

My questions are:
1) Is this a reasonable quote for the type of work, or are they just trying to rip me off? Or is this just how much Crestron charges?
2) Is it really a big deal if I wait until the unit is built and the walls are up to do the wiring for the shades and lighting? The A/V wiring would be minimal as I wouldn't have a rack hidden somewhere, just a media stand underneath a mounted TV with a single HDMI going from the receiver to the TV through the wall.

Any insights and suggestions would be much appreciated.
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post #2 of 56 Old 11-20-2012, 01:46 PM
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I would ignore the itemized costs, as they're somewhat arbitrary. Think total cost, for the package. Those are very rough numbers.

That's a big price to swallow, for an apartment. But, that's what you'll have to pay if you want that system.

Yes, DIY is much cheaper, but you can't use Crestron. When he says 3 times the cost, he might mean 3 times the cost for the wiring. And I'm sure the wiring installation would be more than 3 times, if done after drywall goes in.

Jumping between apps for a non-integrated system is a PITA, IMO. You need to decide how much the avoidance of that pain is worth to you.

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post #3 of 56 Old 11-20-2012, 04:05 PM
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Let me just add:
The Crestron AES is an awful piece of gear. If you do end up going Crestron, I'd recommend an MC3/CP3 controller, and Sonnex music distribution system (both Crestron hardware also) in almost all cases (at least this size).

And if you get a MC3 or CP3, then you don't need a separate lighting processor (and the MC3 has the gateway built in also).

Just some free advice for you. I wouldn't recommend doing any residential job without a 3 series processor these days.
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post #4 of 56 Old 11-20-2012, 04:47 PM
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Ok, so I feel like I should say a little more then just the above. First, I usually wouldn't advise looking at the equiptment list and questioning each piece of gear, but in this case, I feel like its important enough to warrant. I have very strong dislike/hatred of the AES.

Also: You can always shop around and see what other dealers would charge. Be sure you're comparing the same level of integration for each - obviously one will come out cheaper if they don't have climate control integrated, for example.

Finally, before you decide on anyone, ask for lots of references, and contact them. Ask for people that have lived with their systems for some time too. And be sure to check out some of their work, wether a demo setup or an installed job. Be sure the same programmer (or outside firm) who did that system is doing your place. Programming/Install makes all the difference with these things - if you pay $50k for a system that is poorly installed and/or programmed, you're going to hate it forever.
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post #5 of 56 Old 11-20-2012, 05:34 PM
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Quote:
they will have special access by the developer to do pre-wiring

These kind of exclusivity agreements stink for the home buyer.
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Jumping between apps for a non-integrated system is a PITA

Isn't that what apps like iRule and Roomie are for? Yes, additional setup required.
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And I'm sure the wiring installation would be more than 3 times, if done after drywall goes in.

Wireless and PLC could also turn out to be cheaper than wired at least for some functions. Though in this environment interference may need to be taken into consideration.
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post #6 of 56 Old 11-20-2012, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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So if I understand the responses correctly, it doesn't seem like $50k is an unreasonable price for this type of system.

In terms of switching apps, I would hope to be able to use Roomie Remote for all A/V, music, lighting and shades.

The Nest would be a separate app but I don't see myself needing to change temperature configurations that often once a schedule is set up, so I can't imagine it's worth that much more to integrate it with Crestron, unless there's some killer feature I'm missing.
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post #7 of 56 Old 11-21-2012, 05:04 AM
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Well 50k definitely seems outrageous to me but so does the general cost of living in nyc. Personally, I would prewire shades, keypads, speakers, and TVs. Then DIY everything else. Should be doable for 10-15K with non high-end equipment. But then you don't get to say "this place has a $50K automation system".
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post #8 of 56 Old 11-21-2012, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kewlly View Post

So if I understand the responses correctly, it doesn't seem like $50k is an unreasonable price for this type of system.
I'm not really up on pricing of entire systems, but depending on what you're getting, no, not necessarly. If you're concerned about the price, tell the integrator that you want to look at a less expensive solution also. See what they come back with.
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Originally Posted by kewlly View Post

The Nest would be a separate app but I don't see myself needing to change temperature configurations that often once a schedule is set up, so I can't imagine it's worth that much more to integrate it with Crestron, unless there's some killer feature I'm missing.
I really don't understand the appeal of Nest thermostats. I will say, I have been pretty impressed by the Crestron thermostats. They support almost any feature you could want, in terms of controlling heat pump/slab heaters/etc, as well as programming capability. I really like the dual setpoint mode, where you can just set it to keep the temperature between 65 and 75, or whatever you want.
One of the reasons I've heard people like the Nest is because it looks cool. I'd much rather have a Crestron (or other controllable) thermostat in the closet or rack room, wit remote temperature sensors. Then you don't have anything on the walls at all.
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post #9 of 56 Old 11-21-2012, 07:51 AM
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Do your research on what type of equipment you want on each room and the wiring needed for each of them. When our house was built six years ago, i planned on installing whole house audio using Nuvo Grand Concerto so had the builder run a a few cat5 cables to where my headend will be and to each of the room where the keypad will be located. I also had pre-wire for an accesspoint attached to the ceiling to cover the 1st and 2nd floors so I didn't have to worry about extend the signal. In areas where I was not decided on what to do, I had smurf tubes installed.

So having pre-wires really helps when the drywalls have not gone up. One helpful advice, take pictures of where the cables are so you have a general idea of how to access it when its all done. Good luck.
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post #10 of 56 Old 11-21-2012, 07:55 AM
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Good prewire, at a minimum. It's definitely not all or nothing.

Bragging that 'it's a $50K system' would be more apt across the Hudson.

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 #11 of 56 Old 11-21-2012, 08:56 AM
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It doesn't seem crazy expensive, given the parts list, but 7 thermostats for a 2,000 square foot apartment seems like overkill to me.

Don't skimp on the prewire. You will regret it later. You get one change to wire a house correctly.

Travis Leo
President, Residential Systems, Inc.
www.ResidentialSystemsInc.com

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post #12 of 56 Old 11-23-2012, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cntp View Post

First, I usually wouldn't advise looking at the equipment list and questioning each piece of gear, but in this case, I feel like its important enough to warrant. I have very strong dislike/hatred of the AES.
But not important enough to warrant stating why you hate it tongue.gif? Just stating that you hate something with no explanation of why is not particularly helpful smile.gif.


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post #13 of 56 Old 11-24-2012, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post

But not important enough to warrant stating why you hate it tongue.gif? Just stating that you hate something with no explanation of why is not particularly helpful smile.gif.

Fair enough!

I dislike anything that uses OOTBF, not to mention it's a 2 series, 66 MIPS processor. I've had fairly simple systems that I can't run debugger on for more than a couple of mins before it crashes.
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post #14 of 56 Old 11-25-2012, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by az1324 View Post

These kind of exclusivity agreements stink for the home buyer.

Not necessarily. Why do developers have one contractor, one electrician, on plumber, etc? To manage the quality of work, efficiency, cost, schedule, etc. Now that low voltage/automation is becoming more of a regular part of home building it makes sense in a multi-unit building to have one provider. For owners who wish to use their own people they can close "white box" and bring their own people in after close.

To the OP, the costs don't seem out of line to me. However, it sounds like a pretty standard package they're offering and if that's not what you're looking for I'd meet with the dealer to figure out how they can provide you what you want. If nothing else, have them do a pre-wire and then bring in your own dealer or DIY after you close. One word of advice - wire for everything and then some, wire is cheap. Have locations for wireless access points and/or phone repeaters. I'm sure NYC is full of interference and one airport extreme probably isn't going to cut it for solid Wi-fi coverage.

good luck.
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post #15 of 56 Old 11-26-2012, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by ddave12000 View Post

Not necessarily. Why do developers have one contractor, one electrician, on plumber, etc? To manage the quality of work, efficiency, cost, schedule, etc. Now that low voltage/automation is becoming more of a regular part of home building it makes sense in a multi-unit building to have one provider. For owners who wish to use their own people they can close "white box" and bring their own people in after close.

One big reason: leverage. They can negotiate a better deal for themselves. And while it may actually save the homeowner money on the standard packages, any custom work or add-ons then leaves the buyer with the choice of accepting the bid from the contractors that have access during construction but don't have to compete or wait and have to pay the additional costs and other disadvantages of post-construction installation.
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post #16 of 56 Old 11-26-2012, 06:06 AM
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I agree with the advise to prewire the heck out of the build and go slow on the final decision

I don't think $50k for the total system, fully integrated and tested, is unreasonable for a budget: perhaps you could bo better but anything in NYC will cost more

If you like DIY, you may find it fun to do some of this yourself: I did my own RR2 lighting retrofit and had a Lutron dealer install cellular shades: and my house is full of NEST thermostats which I like: but you need a really solid WiFi system

The one caution about a high end control system is keeping it working after the job is completed: for example DirecTV may remap a channel, or you may want a different blu ray player: these changes will require the dealer to make programming changes.

As a disclaimer, my house uses an RTI system: I got access to the program by doing some programming work for the installer, and became certified myself; I enjoy having access to the program as i am constantly tweaking the system. I think Crestron makes an excellent product as well

above is my opinion only
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post #17 of 56 Old 11-26-2012, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. This is all very helpful. I just set up Roomie Remote this weekend with a WiFi to IR adaptor in my current 2BR apartment, and it's working great so far (Samsung Plasma/PS3/Motorola Cable Box/Sony Soundbar/ Apple TV/iTunes on an iMac/Spotify from my iPads and iPhones) for my needs. Everything locally connected in my living room on an open media stand. I like the ease of programming sequences and the flexibility to add or remove A/V components from the system. While having centralized head-end seems appealing from a visual look, having everything on one media stand so far isn't too bad and there really isn't much visible wiring (the wife approves), so I'm not sure I see the benefit in integrating with Crestron. I may want to get an XBox and Kinect next year, and I just don't want to have to call a programmer each time I want to add a component to my A/V system.

I definitely want to automate lighting, shades and temperature. Does anyone have any thoughts on RadioRA2 versus Homeworks QS? Is there any disadvantage in using RadioRA2, which is all RF-based and requires minimal wiring? I know there will be more switches, thermostats and keypads around the house, but if everything is hidden that can also be annoying if you just want to turn off a specific light and not have to grab your iPhone/iPad or walk to the console.

The apartment comes standard with CAT5, phone and co-ax wiring in each bedroom and the living/dining area (2 plates on opposite walls in each bedroom and 3 different locations in the living/dining area). What additional pre-wiring should I consider doing given what I have described? What is required to set up multiple airports around the apartment?
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post #18 of 56 Old 11-27-2012, 11:02 AM
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as to your prewiring question: that is where you need a pro to do it right: it is not only the number of outlets per room, but how they are run

i.e. each run should be separate and fed to a home run: a central location where your main equipment is located

some prewired installs are daisy chained: i.e. a single coax is run from one room to another, without a home run: these are of little use for a sophisticated install

that is why it is so important to plan the prewiring with a pro
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post #19 of 56 Old 12-16-2012, 04:37 AM
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Personally if I were you since it should not be expensive I would run cat 6 x2 or so everywhere, to 2 locations in opposite corners of every room. Because ethernet is so useful there are lots of adapters and shoe ins for it. I feel like I can never have enough ethernet ever. Now days if I run anything I drag three lines. The cost is really hardly anything and with them all back at a central location you can do alot of interesting things. Anywhere you might even think you want something drop ethernet, look at the room layout and think about it. As anyone will tell you once the drywall goes up all runs become much harder. When you combine multiple runs to the same place their is almost no added labor its just material. Even if you dont want to see it you can have them just drop it behind the wall and not even terminate it, as long as you have a map and know about it you can get to it later.

Run a couple couple cables up to the ceiling too drop some unifi APs in and your wireless will be really solid.
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post #20 of 56 Old 01-23-2013, 09:15 PM
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Some good advice provided here except for the suggestion to not use a separate lighting processor. Lighting is vital, the savings is small, and that's not good system design in my judgment.

One other thing: The AES is outdated and is not the right audio solution any more even if you're on a budget. It was an ok device in its day for a small audio distribution system that didn't tax resources. But its day has come and gone. Today, if you want access to the latest music sources flexibly and efficiently distributed, you need to be thinking of a Crestron system engineered with Sonnex, ADMS G2, or an Autonomic server. Crestron''s Sonnex devices will also save space and minimize heat - always major concerns in a Manhattan system.

The cost you were quoted is reasonable for what you are trying to do. There is not much NYC price premium that I can detect. Yes, there are difficult work rules and sub-optimal building access, and there's certainly lots of concrete anbd rebar to contend with in NY apts - especially if you're building recessed pockets for those shades. But you would pay roughly the same in the suburbs for the system you want. Indeed, you're shading quote I presume, does not include the actual shades.

Lastly, $50K may seem like a lot, but it's gojng to seem like a million dollars worth of frustration and regret if you end up with a system that isn't reliable or easy to use. That translates into a concern I have that you don't fully recognize how important it is to hire a terrific firm to do the work because you're too focused on the dollars. I'm not trying to be contrary; it is a lot of mone that you're spending. I do a lot of clean up jobs andI see too many unfortunate-but-now-wiser clients who made the understandable mistake of going with the lowest price (or they pushed and pushed and didn't let the dealer make a profit)...when they would never do that when selecting their home builder, architect, or for that matter, doctor or kid's school.

It doesn't cost more to do it right; it costs more to do it twice. Hire the right, ethical team and let them engineer and install the correct system for your needs, and you'll be happy, and I assure you, you'll pay no more than a fair price.
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post #21 of 56 Old 01-24-2013, 06:34 PM
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So, your next logical question is how to choose an installation firm. Well, you can follow the good advice that lots of people here and in other threads give which is to interview the company, get their references, and make some calls to hopefully satisfied customers.

A bit too much effort for most people these days. And there are pitfalls. First, rest assured that the reference list you receive will be edited and vetted. Only clients the firm knows will provide glowing reviews will be on it.

Worse, some of those glowing reviews may be from clients who simply don't know any better. You'd be surprised at the percentage of clients who are satisfied with terribly installed, poorly functioning or even not fully functioning systems. I can't tell you how many times I've seen even cost-no-object systems that have serious deficiencies such as major parts of the system that simply never have worked. Yet, the clients have accepted the poor situation as the norm and are even reasonably satisfied!

There is a better way than checking references. It's more foolproof, in my judgment. Just ask to see one of the company's installed equipment racks in a client's home or office. Take a quick look at the front to make sure everything is perfect, but what you really are focused on is the back of the rack. Have the rack pulled out and take a long look (don't pull out the rack yourself; a tall equipment rack can weigh 700+ lbs; tip it over and you could be seriously hurt or cause major damage).

What you should see back there is a work of art. If it doesn't look like perfection, if there are loose wires and unsecured devices, if it looks like a dirty, disorganized, tangled heap of wire spaghetti, and it's hot as the devil with nary a sign of thermal management, walk away.


Poor workmanship says everything. A good firm does things right not just because they have pride in workmanship and the technicians are well-trained, but also because it makes the system easy to service in the future - they can be more efficient. And that means lower cost and less downtime for you.


There are a couple of other things to inquire about: Ask how many on-staff programmers does the firm have and what are the approximate annual sales of the firm. If the answer is we do $5M/ year and we have one full time programmer who "floats" and we sub out the rest of the work, or the owner was a CAPE in a previous life and fills in when needed, then this isn't the firm for you.


Programming is a significant bottleneck in most firms. But hiring more programmers isn't an easy decision - they're expensive and hard to find. So, most firms end up under-staffing relative to their actual needs. If there aren't enough programmers,though, deployment of your system will be painfully slow. Little changes will be slow, repairs and upgrades will be slow.

If they outsource the programming, the program may be well written - it's what they do, after all - but it will be difficult and time-consuming to make changes. The programming firm will have to find a slot to schedule your work. There will be lots of back-and-forth over internal paperwork and scheduling between your installation company and the sub-contracted programming firm. What's more, you'll generally pay quite a bit more for the privilege because of the two-firm mark-up. Keeping it in house not only makes for efficiencies and lower overall cost to you, it means one firm is fully accountable.


A second thing to ask about is can you get a copy of the program in case you want to move on to another firm at some future point. Crestron programming is compiled, so a firm taking over from your first firm will need a copy of the system code to make any changes.

If the response is we own the program (or the sub-contracted firm does), it's our intellectual property (which it is), and we don't provide the code to end-users, run away. Why should you be held hostage in perpetuity to what you have learned from experience is a bad situation? And with an attitude to heavily invested clients such as that, there's a good chance the program won't be well-written - which means it will all have to be re-written anyway...at a cost thousands or even tens-of-thousand of dollars. By contrast, a solid, reputable firm will put in writing that they will provide you with the program if you request it at any point.

Lastly, ask about service: Does the firm have a tech on call after hours? Will the firm do whatever it takes to solve a mistake, even if it means ripping something out and doing it again at their own expense?


If the answers to both of these questions is an unequivocal, "Yes," and the workmanship of the racks checks out, and there are a sufficient number of programmers on staff, you've found your firm. As long as you heed their engineering advice, you can be absolutely confident you will get a convenient-to-use, perfectly functioning, and reliable system to enjoy for many years. Done well, it may even enhance the resale value of your home.
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post #22 of 56 Old 02-01-2013, 01:33 PM
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If you have not started I would use HAI. Creston is very good but ridiculously expensive. HAI Omni Pro II does all of this for pennies on the dollor compared to Creston. In addition you can get into the software if you choose and make tweaks as you see fit. Not have to call out a specialized dealer that charges a premium because there are so few of them.
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post #23 of 56 Old 02-02-2013, 04:26 PM
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Any insights and suggestions would be much appreciated.


The quote is reasonable.
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post #24 of 56 Old 02-02-2013, 06:00 PM
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I highly recommend the Ecobee thermostat over the Nest.

http://www.ecobee.com/solutions/home/


I have installed both, and I have had better reviews with the ecobee.
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post #25 of 56 Old 02-02-2013, 07:52 PM
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Hello,
Let me add my $0.02. Five years ago, I went through exactly what you are going through. I was going to have a NetStream systems installed and it was well in excess of $50K. That said, it was going to be a whole Audio/video distribution system I ended up going DIY, after finding a dealer in the Mid-West, willing to provide me all the Netstreams support. It ended up being a bust, I didn't have the time nor the willingness to learn the complexities of the NetStream system. I did install my own Lutron Radio RA (b) system. I did have the sense of having the apt prewired and certified during construction. I have three runs of Cat 5E and single run of Coax to multiple locations in the apartment. I would note a couple things I over looked. 1) Wiring for HVAC. (remember this is NYC and central air isn't a given in prewar buildings) 2) ventilation in my server/media room (closet, once again, NYC). Wiring for entry and integration with building system. Also, consider running a couple extra runs of network cable to where your primary stereo/media system goes. You use several network connections .
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post #26 of 56 Old 02-05-2013, 12:32 AM
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Good lord. Go to your local audio specialty shop and buy a Sonos unit. Plug in some speakers and connect to the Internet. Turn on Pandora and set up a personal station. That will be the end of your consideration period for Creston.

Home run your speakers. Run Cat5 to keypad locations behind the walls and thermostat locations. Run wire for automated shades if you are into that sort of thing.

Spend $2500 on a 5-zone Sonos. Go to Roomie Remote or iRule sites and pick your A/V gear based on whether it is IP compatible, and get it running yourself.

As for lighting, there are others here who are stronger than I. But I know three people with highly-custom lighting systems and all of them hate them. Having to call the contractor to reprogram your lights is nuts.

This world is changing incredibly quickly. Nest, Sonos, Uverse, and others are the tip of the iceberg, but they point the way to where it is going, and it ain't custom-programmed integrated systems.

And in case you needed more motivation to stay away from Crestron: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1452974/what-to-do-with-old-crestron-gear
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post #27 of 56 Old 02-06-2013, 11:50 AM
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name="archbid" url="/t/1440219/But I know three people with highly-custom lighting systems and all of them hate them.
I know hundreds of people who love them. Do I win smile.gif?
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Having to call the contractor to reprogram your lights is nuts.
How often do you think people need to reprogram the lights? The alternative is regular light switches which can't be programmed at all and is 100 times less flexible than a programmable system. As for whether it's "nuts", if a person wants to program it themselves (most don't, any more than they want to lay their own tile) they should work with a firm that will allow them to do so. It's also possible with many lighting systems to set the system up so the end user can easily perform basic programming right from the keypads, just reset the lights to where you want, hold the scene button in for 5 seconds, and you've reprogrammed.
Quote:
This world is changing incredibly quickly. Nest, Sonos, Uverse, and others are the tip of the iceberg, but they point the way to where it is going, and it ain't custom-programmed integrated systems.
I think I've been hearing this for about 20 years now, never seems to happen smile.gif. There is plenty of room for both, it does not have to be either or. We are at least a decade away from self-configuring home automation systems, except ones that are very basic single brand. Sonos is an outstanding system, it's also the perfect example of self-configuring systems limitations. Plug an Apple TV into that Sonos and have it self-configure. Can't do it. Plug a TV into it and have it self-configure. Can't do it. It can self-configure in its own very limited ecosystem of Sonos components. I do see room for improvement here, and my prediction could be wrong, but so far it's been impossible to get manufacturers to agree to any type of universal control protocol.
Quote:
And in case you needed more motivation to stay away from Crestron: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1452974/what-to-do-with-old-crestron-gear
I'm not sure I see how someone who remodeled their home and removed a bunch of old Crestron equipment and is asking where they should sell it proves anything?


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post #28 of 56 Old 02-07-2013, 12:58 PM
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First a disclaimer. I work for a commercial lighting manufacturer rep as a controls specialist and one of the lighting/building controls brands I specify is Crestron. I do not install Crestron AV or residential systems.

I love Crestron. They make high quality equipment that integrates well across functions, e.g. lighting system and AV system. I think that their lighting and shade controls are as good or better than Lutron's. I visited the Crestron factory in New Jersey recently and came away completely impressed with them as a shining example of American manufacturing and business know how. They have excellent customer service.

All that said, the prices you've been quoted are outrageous: not because they are out of line with what installers generally charge, mind you, but because all installers charge outrageously. I know for a fact that the dealer/installer markups for Crestron are high - several hundred percent - and I find it ludicrous. Look at the labor quote just for the audio. Installing a rack - amp, preamp, DVD player, controller - 8 speakers, some wire. Install labor alone, WITHOUT testing, programming or management, is $4,500. If you're paying $75/hour for labor, that comes to 60 hours!! Are they using untrained monkeys? It just isn't that hard to install the stuff. Plus, this is low voltage work and so does not require licensed electrical journeymen. The equipment suffers from massive markups as well.

The lighting control system looks overpriced to me, for what you get. It may well be cheaper to have a commercial contractor install a commercial system. $8,000 for thermostats?! Are they monitoring temperatures on Venus and Mars via remote controlled probes? A high end thermostat costs a couple of hundred at the very outside. Same goes for the TV wiring if that price doesn't include the TVs. Shades as well, if the price doesn't include the actual shades.

I know I'll probably get a lot of flack for these comments and I don't care. Crestron markets to an upscale clientele, and so installers pad the heck out of their quotes.

So what to do:
1. Try bargaining with the installer. Probably will be to no avail.
2. As everyone else said, prewire prewire prewire. Run cat5/6 (several) and coax to every room.
3. Consider what you want and need from a home automation system. How much work do you want to take on to maintain something? For example, I have a Squeezebox that streams music from my Vortexbox server over my apple wireless network. I had a year's worth of frustration before Logitech finally upgraded its firmware. the thing just didn't work. If something goes wrong with my system, I have to troubleshoot it myself.
4. There are good stand alone systems for music distribution, thermostatic controls, video distribution, shades and lighting control that are much cheaper. They won't work with each other though. Is that important to you?
5. Even though Lutron is my direct competitor, I will say that their wireless approach lends itself to a situation where you may not be able to have things prewired.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!
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post #29 of 56 Old 02-07-2013, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Yggdrasill View Post

I know for a fact that the dealer/installer markups for Crestron are high - several hundred percent

Well that's not true.
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post #30 of 56 Old 02-07-2013, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yggdrasill View Post

I know for a fact that the dealer/installer markups for Crestron are high - several hundred percent - and I find it ludicrous.

The fact that you simply made this figure up and claimed it as fact negates any credibility your post may have had. Crestron's margins for commercial product (which you claim to specialize in) are right in line with their competitors.

Quote:
Look at the labor quote just for the audio. Installing a rack - amp, preamp, DVD player, controller - 8 speakers, some wire. Install labor alone, WITHOUT testing, programming or management, is $4,500. If you're paying $75/hour for labor, that comes to 60 hours!! Are they using untrained monkeys? It just isn't that hard to install the stuff. Plus, this is low voltage work and so does not require licensed electrical journeymen. The equipment suffers from massive markups as well.!

You assume to know the labor rate and then apply some arbitrary math to it and call it ludicrous. The OP's project is in Manhattan; everything is outrageously expensive there. The rate could easily be $150/hr+. Many firms in the NYC area charge a higher rate for projects within Manhattan because of the complicated logistics involved when dealing with high-rise apartments and union requirements.
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