Anyone using Savant? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 19 Old 05-22-2016, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone using Savant?

I'm about to break ground on a 7500 SF home and have been interviewing some AV/Home automation companies.

I went to the home of one owner to see his system and was quite impressed. He uses Vantage and Lutron lighting (every light runs to a control box) so you don't see multiple switches in every room. It looks very clean/simple and was easy for my wife and I to use.

Whole house audio, all TV, theater room, outdoor lights, HVAC are all controlled with either the new Savant remote to iPad/iPhone.

User interface was easy, elegant and operation of everything was seamless and fast.

Anyone here have personal experience with current Savant technology?
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post #2 of 19 Old 05-25-2016, 01:28 PM
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Panelled lighting and DMX / LED lighting are somewhat awesome products to remove wall warts.

Add motion sensors from an alarm or ha system and it gets really cool.
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post #3 of 19 Old 05-30-2016, 02:41 PM
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I've used Savant a lot over the last 3 or 4 years with the previous company I worked for. I did their first two levels of training and know (knew) their stuff pretty well. From what I've seen, dealers love it because it can be deployed *very* quickly by techs with minimal training. End users seemed to mostly like it, because it does work well for BASIC installations.

However, if you're looking to do true custom stuff, it's not ideal. For example, one install (that I didn't have the lead on, thank goodness) had a TV in a motorized lift that dropped down from the ceiling. A properly programmed system would make the TV drop down when a video source was selected. When the job was done, you had to go to the lift control page, drop the lift, then activate the video source. I know it seems basic, but to DO it in Savant is well past the level that most installers are at.

Savant even tells you at training that they're a software company. Keep that in mind when you inspect their hardware. After all, you know what they say about ordering a steak at a seafood restaurant.

Savant was the beginning of the end for me at that company, and I eventually quit because of it. I'll never use or support that stuff again. They're getting good at abandoning ideas (Lite Touch, telephony servers, Squeeze Box, etc...), and leaving dealers with unsupported product. Their Sonos integration isn't too extensive, from what I understand, and they do this to push people into Autonomic audio streamers which they DO support. It used to make me crazy when we'd sell someone a top shelf AV receiver with all these streaming functions and yet no way to access them because the Savant profile for that device didn't allow it. And the solution is to buy an Autonomic piece? For how much? $1500? $2000?
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post #4 of 19 Old 05-31-2016, 06:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSVO View Post
I've used Savant a lot over the last 3 or 4 years with the previous company I worked for. I did their first two levels of training and know (knew) their stuff pretty well. From what I've seen, dealers love it because it can be deployed *very* quickly by techs with minimal training. End users seemed to mostly like it, because it does work well for BASIC installations.

However, if you're looking to do true custom stuff, it's not ideal. For example, one install (that I didn't have the lead on, thank goodness) had a TV in a motorized lift that dropped down from the ceiling. A properly programmed system would make the TV drop down when a video source was selected. When the job was done, you had to go to the lift control page, drop the lift, then activate the video source. I know it seems basic, but to DO it in Savant is well past the level that most installers are at.

Savant even tells you at training that they're a software company. Keep that in mind when you inspect their hardware. After all, you know what they say about ordering a steak at a seafood restaurant.

Savant was the beginning of the end for me at that company, and I eventually quit because of it. I'll never use or support that stuff again. They're getting good at abandoning ideas (Lite Touch, telephony servers, Squeeze Box, etc...), and leaving dealers with unsupported product. Their Sonos integration isn't too extensive, from what I understand, and they do this to push people into Autonomic audio streamers which they DO support. It used to make me crazy when we'd sell someone a top shelf AV receiver with all these streaming functions and yet no way to access them because the Savant profile for that device didn't allow it. And the solution is to buy an Autonomic piece? For how much? $1500? $2000?
Thanks for the input. I know this dealer also uses control4, but prefers Savant.

I have another local AV specialist who has been around for a while and has great references and reputation. My only concern is that he uses RTI and he likes to use two different apps on the ipad/iPhone (one for lights and one for AV).

I also really like the new Savant remote as well as the UI on the iPhone/pad.
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-17-2016, 09:24 AM
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We're a large integrator for both Control4 and Savant in the Denver area. I like both platforms. Control4 integrates with more things but we have had better reliability with Savant. Quite frankly---you'd be fine with either system as long as it is installed by someone who is good at what they do. It's less about which platform and more about the company doing it.

I greatly prefer Lutron over Vantage, as well. Tremendous integration with Savant and the best shades in the business.

We have a post on our web site about comparing these brands to each other. The Savant vs. Control4 link is a bit dated but feel free to take a look.

http://residentialsystemsinc.com/con...ys-smart-home/

http://residentialsystemsinc.com/con...-within-reach/

Travis Leo
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Residential Systems, Inc.
www.ResidentialSystemsInc.com
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post #6 of 19 Old 11-17-2016, 09:46 AM
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Savant has a great UI and I do like their remote.

Here's another option for you: http://myeasytek.com/2016/06/13/elan...tion-overview/ it's what I use on most jobs.

James Babin - System designer (http://www.myeasytek.com).
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-17-2016, 10:07 AM
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You may or may not care, but rumor has it that Savant just laid off about half of its employees. That's what is being talked about amongst integrators. That may not bode well for its future, and for the longer term viability of a system you might install.

Anyhoo, don't shoot the messenger, I'm just passing on the information. Here's some discussion in the integrator section of RemoteCentral:

http://www.remotecentral.com/cgi-bin...read.cgi?38716
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www.charmedquark.com

 

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post #8 of 19 Old 12-11-2016, 10:57 PM
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I know this thread is a bit dated, a month ago, but I'm curious to know which system you went with and if it's working as you intended.

I'm about to start remodeling my house, huge remodel demoing half the house, raising the ceilings, and adding a 2nd floor, and I'm shopping for a home automation system to be integrated during the remodel. I've talked with installers about both the Savant and the Control4, and I'm leaning towards the Control4 mostly because I have a few friends who have a Control4 system in their houses. I'm familiar with the Control4 system and don't know anyone who has a Savant system. I'm considering Crestron too, but like the Savant, I don't know anyone who uses it.

I'd like to hear which system you chose and what you're using it to control. Another thing I like about the Control4 is all the available options for it. I need a system to control all my lighting, blinds, whole home AV system with an indoor and outdoor theater, pool, water features, irrigation, etc. I'd like to choose the right system and need something with lots of functionality and is easy to use so someone besides myself will be able to use everything.

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post #9 of 19 Old 12-11-2016, 11:20 PM
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I haven't seen a Savant system in real life but other integrators i know have...and they like it. I work for a Crestron dealer so i have a lot of experience with it. I have seen a lot of Control4 in the wild also. Elan G and Total Control from URC are other options. And above you can find a link to Charmed Quark in Dead Roddy's post.

Bottom line is that these days its really hard to tell whats under the hood if the system is installed and programmed correctly. With just about every system you can have iPad and at least 1-way handheld remote control capability. Your focus when looking for an installer should be to find a company that has their act together. The products the use dont really matter much (my opinion). Obviously if you want to tinker you might choose one product over another. Crestron for example isn't something a tinkerer should get involved with (my opinion) because of the learning curve. But if you want to hire someone to provide a system that anyone can use...pick the right integrator and let them pick the right control system.

Ask to see examples of their work. Ask to tour a recent clients home. Test drive the touchpanel and see if it is easy to use and if everything works. Hint...if you get a lot of "thats just temporary" or "thats not working yet" it means it probably wont ever be working. If there are no projects to tour it means they havent done anything like the system you want to. Dont let them learn on your dime. Ask to see cabinets and control rooms and check the wiring to their racks. Is it neat? Easy to get to? If everything just works for ten years and never gives you a problem it wont matter but if your system exists in the real world it will need to be maintained. Sloppy racks are a nightmare and an immediate red flag.

We did a project years ago in New Orleans. I was there for months spanning a few years. I really liked it there and considered moving but i cant handle the humidity . I remember that it was difficult to find crestron dealers in the area. I don't know about Baton Rouge. I have an uncle who lives there and a cousin in Gonzalez, LA but they don't know anything about control systems so they wont be of any help . Good luck.
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post #10 of 19 Old 12-11-2016, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travisleo View Post
Quite frankly---you'd be fine with either system as long as it is installed by someone who is good at what they do. It's less about which platform and more about the company doing it.
I wish i had read this. I could have just quoted it with a +1 instead of typing all that out.
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-12-2016, 10:59 AM
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I think another question is how much control you want to change things/some level of DIY vs. leaving it all up to someone else. It kind of depends what's important to you, and what you're willing to pay for. (Note - the earlier comment about getting what you pay for is absolutely critical - IMHO, you will get more value from a system that an experienced professional has designed. This is more about what flexibility you have to quickly change things on your own after the professional has set everything up.)

While I don't have experience with Savant, IMHO, I wouldn't go with them for a number of reasons - they're mostly focused on Apple (which kind of defeats the purpose of one system that can be used anywhere), and the fact that they've recently had a lot of churn. While no one can predict the future, I'm more comfortable with a company that appears to have a solid future in front of them - I don't want to have to swap things out.

I have a Crestron Pyng system that I was able to get through a family friend, utilizing Crestron lights, thermostats, alarm integration, and shades. It's been rock solid, and provides the functionality that we've found extremely useful. The Pyng system doesn't provide the last bit of customization and doesn't control the AV system (7 Squeezeboxes and video) - I've thought about getting additional Crestron equipment to address both issues. The Pyng stuff is great in terms of user customization and stability - as a DIY person, I'd like the ability to do more.
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post #12 of 19 Old 12-12-2016, 12:34 PM
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I'd go with Lutron QS for lighting and shades, if it's in the budget. Top quality.

Lutron + C4. C4 will probably break first.

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post #13 of 19 Old 07-13-2017, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of the feedback! I went to see a home that had Savant Home automation throughout and was absolutely blown away. Every function was working flawlessly. There were Savant remotes for single rooms, and iPads and iPhones to control the whole system.

Our entire house has already been wired with dual Cat6 to every room that needs it. All lighting has a home run line to a control room in our basement. I believe our installer and electrician told us we had approx 15 miles of wiring in our home! It will still be about 5 months or so before our home is completed. I think we ended up with 11 audio zones and 14 TVs (although we'll wait until October to select these). We've made a couple changes to the original plan and once everything is up and running, I'll post some more info with all the specs.

This system has all the customization that we'll ever need and if someone wants to change it, all the wiring is done so the automation system could always be upgraded and changed (until Cat6 is obsolete I guess).
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-03-2017, 09:26 AM
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It's great to hear you selected a system. Overall, any system pre-planned prior to build will/should be better than any retrofit. This is the ideal method for a smart home integration, and essential owner satisfaction.

IMHO, I have had only 1 Savant system that i had the unfortunate pleasure of having to work on . Not overly complicated, but when there are issues, it's not a DIY fix. It's, 'Call the Savant dealer/installer for the fix."

Information is NOT readily available from Savant, and in this particular situation, the owner of the system was rather disappointed not being able to perform simple troubleshooting on their own.

The 'All-In-One- type of solution is great, but be fore-warned, make sure you have a contract line item for every single deliverable for the things that you are expecting the system to perform,( such as turn on every light, TV controls, Audio Video Receiver, thermostats, alarm integration, sump pump notification, camera integration, etc) and operate as expected prior to sign off and acceptance of the system. This will save any headaches in the end. In addition, go line by line on contract review when delivery says is complete is a very good thing to do. In addition, make sure any training that you are paying for is schedule within a set time frame, usually prior to sign off and final payment.

All of this will save you and the dealer/installer heartburn and your money when something does not work. And there will be something that does not work.
Not to say that your vendor of choice is out to 'get you', but, it makes it allot more simple when everybody understands what the deliverables are in writing.

Good luck and wish you the best. Hope it all turns out for you.

JAMES JONES
HT1.0 | HT2.0
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-29-2017, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by never fear View Post
I'm about to break ground on a 7500 SF home and have been interviewing some AV/Home automation companies.

I went to the home of one owner to see his system and was quite impressed. He uses Vantage and Lutron lighting (every light runs to a control box) so you don't see multiple switches in every room. It looks very clean/simple and was easy for my wife and I to use.

Whole house audio, all TV, theater room, outdoor lights, HVAC are all controlled with either the new Savant remote to iPad/iPhone.

User interface was easy, elegant and operation of everything was seamless and fast.

Anyone here have personal experience with current Savant technology?
I'm an end user with a very straightforward two zone set up (inside and outside) and I love my Savant Pro system. It works amazing and I've had no problems in the three months its been installed so far. Highly recommend
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-29-2017, 04:52 PM
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I'm an end user with a very straightforward two zone set up (inside and outside) and I love my Savant Pro system. It works amazing and I've had no problems in the three months its been installed so far. Highly recommend
Which lighting system do you use?
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-29-2017, 04:54 PM
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Which lighting system do you use?
i dont use a lighting system - very straightforward set up for entertainment system
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-29-2017, 07:07 PM
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Any Crestron guys here?
I'll put my word in for Crestron & Crestron Lighting (Pyng) or Lutron lighting if the system is large.
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-29-2017, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avsmikee View Post
i dont use a lighting system - very straightforward set up for entertainment system
Lutron is the lighting system to go with for future everything compatibility.

Control4 lighting is amazing (I have it) but tied to C4. For new build their panel lights are even better.
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