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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're having our first house built in San Antonio and the builder has a company they use Builder Security Group (BSG) for home security and home audio. One thing I really wanted was to have surround sound/home audio throughout the house. They had different options we could choose from but I have to admit I don't know much about it.


They have 4 Stereo Home Audio option packages. I went with the first one which is listed below


-Stereo Prewire (16/2 (1) zone of stereo with (2) speaker locations and (1) volume control location). We did that times 4. So we have a speaker in 4 rooms.


They also told us about an option to have a Control4/Ipad package. It includes:


1 HC200, 1 SR250, 3 dimmers or switches, 1 3-button keypad, 1 Ipad (wi-fi), Ipad license with installation.


I like the thought of being able to control different parts of the house with a Ipad but in doing research I've seen people mention Crestron, Savant, and AMX.


I just want to get some more knowledge on the different Options. Thanks Sorry so long.
 

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how much money we talking here? it is generally better to do the home theater yourself or at least contract a company specializing in high quality home theater. That company looks like they might to security fine but skimp on proper setup of a home theater/media room. Wait for some other opinions to roll in too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm not sure if this company is doing the actual media room wiring or if somebody else is. When we chose the option of adding a Media Room the builder told us the media room would come pre wired so we didn't have to get the prewiring package from this company.


I'm having a outside company install my projector and screen. Still researching that. Been to a few Best Buys and got some quotes.


Looking at this company's brochure it looks like their specialty is security but they do media rooms and sound also.


Their Control4/Ipad option is $3,400.
 

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Get as many locations pre-wired for stereo as you think you'd ever use. I did quite a few in my house, and left a few out that I knew I could get to and do myself later (accessible from the attic). In hindsight, while I'll actually add those zones this winter, now I wish I'd had paid them the little bit more to do those for me...


If that Control4 quote includes everything (wiring, equipment, speakers) that seems like a good price.


Are they quoting any equipment to use for option #1? Or are they just running wire and leaving it to you?


One thing to note (I think we've discussed this before) - builders left to their own without your input will generally place 5.1 speaker wiring in horrible locations in a "media room" pre-wire. Make sure you specify the correct locations for that room.


Jeff
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor /forum/post/20796831



One thing to note (I think we've discussed this before) - builders left to their own without your input will generally place 5.1 speaker wiring in horrible locations in a "media room" pre-wire. Make sure you specify the correct locations for that room.

And specify the gauge of wire to be used, may builders will use the cheapest 18gauge wire they can get their hands on, 16gauge would be much better.
 

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I saw a quote recently that most AV installs were done by alarm guys, but a company which specializes in AV would be better, IMO. Meet with their sales guy, ask lots of questions, maybe they can show you a completed install to reassure you.


If you go with a volume control for each zone, also have them run a single category cable to the volume control location, for future upgrading to a keypad or touchscreen. Since they're running the speaker cable to the keypad, adding a single category cable is very easy for them to do (but they'll prob charge you $100/cable anyway, but still prob worth it).


My house came wired with volume controls, and I replaced them with keypads. I wish the category cable was there already - had to retrofit, PITA.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgregory29 /forum/post/20795492


We're having our first house built in San Antonio and the builder has a company they use Builder Security Group (BSG) for home security and home audio. One thing I really wanted was to have surround sound/home audio throughout the house. They had different options we could choose from but I have to admit I don't know much about it.


They have 4 Stereo Home Audio option packages. I went with the first one which is listed below


-Stereo Prewire (16/2 (1) zone of stereo with (2) speaker locations and (1) volume control location). We did that times 4. So we have a speaker in 4 rooms.


They also told us about an option to have a Control4/Ipad package. It includes:




1 HC200, 1 SR250, 3 dimmers or switches, 1 3-button keypad, 1 Ipad (wi-fi), Ipad license with installation.

I like the thought of being able to control different parts of the house with a Ipad but in doing research I've seen people mention Crestron, Savant, and AMX.


I just want to get some more knowledge on the different Options. Thanks Sorry so long.

Sounds to me like you need to get with someone in the AV community that can help you. Perhaps there is a local store in SA? I have a bud who built a house in Oak Ridge about a year ago and he also had a HT included. He went with the Crestron controller and I think it was the right move for him. Let us know what you decide to do.
 

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You really should meet with a Crestron/AMX/Control4/Elan/Savant/etc pro installer before the prewire, if you're considering home automation options. The AV installer can help with prewiring decisions.


At a minimum, meet with the Control4 salesman. That package offered seems pretty weak, in terms of capabilities. You need to get a solid quote for a full, working install to include the whole-house audio, exterior lighting control, media room lighting controls, and TV controls (multiple TVs?). They could also provide HVAC control from the iPad, with Control4 thermostats. The other manufacturers (Crestron, etc) can provide similar functionality to Control4, but I bet that would not be an easy option with this builder.


I'm generally not a big fan of Best Buy installation services. Many other pro installers in your area, ask friends for references, check the CEDIA website. Best Buy is priced lower for a reason.
 

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As someone who worked with a similar company in Houston during my home build, I can say that you will need to know exactly what you want in order to have it done correctly by the builder's partner (BSG). Most of these security-based "full-service" firms are cookie-cutter. Throw them a curve ball and they will strike out more often than the Houston Astros. I wound up mapping out my home for them as I had an "extreme setup" (lots of cat 6 to do whole house a/v) from their view, and it really blew their minds what I would be using it for. I went on-site the day after pre-wire and they had still managed to foul it up, despite CAD drawings and full specs of every LV wire.


Whole House audio should be ok from them, as long as you heed advice here to have them run cat5 or 6 cable from the keypad to wherever you choose to have your sources centrally located. I think maybe you just mistyped in your original post - you say a speaker in four rooms - if you did a stereo prewire X 4 - you should have a pair of speakers and a volume control in each room. One thing to ask yourself - how often will you use this? I really thought I would use mine all the time, but with a 2700 sf "open floor plan" house, and 6 zones of audio, the one I use the most is on the patio - because I could turn ONE on inside the house and hear it all over. Just think about whether you will really use this before you put any equipment in - I still think you should prewire for it though, as it's easier to not use it than to add the wiring later.


As to the media room, it sounds like your builder is going to prewire that, again, likely their "cookie cutter" standard. I had my game room (future home theater) prewired as well during the build. Do you know how much of that was used by my AV guys when they installed my home theater? ZERO. ZIP. NADA. It was in the wrong location, the wrong gauge, you name it. Plan for this room to be rewired when you want the theater done, or as stated above, get someone who will be doing this for you involved NOW so that the wiring is mapped out and done correctly during the pre-wire phase.


Control4 - that's a nice entry point, but that's all it's designed to do - whet your appetite so that they can sell you more. That's really pretty much a one room package. Do you want full home automation? Or is the package price just something that looks attractive to be able to do a few things?


Avoid Best Buy - don't trust them to do anything correctly, or if they do, it won't be done very well. While I've no experience with them, I've only heard fantastic things about Bjorn's right there in SA. A quick internet search also found Home Technology Group there as well. You do have a few more options than Best Buy, and while they MAY be a bit more costly than BB, the old adage applies - you get what you pay for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sorry guys I been away with work for the past few days plus trying to get some more info on my house. The builder is ticking me off cause they're taking forever to get started. Let me see if I can answer some of the questions.


Well first off as far as the Media Room. It sucks because they had a option of going with a 2nd Master or a Media Room We went with the Media Room cause we already had 4 bedrooms and a game room. The crazy thing about that is it was like nobody had ever went with that option before cause they had no pricing of it. Took us two weeks to get the pricing of the room.


With that said of course they didn't have a model of what the room looked like so all I have to go off of was the plans. (See Below)






So that's where i'm at with that. This BSG company is doing most of the other wiring in the house. The wiring for the Security System and the Stereo Pre-Wiring I talked about earlier.


@Mike One of the things I wanted was having stereo audio throughout the house because we have alot of get togethers and it would be nice to have that especially the way our house is going to be setup and people being in different parts of the house. So that's why we had four speakers. I think we had one in the gameroom area upstairs. One in our master bedroom, one in the livingroom and one on the patio outside.


Yea the builder is doing the prewiring for the Media Room because when i asked about the wiring package on BSG options sheet the lady said we didn't need it cause the room comes prewired.


A few days later I called BSG and talked with the lady that was over our contract. That's when she told me about the Control4/Ipad package. It was definitely something I wanted but I didn't want to add it to our loan I was just going to pay for it outright. At that time I didn't know about all the other options like Crestron and AMX.


I did a search and found A-V Technologies in SA. They deal with Crestron. Control4 Dealers has 3 categories of dealers Premier, Authorized, and Retail. BSG is actually the top company under Premier dealers then its Revolution and Bjorn (who I think someone mentioned).


Not really sure which way to go.
 

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I suggest you start by meeting with a salesman from A-V Technologies. They might be able to work with the builder directly, especially if the builder and the AV company both reputable, and have been around awhile. They can show you the various options available, give you a demo. Check references closely.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgregory29 /forum/post/20807442


The builder is ticking me off cause they're taking forever to get started.

While this is certainly not good from a build standpoint, it's actually a great thing because it gives you a bit more time to get the wiring figured out!!! Every cloud. . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgregory29 /forum/post/20807442


@Mike One of the things I wanted was having stereo audio throughout the house because we have alot of get togethers and it would be nice to have that especially the way our house is going to be setup and people being in different parts of the house. So that's why we had four speakers. I think we had one in the gameroom area upstairs. One in our master bedroom, one in the livingroom and one on the patio outside.

Sounds good. Also sounds like you got good balance - I overkilled it with zones in the living room, dining room, kitchen, master bed, master bath and patio. Most of those never get used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgregory29 /forum/post/20807442


I did a search and found A-V Technologies in SA. They deal with Crestron. Control4 Dealers has 3 categories of dealers Premier, Authorized, and Retail. BSG is actually the top company under Premier dealers then its Revolution and Bjorn (who I think someone mentioned).


Not really sure which way to go.

MEET with ALL of them, as soon as possible. BSG is likely at the top (Platinum) because they probably have done a lot of these little intro packages through their builder association. Don't know for sure without asking them. What do you want to do? Do you want whole house audio, media room and home automation done at once, or in phases? Go in with a plan of what you want AND your budget, and have them tell you how they'd meet your plans.


Can't hurt to talk to the Crestron dealer - if they quote you on the Prodigy line, it will probably be cost-wise close to C4. Mainline Crestron will be a bit higher, but scales better with larger projects. Elan would be another good option, as their new g! series looks pretty nice. Crestron, AMX and Savant (Apple-based) will generally be on the upper end of the automation spectrum cost-wise. Don't focus on which tech, but on getting a good solution provider that will scope the proper equipment to fit your budget and accomplish what you want. Your budget may only allow C4, Crestron Prodigy or Elan, but then again, I don't know your budget.


The sooner you get to talking and pick a vendor, the sooner they can help you with the rest of your planning - for example, maybe the prewire that the builder does in your media room will be the opposite of what is needed. Where are the speakers home-run to? Where will your equipment be located? Are the sconces in the correct location? All of this can be fixed after the fact, but if you can get it nailed down before the wiring is done, that saves a lot of additional expense down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Realtor just called me and sent the first photo of our house getting started by the builder.




We're building in San Antonio and we currently live in OK so I have to call each of them. Heading down in a few weeks to visit some friends and look at the progress on the house.


One question I do have is can one of these companies come in and do what they need to do while the house is being built or do I have to wait till after we close? I kind of got the impression from my realtor that builders don't like to let outsiders come in to do things since the house technically isn't ours yet.


I would like to have this setup and in place when I move in or shortly there after. I want to have the option to control the AC, lights, alarm system, etc.


When I talked to the BSG rep she said that everything will be controlled in the Media Room.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrgregory29 /forum/post/20809413



One question I do have is can one of these companies come in and do what they need to do while the house is being built or do I have to wait till after we close? I kind of got the impression from my realtor that builders don't like to let outsiders come in to do things since the house technically isn't ours yet.

Your realtor is PROBABLY correct. The only way to know for sure is to ASK. However, as they're breaking ground, I'm guessing it's about a 3-4 month turn, right? Maybe less since construction is in the dumps. Chances are you can't coordinate with everyone quickly enough to have it done during construction, IF the builder would even allow it. The biggest problem is even the builder's partner (BSG) has their hands tied, as they are limited to packages they can offer during construction (I'm guessing - that's the way my build was). Then after closing, they can do a lot more.


Whole house audio can be done pretty quickly after move-in, assuming you've decided on a system to install (and you've got a few months to get that done)


Theater may take a bit longer, just depends on what you want. Same with automation - if simple, may be done quickly post-close, if more complex, may take a while longer.


If the builder won't let a 3rd party in during construction (FIND THAT OUT NOW - as in TODAY), then try to talk to the a/v guys quickly, and hire one to do a wiring plan based on what you want to do. Use this to adjust the pre-wire that your builder & BSG do, then have the a/v guys come in after closing to finish out everything. Even if you only talk to BSG, talk about what you want to do post-closing and what they can adjust on the pre-wire to make sure it's as easy as possible to complete after you take possession. Check references on all the vendors you talk to. A bad vendor can screw things up horrifically; a good one can make a system sing.
 

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Much of the automation options are wireless these days - lighting, thermostats, control. Even whole-house audio can be relatively wireless (Sonos).


Do what you can before construction, but adding it after, before you move in, won't kill you. It will just be a lot easier, and cheaper, during construction.


If they have to cut some drywall holes, for retrofitting some cables, it's cheap and easy to fix, especially if freshly painted. Matching paint is the hard part.



Just trying to put things in perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I really appreciate the tips and suggestions. Talked to the builder and yea I can't have a 3rd party come in while under construction. So I have to wait till I close. They're projecting closing around the last week of Oct to the First week of Nov.


I'm going to start calling some of these vendors tomorrow to try and get some quotes. Like you guys said I got plenty of time to figure out what I want.


I've liked Control4 and Crestron both so far watching them on youtube. The wife likes the option of having a Ipad to do the functions.
 
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