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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are building a new 6000 sq ft home that we are considering wiring for home automation for distributed a/v, hvac, lighting, shades, and security. I have been dealing with a couple of professional installers. One sells Crestron products and the other sells Elan. They each have their own speaker recommendations of course (B&W from the one pushing Crestron and Elan from the one pushing Elan) I know final costs will vary greatly depending on monitors, speakers, projectors, etc selected. The real question I am looking for help with is what to go with for the heart of the system: Crestron with TPS-4L and APAD touch panels throught the house or an Elan based system with Via touchscreens and Ole key pads distributed throughout the house. The preliminary bid using the Elan system is much less than the Crestron system. Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you,

jjkent
 

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If you question is does the Elan compare to the Crestron no it does not but it's still quite a nice system. Certainly I think the B&W speakers will also be much better. Other than that I don't know what advice I can offer. The Crestron is in a different league if budget allows.


p.s. In the interests of full disclosure I am an integrator who works with Crestron. All high-end integrators are going to work with either Crestron or AMX. Below those two names there will be a number of others such as Elan, Niles ICS (also VERY good) NetStreams (also VERY good) and so on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your input. This is rapidly becoming apparent from what I have been reading in forms like this. One of my issues is trying to compare costs directly between Crestron and other products such as Elan. The bids come in with long lists of equipment ranging from speakers to keypads/touchpads so it becomes difficult to compare apples to apples. I guess one thing I am trying to ask is if one were to use the same speakers, monitors, quality of wiring, and similar key pads, how much difference in price would you expect to see in a Crestron based system vs an Elan or other type system-25% more; 50% more etc.

Thank you,

jjkent
 

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Remodeling comes with a ridiculous amount of decisions; just ask my wife as she's making most of them with respect to our modest renovation.


I too am a Crestron dealer and programmer and I particularly dislike Elan because it is not a control system through it advertises itself as such. If you are willing to limit your choices to the few sub-systems that Elan can control so be it. Does it work as a distributed audio system? More or less. You can certainly do more with Crestron without any of the caveats that come with Elan. While Elan's digital amps are acceptable they do not sound good nor can they drive 2 pairs of 8 ohm speakers very well. Crestron makes ( or OEMs ) much better amps and if price is a factor the Niles 12x60 and the Sherbourn amps just blow the Elan away.


A Crestron touch panel is leagues ahead of the Elan, which is a POS. The APAD is the most revolutionary product to hit the automation world but it requires a different programming paradigm and many of us are still coming to terms with programming it. Elan has nothing like an APAD.


Crestron does have an interface into WMP though I've not used it and i cannot comment on how well it integrates or what the down side is. Elan? You are stuck with its OEM'ed Imerge unit. Tuners: The dual Teac Elan OEMs is a nice unit but it is hardly the most selective unit in the world. If money is an aspect the Sherboune is a much better bargain and it is also 2-way. I wrote a macro for it that I gave to Sherbourn and it is available to any professional integrator who can prove he is in the business for free. Nothing comes close to the feature set of the Crestron tuner though it is not the ultimate is capture ration or selectivity.


Because Crestron can do so much more than Elan it ought to be more expensive. But I could play all sorts of games, use different parts in the Crestron SKU or outside of it to lower the price. Ultimately Crestron will permit better integration into lighting, HVAC, shades, or security than Elan. Ultimately, my recommendation is to select the integrator not the integration system. A good integrator can come close to making a silk perse from a sow's ear and a bad one can turn the best system into a disaster. Crestron is better, can do more and generally will cost more. This does not mean you have to use the most expensive speakers though almost every one of my clients does spend more to have better sounding Triad in walls installed but not because of the superior sound but because Triads are sealed boxes and clients recognize the value of a recessed speaker that stops the back wave from travelling to adjacent rooms.


Alan
 

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Keeping the same speakers, amps, projectors etc. in each proposal Crestron will cost slightly more but it also has more capability and proven track record for handling your list with ease.


Generally the control system in a larger home will be such a small percentage of the overall automation expense. The majority are all the other amps, speakers, install labor, wire and termination.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjkent /forum/post/0


Thank you for your input. This is rapidly becoming apparent from what I have been reading in forms like this. One of my issues is trying to compare costs directly between Crestron and other products such as Elan. The bids come in with long lists of equipment ranging from speakers to keypads/touchpads so it becomes difficult to compare apples to apples. I guess one thing I am trying to ask is if one were to use the same speakers, monitors, quality of wiring, and similar key pads, how much difference in price would you expect to see in a Crestron based system vs an Elan or other type system-25% more; 50% more etc.

Thank you,

jjkent

Yes, it is going to be very difficult to compare Crestron to Elan on an "apples to apples" basis. One of the issues is that there are a huge number of options with each system, especially Crestron. Crestron has interfaces for example ranging from a keypad ($360) to the APAD which it sounds like you have seen ($500) to a touchscreen (~$1250) and up to 5K and beyond touchscreens. Crestron also offers the Adagio system which is very powerful but not quite as "limitless" as their other systems. If the automatic programming is used for the Adagio that will cut down on programming costs.


*Wild ass guess* - comparing apples to apples as much as that is possible a Crestron system is going to run 25% to 50% more. Perhaps even less if you use the Crestron Adagio components as the reference. It could also easily cost 100% or 200% percent more since the sky is the limit, but at that point it's not really "apples to apples". Hopefully you can find a Crestron dealer who will take the time to sit with you and thoroughly explain and review your options so you can tailor it to meet your needs/wants/budget.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alan, thank you for all of the great information. I will take a close look at the Crestron products. The installer/dealer that represents them locally has been in business for 30 years and has an excellent reputation.

jjkent
 

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It essentially comes down to your needs - now and in the future. Elan does a perfectly fine job of distributing audio and a decent job of distributing video. If that's all you will ever want then so be it. Crestron is a foundation which can be built upon in the future. I sell Crestron and used to sell Elan. Invariably I found that every time I sold Elan that the client would come back to me later wanting to upgrade or expand into things that Elan simply can't do. I switched to Crestron so I wouldn't have to tell my clients "no, the system I sold you can't do that."
 

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I installed an Elan system in my last house and a Crestron system in this house. If you were looking at just distributing audio and video, I would say use either system (despite what Alan says, you can integrate many A/V products with Elan, including better amps).


However, when you throw in lighting, security, hvac, and shades, I wouldn't look at anything but Crestron. Their integration in these areas blows Elan away (when I last looked, though things may have changed).


CJ
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJO /forum/post/0


I installed an Elan system in my last house and a Crestron system in this house. If you were looking at just distributing audio and video, I would say use either system (despite what Alan says, you can integrate many A/V products with Elan, including better amps).



CJ

If you read what I wrote or have written about Elan, I never once suggested that it could not function as a distributed audio system, even if I think their digital amps leave much to be desired when compared to other products, like the Niles 1260 or Sherbourn that compete at the same price. Moreover, I was very specific with my complaint about Elan in so far as they advertise themself as a control system, not merely a distributed audio system and unless you accept the limitations of one way control or the few limited devices they have drivers for, I do not think they are a control system save for the most lose definition of the term.


I have similiar experience to mattman and what I have found is that clients who originally say that want just a distributed audio system will at some point want satellite radio, a plasma, some kind of HD video distribution, some kind of lighitng control, often HVAC control and while Elan can do this--sort of, with lots of caveats and kludges, and then only with certain brands--it does not qualify as a control system.


Yes I read the part of your post I failed to quote. I dislike Elan becuase so many Elan dihards suggest that it is more than it is and the gullible believe it. There are no price reasons to go with Elan. If price is an issue go with Adagio--and the limitations in size it imposes. One does not need to use B&W speakers with a Crestron system, nor does one need to use the vey good but very expensive Crestron distributed audio amps. There are advantages to them but price also has a place in this world.


Elan works as a distributed audio system but again you have so many limitations in the type of equipment you can use with it that I'd suggest that even that should give a potential client pause when comparing it to Crestron. Niles makes a much better audio distribution system then Elan will ever be.


Alan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiblesolutions /forum/post/0


If you read what I wrote or have written about Elan, I never once suggested that it could not function as a distributed audio system..

And I never said differently!

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiblesolutions /forum/post/0


...even if I think their digital amps leave much to be desired when compared to other products, like the Niles 1260 or Sherbourn that compete at the same price. Moreover, I was very specific with my complaint about Elan in so far as they advertise themself as a control system, not merely a distributed audio system and unless you accept the limitations of one way control or the few limited devices they have drivers for, I do not think they are a control system save for the most lose definition of the term.


I have similiar experience to mattman and what I have found is that clients who originally say that want just a distributed audio system will at some point want satellite radio, a plasma, some kind of HD video distribution, some kind of lighitng control, often HVAC control and while Elan can do this--sort of, with lots of caveats and kludges, and then only with certain brands--it does not qualify as a control system.


Yes I read the part of your post I failed to quote. I dislike Elan becuase so many Elan dihards suggest that it is more than it is and the gullible believe it. There are no price reasons to go with Elan. If price is an issue go with Adagio--and the limitations in size it imposes. One does not need to use B&W speakers with a Crestron system, nor does one need to use the vey good but very expensive Crestron distributed audio amps. There are advantages to them but price also has a place in this world.


Elan works as a distributed audio system but again you have so many limitations in the type of equipment you can use with it that I'd suggest that even that should give a potential client pause when comparing it to Crestron...

Agreed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by audiblesolutions /forum/post/0


...Niles makes a much better audio distribution system then Elan will ever be.

Why do you say that? Sound? GUI? Programming?


CJ
 

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In part becuase Niles has both Sirius and XM tuners, provide bidirectional control and feedback for all audio sources ( save CATV and other one way sources ), they control any of the general CD server manufacturers with indirect text and their 2-way wireless remote is better than even what the big boys currently offer ( though soon to change ). Niles is alos so much faster to setup.


The 1230 that is the heart of the sysetm is ok, their programmig utility is just fabulous and the UI is acceptabe. Personally I like a touch panel that is not just black and white but for what it is and at its price point it offers more features and a lower price. Only the Adagio beats it and one could debate the point the Niles is that good. It doesn't expand into automation all that well but as a DA it is something to consider.


6:30 and I'm finished programming. Only 9 hours today. now for the 3 hour drive home.


Alan
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiblesolutions /forum/post/0


Personally I like a touch panel that is not just black and white but for what it is and at its price point it offers more features and a lower price.

To clarify, the Niles Contact touchscreen is color I believe.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ /forum/post/0


To clarify, the Niles Contact touchscreen is color I believe.

Does Niles do Mom....................................Ah, forget it



Chip
 

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Not sure why everyone is giving ELAN a bad image. I have a System 12, 883, D1650, D660? another amp and distribute audio 8 zones 3 sub zones and HD video to 5 TV locations with multiple locations getting composite as well to include 5 touchscreens. It is integrated with a HAI Omni II Pro for Home Automation(HA) and security and I am using Zwave and have used RadioRa, in the past, as well. I can control my lighting, home automation, trigger events, check on status of the HA as if I am at a keypad, and control all of my components.


Some of the equipment

2 HD DVRs (ViP622)

Xbox360 w/ HD DVD player

Pioneer Elite reciever 82 series

Infocus IN76

Escient DVD-300 w/ Sony DVP-777 ES

Escient MP-150

IPOD

VCR

3 security Cameras

Doorbell/Paging integration


And still have room to add a BD player or combo player...


I could easily add a dual-tuner for local radio, but I get it off my Escient products already via iRadio...


With no issues... I can easily expand my system, but I would need to buy a much bigger house and find a willing wife that would allow me to spend more money...


Couldnt be happier with my system, but it does matter who your installer/integrator is... Mine was great...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dustoff /forum/post/0


Not sure why everyone is giving ELAN a bad image.

Actually I don't think everyone is. I'm not even sure Alan is though he didn''t exactly sound positive about it
. I bet most of us agree with you that Elan can be a very nice system.
 

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Elan makes great products...I had their gear in my house before I upgraded. The point is that it is more for basic video/audio distrbution, rather than full automation (security, temp, motorization, etc...


As QQQ said, they are simply not apples to apples, both for feature set and cost. So it is going to varry from person to person...what does each person want/need in a system?
 
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