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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to decide between various control systems and have deliberately steered clear of Crestron and AMX due to pricing considerations. I'm starting to rethink my position but I'm still not sure that an Elan or similarly priced system doesn't get me 95% of what I want at a 20-30% savings.


The main desire is for me to control a music server (among other sources)and send distributed audio to 6 or so zones. I want to be able to receive 2-way metadata related to artist, album, genre, etc on my control interface. I originally thought I could use a simple wall plate for basic audio control in the various zones and access the richer music server metadata via the TV screen but I'm not so sure that's the best way to use the system...


Anyone have any pros and cons of the various approaches?

and available systems?
 

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Tech-Law:


Crestron is significantly more advanced than Elan. It is what I use for the vast majority of our projects. I design every system as if it were for my home, taking into consideration my clients wants and budget. Which is why if the budget allows, I use Crestron. That's the best answer I can give you.


If you want to explore another alternative, www.xploretechnologies.com is a new company I would look at, not Elan. You might also be well served to read through the thread on the NetStreams product.


Hope that helps.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Tech-Law
I originally thought I could use a simple wall plate for basic audio control in the various zones and access the richer music server metadata via the TV screen but I'm not so sure that's the best way to use the system...
Nothing wrong with that as an option but the best interface by far IMO is simply the touchscreen itself. That way you are not dependent on having a TV present or navigating through on screen TV menus to select a disc. It's SO much easier and more concienent to do it right from the touchscreen or keypad - which also means you will use the system more. Check out www.request.com for some sample CD library touchscreen layouts if you haven't seen them.
 

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Tech-Law,


IMO for what you want to do, the ELAN system may be your best choice. Here's a shopping list:

- System 6 (6 zone, 6 source preamp/amp/controller)

- VIAdj (digital music server, 160 GB HD)

- VIA color touchpanel(s) (one or more)

- Z200/250 keypads (in zones that don't have VIA! panels)


The user interface at the VIA panels is very nice and allows easy browsing of the music library with cover art displayed. The VIAdj provides 3 analog and one digital output stream, which gives you 3 sources for the zoned music and one (digital) for use at the home theater location. You can manage the server from any TV with a video input as well as from the VIA! touchscreens. We've installed many systems like this and the clients have been absolutely delighted.


The ELAN gear also interfaces easily to a good range of third party equipment for lighting automation, security, and other home automation tasks.


I won't debate that the Crestron system can probably do more - but are you paying for capabilities you'll never use? To use an automotive analogy: I'm happy with my 165 mph Porsche, and really don't need the 185 mph Ferrari


geo.
 

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I agree that Elan may serve him very well.


Your car analogy however, may not be entirely appropriate, because it subtly suggests that the differences between the two systems are so esoteric that they are inconsequential (i.e. no one really goes 185 MPH instead of 165 MPH). In the case of Crestron, people often use the extra 500 MPH in speed they get. Sometimes it make a lot more sense to fly than drive, especially if you have a private jet.
 

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p.s. I would also think that one of the factors that should come into play here is whether Tech-Law is going to have someone do the programming for him or is going to do it himself. If it's the latter, than a higher level of involvement/programming proficiency is going to be required for Crestron - which might push him one way or the other.
 

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The more and more I'm learning about Crestron prodcuts, man, they have tremendous flexibility.


I wonder what is going to happen to their touch panels, once the interface is available to Tablets PCs and PDAs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm going to have the system professionally installed but I'm sure I'll be a hands on customer. The price difference between Elan and Crestron is very significant and I know that Crestron ia a more sophisticated product. My concern is that the marginal utility of that sophistication will not be significant enough to offset the increased expense.


Like I said above, the Elan provides all my basic audio and video distribution needs, has a well thought out touchpanel based interface and costs 30% less... I just can't see the logic of the Crestron option... almost like the difference between Audi and Mercedes (for you car guys out there) - you seem to be paying a premium for the name alone. By the way, I own Audis...
 

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BTW, It is possible to usa Tablet PC's and PDA's right now. So Tech-Law if you have a wireless network, go get a Tablet PC and equip your Crestron processor with an ethernet card and guess what? You know have a touchpanel that is the same price as a Via panel (and it happens to have a web browser and a full fledged computer inside it!)


Regards,

BL
 

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I would go with Crestron for the simple fact that you can ADD MORE LATER if you want/need.


Crestron expandability is breathtaking. I did all my own programming/installation and it has become an incredible hobby.


Buy a entry level TP and buy the Pro2 for the processor. Then add on stuff as you wish:


1. Network cards for internet apps

2. Lighting control

3. HVAC control

4. Camera and security control
 

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A tablet PC is probably going to run at least $500 more than a VIA! on a MSRP basis. Most importantly though, the VIA! (Crestron dedicated panels too) are much more user friendly i.e you can perform a task with one or two touches and don't have to boot up, log in, and launch the IE browser every time you just want to listen to a tune.


If you want to make a hobby of tweaking and adding to the system, Elan can accommodate your needs as well. Adding a SC-4 serial interface unit provides a very nice interface to the Lutron lighting automation product line Aprilaire smart thermostats for HVAC, and several types of security systems. Add a Z880 video switcher and you can view door and security cameras from any VIA! panel.


geo.
 

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Elan is great for the application that you are currently planning. The nice thing about Crestron is that your only limitations are budget and imagination. I went to one of their programming classes and we started trying to stump our instructor. "What if you wanted to . . . " and the guy had a Crestron answer to damn near everything.
 

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I work in the industry. I am a senior system designer at a large Chicago area firm. We use both ELAN and AMX. Frankly we dumped CRESTRON. Let me give you an analogy. Honda and Acura. Basically the same car. Well, it basically the same thing with AMX and Crestron. They are a little more fancier than AMX. However, we have had tremendous success integrating ELAN Z, and HD systems with an AMX NI-4000 NETLINX system. You should visit www.amx.com and click on the DEALERS section and take a look at there PDF on CEDIA. The comparisions with CRESTRON products is quite a shocker. The new AMX panels are stunning and way more advanced. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me.


The Doc
 

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I was unable to find the document you mentioned on their web site. I personally chose Crestron over AMX as I liked the flexability of both the PVID and BIPAD8 for HD video and audio dist. over cat 5. As to if one is better than the other--I think the programmer will make or break it.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Adam_G
I was unable to find the document you mentioned on their web site.
It's actually quite an interesting exercise to browse the two companies web sites. One of them is IMO one of the most useful well laid out vendors sites on the Internet and puts an absolute mountain of information at your fingertips.


The other one is an abortion and such a nightmare to navigate that it's virtually useless. I won't say which is which ;), I'll let everyone try them and decide for themselves :).
Quote:
As to if one is better than the other--I think the programmer will make or break it.
Agreed.
 

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Crestron will be introducing some new products at this years Infocomm, they promise to "change the touch panel as we know it" big promise, given their history wouldnt be surprised if they do just that though, might be worth taking a look at before you decide on a system of this calibre, just a thought
 

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I welcome the birth of cool as much as the next guy but some this is little more than ego. Modaro touch panels begin at 7k so there is a de facto limitation as to how many people can afford these very cool products. I suspect that the new Crestron panels will be equally restrictive from a price point of view. Moreover, the coolest touch panel designs are, in my opinion, not always the easiest to use. I love the animations you can draw on a Modaro and that you can space graphics very close together. The resolution of the panel is amazing. But in the end it is still a button press and a cool button and a simple button do the same thing. Indirect text is still indirect text. And a good user interface is not always the most cool.


One of the STUPIDEST and least fruitful debates one could engage in is whether AMX or Crestron is better. They are both excellent products and the actual differences between them have less to do with hardware or either company's software utilities but the software program written to controls them. As, Adam G put it " the programmer will make or break it. " It is of very little difference in fact whether you use a PVID, Extron, Knox, Autopatch or some other matrix video switcher. A system can be designed to work with what ever equipment was necessary. Either control system could be made to work with that equipment. One may be easier or harder to program but in the hands of a talented programmer each can do ANYTHING. To compare either to Elan is to compare a Chevy to a Mercedes.

Ironically, to even approach what either AMX or Crestron is capable Elan will cost more put provide less flexibility to the programmer and less control capability. Unless they offer an Ethernet module to go along with their serial control box- and that box is a joke, too. Which does not mean that if you have an Elan system you will not be happy with it. Just because I can offer a client the ability to use an ASCII keyboard to control his ReplayTV PVR does not mean that the Elan user will mind having to use a cursor to pick letters out one at a time.


Alan
 

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I'm not 100% sure discussing the health of a company with

such stellar products as 'phast' and the whole panja debacle

would quantify as


"STUPIDEST and least fruitful debates one could engage in"


Never the less, granted AMX corp has introduced significantly

better products of late, but then again its all prospective on

where they came from as recent as the mid nineties, and duly

noted the programming is a huge part of it, however no amount

of programming in the world will wake a phastlink hub thats died

for the second time this year and third over all


We were asked to remove two complete amx systems this year, glad

to take the money, after all arguing with a customer that wants to pay

is might rank as stupid and unfruitful :D



My intention here was not to flame any fires here but only to

mention that there indeed are differences in these systems, as

well as the corporate philosophy's behind them, that kind of

thing does matter when you've paid in excess of 50k for a

product and get little to no help on the back end resolving

bugs/problems



Just my 2cents
 
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