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  1. #1

    Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    I am in the middle of new home construction and considering Savant vs. Control 4 vs. Elan for home automation (or not using this type of software at all).

    If you have any experience with these programs (positive and/or negative), I would greatly appreciate your input.

    This is a large custom home. For wiring, there are home-runs of Cat 6 throughout the house. In rooms with TVs, there are home-runs of fiber & coax and speaker cable (and Cat 6). In some locations, there are home-runs of speaker cables for in-ceiling background music. There will be good Wifi coverage with multiple wireless access points.

    The lights & window-shades are Lutron.

    The home automation software would most likely control lights, window-shades, HVAC, cameras, garage doors, intercom, phone, TVs, etc.


    Thanks,

    Duke
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  2. #2
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    Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Savant has the better (way better) interface. Control4 is more popular for now. Creston is the sleeper. If it was me, I was look at Savant. Iím not familiar enough with Elan.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    I bought a house where the previous owner had installed Control 4 (house was built in 2011). I have now lived in it for ~ 4 years. This is my experience -- not a single day goes by without me wishing I could get rid of this damn thing! Whole home automation is way overrated. I have been paying ~ 1500 dollars every year to my control 4 vendor just to troubleshoot and fix problems as they come up. I must have spent $5000 so far -- this does not include any system improvements (which would cost a lot more). A total money pit! Other people might have a different opinion.
    Anshul

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke97 View Post
    I am in the middle of new home construction and considering Savant vs. Control 4 vs. Elan for home automation (or not using this type of software at all).

    If you have any experience with these programs (positive and/or negative), I would greatly appreciate your input.

    This is a large custom home. For wiring, there are home-runs of Cat 6 throughout the house. In rooms with TVs, there are home-runs of fiber & coax and speaker cable (and Cat 6). In some locations, there are home-runs of speaker cables for in-ceiling background music. There will be good Wifi coverage with multiple wireless access points.

    The lights & window-shades are Lutron.

    The home automation software would most likely control lights, window-shades, HVAC, cameras, garage doors, intercom, phone, TVs, etc.


    Thanks,

    Duke

  4. #4
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    I had a fairly extensive Control4 system installed years back. There was no other option at the time. I've had lots of hardware failures and all kinds of network/handshake problems. As Anshul says, this all amount to lots of expense shelled out to the dealer (often a service charge to come diagnose plus another service charge to come fix or replace something even if the hardware was still under warranty) way more frequently than seems reasonable. The interface seems a bit clunky to me--certainly not what I would think of as cutting edge technology.
    Rance


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  5. #5
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    C4 requires a tech to do any tweaking of the installation however minor because the integration software is restricted to C4 integrators. Whether that requires a physical service call or can be done remotely it's still likely to cost you money for any changes.

    For my money Clipsal CBUS is the best home automation system. The hardware is ultra reliable (I've have CBUS for 15+ years, no hardware failures at all). The configuration software is a free download meaning a home owner with a little tech savvy can program their whole installation. The software is well documented and Clipsal has excellent product support.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    I too went the path of Control4 around 2011.

    I never liked the stick on receivers, C4 managed three systems. This aside from never really having the correct programming to address scenes despite numerous attempts, itís hard to manage exceptions. Then replacement of remotes at $700 a clip.

    I am down to only lights and receptacles now using the phone app to manage. I do like the ability to network lights, so when one goes on others can go on no matter the circuit.

    Somehow I got talked into alarm.com that manages security and video. Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    If I was to do it over for all this, I wouldnít!






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  7. #7
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    This is the CBUS promo...you can program it all yourself. Plenty of on-line tutorials to step you through it. If you need deeper level support then the CBUS techs are only a phone call away.

    https://youtu.be/ZrwfW1gaz3A
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  8. #8

    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Mike, thank you for your input. I have seen a couple of demos and I liked the Savant interface best.
    --Duke
    Sources: MSB DAC IV & MSB Data CD IV
    Amplifiers: Ayre MXR-20
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  9. #9

    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Anshul & Rance, thank you. This is one of the things I’ve been trying to get my hands around… what are the real benefits vs. actual costs (original set-up expense, plus ongoing service).

    Brodricj, thank for the Clipsal suggestion and posting the link. I’m going to learn more about that software tonight.


    UltraFast69, thank you. Since I have lights covered with Lutron, it seems like there is less of a reason to do the whole home automation thing.

    --Duke
    Sources: MSB DAC IV & MSB Data CD IV
    Amplifiers: Ayre MXR-20
    Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7 Mk2
    Cables: Nordost & Triode Wire Labs
    Power Conditioner: Shunyata Denali

  10. #10
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Duke,

    Take my advice -- do not do it. You will save a boatload of money on initial installation and a sizable sum every year on unnecessary maintenance. More money for audio goodies!
    Anshul

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke97 View Post
    Anshul & Rance, thank you. This is one of the things I’ve been trying to get my hands around… what are the real benefits vs. actual costs (original set-up expense, plus ongoing service).

    Brodricj, thank for the Clipsal suggestion and posting the link. I’m going to learn more about that software tonight.


    UltraFast69, thank you. Since I have lights covered with Lutron, it seems like there is less of a reason to do the whole home automation thing.

    --Duke

  11. #11
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Quote Originally Posted by apdoc2004 View Post
    I bought a house where the previous owner had installed Control 4 (house was built in 2011). I have now lived in it for ~ 4 years. This is my experience -- not a single day goes by without me wishing I could get rid of this damn thing! Whole home automation is way overrated. I have been paying ~ 1500 dollars every year to my control 4 vendor just to troubleshoot and fix problems as they come up. I must have spent $5000 so far -- this does not include any system improvements (which would cost a lot more). A total money pit! Other people might have a different opinion.
    Anshul
    I agree with every word Anshul is saying. I have had a system for 10 years. They are not nearly as good as suggested and expensive afterwards.
    Barry
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  12. #12

    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Big B, thank you. I'm leaning towards skipping home automation, except for lighting.

    --Duke
    Sources: MSB DAC IV & MSB Data CD IV
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  13. #13
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke97 View Post
    Big B, thank you. I'm leaning towards skipping home automation, except for lighting.

    --Duke
    I would skip it all together.


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  14. #14
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    Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    I would skip it all together.


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    +1

    I have amx creston RTI and Lurton systems in several location , it works wonderfully But.., I wrote the codes myself ! Without total control
    I wouldnít touch it!

    One of the biggest advantages is that all user interface in all the locations is identical, it makes life easier
    I build it to be super easy super stupid and very limited

    Btw I kept away from touch screens all together




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  15. #15
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    When we downsized to a more moderate home, I had "the" guy in town put in two systems. One plain AV system in the bedroom, and one a bit more fancy in the Den, which branched out to disparate speakers throughout the house. The was done with 2 Control4 systems. (2013 ish) Plain and simple - it sucked, it was slow, and more importantly, my wife could/would not use it. (hated it).

    I ended up de-activating the bedroom system, which we don't use. I ripped out the Den control unit, and sold it for pennies. I use Sonos to run the house audio, and a Logitech Harmony unit to run the Den AV system. Very happy wife (!!!) - happy life.

    I use a very simple harmony remote in my study to control the video gear. I use Alexa to control the lights in that room. The Bricasti has a simple remote.

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  16. #16

    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Hi Mike, no32 & Bones 13,

    Thank you for your input. My decision is NO AUTOMATION SYSTEM.

    I'm surprised that no one on this forum posted a comment that basically said they were totally satisfied with a home automation system. I know of a few people that have had very good experience with home automation. However, these were all for very large homes and the cost of the original set-up and ongoing maintenance is major. Also, I figured that given incredible stereo systems on AudioShark, there would be a few people who went all-in on automation and really liked it. So far at least, that is clearly not the case.

    FYI, my wife started a similar thread on Houzz. She got a lot of comments similar to here (actually way more passionate "hell no!") The Houzz input was consistent: don't do it!

    Again, I appreciate everyone's input and really like this forum as a way to share information. And even better, I now have more funds to buy stuff from Mike!

    As a final thought, if anyone has a different perspective about home automation, I'd appreciate it if you post your experience.

    Best,
    Duke
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  17. #17
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    We installed Control4 in our new home 2 years ago. Yes, it was expensive to install but we have been very happy with it. Other than the yearly license, we havenít had any expenses.

    My only complain is that anytime we want to change a component, a configuration change to Control4 is required.

    Lastly, with systems like this, having an expert dealer with good customer service is essential.

    My 2 cents.
    _______________

    Mike

  18. #18
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Thereís nothing wrong with any of the products, the issue is the programmer , in most cases they donít really understand the needs and they copy paste previous projects. In other situations one programmer start the job and replaced with another that never interviewed the customer and patch the system.


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  19. #19
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Quote Originally Posted by Duke97 View Post

    ...I'm surprised that no one on this forum posted a comment that basically said they were totally satisfied with a home automation system...
    I'm totally satisfied with my CBUS home automation system. Doesn't cost me a penny to maintain. Any system changes I can tweak myself with the free toolkit software. And it was invented in Australia, which is where your Wifi was also invented.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Quote Originally Posted by no32 View Post
    Thereís nothing wrong with any of the products, the issue is the programmer...
    Yes, that's the problem. These products intentionally lock out end users from making even the slightest changes to the programming. Yet the competencies of the "certified integrators", who are the only people who can, is the reason for much of the dis-satisfaction for the end-user experience.
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  21. #21
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    I will say, the one friend of mine who is very happy with his Control4 system managed to learn to program it himself.

    My install "guy" would charge at least $100 for walking in the house. Its still a quite unpleasant memory. I am sure that the owners experience relies mostly on the installer, and to some degree, the expectations, and learning capacity of the owners.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

    Also be aware that these amps are about 25 watts of Class A, your speakers need to be reasonably efficient.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
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Savant vs. Control4 vs. Elan for home automation

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