Home AMXForums Archive Threads Residential Forum

AMX vs Vantage question

patbpatb Junior MemberPosts: 140
I am working on a proposal for a large residential system and I was told that the lighting and shades/drapes were being done by Vantage and that the AMX needed to interface to it. No big deal - I don't know much about Vantage, but if it has RS-232 I can figure it out. I am the programmer/designer so I have nothing to gain in what hardward is selected. The job is for the personal home of a company that is an AMX dealer, so they are going to buy AMX at their cost so I have nothing to gain by selling them a ton of hardware, just my time for programming is the only thing I'm charging.

We had a meeting to introduce all of the "players" to each other since we are going to be working together - the network guy, the security guy, the phone guy, the Vantage guy, the architect and myself. To my suprise the Vantage guy suprised me by pitching a solution where the Vantage basically did EVERYTHING and according to him the AMX wasn't even needed. Supposedly not only did Vantage do lighting, they had touch panels and keypads that could control any other piece of equipment in the system. They could do whole house music, they could do streaming video to touch panels from a camera to monitor the entry points and security gate, they could interface to security, they had thermostats, blah, blah - basicallly he came in and told the homeowner that they didn't even need me for ANYTHING!

Needless to say this not only suprised me, but pissed me off because this is/was a $10k+ programming/design job for me and here was this guy trying to tell me that I wasn't even needed. Of course he had a vested interest because he was selling all of the hardware and stands to make a sizeable chunk of money.

So my question to the group is as follows...obvioulsy to people like us who know better the Vantage is a low-end, cheap solution that is nowhere near as capable as AMX. I don't know even close to all of the details about the limitations of the Vantage, so how can I make an argument to the homeowners that AMX is a better way to go? What they are doing NOW is not pushing anywhere near the limits of what an AMX system could do, but future upgrades are certainly a possibility once the infrastructure is in place, so I know that is one good argument. What type of agruments have some of you guys that deal with residential every day come up with in this type of situation?

I don't want to get this message too long initially, but I will give the details of this system very briefly so you'll know what they are trying to do.

1) whole house music and I've proposed Russound amps/distribution and Escient music server which will show the covert art on G4 panels. 5-6 zones with touch panel in each zone.

2) thermostat control using new color v-stats and iWeather.

3) intercom to front gate and a couple of other entry point using entry communicator and "i" G4 panels, plus tying that in to phone system using SIP gateway to answer entry communicator if not near a touch panel

4) lighting control (RS-232 to Vantage system)


So - any suggestions as to how I can tell them how pathetic the Vantage system is in a nice way?

Comments

  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    patb wrote: »
    So - any suggestions as to how I can tell them how pathetic the Vantage system is in a nice way?
    Well seeing as the client is an AMX dealer they probably already know the advantages. I don't think I would do anything, except let the air out of Vantage guy's tires.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,368
    mpullin wrote: »
    I don't think I would do anything, except let the air out of Vantage guy's tires.
    Well that's a start!

    I seriously doubt your customer would be interested in Vantage since he likely wants to increase his AMX sales numbers not to mention the fact that he's getting the hardware for cost and the Vantage guy will be selling his hardware for profit.

    Alot of Vantage dealers require Vantage to actually set up their systems, I've seen this time and time again going up against them with Lutron. Sounds like your dealer customer is in the same boat selling stuff they can't fully handle installing.
  • jjamesjjames AMX Sustaining Engineer Posts: 2,901
    vining wrote: »
    Alot of Vantage dealers require Vantage to actually set up their systems, I've seen this time and time again going up against them with Lutron.

    Curious - is this something new? I used to program Vantage 5 years ago and that wasn't the case. I wonder if it's new with their Infusion systems. Any idea?
  • CT-DallasCT-Dallas Junior Member Posts: 157
    having done both. I can tell you that the Vantage system is severely limited in what you can do as a programmer/drop and dragger.

    For me, the issue is how IR and 232 is handled. The dealer base is forced to upload their files and that is what is served out to the masses - unregulated. "But this says it is the IR file to the Denon xyz - why are only some functions here? Why did they not include the discrete power command and how do I add it?" This goes back to the same argument - can I make the file when I need it. Yes, but it is way to convoluted to deal with. Simple things with AMX are an ordeal in getting done with Vantage.

    I have one homeowner that was a vantage dealer, and not an AMX dealer who runs his house with Vantage. He brought me in because literally his guys could not pull it off. I HATE working on it. They have an iris equivalent to capture IR, and you can use a configurator to build the 232 strings - but to an AMX programmer, the steps and systems required to learn that development tool were not pleasant.

    I suspect if you dealt with theaterpoint's all day (NI equivalent with IR and 232 ports), you might embrace their style, however, if you have had the opportunity to do the equivalent task with AMX - you would see how clunky the vantage tasks are.

    Overall, you have a menu based system of building your conditional statements. Actually using an IR remote to fire off events is uber lame and you are stuck with their pre defined buttons. Their touch panels are much easier to work with because you control the real estate, but convincing my homeowner to ditch his URC-600 (or whatever vantage OEM'd) was actually tough. He has the 12" panel and does not like the size - but it is idiot proof with 4" icons that say WATCH TV or WATCH DVD.

    I am off my soap box, but I would let it go and save the day for twice the price when it goes South because Vantage could not deliver on a truly integrated product. The amount of time and resources they are going to dump into this would pay for you many times over.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,368
    jjames wrote: »
    Curious - is this something new? I used to program Vantage 5 years ago and that wasn't the case. I wonder if it's new with their Infusion systems. Any idea?
    At least in my area they let almost any electrical contractor that can produce sales become a dealer. Most of these guys I wouldn't let do the electrical in my house let alone a lighting system or integration system.

    I'm sure there are excellant Vantage dealers that are very adept installing these systems but they are typically AV guys and much smarter than your typical electrician as least in this realm. Not to dis electrical contractors since I'm too but I still wouldn't let most of these guys do my electrical work.
  • glr-ftiglr-fti Junior Member Posts: 286
    I can't speak to the reliability of the newer Vantage pieces but I stopped recommending Vantage about 5 years ago after numerous DOA products and other issues relating to functioning equipment. I was one of the first to use there old IR emitter equipment. I was the first to ever put more than one in an installation. Everything was supposed to be so easy and quick and the hardware was software addressable. They never bothered to test out more than piece and all of the pieces coming off of the assembly line had the same serial number so you could not have more than one per system and I had 6! It was tedious to program a new device and the IR did not work consistently. They always wanted to be all things to everybody and this caused them to lose focus on even their basic lighting. I moved over to Lutron and at the tine PHAST, but that's another story! I am quite happy with Lutron and AMX today. I agree that I don't think you have much to worry about if this is an AMX dealer's residence. Why would they even want Vantage lighting? Why not Lutron? Why don't you back door the Vantage dude and put a Lutron system in your bid? I'll help you if you need it!
  • patbpatb Junior Member Posts: 140
    These are great comments and what Chris said was exactly what I had hoped to find out. Yes the COMPANY is an AMX dealer, but for the homeonwer (owner of the company), they still have to pay for it out of their own pocket, so if a fully programmed Vantage solution is going to cost them less than just the AMX hardward not even factoring in my time, that's what I have to overcome. They don't care about their AMX volume or numbers - they just care 1) if it will work and 2) how much it will cost.

    Since I'm not programming the Vantage, how hard or difficult it is doesn't factor in here. The Vantage guy has given them a turnkey price that is lower than just the hardware cost of the AMX at dealer cost. I do like the idea of backdooring the Vantage guy and giving them an entire solution that doesn't even use Vantage. I designed a large system a few years ago that used all Radia lighting and that was 1/4 the cost of an equivalent Homeworks system, so I imagine that I could put something together that would be very competitive with the Vantage - if I could get the details of exactly what the lighting was supposed to do (number of rooms, loads, wattages, etc).

    The other advantage the Vantage guy has is that he supposedly has an 8-year relationship with the homeowner and their lake house is already done with a full Vantage system (lighting only though, no A/V control). So that was how he got the foot in the door, I got involved in the project because they have used me for their commercial jobs for programming.

    I'm making a document with some of the comments here and I'm going to prepare that as a list of disadvantages of using Vantage.
  • Jeff LockyearJeff Lockyear Junior Member Posts: 147
    We've been an AMX dealer and a Vantage dealer for about the same amount of time (about 10 years) and I can tell you that no one does lighting better than Vantage. For anything more, steer clear. We spec AMX and Vanatge into every system and let each one do what they do best and just get them to talk to each other.

    As a heads up though, don't count on 232 if the Vantage system is Infusion, since their Host commands have some weird bugs over 232. Do it IP.
  • mpullinmpullin Obvious Troll Account, Marked for Deletion Posts: 949
    We've been an AMX dealer and a Vantage dealer for about the same amount of time (about 10 years) and I can tell you that no one does lighting better than Vantage. For anything more, steer clear. We spec AMX and Vanatge into every system and let each one do what they do best and just get them to talk to each other.
    Can you elaborate on this? Why would one choose AMX <-> Vantage over IP as opposed to AMX <-> Lutron over IP?
  • ericmedleyericmedley Senior Member - 4000+ posts Posts: 4,177
    mpullin wrote: »
    Can you elaborate on this? Why would one choose AMX <-> Vantage over IP as opposed to AMX <-> Lutron over IP?
    I was going to say... I know that we're clearly in the realm of opinion but I've programmed both systems pretty extensively and would choose Lutron over Vantage on almost all points. Not that Vantage is bad. It's great really. But they're really on different levels.
  • glr-ftiglr-fti Junior Member Posts: 286
    An additional opinion, as I stated I stopped using Vantage and moved to Lutron because they couldn't do lighting well consistently, let alone everything else they were trying to get into. Lots of DOA products and support that was anything but....I knew more about the product than anyone there with the exception of Dave Stewart, who was excellent. I did like the ease of installation of their modules though, a real time saver and much easier on the wrists. But as I also said that was over five years ago and I've never been interested enough to look at the new stuff after losing credibility with my clients when I recommended Vantage in the past. I have very happy with Lutron products and support. They could learn to loosen up a bit though! Lutron IP has been very stable and reliable.
Sign In or Register to comment.