Crestron Electronics CNX-PAD8 Page 4

I must tell you, however, that I'm a little leery of things that promise a lot from programming (maybe Windows 98 has crashed on me one too many times). In the case of a home system, you definitely don't want to have to reboot in the middle of a party or romantic dinner. So I tried my best to confuse the system or demand too much and overload it. To my pleasant surprise, the system sailed through the torture test without the slightest hiccup. What really impressed me was how fast the system responded. No matter which touchpanel I used, even with different sources playing in each zone, the sound switched from source to source almost before I lifted my finger off the panel. The only time I experienced any delay at all was when I switched to a source like the CD player or DVD player. Then I was simply waiting for the disc to cue up.

The sound quality was just as superb. In most custom installations, the homeowner will be listening through in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, and that was the case here, as well. Each room got as loud as I could stand, thanks in part to the Bryston amps used for each of the zones. Equally impressive was the fact that, even at the lowest volume levels, no background hiss could be heard. The sound was quiet when it needed to be, loud when you asked for it, and clean and distortion-free at all times.

It used to be that having an entire house wired for sound was cool but expensive and inconvenient to use. Well, it's still not dirt cheap, but using a Crestron CNX-PAD8 along with the basic controller and one or two LC-1000 touchpanels will get you started with an incredibly easy-to-use and great-sounding system for a little over $3,500. Of course, you'll have to add installation to that, as well. By all means, don't save money here by hiring your friend's second cousin who just got out of prison to do the install. The money you save up-front is just not worth the long-term agony a poorly done installation will cause.

I'm just glad I don't own my own home at the moment. Those touchpanels are just way too cool. I'd want one in every room of the house. I'd probably also have them installed in the closets, just in case I wanted to adjust the volume while I was picking out a pair of pants in the morning.

And what about our mystery woman? Well, she stood me up and left town the very day I arrived to tour the house. I was crushed, of course, but it's probably for the best. I would never have known if I liked her for her or for her Crestron wholehouse system.

Crestron Electronics
$1,399, $638, $2,175
(800) 237-2041