Category Archives: Product Reviews

The Truth about Crestron VS Savant VS Control4

The Truth about Crestron VS Savant VS Control4

If you are planning to install a Smart Home Automation system in to a residential property you will probably come across Crestron, Savant or Control4. These companies are the three main players in the residential smart home market

People always ask us which one is better, Crestron or Savant or Control4? Here at Monaco, we are constantly evaluating the latest trends in home automation. We studied and look at all of what each system can do in terms of from one room to many rooms integrating audio, video, lighting, shading, security and climate controls.

Is one better than another? What’s really the difference for ME as an end user? Let’s look at each option closely:


Let’s start with the most popular mid-level home automation system company, Control4.  At first glance, the price seems right – about $800 to start for a small controller and about $300 for a 2-way zigbee remote. Nice!  Right in the sweet spot!  What most people don’t realize is how many buttons you need to press to get to see, hear or control what you want.  The most important part of the user experience is the remote.  Control4 offers two remotes, one with a comically small one-color OLED screen sans graphics, only text and another without any screen whatsoever.  We can dismiss the cheaper remote out of hand because it ONLY operates an on-screen display. Without a TV powered on in the room, it is useless. Most of their of their products are Made in China.

Despite of their incredibly cheap feeling of their remote controls, lighting and keypad devices, we’re still big fan of Control4. Overall, their solutions work flawlessly in smaller Tract Home. Remember, Contro4 is the first company that brought in Smart Home Automation solutions for every Americans and it is equivalent to what Henry Ford has done for the Automotive industry 100 years ago! What they have done is GENIUS!

Our conclusion about Control4:

  • Easy to use and works flawlessly if installed properly in their perfect environment.
  • Cheap feeling of their remotes and keypads
  • Graphic interface looks basic
  • Largest dealer available
  • Suitable for smaller tract home around 2000 sq feet
  • Equivalent to 3 best basic automobile:  Honda, Toyota and Nissan


Depending on which features you choose, pricing can be anywhere from $1,000 to more than $50,000. Control4 offers a la carte options, so each package varies based on the customer.


Savant are the relative new kids on the block; they have been making smart home systems for approximately 10 years. Savant have a polished eco system which relies heavily on Apple devices – the user experience is tight and fluid. Programming tends to be more straightforward which can result in a lower cost to install than a truly bespoke Crestron system. The Savant range of products is good – providing whole home audio video, lighting control and intercom integration; iTunes integration is also very tight. If you are a big fan of Apple devices and a user of the Apple ecosystem then Savant can be the logical choice.

The touch and feel of their remotes and keypads are slightly better than Control4; however there is still little bit cheaper feel to it.  Most of their products are Made in China.

Our conclusion about Savant:

  • Easy to use and works flawlessly if installed properly in their perfect environment.
  • Little bit of luxury feeling of their remotes and keypads
  • Graphic interface looks intuitive, except can’t be customized
  • Suitable for medium size semi custom home under 5000 sq feet
  • Equivalent to 3 best quasi-luxury automobile:  Acura, Infinity and Lexus


Depending on which features you choose, pricing can be anywhere from $5000 to more than $100,000. Savant offers a la carte options, so each package varies based on the customer.


Crestron are pioneers of the entire home automation industry; they started supplying solutions over 50 years ago, long before most people had thought of home automation.

The range of solutions is huge from video matrixes to audio amplifiers with lighting control in the middle. Each of their solutions is hugely flexible; for instance the video matrixes can take any video signal and distribute it to any or all outputs at once and the audio system is modular so a mixture of stereo and digital audio signals can be distributed to stereo zones (and stereo zones can be combined together for rooms with more than one pair of speakers or an output can take on the role of a subwoofer).

Lighting Control is another example of flexibility – lamps can be hard wired or wireless and any type of lamp can be controlled. This flexibility ensures complete client satisfaction as we never need to say no – any request can be accommodated. This flexibility means we have controlled everything from fire pits through to irrigation systems with saunas and steam rooms too. The modular nature of a Crestron system allows us to build a system of any size and complexity.

Luxury touch and feel of everything they make. Most of their products are Made in USA.

Our conclusion about Crestron:

  • Easy to use and works flawlessly if installed properly in ANY environments
  • Luxury feeling of their remotes and keypads
  • Graphic interface looks sleek and modern
  • Suitable for any size of Custom Home
  • Perfect for someone who appreciate finer things in life
  • Gold Standard & most secured in Smart Home Automation
  • Equivalent  to 3 best true luxury automobile:  Mercedes, BMW and Audi


Depending on which features you choose, pricing can be anywhere from $2000 to more than $200,000. Monaco AV has done successful Crestron project ranging from $2000 all the way to $1.5 Million and anything in between!



Any of these three systems will perform a great job of providing a whole home audio video, lighting control , HVAC and Security/ Surveillance in the home. They all have similar pricing and technical merit for everything they do. We think that ultimately it has to do with your Taste, Preference, Expectation and Lifestyle more than anything else. Prices are very similar for all those system now. You can’t go wrong with any of these companies.

Let’s face it, our industry is relatively young, compared to many already matured industry such as Automobile or Real Estate.  Everyday we hear that customer mentioned that they have XYZ control system that don’t perform like they expected or XYZ control system is over priced etc.  However, as we diagnose what the real issue is, often time we found out it was combination of poor implementation from the AV integration company and different expectation from the customer itself.  Unlike in mature industry, for example Automobile industry, no one will purchase Toyota and expect the luxury touch,feel and functionality of  Mercedes, or no one wonder why Mercedes is more expensive than Toyota or Lexus or vise versa.

Remember, now it is 2019, there is almost NO bad products out there; they are simply very unique and different. However, special care should definitely be taken to choose an installer who has experience of designing large residential systems. This is THE MOST important aspect of any successful projects.   Choose an A/V installer that understand your taste, preference , expectation and lifestyle. You wouldn’t just go to any doctors or auto mechanics. Trust experience and always trust your gut feeling!

Several key questions that you should consider:

  1. WHAT is size of  the house that you are building? Is it 2000, 5000 or above 10000 square feet? What type of construction, Regular, Custom or Luxury?
  2. WHERE is the property located? Is it in regular suburban neighborhood or in very affluent neighborhood?
  3. WHO are you? Are you a regular user or tech savvy or combination of both? Do you always tend to go with the best or standard solutions?
  4. WHEN are you planning to upgrade the system? Are you okay with basic functionality for now and maybe upgrade it later? What kind of flexibility or robustness you want?
  5.  HOW do you want the system to function? Do you want to have basic feel, touch and functionality or more luxury feel, touch and functionality?

We always recommend the right system to match with your taste, expectation, and lifestyle.  As always, we give you our Best Solutions, Services and Prices that is tailored for you!

We are here to help you with your project. Please call us (626) 395-9597 to discuss!

Primaluna World Best Tube Amp With Auto Bias

Primaluna Prologue Dialogue Premium at Monaco AV with KT88 EL34 KT120

Can your amplifier allow you to run different tubes? How about FOUR different tubes at the same time? Most likely, the answer is no… and for good reason: Running four different tubes at the same time makes no sense. This is just a demonstration of how PrimaLuna’s Adaptive AutoBias looks at each output tube individually, monitors it closely, and keeps it operating within a very tight tolerance. This gives you not just the freedom to use many different output tubes, but also gives you freedom from the need for matched tubes, and the hassle of biasing.

But there’s more…
When the KT120 tube was introduced, everybody scrambled to find out if their products would be compatible. KT120 tubes tax the filament power supply of the transformers, drawing more current than a typical KT88. They are a “larger tube” both physically and electrically. The PrimaLuna engineers knew that typical of PrimaLuna, everything is overbuilt, so every PrimaLuna product from day one was up to the task, even the ProLogue One! So if you have a PrimaLuna, just plug in a KT120 and go.
The KT150 is another matter. Physically imposing, this tube is huge. It has higher dissipation and even higher current draw than the KT120, meaning higher output power is possible. The reports are in: they sound incredible. Every DiaLogue Premium and ProLogue Premium power amplifier and integrated amplifier allows you to use most of the most popular output tubes on the market, including the KT150. Note: To use the KT150, because of its size, you must leave the cage off!

This is an exciting time in the world of vacuum tubes. Many consider this to be the absolute golden age. You bought a PrimaLuna. Isn’t it nice to know all these years later that your amplifier is relevant?

We have many satisfied customers running on Primaluna set up. Audition it yourself and you will understand WHY!

KEF R500 Soundstage Hifi Review available at Monaco AV

From Doug Schneider of
KEF’s R500 ($2599.98) was one of the most-talked-about speakers of 2012. It’s part of KEF’s R series, which also includes the larger R700 ($3599.98) and R900 ($4999.98) floorstanding models. Despite the R500’s now being more than two years old, I feel it’s just as competitive today as it was then.What makes the R500 so special is its Uni-Q driver — the same one used in all of KEF’s R models. The Uni-Q houses a tweeter and midrange in the same assembly, to produce a wavefront that’s coherent in all directions. KEF has been developing and refining this driver technology for years, and, from the sound of the R500, has pretty much perfected it. In my room, the R500s produced an astonishingly clear, natural, effortless midrange and top end; they played incredibly loud without distortion; and provided a vast, holographic soundstage that riveted me.

KEF R500 Soundstage Hifi Review Monaco AV

What the more expensive R700 and R900 models do better than the R500 is BASS, due to their larger woofers and cabinets — they go deeper, and they play louder down there. But in my very large room, I found the bass produced by the R500s wholly sufficient — which is why I consider the R500 the STEAL of KEF’s R line.

For full review, please click here

Please come and see us to experience this amazing KEF R500!
MONACO® Audio Video is Authorized Dealer for all KEF R series: KEF R100, R200C, R300, R500, R700, R900



PARASOUND: A Professional Choice Available at Monaco Audio Video

From Richard Schram, Parasound President                                         August 28, 2014
Dolby Labs really likes our amplifiers.
Some of you saw the attached photo when I sent it a few years ago.
Some of you are new and haven’t seen it. Paul asked me to send it for you folks.
The guy with the big smile is David Dolby. He has just shoehorned an A 51 into his wife’s Smart Car to take back to Dolby Labs.David Dolby Richard Schram with Parasound A51 Monaco AVMy expression is because I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been standing there.
Dolby Labs has purchased around 15 Parasound Halo amplifiers – so far.
Their new Atmos theater in their HQ is powered by seven A 21s. After they finish the theater I’ll pay them a visit and try to get some photos of their A 21 installation for you. Dolby is a 10 minute drive from Parasound.

Siegfrid Linkwitz really likes our amplifiers
You folks that are audio enthusiasts will recognize the name of a man who has profoundly influenced loudspeaker design. He co-invented the Linkwitz-Rily filter and it’s probably safe to say that a majority of loudspeaker crossovers use this filter characteristic.
Siegfried is friends with Jack Vad, the recording engineer for the San Francisco Symphony. Jack uses a JC 2. JC 1 and A 21s in his work. He and his wife Anne, a cellist in the Symphony, have a JC 2, JC 1s, P 7 and A 51 at home. He loaned his A 51 to Linkwitz who is making very precise measurements of a number of power amplifiers. Jack called today to report that Siegfried was startled because he was virtually unable to measure any IM distortion in the A 51 – and that its IMD is significantly lower than the IMD in a far more expensive two channel PXSS LXABS Amp.

Parasound Professional Choice by Lucas Film Sony Universal Skywalker Dolby Monaco AV

There are clearly many good audio products out there in the market place; however there are only a few of those that can satisfy the professionals like the Parasound.

Our system design philosophy: To bring you closer to what the REAL experts (artists, movie directors, studios) want you to experience by using the best products in the market place.
MONACO® Audio Video is proud to be an Authorized Parasound dealer since we started our company in 2005.

Please come and see us to experience Parasound!

#1 Parasound Dealer in Southern California! 

Parasound P5 A21 black JC1 silver set up by Monaco Audio Video home theater and stereo store in Pasadena Los Angeles serving Arcadia San Marino La Canada Orange County

 Our Way of Doing Business
Since 2005, we offer our Best to everyone who visits our store:
Best Solutions: From 2 channel stereo, television, desktop system, wireless music to State of the Art home theater, we are obligated to offer our customers the best solutions available. There are many good products and solutions out there today; we like to offer our customers the best products & solutions from carefully evaluated leaders in Audio, Video and Technology manufacturers. Remember, the best doesn’t always mean the most expensive!
Best Services: In this day and age, there is less human interaction and true passion. We still like doing business the old fashion way, the right way. We love to talk to our customers in person, engaging into a friendly & meaningful conversation. Offering you World Class customer service IS NOT an option for us, it is the only way we conduct business.
Best Prices: With our price match and 30 day LOW PRICE GUARANTEE policy, we can assure you that you won’t be overpaying at MONACO®. Before or after you shop from us, if you’ve seen a lower price for any product that we carry, just let us know. Our prices are fiercely competitive!



SONY Best Value 1080P 3D Home Theater Projector: VPL-HW55ES

The SONY® VPLHW55ES is a fantastic option for movie lovers who want an incredible cinematic experience at home, far beyond the reach of TV. Don’t get yourself caught up with “TV Theater”. It’s packed with SONY® latest technology, including Reality Creation and advanced SXRD panels for an incredibly sharp, crystal clear picture.Sony VPL-HW55ES Projector from Sony Dealer Monaco AV in Pasadena Los Angeles Arcadia San Marino La CanadaSteve Withers from gives 9 out of 10 ratings for this amazing projector. For full review, please click here

Please come and visit our Pasadena showroom for LIVE DEMO. We have plenty of them in stock and ready for immediate installation.

Sony VPL-HW55ES Home Theater
MONACO® AV is a SONY® Diamond CIS Dealer. We carry all Sony projector VPL-HW40ES, VPL-HW55ES, VPL-VW600ES and VPL-VW1100ES. We match all authorized dealer prices before and after your purchase. Please see our satisfaction policy for details!





Martin Logan CLX and Krell IBias at Monaco AV Pasadena

Martin Logan CLX Krell Ibias Review Monaco AV

We just changed one of our room with Martin Logan® CLX, Balanced Forced Subwoofer driven by Krell® Foundation Processor and Krell® Chrous 5200 IBias amp. They sound so real and lifelike. You will be able to hear all the details with very wide soundstage and dynamic you never experienced before.

All music & movie lovers all over Southern California is invited to experience is one of a kind live demo.

PS: The Martin Logan CLX demo is available for sale at SIGNIFICANT saving. First come first serve.

Call us NOW (626)395-9597 for direction and best parking spot!

MONACO® Audio Video is an authorized dealer for Krell® and Martin Logan® in Pasadena, Los Angeles area. Serving Beverly Hills, Malibu, Studio City, San Marino, La Canada, Arcadia, Bradbury Estate, Los Angeles, Upland, Pacific Palisades, Newport Beach, Newport Coast. We offer custom home stereo and theater design installation.

Experience Lifelike Sound from Martin Logan!

If you never own an electrostatic speaker from Martin Logan, you owe it to yourself!Monaco Av authorized Martin Logan dealer3 reasons why you should get yourself a Martin Logan electrostatic speakers:
1. Sound Quality. When it comes to sound quality, nothing will give you closer to the real thing and lifelike sound like the Martin Logan electrostatic speakers. Over the years, we have set up many of these amazing speakers and most of our clients just dropped their jaws after they listened to them. Once you listen to these, you will be amazed. PS: Our founder got into the high end audio after listening to Martin Logan and Krell combo.

2. Cool looking. Not only they sound amazing, however they are very good looking and actually quite sexy! These could be the only “big” speakers that you want to show it to everyone that comes into your house and the “significant other acceptance factor” is quite high on these Martin Logan electrostatic speakers.

3. Very reliable. Since there is virtually no moving cones or parts, Martin Logan electrostatic tends to be very robust and long lasting. Every penny that you spend on these amazing speakers will be well worth it.

PS: If you only HEAR these Martin Logan speakers at your local Big Box stores, you actually never really LISTENED to them.  Come see us and discover WHY!

“I could not be happier with both the expertise and the equipment provided by Monaco. The technicians were extremely skilled, and although I was hesitant to spend what seemed like a huge amount on a theater system (this has been my dream for years), it is worth every cent. I highly recommend Monaco!” from Rael I, proud owner of Martin Logan electrostatic home theater system

DEMO SALE: First Come First Serve, reserve yours today!
Martin Logan CLX Natural Cherry SAVE $10500 DEMO $14999.99 OBO ($25500 MSRP)
Martin Logan Montis Black Ash SAVE $3000 DEMO $6999.99 OBO ($10000 MSRP)
Martin Logan ElectroMotion ESL Satin Black SAVE $700 DEMO $1499.99 ($2199 MSRP) SOLD

 Please visit our store to experience these amazing Martin Logan speakers!Martin Logan authorized dealer Monaco AV

MONACO® Audio Video is an authorized dealer for Martin Logan. We carry all Martin Logan products ranging from Architectural series, Motion series, Electromotion ESL, Dynamo500, Dynamo700, Dynamo1000, Dynamo1500, Balance Force Subwoofer, Theos, Ethos, Montis, Summit X  and CLX.

Anniversary Sale Martin Logan  Ad 336x280



Latest Parasound P5 Preamplifier Review

The Parasound P 5 has earned new accolades on the popular website Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity.

Parasound P5 Authorized Dealer Monaco Here is what the reviewer says about the Parasound P 5:
“Calling the new Parasound Halo P 5 simply a preamplifier is an understatement.”
“…to merely say it’s a bargain competing with preamps costing many times more is not giving it enough praise.”
“My advice is simple, just get one, I recommend it strongly!”

The best part is according to Richard Schram, Parasound President; the reviewer took his own advice. He bought the review sample.

For full review, please click here

MONACO® Audio Video is an Authorized Dealer for Parasound since 2005, located in Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California. We have been using many Parasound products in many of our high end HiFi 2 Channel Stereo and Home Theater installation and integration.


All music and movie lovers are invited to check out Parasound latest solutions and innovations.
Please call us NOW (626)395-9597 for best direction and parking spot!

Best Computer / Digital Audio Set Up for Under $5K With Peachtree Audio

Today, we just moved our Peachtree Audio Nova125 to from our Desktop Hifi area into our sound room. First impression was this Peachtree with 125 watts Class D amplification really drives our floor standing speakers: Martin Logan Electromotion ESL, KEF R500, Martin Logan Motion 20 and Totem Arro with full authority.

Best stereo sound system under $5K
We‘re streaming our Apple iTunes library using the Apple TV connected to the Parasound ZDAC. Most of our files are either AAC or MP3s. The tube buffer really removes some of hardness and edginess from MP3 format. We love the sound of it; we hear the micro details, very wide sound stage and massive dynamic. Peachtree Nova125 closeup review
The best part is any of this combination can be purchased for under $5K complete, the Peachtree Nova125 and a pair of speakers of your choice: Martin Logan, KEF, Totem, Klipsch or Dynaudio. Just add any sources that you like, and any audiophiles will be hard impressed with the sound quality.

Please visit our Pasadena store for LIVE demo! Call NOW (626)395-9597 for direction or best parking spot.
Computer audio with Peachtree Nova125 Totem Martin Logan Motion 20 in Monaco AV