Why get the Elk M1G and not M1EZ8?


I've noticed everybody here has decided on the Elk M1 Gold, and I never see any mention of the M1EZ8. Why is that?

Seems like the big difference between the two is the voice capablity, but from my understanding, you need to have seperate speakers (outside of any distributed audio speakers) to actually make use of it. It sounds like there are more people that use a HA PC to drive speech through the distributed audio setup than the Elk.

Otherwise, the extra features provided by the M1 Gold can't justify twice the price over the M1EZ8. So why is this overlooked?

Is it that those on this forum are just like me... always need to buy the biggest and the best, and "what if one day I decide to hang a second set of speakers in the house for the voice capability"?

Or is it, after people have spent thousands on their HA setups, an extra $300 doesn't really matter?

Or is there some other monster feature in the Gold that I'm overlooking?


timkur said:
Or is it, after people have spent thousands on their HA setups, an extra $300 doesn't really matter?
It is certainly true that if $300 is going to influence your choice for the main controller at the heart of your whole Home Automation system, then you might want to consider a less expensive Hobby.

Chossing between lighting protocols for example can make a difference of thousands of dollars as can your choices for whole house audio, etc.

$300 is just 4 UPB dimmers (or 15 ICON dimmers). Hardly worth skimping on your main controller!
I think that the built-in serial port connectivity is what made the majority of us go with the M1G to begin with. Without it, it just becomes another alarm panel that's programmable throught the keypad...and not connectable to our home automation systems!

Rounding off numbers, a complete M1G is $600. The EZ-8 starts at $350 but if you add the almost requisite serial port this adds another $43, bringing it up to about $400. Where it really hurts is the day you realize that you want more then 8 inputs, which any but the smallest installation will almost surely require if you plan on using the inputs for non-alarm applications like water leak detection, garage door monitoring, etc. A 16 input expander board is $72, so now the dirrerence between the two packages has dwindled down to about $130. Mind you with the expanded EZ-8 you now have 24 inputs instead of 16.

I guess that for that $130, the extra phone and voice features are just too good to pass up. I remember one forum member who did get the EZ-8 that was wishing he had gone with the M1G instead.
And some of the little things are extremely useful, like the low battery cutoff, built in current meter and easy terminal blocks. But one of my favorites is the remote phone control. Just this weekend I was doing some maintenance on my sprinklers which required multiple on/off cycles of several zones. With the M1 all I need to do is use my cordless phone, press ***, enter pin and then a few buttons to access the outputs and toggle them on/off. Makes things real easy! And what about if you are away and you need to remotely operate things - HVAC - lights, garage door, security - whatever and you don't have an XEP or can't access the internet - you can simply dial in to your system and control all functions with voice prompts. Other alarm systems charge $150+ for this capability alone and makes the M1 a much better value IMHO.
Let me add to what Steve says:

1) In my opinon, the pluggable connector blocks for all connections on the M1G are also quite valuable. Granted the M1G is by all accounts extremely reliable, but if you ever have to replace it then you will be very happy you have the plug-in terminals. Just imagine unscrewing all those wires, labeling them so you know where to put them back, and then swapping the control and re-attaching the wires. Compare that to unplugging some very high quality Phoenix brand connectors, swapping the M1G and then re-plugging. I'll bet that is two-three hours saved easy for a fully conected system.

If you have ever priced Phoenix connectors, they can come out to $.50 - $1.00 per circuit. I count 50 circuits in Phoenix connectors on the M1G, or about $50 cost difference right there. IMHO a very "economical" investment.

In addition to the telephone remote control, being able to program the alarm to make phone calls on certain events (like burglar alarms) is critical for me.

Currently as I'm working on it its calling me, but as I feel that the system is stable enough I'll change it to call the community private security guard, which is jsut a street far from my house.
I was one of those that was seriously thinking about going for the EZ8 just because I was low on cash. I am so glad that I went with the M1 Gold. The voice announcements are terrific for alerting you which zone is being violated, and the price difference isn't worth it.
I was wondering if upgrading the EZ8 to give you some of the Gold functionality (serial port, extra inputs, etc) would start to tip the balance in favor of the Gold.

I guess I had misunderstood the telephone automation before. Having the Elk call you in certain events (programmable via rules I'm guessing), along with the "free" serial port, definately does seem to tip the balance in favor of the Gold.

I'm usually one to buy the best of a product offering (and in the event that I don't, end up regretting the purchase 6 months later)... I was just wondering if this was one of those places where the Gold isn't worth it. From the sounds of things, it is.

Thanks everybody for your feedback. You've sold me on the Gold... until, in 3 months, the Elk M1 Platinum comes out... and then I'll regret the Gold purchase. :D

timkur said:
Thanks everybody for your feedback. You've sold me on the Gold... until, in 3 months, the Elk M1 Platinum comes out... and then I'll regret the Gold purchase. :D
Nope, you will still be glad you bought the Gold with its quick disconnect connectors because I bet the next version will be wiring compatible and now you can just unplug, swap boards, re-plug and start enjoying your M2.

disclaimer: this is all a theory, not fact.
Another point is that it is not possible to upgrade a EZ8 to equal a Gold. If Elk had designed the Gold as two circuit boards such that the EZ8 would have been just one of the boards with the core stuff and the first 8 zones, then the EZ8 might have been more attractive as a starter model that you could always have upgrade later by adding the second board. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Plus wasn't it in reference to the M1 'Go for the gold!'?

Hmm, perhaps I have that mixed up.