CI Hands-On Review: Key Digital Compass Control

Learn more about the control system that has ‘AMX or Crestron control capabilities at a URC price tag,’ according to one integrator.

CI Staff

Which of the Key Digital Compass Control’s specific features or specs were instrumental in your decision to use this product versus another solution?
This decision was all about cost, iOS integration and ease of install.

For what types of applications do you recommend this product to other integrators?
We use it anywhere we need control right now and until somebody else trumps it, we will continue to do so. If it can be controlled this system can handle it. It is incredibly easy to program compared to other systems and it has proven to be quite reliable.

Along with that, Key Digital has one of the most helpful, friendly staffs we have ever interacted with. We have had these guys answer the phone at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night and do whatever it took to help us get up and running.

How difficult or easy was the installation of this product?
The system is incredibly easy to install. Once it is set up on the network and you are logged in, you have immediate control of the I/O interface and can test just about any type of common command whether it be, IR, IP, or RS-232.

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The only complaints we have are, the rack mount should have flanged edges for a cleaner and more professional look; it should ship without the rubber feet on it, and the 1⁄8-inch connectors don’t really belong on a commercial product. With the supplied key digital 1⁄8-inch to DB9 adaptors we have not had any trouble with maintaining connections.

Can you name (and explain) the three biggest benefits – “pros” – for an installer using this product?
This system has AMX or Crestron control capabilities at a URC price tag. The control code lives in the iPad so there is no lag waiting for the panel to talk to the controller, so it can initiate a command. The system’s speed is limited only by the iPad processor which is far faster than any control panel and usually at a cheaper cost. You don’t even need the controller if you are just doing IP control.

Can you name (and explain) the three biggest negatives – “cons” – for an installer using this product?
No Android, Windows or small remote interface support at this time; iOS only for control. It is designed to run on iOS but you have to use windows to program it … parallels is not reliable so it has to be a Mac with boot camp or an actual PC. The system is new, so there is only one input/output interface at this time and most of the connectivity is on 1⁄8-inch TRS mini jack.

Final thoughts?
It works and it is a seriously underrated product. We just completed our third major install with it as the backbone control-wise and we have found it to be just as, if not more, reliable than the big boys at a fraction of the cost.