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#1880236 - 04/15/12 09:39 PM Touch or tone more important in a new piano?
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
I just came back from trying 2 really nice but different pianos today. I played the same pieces on each piano and stayed four hours. First piano was a new Kawai RX-2 BLAK in polished ebony. The Millenium action was wonderful and made me play better than I usually do. On some quieter pieces, I like the tone a lot, but on some others, it seemed too bright--almost harsh in the upper register at times. Hard to explain, but I know the piano just arrived, has been tuned, but not a lot of voicing yet. It probably could be improved as the owner is also a registered tech and does fine work. The other piano was one I have posted about before: a 7'6" Albert Weber AW76RSES in satin ebony. This much bigger piano actually comes across as quieter than the smaller Kawai. The piano is smooth from the deep bass all the way to the top of the treble and very sweet. It has very light lacquer on the bass hammers and nothing done to the rest. The tone is sweet and reminds me of high-end European sound. The action reminds me of my daughter's 6 year old Steinway L so I could easily get used to it, but it is not as easy as that Millenium action in the Kawai. I didn't mind it or find it heavy, but it required a little more work and fast passages were a little more difficult, although the larger grand had nice control somehow. I know this piano could be voiced louder, but as it would be going into a home, I would want to let it settle in at the house for six months or so and see how I liked it as is. Also, I know pianos get brighter after being played a lot and I would be playing it a lot. I really like the larger piano's sound but just wondered if I should ask if the action could be made a bit lighter or if I should leave it alone? I also think the Kawai could be voiced and I think the overal build-quality looks a little nicer than the Albert Weber. I know Kawais are sturdy and techs seems to say they are nice to tune and work on. Not much info on the Albert Weber, a Young Chang premium piano. It looks nice, big casters, nice finish, etc. but the plate is not as smooth as the Kawai's and I have heard that YC is going to change this model eventually to a new design by Del Fandrich. (This one sounds nice, though!) Should I consider the smaller piano because of the nice action and see if it can be voiced more mellow or go with the big grand that sings sweetly already (even if it is a bit soft for a semi-concert grand.) Thoughts?

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#1880242 - 04/15/12 09:49 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Bachsky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 276
Loc: McFarland, WI 53558
Go for a Kawai RX5 or RX6. They are close to the same price as the Albert Weber.
_________________________
1904 Henry F. Miller Concert Grand * 2002 Estonia 190 Satin Bubinga * 2008 Schulze-Pohlman vertical 125 polished cherrywood peacock design * 2008 Schoenhut minature grand (49 keys) * 2008 Roland Digital Harpsichord, 2010 Roland FP-4 (88 key slab).

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#1880258 - 04/15/12 10:03 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14204
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Should I consider the smaller piano because of the nice action and see if it can be voiced more mellow or go with the big grand that sings sweetly already (even if it is a bit soft for a semi-concert grand.) Thoughts?


My honest advice would be going with the big grand.

Voicing is often thought of making a pianos 'more singing' - it hardly ever *does* - at least not in a major way...

One can voice pianos "down" but this doesn't necessarily last nor does it make automatically for a beautiful singing treble.

Most pianos have a tendency to return to their "default" setting - tone needs to be part of the piano's inate design.

I would also dare to say that German hammers such as Renner or Abel can be a great advantage here.

On the other hand, by playing in the bigger, softer sounding piano, it will brighten up automatically and most likely still have very nice tone later.

A couple of years ago we sold a piano to a church which was also split on this issue fearing the "soft sounding" piano would not be powerful enough or have enough dynamic range for the size of church.

Today they are very happy with their choice and deem piano absolutely perfect for its intended application.

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (04/15/12 10:06 PM)
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#1880266 - 04/15/12 10:13 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
To the previous poster about going for the larger Kawai RX5 or 6. Surprisingly, I was given a really good price on the Albert Weber which is why I can even consider it. The RX5 or 6 would be much, much more expensive. I am planning to have my daughter, a very accomplished pianist and piano teacher, try both for me as she is much more of a pianist than I am, but I am leaning strongly toward the larger piano because of its tone.

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#1880283 - 04/15/12 10:56 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
I don’t know if I’m one to be giving advice about pianos, but I played my Yamaha C7 quite a bit today… the richness and depth of the tone was like a drug taking away the pain of hardships and despair. The upper treble is distinctive all the way up to C8 and pierces deep into the heart and mind with sounds of bliss. I enjoyed every second of the experience.

If you have room for the larger grand, I’d be inclined to go in that direction. And, I think that is the direction you are headed in regardless of what anyone says here… smile

All the best!

Rick


Edited by Rickster (04/16/12 07:41 AM)
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1880290 - 04/15/12 11:16 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
One small concern: at present I have room for the big grand. In a few years, I may be moving to North Carolina with my wife and we will be looking for a different house. I will have to make sure the new place will fit the piano. I think I can manage it, but it is one thing to remember. I played a lot of big pianos originally when looking so I would have something to compare although I knew I could not afford the C. Bechsteins, the Schimmels, the Steinway B's, etc. At my age, 63, I probably only have 20-25 years left to play and want something special, but I don't want to be selfish and overspend either. This Albert Weber is a very pleasing piano and at a great price.

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#1880444 - 04/16/12 09:39 AM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
mikeheel Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/10
Posts: 388
Loc: NC
Don't let concern about future space keep you away from the Weber. We have plenty of big houses in NC..... ;-)

Regarding tone vs action, I don't know that you can call one primary over the other; both have to work for you. Personally, and certainly others may differ, I started with the tone. I know the sound I like, so I used that to narrow my options. Then, I focused on action, touch, and quality to distinguish among the remaining instruments.

Between the two, I'd think I'd get the Weber, but I hope you are able to pick the one that speaks most to you.

Good luck,
Mike
_________________________
Happy owner of a 5'7" Ritmuller GH170R.
If you're bored, try my blog (mostly faith & family): http://mikeheel.wordpress.com.

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#1880453 - 04/16/12 10:08 AM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: mikeheel]
Scherzando Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/29/12
Posts: 6
Loc: Somerset
FWIW I was placed in a similar position with regards to my recent piano search; I can really empathise with your situation!! I didn’t find a piano that had both the touch and the tone, finding a few with either great touch/playability but lacking in tone compared to only one that had a satisfying touch but great tone. I ended up choosing my piano based on sound, and although the action was perfectly playable, I requested that it be made heavier to suit my preference.

In this way I hope to ‘have my proverbial cake and eat it’ at what is the right price within the family budget. (What with mortgage, school fees, house improvements etc the good angel sitting on my shoulder wouldn’t allow me to be selfish and overspend with a Steinway B budget either lol!!) bah

I will find out in a couple of weeks when my piano is delivered as to how I find the action after the alterations. I should add that I have a huge amount of confidence in the retailer and the after sales technical support that I will receive in the purchase of this piano. The touch vs tone is such a difficult dilemma (at least, it was agonising for me) and I don’t know that I would have been able to prioritise one over the other if I didn’t have such highly commended after sales service to fall back on…..

Wishing you the best of luck with your decision,
Adella smile
_________________________
Working towards Gr6:
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DD (9) working towards Gr3 piano and Gr1 violin
DS (4)learning piano keys, note flashcards, basic exercises

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#1880454 - 04/16/12 10:24 AM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Touch & tone are intimately related, they hardly can be separated completely.

Both evolve during the first year(s) of the life of the piano, with prep, and voicing conducted once the piano is installed, with action stabilizing better after a few tweaks, last corrections and hammer mating, keybed/keyframe better adjustment...etc of strings plane

Experiences showed however, that the "quality" felt or "comfort" was more based on touch (for the player)


Edited by Kamin (04/16/12 10:35 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1880455 - 04/16/12 10:26 AM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
How hard this is! In my search for a good quality used grand I played a Kawai RX1 that I loved the sound of but the action is very very heavy. Then I played a Yamaha GC1 and the action felt very light. The sound was difficult to judge because the piano was dreadfully out of tune. So I'd love to put the yamaha action into the Kawai and pursue this RX1 further. (of course this is impossible!!)

So between the 2 I think I would absolutely have to love the action and then the sound/tone of the piano. I think otherwise I'd always feel I was fighting the instrument to have it do what I want. And this could become annoying very fast.

Good luck to you. I know this is hard!
_________________________
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.


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#1880458 - 04/16/12 10:31 AM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: ZoeCalgary]
piano_shark Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/12
Posts: 201
Originally Posted By: ZoeCalgary
So I'd love to put the yamaha action into the Kawai and pursue this RX1 further. (of course this is impossible!!)


have you asked yamaha if the swap is possible? wink

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#1880459 - 04/16/12 10:33 AM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
I've answered elsewhere about my experiences with the Albert Weber pianos, as I am both a technician and a classical player. While I love Kawais, for the size and price difference, I would say this one is a no brainer. Young Chang is doing an incredible job with these pianos, especially at this price point. Also, I've been able to alter the action quite effectively to make the touch and response significantly lighter and faster.


Edited by CC2 and Chopin lover (04/16/12 10:49 AM)
_________________________
Piano Technician/Tuner

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#1880464 - 04/16/12 10:50 AM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: ZoeCalgary]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Inertia can hardly be changed, but it is way more apparent when the action is not optimally regulated.

Optimal mean providing the pianist the must sensation of the hammer acceleration in the key.

In that perspective, an action which is "heavy" (stron push upward) can be very well playeable, assuming the pianist get used to it.

A too light action mean sometime too light hammers and pinning which is slightly used, so even when well regulated the action stay light. some regulation tricks can make it atad stiffer but usually only new hammers can solve the touch.

There is also a direct relation between the mass of the hammer and the force availeable for the tone

And, last but not least ! a tired soundboard will produce an explosive tone which can sound loud at first but does not allow for a lot of dynamics. Then the touch will appears too be too light as it is difficult to play softly.

old strings only make the tone less rich and more lemonish.

BUt... sometime a 5 minutes job changes the touch from heavy heavy to "heavy" or normal.
So before chasing for your piano, you have to chase for the trusted technician, if possible. as in any case you will need him.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1880465 - 04/16/12 10:55 AM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: piano_shark]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
the equilibrium is different, mass on the side of the key vs the mass developped on the side of the hammer/action. Some Kaway can be on the heavy side there, Yamaha approximates Steinway inertia (numbers speaking)

Also , due to the voicing (softer tone) the heaviness impression cannot be hidden.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1880474 - 04/16/12 11:27 AM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
I'm not sure I followed what Kamin was saying exactly, but it sounds like some of you feel the action can be regulated or worked on in some way to make it a bit lighter? This would make the decision easy for taking the Albert Weber.

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#1880489 - 04/16/12 12:04 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
I’m not a piano technician per-se, but I do consider myself somewhat of an apprentice; with that said, I’ve found that a little powdered Teflon and Proteck lubricant applied at certain strategic friction points can make a big difference in the smoothness and preceived heaviness of the key touch. I’ve done it and experienced the difference it can make.

Plus, I’m thinking that playing a brand new piano will smooth things out a little as well. Isn’t that what the automatic playing machines are designed to do at the factory?

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1880492 - 04/16/12 12:08 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2353
Loc: NYC
Just responding to the title question of "what's more important" (not having read through all posts) but speaking as a performing pianist and for myself only, I think touch is more important. I find it easier to imagine the beautiful sound I'd be creating if the action is right than to imagine a great action while enjoying a lovely tone.

That said, my present piano needs work on both aspects! laugh
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Joe

www.josephkubera.com

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#1880495 - 04/16/12 12:14 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
I would not promise that because I dont know the model, but lightening is possible by a good amount. not much in grams. While changing a hair of one vital dimension can help to have a few grs less, but in hammer hence tone control.
Nowadays. be it a second hand sold in a shop or no, if you have the competent technician he can show you or take engagment that he can do the job. grand pianos are so rarely optimally regulated there is often some margin. I dont believe YC could be making gross mistakes in action setup.
But if a professional is selling, he should make the touch regulated at your desire, then you come once again to try the piano.this is the normal procedure and it have lit of advantages, for the shop as well ( the piano will be ready to sell) factory level of prep is relatively crude even on better series.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1880498 - 04/16/12 12:16 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Rickster]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1816
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Rickster
I don’t know if I’m one to be giving advice about pianos...

Rick


I was sure your advice would be, "Buy them both!" smile
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#1880500 - 04/16/12 12:18 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Rickster]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
They do only to allow another pass of regulation and voicing, but due to the absence of musicality, the settling is different once a pianist plays it.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#1880516 - 04/16/12 12:54 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
I was sure your advice would be, "Buy them both!" smile


Hey, I was thinking that... if you got the mula and the space, buy'em both! laugh

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1880563 - 04/16/12 02:11 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
acortot Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/28/07
Posts: 484
Loc: Italy
touch and tone are two sides of the same coin..

you perhaps mean an 'easy' action, which come to think of it is aided by hammers that speak immediately and are a bit too hard and bright..

some people can't play on pianos that are too expressive (or guitars or ....) because it takes too much concentration to play the rhythm of the music AND dose the touch..

I believe a good voicing of a musical instrument should go from shodowy and understated.. which would be the shade and darkness, to bright and clear, which would be up-front and defined... and ultimately to a bit ugly if pushed too hard, to give you an edge if you need it..

obviously all these colors can really make someone with poor control of dynamics and finger-independence sound poor... so, many 'virtuosistic' players who play stuff they really can't play may prefer the brighter and less demanding pianos..

there is as always a balance and experience will tell you what you really need..

but your priority can either be: 'I want to sound good enough with minimal effort' or 'I want to achieve the perfect interpretation and am willing to work on every note individually'

not everyone can achieve this.. especially if they never get the opportunity of playing a piano that can sound quite different on pp, mf ,f and ff etc..



Edited by acortot (04/16/12 02:14 PM)
_________________________
rhythm must be inborn - Alfred Cortot

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

Max DiMario

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#1880607 - 04/16/12 03:40 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 641
I guess I would love to be a better pianist and will not hesitate to work at it. If technique is the main reason the piano felt a little heavier, I am sure it will be very nice when my daughter plays it. I am self-taught and while I can read music and I play the exact notes on the page, I am not much more than advanced intermediate.

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#1880623 - 04/16/12 04:03 PM Re: Touch or tone more important in a new piano? [Re: Chopinlover49]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
Touch and tone can't be separated. The two work together to create the overall "feel" of the piano. And don't forget about the pedals and trapwork which are often the forgotten part of this overall "feel.

When the action feels heavy on a light sounding piano, there's some work for the technician to do.


Edited by Dave B (04/16/12 04:04 PM)

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