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#1986430 - 11/14/12 01:00 AM Best sound for classical music + search update
KillerCharlie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 142
I'm in the middle of my piano search and have more questions for you guys.

What is your ideal piano (in the $20k range) if you play mostly classical with a bit of romantic/baroque - and lots of Chopin? That's what I play and I'm having trouble getting the right sound in my search. I know it's personal opinion, but I would love to hear what you guys think.

I think I want a warm, singing tone, with a middle-of-the-road attack (not too mellow or bright).


Here's how my search is going:

Vogel 177 ($17k) - Current favorite and a killer deal. It sounds 5" longer and 2x expensive than it is. Superior dynamic range and action. Dealer (also sells Yamaha/Bosendorfer) had every single piano prepped and sounding amazing. Because of this I would love to give them my business.

My biggest concern is that it might be a bit bright for my tastes, though I loved the clear singing tone. What are people's opinion on the Vogel/Schimmel sound for the type of music I play? I'm hoping that it can be voiced easily, and the dealer's tech is top notch. It was also hard to tell because the showroom had such awesome acoustics. Other than the brightness I loved the tone.

Boston 193 (Used, 2002, $18k) - great instrument but tone didn't inspire me as much as Vogel. While Vogel is a bit bright for me, Boston is a bit mellow for me. Seemed clearer than Kawai? It was really hard to audition this instrument due to the acoustics of the room - wood floor, huge room, low ceiling.
Also there was not the usual 0.5" gap between the blacks and the fallboard and my fingers kept hitting the soundboard... weird. There are also several used 178cm pianos in the area. How do most people say Boston tone compares to Kawai?

Fandrich & Sons - can't describe how amazingly smooth the action was. The incredibly easy and frictionless action lets you focus on other things while playing. He had 2 ~185cm pianos. One of them I didn't like the tone at all. The break to the copper wound strings in the bass was extremely noticeable. Sounded beautiful at lower volumes but at higher dynamics I really did not like it - I was quite surprised. The other ~185 sound I liked more but unsure about case color. I might go back to try it again. He has so many versions of the piano that you never know what's what (185HGS-H, 185S-H, 188S)

Kawai - really wanted to like the RX-2, but the low end just seems so muddy to me (am I crazy?). Can't find used, dealer is way too expensive.

Yamaha - didn't like C series tone. Too bright and not colorful enough (C7s differed but too expensive).

Hailun - instruments were terribly prepped by dealer. Even the dealer said, "that sounds like a banjo," as I was playing. If the dealer does such a poor job, should I even bother with them? I don't want to tell them "I'm interested in 4 of your pianos, please make them sound not terrible so I can audition them for real." They also have some smaller Sauter grands but they didn't impress me (probably due to prep).

Used Baldwins, M&H, Steinway, Bechstein - some are okay, some aren't. In general I'm avoiding them because I have trouble navigating the >20 year old market.

Thoughts? I know everyone says "buy what you like" but I haven't had a real piano for so long that my ear just isn't as developed as it should be.







Edited by KillerCharlie (11/14/12 01:04 AM)

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#1986449 - 11/14/12 02:19 AM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
My vote would go to Fandrich & Sons. They're good people who take pride in their work. FWIW, I believe they offer rescaling as an option, which would help alleviate any tenor break issues.
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B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
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#1986454 - 11/14/12 02:27 AM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21433
Loc: Oakland
It sounds like you have developed your ear and touch enough to decide for yourself. You just need to trust your instincts.
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Semipro Tech

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#1986889 - 11/14/12 11:06 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 635
Loc: NY and NC
As you probably know, Vogel is built for Schimmel in Poland. I tried one and really liked the tone. The action was ok, too. There are many pianos in the same price range so you should try as many as you can before you choose, but the Vogel is a fine piano.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#1986891 - 11/14/12 11:11 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: Chopinlover49]
KillerCharlie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
As you probably know, Vogel is built for Schimmel in Poland. I tried one and really liked the tone. The action was ok, too. There are many pianos in the same price range so you should try as many as you can before you choose, but the Vogel is a fine piano.


So as a lover of Chopin you think that a Vogel would be great for that style of music? grin

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#1986990 - 11/15/12 08:26 AM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2520
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Chopin was Polish, so why not?

I love my Vogel.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#1996513 - 12/08/12 05:22 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
Hakki Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2476
I remember that during your search you were considering Kawai RX-2's also.

Here is a recording of my Kawai RX-2 (2005). Of course every piano is different but for Kawai I think they would be more or less the same. Mine has the Millennium III action and it is still very good after 7 years.

I haven't played the new blak series so I can't comment on them.

Although many find the Kawai sound mellow, I find the treble a bit bright, especially when the lid is open. Though the room height of my room is 8 feet and it might sound better in a room with a higher ceiling.

http://youtu.be/vlEcM6vL2Lk
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Put in one of IMO, I think, to me, for me... or similar to all sentences I post

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#1996519 - 12/08/12 05:36 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4373
Loc: Jersey Shore
Even when prepped I found the Hailun to have a sterile sound. No soul...just take it off your list to narrow your focus...sounds like the Vogel is a match. Would they be willing to voice it to mellow it down?

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#1996523 - 12/08/12 05:45 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
For the pianos you mostly like but have some particular reservation about you can ask the dealer if they will try and adjust them more to your liking. Or perhaps when they prep the next model of a piano you're interested in, they can try to prep it more to your taste.

For example, you could ask the dealer selling the Vogel if they can voice it to make it less bright for you. Of course, you should ask them to do this without any final commitment on your part.


Edited by pianoloverus (12/08/12 06:00 PM)

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#1996530 - 12/08/12 05:54 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
wdmitchell Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/05
Posts: 13
Loc: atlanta ga.
My Estonia 190 would be worth a look, it is such a warm, rich and incredibly intimate and romantic insturment,
its an incredible deal. its listed here on pianoworld .

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#1996642 - 12/08/12 11:16 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 635
Loc: NY and NC
You may find, as I did, that you eventually stretch your budget more than you expected, but in the $20,000 and under range, there are a lot of fine pianos, especially if you include some used ones in the search. Sometimes a piano that has been broken in is even more stable tuning-wise than a brand-new one. Or at least it can be. Used pianos need to be checked out carefully, of course, but I wouldn't rule them out. If I had wanted to buy a brand-new version of the Mason-Hamlin seven-foot piano I selected, I would have had to pay much, much more. Yet, this piano sounds wonderful and does not disappoint. A new one would be nice, too, but at my age, this one will outlive me by decades anyway and I won't lose sleep that I paid way too much for something that I will only be able to play for a limited time before I die.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#1996870 - 12/09/12 11:09 AM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
KillerCharlie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 142
I would try your Estonia but I'm 3,000 miles away. I drove a distance to a store last week hoping they'd have a used (~10 year) Estonia shown on their website but it was sold the day before. I tried out a newer Estonia 190 and loved the sound, but it's out of my price range.

I did try out some new Mason & Hamlins. While a bit bright I did like them. I'm going to search around a bit more in my price range. If I decide to bump it up I'll do another shorter round of playing. I played a couple golden era BBs but they fell a bit short. I'm sure if they dropped in new hammers they would sound marvelous but then they'd be out of my range.

I'm trying out a prepped Hailun 198 today. We'll see how it sounds (hopefully no longer like a banjo).

I'm pretty sure Kawai and Boston are off my list. They are high quality instruments, higher than some of the other pianos I'm looking at. However I just personally don't like their sound.

I played the Vogel again but suddenly it just felt really lacking in the bass, like the tone wasn't open and warm enough. I'd like to try a newer Vogel 180 but the dealer, who is the #1 Vogel dealer in America, just can't get them in. He says things are backed up at the factory because they switched to the new 180 model and are trying to increase production to meet demand.

After not playing on an acoustic instrument for a looooong time, my ear has finally adjusted. Unfortunately that means I am liking the more expensive pianos! I haven't found the best combination of sound and price, but I'll keep looking.

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#1996937 - 12/09/12 01:34 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1610
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: KillerCharlie
Originally Posted By: Chopinlover49
As you probably know, Vogel is built for Schimmel in Poland. I tried one and really liked the tone. The action was ok, too. There are many pianos in the same price range so you should try as many as you can before you choose, but the Vogel is a fine piano.


So as a lover of Chopin you think that a Vogel would be great for that style of music? grin


I think any modern piano works perfectly well for classical music (or jazz or even rap for that matter:)
I wouldn't be so concerned with finding a piano that suits the style of music you play. Find a piano that plays and sounds good to you.
Even the cheapest entry level piano of today is technologically head a shoulders above the pianos that Chopin played in his lifetime.

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#1997063 - 12/09/12 07:18 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: AJF]
KillerCharlie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/21/09
Posts: 142
Originally Posted By: AJF

Even the cheapest entry level piano of today is technologically head a shoulders above the pianos that Chopin played in his lifetime.


... but he was a virtuoso - comeon I'm trying to make up for some deficiencies here!

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#1997068 - 12/09/12 07:38 PM Re: Best sound for classical music + search update [Re: KillerCharlie]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1610
Loc: Toronto
smile

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