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#2223746 - 01/31/14 05:10 PM Confusion Run Rampant
JonathanNV Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/30/14
Posts: 10
Loc: Las Vegas
My wife and I are in the market to get a piano, less than 5’6” in length, in which a player (with recording strip) will be installed. Because of where we live – Las Vegas, only one on our preliminary list of candidates is being shown by a local dealer. Consequently, a lot of our evaluation work has been Internet-based or has been derived from primarily this forum, Piano Buyer, other somewhat similar forums, and videos on YouTube, etc.

Since cost is an important consideration, we have concluded that the best values available – in new pianos, for sure – are represented by the premier lines of pianos manufactured in China. Accordingly, we came up with the following:

Brodmann PE-150
Cunningham Studio Grand
Essex EGP-155
Hailun HG-151
Prezina T-152
Ritmuller GH-160R
Weber 150 (the only one we could physically see and hear)

To see all but the Weber requires a road trip of 200+ miles, except for the Cunnningham, which, being Philadelphia-based, cannot be viewed/heard directly at all. To reduce this list to a more manageable group – which was extremely hard to do – we read everything and listened to every video we could find. For better or worse, our “finalists” are Cunningham, Perzina and Ritmuller.

All of these are fine pianos, no doubt, and the decision of which to purchase is challenging. Accordingly, I decided to post this description of our effort to date as a background to the asking of feedback on a couple of issues –

1. Have we missed one which really should be a finalist?
2. What are the most important criteria to use in making the ultimate choice?

Thank you for your thoughts.
_________________________
Jonathan
______________

Proud owner of an Estonia L168

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#2223750 - 01/31/14 05:19 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Johnathan - Welcome to Piano World!

Concerning the Cunningham, you might contact Rich Galassini at Cunningham. Occasionally, there is an owner in a given locality who is willing to let a potential buyer try out their piano. It's worth a try.

I like the Cunninghams very much, and at the price, they are next to impossible to beat.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2223752 - 01/31/14 05:27 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
You should start by looking at what is available in your local area, before shopping on the basis of brand names.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2223757 - 01/31/14 05:32 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: BDB]
master88er Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/07
Posts: 844
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted By: BDB
You should start by looking at what is available in your local area, before shopping on the basis of brand names.


+1
_________________________
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R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
Berkeley, CA

FORMER US Rep.for C.Bechstein

SF Area Dealer: Steingraeber•Grotrian•Sauter•Estonia•Kayserburg•Baldwin•Brodmann•Ritmüller
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russell@rkassman.com
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#2223765 - 01/31/14 05:47 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 261
Hello Jonathan,

I think you already found excellent candidates for your budget. While you will go see those pianos, make sure to test all other affordable ones that happen to be in showrooms as well, as you never know.

About the criteria, it's different for everyone. Of course, since we can't all own a top tier instrument (I certainly don't myself), it's a matter of compromise. I would say that the most important is 1) the timbre and 2) the touch when you play the piano - and take your time to test them. Play similar test pieces and/or patterns on them - to evaluate dynamics, timbre, sustain, etc the same way on all pianos.

Personally (and of course you can have totally different criteria), I find that timbre, general feel of the keyboard and sustain are the most important. Not so important for me are specs, finish and little things that can be fixed with regulation. Same with "reliability" of brand name - most new pianos come with a 10-year warranty anyway.

Again, take your time testing all candidates, enjoy the buying process, and keep us posted.

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#2223771 - 01/31/14 06:00 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Jonathan,

Do either you or your wife play the piano?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2223785 - 01/31/14 06:10 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: BDB]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2629
Loc: western Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: BDB
You should start by looking at what is available in your local area, before shopping on the basis of brand names.


+2
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#2223961 - 02/01/14 01:59 AM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
michaelha Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 785
A few weeks ago I finally got around to playing the well hyped Hailun. Not impressed. Not sure why people keep saying they're going to take Yamaha and Kawai's lunch, they're nowhere close IMO.

Although, the Hailun was better in most ways than the Weber and Young Chang's.

A 200 mile drive isn't as bad as being stuck with a piano you're not happy with.
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2223974 - 02/01/14 03:03 AM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: michaelha]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1151
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: michaelh
A few weeks ago I finally got around to playing the well hyped Hailun. Not impressed. Not sure why people keep saying they're going to take Yamaha and Kawai's lunch, they're nowhere close IMO.

Really? Which pianos did you play? Because when I played their shorter grand, my impression was that it's like a Kawai, with a better dynamic range.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2224145 - 02/01/14 11:46 AM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: phantomFive]
JonathanNV Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/30/14
Posts: 10
Loc: Las Vegas
Thank you all for your responses. Allow me to reply to those comments.

First, of course we began by looking in our local area (Las Vegas). Unfortunately, our city is casino-focused, not culturally so. As a consequence, there are only three dealers in a radius of 150 miles who sell pianos. The only new piano brands sold here are the Steinway family, Story & Clark, Seiler, Petrof, Yamaha, Kawai and, occasionally, a new Pearl River (which is how we saw the Weber). That is it! Finis. Believe me, if we could buy locally, we would.

My wife hasn't played in five years, and I in nearly 50. At present we have a digital keyboard for "playing around". She would like to begin again; also, she used to be a professional singer and sometime songwriter, which is why we are getting a record feature on our player.

Regarding the player, that is why I am primarily motivated to get as good a piano as we can afford. I want to listen to "live" piano performances in my home. The room in which the piano will reside is large, with high ceilings. Unfortunately, two walls are essentially all glass and the others largely stone, with some sheet rock; the floor is tile. Understandably, even with a rug placed under the piano, I am concerned about brightness and reflective sound. That is why we are seeking out -- we hope -- pianos with a more mellow treble energy level.
_________________________
Jonathan
______________

Proud owner of an Estonia L168

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#2224164 - 02/01/14 12:14 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10452
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
The NAMM trade show just ended and I think some other brands may be available in the LV area in the next few weeks. I would check with the local dealers again.

I would also add Baldwin to the list.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
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Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2224171 - 02/01/14 12:30 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
KurtZ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 852
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
Weber is a Young Chang brand and is made (according to Piano Buyer) in YC's own factory in Tianjin.

Before dismissing Weber or Albert Weber (Korean made), make sure you've tried some of the models designed by Del Fandrich. One of the stated design goals was that they have a slightly less imposing, controllable and musical sound (than the current norm). I hope I'm not misquoting when I say, "Made for the living room and not the concert hall."

Kurt
_________________________
I just wanted to be just "a" guy. That's enough of a life.

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#2224175 - 02/01/14 12:42 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
A Steinway dealer, but no Essex in stock?
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2224210 - 02/01/14 02:13 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: phantomFive]
michaelha Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 785
Originally Posted By: phantomFive

Really? Which pianos did you play? Because when I played their shorter grand, my impression was that it's like a Kawai, with a better dynamic range.


The dealer had the Hailun 151cm through 178 (5'10). Which series of Kawai do you mean, their entry level GE/GM series or RX/GX?

Perhaps it competes with the GE/GM, but I don't think they come anywhere close to the RX/GX. The Hailun's still had a "budget" feel to them. The tone was, for lack of a fancy word, just wasn't pretty. Call it colors, signing, whatever..., but was just a very basic, entry-level, budget tone. Judith Cohen had a similar impression in her review on PB. Sure the bass isn't as tubby as some of the cheap pianos, they softened up the hammers so it's mellow, but the underlying tone just doesn't make you go "ahhh...." Don't get me wrong, it wasn't offensive or harsh, just wasn't pretty.

What also stood out was the key tops. They were slightly yellow, semi-transparent, and reminded me of this really low-end Zimmerman piano I played 20+ years ago. The sharps seemed proportionately too wide. It just left me with a really rough, unrefined, budget impression. Little nitpicks in the "furniture" filter, I thought the harp wasn't very attractive: the shape/design and the color of the finish.

The one at the dealer had some sticky dampers which the dealer attributed to the humidity, but this is in California and we've been having this terrible drought. Outside humidity is in the 20's. I took it as rough factory prep.

The dealer also had Weber's and Young Chang's. I was also interested in the YC's since Del Fandrich designed them, but the dealer said Del didn't design them, but was consulted for some design tips/changes. Well, perhaps it was better than the old YC's, but it still didn't seem to pull it out of that entry-level category.

For me, the Hailun was noticeably nicer than the Weber and YC.

PB has the Hailun "Vienna in the same tier has Kawai RX/GX, Yamaha C/Cx, but Hailun seems to have pulled the "Vienna" series from their website. And this one didn't have the "V" on the model number. Maybe Norbert is right and the Chinese companies are only feeding the West their scraps.
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2224220 - 02/01/14 02:49 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14120
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Maybe Norbert is right and the Chinese companies are only feeding the West their scraps.


Well, sometimes scaps can taste pretty good... wink

From my own observation the top Chinese companies today are definitely aiming at the next level. They sometimes display their newly developed higher lines on trade shows like NAMM and elsewhere. Certainly getting attention there...

Pianos like the Hailun Viennese edition or Pearl River's Kayserburg Artist series.

These pianos are perhaps more aimed at the Chinese market, world's meantime by far largest.

If and when the market will be ready to accomodate these much higher priced pianos over here remains to be seen.

Meantime we and our customers are quite happy 'with the scraps'

Norbert thumb


Edited by Norbert (02/01/14 02:54 PM)
_________________________
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Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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#2224222 - 02/01/14 02:54 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
Orz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 58
If you want player with recording function, why not a yamaha disklavier? I think you can have the DGB1 under 15k, and a disklavier is better then any aftermaket player system IMO.

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#2224230 - 02/01/14 03:12 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 305
Loc: CA
As you can see from the above, everybody feels differently about what they hear from similar pianos. We all hear different things and have our preferences. A lot of bias creeps into our opinions -- particularly when we have spent a fair amount of money on the piano that we purchased. So go and try out whatever you can, and form your own opinion. Do not let opinions on the net decide what's right for you. And do not buy a piano that you have not actually heard. I will say this though -- I think the Ritmuller 170 that I bought sounds great. It has a much more mellow sound than most other pianos I have listened to. I won't be surprised if some find it far too mellow.

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#2224241 - 02/01/14 03:31 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: terminaldegree]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 912
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: terminaldegree
Originally Posted By: BDB
You should start by looking at what is available in your local area, before shopping on the basis of brand names.


+2

+3
Without seeing, playing, and hearing the piano you can't know what you need to know. Also, I'd suggest you expand your horizon to consider a good used piano.

How do you know what you're looking for? Ultimately, play and hear a lot of pianos. A good dealer can be very helpful.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2224248 - 02/01/14 03:42 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: michaelha]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5183
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: michaelh
... The dealer also had Weber's and Young Chang's. I was also interested in the YC's since Del Fandrich designed them, but the dealer said Del didn't design them, but was consulted for some design tips/changes. Well, perhaps it was better than the old YC's, but it still didn't seem to pull it out of that entry-level category.

Interesting. Would you mind sending me the name of that dealer? Some misinformation needs to be corrected.

ddf
(Either on this thread or to my email address shown below.)
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2224259 - 02/01/14 03:53 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: Orz]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21292
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Orz
If you want player with recording function, why not a yamaha disklavier? I think you can have the DGB1 under 15k, and a disklavier is better then any aftermaket player system IMO.

This is a good recommendation.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2224297 - 02/01/14 05:28 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: BDB]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Orz
If you want player with recording function, why not a yamaha disklavier? I think you can have the DGB1 under 15k, and a disklavier is better then any aftermaket player system IMO.

This is a good recommendation.

It's out of the OP's price range.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2224311 - 02/01/14 06:02 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Orz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/21/13
Posts: 58
Im pretty sure anything on OP's list with a Player + recording function is going be around 15k or more, and very likely never play/record as good as a Disklavier.

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Orz
If you want player with recording function, why not a yamaha disklavier? I think you can have the DGB1 under 15k, and a disklavier is better then any aftermaket player system IMO.

This is a good recommendation.

It's out of the OP's price range.


Edited by Orz (02/01/14 06:02 PM)

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#2224333 - 02/01/14 06:35 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: Del]
michaelha Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 785
Originally Posted By: Del

Interesting. Would you mind sending me the name of that dealer? Some misinformation needs to be corrected.

ddf
(Either on this thread or to my email address shown below.)


Sent. Also, they only had the ~5'0 YC's. Perhaps I'd have a better impression of their larger ones.


Edited by michaelh (02/01/14 06:39 PM)
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2224350 - 02/01/14 07:19 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: michaelha]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1151
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: michaelh
Originally Posted By: phantomFive

Really? Which pianos did you play? Because when I played their shorter grand, my impression was that it's like a Kawai, with a better dynamic range.


Which series of Kawai do you mean, their entry level GE/GM series or RX/GX?

Perhaps it competes with the GE/GM, but I don't think they come anywhere close to the RX/GX. The Hailun's still had a "budget" feel to them. The tone was, for lack of a fancy word, just wasn't pretty. Call it colors, signing, whatever..., but was just a very basic, entry-level, budget tone. Judith Cohen had a similar impression in her review on PB.


Judith Cohen has the same criticism for every piano she plays, because she is expecting a Steinway. She would have similar criticisms with Kawai, because it's not a Steinway.

I've spent many years playing different models of Kawai, from small uprights to medium sized grands and even the Shigeru. When I play any piano, I try to bring out it's natural beauty. Most pianos made these days have at least something beautiful about them.

The first time I played a Hailun, I thought, "oh, this is a Kawai!" Then I realized, "oh, there are some differences." There are some differences, but they are both quality pianos in their price range. I have my preference but that's a personal thing.
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2224358 - 02/01/14 07:42 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
Lushey1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/10
Posts: 49
Loc: Melbourne-Australia
Not wanting to tell you how to suck eggs,but take your ears along to the piano showroom and really listen to the sound of the piano;

Bass;Is it rich and resonant and is the sound clean,or does it sound like someone has their hands around the singer's throat.Are their lots of bad harmonics in the sound.

Mid register;Is it pure.Play single notes and not fists full with the pedal down.

Treble;Does it ring like little bells.Does it have a nice percussive attack.

How does the piano respond to your requests for pp and ff.How readily does it do fast repetition trills/ornaments etc.Is there a real pp tone and a significant ff.

Difficult in the lower price ranges I know,but do not give up.Take your time.Listen to the salesperson but take your time and really listen to the piano.There should not be a need these days to jump into a special sale opportunity that is about to finish in two days time.

Good luck.Are there any pre-owned pianos around for you to have a look at?Don't forget to get your chosen one checked by an independent technician.(The piano,not your partner)
_________________________
Piano sales consultant
Music Junction-Melbourne Australia
28 years and still going
Kawai RX6 Blak,Steinway upright,Yamaha upright,Roland RD700NX,Korg Kronos

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#2224443 - 02/02/14 01:02 AM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: Steve Cohen]
HalfStep Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/25/11
Posts: 201
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
The NAMM trade show just ended and I think some other brands may be available in the LV area in the next few weeks. I would check with the local dealers again.

I would also add Baldwin to the list.


Precisely my thought...

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#2224457 - 02/02/14 01:58 AM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: JonathanNV]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2401
Loc: Olympia, WA
You need a good tech on your side. I recommend you contact David Chadwick. He is a dedicated an honest RPT in the Las Vegas area.
702-368-4408
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#2224645 - 02/02/14 01:35 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: rysowers]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: rysowers
You need a good tech on your side. I recommend you contact David Chadwick. He is a dedicated an honest RPT in the Las Vegas area.
702-368-4408


This is the best advice I've seen on this thread. I second Ryan's recommendation.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
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#2224667 - 02/02/14 02:20 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: phantomFive]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1601
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Originally Posted By: michaelh
A few weeks ago I finally got around to playing the well hyped Hailun. Not impressed. Not sure why people keep saying they're going to take Yamaha and Kawai's lunch, they're nowhere close IMO.

Really? Which pianos did you play? Because when I played their shorter grand, my impression was that it's like a Kawai, with a better dynamic range.


That's a strange impression considering the action and tone of those two pianos is completely different. Goes to show you how subjective our impressions of pianos are and the inherent danger in asking for advice from others on these forums...

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#2224682 - 02/02/14 02:53 PM Re: Confusion Run Rampant [Re: AJF]
phantomFive Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1151
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: AJF
Originally Posted By: phantomFive
Originally Posted By: michaelh
A few weeks ago I finally got around to playing the well hyped Hailun. Not impressed. Not sure why people keep saying they're going to take Yamaha and Kawai's lunch, they're nowhere close IMO.

Really? Which pianos did you play? Because when I played their shorter grand, my impression was that it's like a Kawai, with a better dynamic range.


That's a strange impression considering the action and tone of those two pianos is completely different. Goes to show you how subjective our impressions of pianos are and the inherent danger in asking for advice from others on these forums...


Yes, I've been trying to figure out why I felt that way, but I can only harass the poor Hailun dealer so many times before he wants me to buy smile
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Poetry is rhythm.

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