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#2242905 - 03/07/14 09:51 PM Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218
AlanSanDiego Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 11
Hello all, after a while searching I finally had my new piano delivered last month. It is a Hailun 218, and is the second acoustic piano I've purchased. I spent a good deal more time on this search than I did on my first piano. After trying several makes, I narrowed it down pretty much to Kawai, Yamaha, Brodmann, Boston, and Hailun pianos that fit within my budget. I was looking for a more mellow tone and for something 6ft or longer, as my prior piano's treble was too harsh, even after voicing. The Brodmann 187 I liked very much, but it sold earlier on in my search. The Yamahas were more than I wanted to spend and had a brighter tone than I was looking for. I demoed the Boston and Kawais in the same store, comparing the RX3 and RX2 and the Boston GP 178 and GP 193. I thought ahead of time that I'd prefer the millenium action, but I found to my surprise I actually preferred the Boston all wood action and the piano's tone. I found the Boston to be mellow, and singing without being harsh. My favorite of all pianos I tried was the GP 193 but I just could not wrap my mind around the $35K price, and after reading on these forums, it seems like most people feel the advertised Steinway link and associated price premium that comes with Boston isn't really worth the difference given both brands are built by Kawai. I also found the Hailun to have a mellow tone with very good sustain.

In the end, I ended up getting a Hailun 218. The birdseye maple inner rim is beautiful, and the action is very nice. At 7'2", it was a longer piano than I was searching for, and I was afraid that it would overwhelm my room, even though it is a big space, but in the end that does not seem to be the case. I think for me it was a good compromise as I am a hobbyist player only, and it seems very close to what I heard in the Boston at a much lower price. I think to the casual observer, the Hailun is beautiful and well finished, though after taking delivery I've noticed some very small finishing issues that others might not notice. If you look at the lid at an angle with lighting, it seems slightly wavy, rather that mirror flat. One of the edges of the white keys seems to have been cut ever-so slightly curved rather than exactly straight. The damper pedal had a squeak in the spring that was fixed by the tech on the first tuning. No one else in my family has noticed these things other than me, so it may just be that I am super picky. Overall, the bass is wonderful, and the hammers seem to be hardening up a bit after the first month or so of playing, as the treble was a bit muted sounding upon delivery with the new hammers. I am already starting to see the logic of those who recommend buying a piano that is a bit mellower that you are looking for, and letting it settle in over time, and if it's not where you'd like in terms of brightness, you can always have it juiced a bit later on. I think over the next year or so, it will continue to settle in nicely. I'll follow with some pics once I figure out how to attach them here.

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#2242914 - 03/07/14 10:04 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
Chazarama Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/14
Posts: 27
Loc: Hudson Valley, NY
ENJOY!

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#2242915 - 03/07/14 10:05 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8412
Loc: Georgia, USA
Congratulations on your new 7 footer!! A wonderful instrument for sure!

I love that growling bass!

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

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#2242922 - 03/07/14 10:22 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
AlanSanDiego Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 11








I'm sorry the images are upright when I look at the hosted link but they get rotated when I post it. I'm not sure how to fix it.

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#2242925 - 03/07/14 10:29 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
A monster - congratulations!

Condolences to all those still insisting to spend much more money on much less piano.....

Norbert cry
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#2242954 - 03/07/14 11:24 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1523
Loc: Danville, California
Here is a Youtube video of Denis Evstuhin, a truly world class pianist who lives in MN, performing Bach on a Hailun 218

For 99% of the people who frequent this forum, this piano would be way more piano than they will ever need or want* - and it is relatively affordable. Much more so than most of the brands that get discussed here every day, at any rate.

See what you think:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2PrYuU0dYM

*And I must admit that includes yours truly

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#2242973 - 03/08/14 01:20 AM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: Furtwangler]
Grandman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Usa
Congratulations! Please post some audio recordings if you get the chance. Looks fantastic.

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#2242985 - 03/08/14 02:04 AM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
rlinkt Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 305
Loc: CA
Congratulations! That's a fantastic piano!
Post some recordings when you get a chance.

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#2242988 - 03/08/14 02:18 AM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2627
Loc: western Wisconsin
Congratulations! ...but I can't imagine how you must have to strap yourself into the bench to play a piano oriented that way. Some pretty fancy stuff there!
_________________________
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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#2243000 - 03/08/14 05:23 AM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
chopinoholic Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 05/02/13
Posts: 129
Loc: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Wow that's an amazing piano, really nice appearance. Looks really long! Mine is 205 (6'9"), but this one looks like 230 at least. Congratulations.
And btw the photos are shown correct on the iphone, but upside down on the normal computer.
_________________________
Paul


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#2243099 - 03/08/14 11:32 AM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
Music Me Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/23/12
Posts: 193
Loc: New York
Congratulations! Enjoy your piano in the best of health. I am on my Grand Piano Search and I am now adding Hailun to my research. Thank you. This is what is so great about this site.
_________________________
Barbara
...without music, no life...

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#2243117 - 03/08/14 12:06 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3508
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
More Hailun 218 - Eric Himy playing Liszt:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ohrSICZd7E

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#2243159 - 03/08/14 01:17 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
johnlewisgrant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 471
Loc: canada
I own a 218, now for about 2 years. You've probably read my posts, which were raves. But after 2 years, my convictions are the same. I consider myself very lucky indeed to have discovered this piano.

They aren't sold in Toronto. Not seriously, that is.

I've been around pianos all my life... both my parents played at a high level; I studied classical piano for 15 years, pretty aggressively, and piano concert attendance has been a "non-stop" event for me since I was a kid.

Certainly the ear can be fooled with pianos. There are quite a few variables. Piano prep and condition #1. Room #2. What you like to play and you're training... a distant #3. Marketing and hype... "My friends and neighbours will be so impressed by that "Steinway" label" #4. Etc., etc..


The main problem with Hailuns up here in Toronto (where there's still about a foot of snow on the ground) is dealer prep. I happened to play a 218 that was in pretty good shape. I also played the smaller Hailun grand, which was also in good shape. Also in that room were 2 re-conditioned Steinway Bs, 15 and 30 years old each (approx.) and a brand new Steingraeber concert grand that was in superb shape.

So that was my "comparison base." I've played many Steinway Bs in my life, as well as 1 or 2 American Steinway concert grands. I've played ALL the Japanese pianos (who hasn't). I think and hope I know what a top notch grand is supposed to feel like to play in different repertoire.

The Steingraeber was a "perfect" instrument. Never played one before. Couldn't find one thing wrong with it, other than the tuning, which was not dead on to my ears.

Having said that, the Steinway Bs were "OK", one clearly better than the other.

I had no intention of going near the Hailun, to be honest. All the Chinese pianos with fake German brand names attached to them that I have ever played have been TERRIBLE. Excruciatingly bad.

So why would I play this thing? The owner of the shop said, "Oh try it." "Come on!" So I did.

I pretty much bought the piano "on the spot," as they say.

I keep the 218 at 43% rel humidity +- 1 degree, all year around, which is a bit fanatical. But the touch and tone of the piano is magnificent, and it has remained that way for the 2 years I've owned it.

Yes, some of the pinning on the action was a bit tight, but that was easy to fix. The only other issue was a bit of harshness that developed on F and F#4, which was easily remedied with hammer needling.

I tune the piano myself, and it stays at this point completely in tune. (That's expected with completely constant RH.)

Eric Himy's Youtube videos mentioned above don't, in fact, do this piano justice. At all. fortunately, there are an increasing number of classical videos employing the 218 at Youtube. Denis Evstuhin has one up now that is uncompromisingly DRY. No reverb. So it is a difficult test of ANY piano. And he plays a very "dry" piece, too boot: Bach's C Major Prelude and Fugue, Book 2, WTC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2PrYuU0dYM

Again, poor mics, amateur recording... but the tonal superiority of the instrument is obvious:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlHAk-uEcLQ

the 218 under a different label... same piano though...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug0wypxcodI

Wow! Nice interpretation. Great piano!

This recording is easily comparable in tone and quality to any Steinway recording of the C major combo from Book 2. Just as beautiful, tonally, as either of Hewitt's recordings of it, the first on a Steinway D, the second on a Fazioli.

Search YouTube for other really good 218 recordings... Not all of them are. I do one, with my own mics, which is not very good. So ignore THAT one! As for the good ones, you would be hard pressed to say that that they weren't comparable to any Steinway recording.


A fantastic piano. Not a Steinway or Bos, but I have to say, in the same ballpark sonically. Just listen.

It's actually quite hard to believe how remarkable this piano sounds. Easily as good as any Yamaha Concert Grand. Not as good as a German Steinway, Bechstein, or Steingraeber; but easily competitive against any American Steinway B. And to my ears--sue me--as good as the best Yamaha Grands and Kawai Shigerus on the market.

A game-changer. Will it hold up over time? That I can't say. 2 years old is infancy in the life of a piano.

JG


Edited by johnlewisgrant (03/08/14 01:29 PM)

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#2243166 - 03/08/14 01:29 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: Furtwangler]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19228
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
For 99% of the people who frequent this forum, this piano would be way more piano than they will ever need or want
There are plenty of members who have pianos in the 7' range.


Edited by pianoloverus (03/08/14 01:29 PM)

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#2243171 - 03/08/14 01:36 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: pianoloverus]
johnlewisgrant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 471
Loc: canada
To put it as delicately as I can, piano size and appearance is as much a "domestic" issue as loudspeaker and stereo size and appearance!

The truth is (my truth, anyway) that size does not mean, necessarily, "loudness." That depends on the pianist and the piano. Any good 7+ foot piano can be as quiet as the tiniest upright; the only difference is that it can sound a thousand times better (if properly prepped and maintained).

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#2243178 - 03/08/14 01:41 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2691
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Congratulations! It is an elegant piano that you will enjoy for many, many years.
_________________________
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

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#2243228 - 03/08/14 03:06 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
AlanSanDiego Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/13
Posts: 11
John you sell yourself short! I did read many of your posts when I was researching the 218 and finalizing my decision and they were very helpful, especially in light your skepticism of most Chinese pianos. I hope you don't mind me posting it, but I found your recording below to be my favorite of the 218 demos. It really has an achingly beautiful tone in your recording--well done!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxGdncwv1N4

I also really enjoy Paul Barton's recordings on his equivalent Feurich 218. I also prefer the open-music desk design on the Feurich. He has many beautiful recordings with the 218.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fvo_iOuSck

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8w_0Hr13J0

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#2243267 - 03/08/14 04:25 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
johnlewisgrant Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 471
Loc: canada
JG's interp of Nocturne = definition of saccharin.

I like Barton's technique on the Etude. The Debussy is a work of art.

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#2243284 - 03/08/14 05:20 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14117
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
A fantastic piano. Not a Steinway or Bos, but I have to say, in the same ballpark sonically. Just listen.


Years ago I already pointed that some of the Chinese pianos are truly outstanding and certainly represent incredible value.

At that time I was accused "hyping things" and/or being some kind of a slick marketeer. Those voices are suddenly falling curiously silent like gone with the wind...

It's nice to see that today so many people seem to agree with my own earlier assessment. Hailun is not the only make falling within this group, but that's besides the point right now.

Happy shopping everybody - spend your money well!

Norbert

This is not to discourage people to buy different pianos but simply pointing out how varied and diversified the market has become.
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#2243363 - 03/08/14 11:02 PM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: johnlewisgrant]
Grandman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/12
Posts: 168
Loc: Usa
Originally Posted By: johnlewisgrant
A game-changer. Will it hold up over time? That I can't say. 2 years old is infancy in the life of a piano.

JG


I'm willing to bet it does hold up. Thanks for your feedback.

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#2246291 - 03/14/14 12:44 AM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
David Germino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/14
Posts: 154
Very nice!!! Congrats on a exceptional instrument. I wish more people had the courage to spend less and get more.

Dave's Piano Showroom
Tampa, Clearwater, St Pete and Brandon
813-282-0303
www.davespianoshowroom.com
European Hybrid Piano Specialist

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#2246303 - 03/14/14 01:31 AM Re: Finally posting my new piano, Hailun 218 [Re: AlanSanDiego]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2627
Loc: western Wisconsin
Hi Dave,

"European Hybrid Piano Specialist"

...makes me chuckle when I read it. Welcome to the forum.
_________________________
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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