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#93944 - 03/30/08 09:49 PM Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Bachfan39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 82
Loc: Vancouver, BC
I think I'll limit my choice to these three, probably something like a Steinway O vs. similar small Kawaii grands.

Who can compare and contrast, in terms of:
1) quality of workmanship
2) likelihood of having mechanical problems over 10-15 years of daily use
3) value
4) gentleness of tone for a 10x15 room with wooden floors

Thanks again!

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#93945 - 03/30/08 10:08 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Loki Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/05
Posts: 1035
Loc: Texas
1) The quality of workmanship is very high in all 3.

2) It'll differ by the unit. But generally, you're not very likely to have problems with these pianos.

3) I think Steinway holds its value the best.

4) Depends on the unit.
_________________________
Houston, Texas

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#93946 - 03/31/08 12:24 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Zooplibob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/04
Posts: 245
Loc: Houston, TX
I would be interested in hearing from people on this as well. Loki didn't answer any of Bachfan39's questions, but hopefully someone else can, right?

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#93947 - 03/31/08 12:47 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
bitWrangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 1785
Loc: Central TX
We looked most closely at the S&S and Shigeru (not the standard model Kawai).

1. A good part of what you're paying additional for on the Shigeru is the quality of workmanship and the attention to detail, so obviously the Shigeru rates high here. As can be read ad-nauseum on this forum, the "quality of workmanship" on S&S is generally excellent but sometimes with some maddening amount of variability in various areas.

2. Very low on any model you choose barring any bad luck.

3. Value is in the eye of the beholder. Does paying $20000+ extra for that S&S logo worth it if the basic Kawai makes you happy?

4. Non issue as far as choosing the piano. Purchase the piano you like and tweak the room as needed.

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#93948 - 03/31/08 01:02 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7200
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
 Quote:
4. Non issue as far as choosing the piano. Purchase the piano you like and tweak the room as needed.
Absolutely - find the best tone you can first and foremost.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#93949 - 03/31/08 06:59 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
Attention to detail on the fits and finishes will be the highes on the Shigeru and the lowest on the S&S.

The Shigeru IMO is the tops of the Asian catagory in every respect. When detailed and fully prepared the S&S is a terrific piano and fine example of the best of the domestic catagory. Just takes some time and work to get them there.

These two will have vastly different touch responses and tonal response color. Only you can decide between these choices.

The standard RX line of Kawai is terrific, but not in the zone of the other two above.
_________________________
Piano Technician, member Piano Technicians Guild.

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#93950 - 03/31/08 11:34 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Structural integrity is very high on the S&S and I would imagine on the SK and RX Kawais as well. My take on the cosmetic aspect of the "fit and finish" issue is that it is not as important as how the piano sounds and plays. I bought a Steinway for its tonal qualities and responsiveness-- I think it is above the Shigeru Kawai in that regard and both of those are above the RX Kawai on those dimensions. Obviously, this is just my preference. The Shigeru is an absolutely beautiful piano and has the added value of the visit from the master piano technician .

Re: cosmetics: I suspect that not many professional players spend time looking up at the underside of the piano to see how perfect the paint job is under there, or playing with the slow close fallboard. Cosmetic "fit and finish" are qualities that are lovely when there but don't imho make or break the main reason for buying a piano: to make music.

Sophia

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#93951 - 04/16/08 09:24 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Bachfan39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 82
Loc: Vancouver, BC
I am wary of the idea of depending on a local technician to voice the piano (it seems like such an inexact art, too reliant on the uncertain skills of a local technician); I would much rather the piano be voiced in a way that I like right out of the factory. My understanding from the forums is that Steinway does not tend to come well-prepared from the factory. Is it true that Kawaii/Shigeru is a better finished, ready-to-play instrument right out of the factory, with no extra at-home technical servicing? How about other brands, such as the other "top tier" pianos (Bosendorfer, Bechstein, etc.)

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#93952 - 04/16/08 09:36 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Jeanne W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 1240
Loc: New England
Regarding 4) - Craigen mentions taking note of the tonal response color. I'm not sure if the following is exactly what Craigen is referring to, but I suggest you listen carefully to whether the piano "opens up" - whether the tonal quality changes - when played more loudly. My opinion is the Shigeru tends to sound louder, but the tonal quality stays pretty even. Could be a plus or minus, I suppose, depending on what you're looking for. Also, the nature of the showroom you are playing the pianos in can greatly affect how bright / mellow a piano sounds. This can affect your impression of how loud a piano is, also.

Jeanne W
_________________________
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1920 Steinway A3
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#93953 - 04/16/08 10:03 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bachfan39:
Is it true that Kawaii/Shigeru is a better finished, ready-to-play instrument right out of the factory, with no extra at-home technical servicing? [/b]
If you're located in the States, Kawai will send a master technician to your home to voice and regulate your Shigeru piano sometime in the first year of ownership. I'm not sure if you would consider that a pro or con, as it counts as "extra in-home servicing," but I find that level of service *extremely* impressive.
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#93954 - 04/17/08 01:39 AM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13976
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Bachfan 39:

Wishing you well, but you happen to look at quite different [sounding..] pianos really.

Any reason you wish to restrict your search to only these few pianos?

Your'e leaving out some pretty interesting alternatives and/or highly competitive other options....

Norbert
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#93955 - 04/17/08 10:22 AM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
PianoStudent1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 38
Loc: Pacific NW
We auditioned several - RX3, SS M, Shigeru SK3, Yamaha C3 and Schimmel (K189? and C182). SS was out our price range. Really liked the Schimmels (K189 is superb), Shigeru SK3 and Yamaha C3 - all three roughly same price range. Finally went with the Shigeru SK3 - really like the tone and touch. We have now had it for 3 weeks and enjoying it. Our room is 17'x 15' and 8' high. We were also worried about piano over-powering the room, but it seems to be fine. Shigeru have a more mellow tone than Schimmel or Yamaha C3 and that helps.
_________________________
PianoStudent1
Kawai Shigeru (SK-3)

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#93956 - 04/17/08 10:38 AM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2629
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bachfan39:
My understanding from the forums is that Steinway does not tend to come well-prepared from the factory. Is it true that Kawaii/Shigeru is a better finished, ready-to-play instrument right out of the factory, with no extra at-home technical servicing?[/b]
Doesn't the purchase of a Shigeru Kawai also include a visit by a technician from Japan to voice the piano to your home? I won't compare the Shigeru to S&S because frankly I don't know how they come from the factory and Bear will eventually see this thread and offer his Kawai expertise. So to answer Bachfan's question the Shigeru includes a visit by a technician from far away who is very capable and expert in regulating and voicing the Shigeru/Kawai.

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#93957 - 04/17/08 11:04 AM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
PianoStudent1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 38
Loc: Pacific NW
Yes, Shigeru purchased includes a MPA visit from Japan to fine tune your piano to your home environment. See below

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/21623.html#000000
_________________________
PianoStudent1
Kawai Shigeru (SK-3)

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#93958 - 04/17/08 11:07 AM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Kenny Blankenship Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/05
Posts: 659
Loc: Northeast
You couldn't go wrong on any of these three, What one do YOU like?
_________________________
Kenny Blankenship
Selling anything anyone will buy as the "Walmartizisation of the industry continues. (Still making a fair living and still having clients like me)

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#93959 - 04/17/08 11:23 AM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Gabe Racz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/03/07
Posts: 119
Loc: Denver, Colorado, USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Chandler:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Bachfan39:
My understanding from the forums is that Steinway does not tend to come well-prepared from the factory. Is it true that Kawaii/Shigeru is a better finished, ready-to-play instrument right out of the factory, with no extra at-home technical servicing?[/b]
Doesn't the purchase of a Shigeru Kawai also include a visit by a technician from Japan to voice the piano to your home? I won't compare the Shigeru to S&S because frankly I don't know how they come from the factory and Bear will eventually see this thread and offer his Kawai expertise. So to answer Bachfan's question the Shigeru includes a visit by a technician from far away who is very capable and expert in regulating and voicing the Shigeru/Kawai. [/b]
I had interesting experiences auditioning Steinways and Shigeru Kawais a few months ago. Clearly neither had received any dealer prep (the S&S dealer here unfortunately does not prep the pianos until they are sold). The Steinway, without voicing by a tech, sounded like I had socks in my ears. Compared to an S&S in the same room that was sold and had been voiced and regulated, it was night & day. The Shigeru, which the dealer claimed had just arrived and was uncrated earlier in the day, sounded beautiful (and surprisingly it was mostly in tune, too). The Shigeru SK3 sounded vastly better than the RX3s I tried in the same room (which had similarly received no work other than a tuning by the dealer).

Of course, neither one would continue to sound the same after a few months anyway. If I were buying I'd ask the dealer to voice and regulate the piano the way I wanted it before taking the final plunge. In fact overall I was disappointed by the lack of preparation of the pianos on the showrooms of nearly every dealer I visited when I was searching a few months ago (the exception showed just what I was missing at the other dealers!).
_________________________
Schimmel 190E EP 103330

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#93960 - 04/17/08 12:08 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Bachfan39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 82
Loc: Vancouver, BC
Norbert,
I would be interesting in trying the Grotrian in your shop.

I've played a Grotrian and it's one of my all-time favourites.

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#93961 - 04/17/08 01:42 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
 Quote:
Originally posted by Gabe Racz:
. [/qb]
I had interesting experiences auditioning Steinways and Shigeru Kawais a few months ago. Clearly neither had received any dealer prep (the S&S dealer here unfortunately does not prep the pianos until they are sold). The Steinway, without voicing by a tech, sounded like I had socks in my ears. Compared to an S&S in the same room that was sold and had been voiced and regulated, it was night & day. The Shigeru, which the dealer claimed had just arrived and was uncrated earlier in the day, sounded beautiful (and surprisingly it was mostly in tune, too). The Shigeru SK3 sounded vastly better than the RX3s I tried in the same room (which had similarly received no work other than a tuning by the dealer).

Of course, neither one would continue to sound the same after a few months anyway. If I were buying I'd ask the dealer to voice and regulate the piano the way I wanted it before taking the final plunge. In fact overall I was disappointed by the lack of preparation of the pianos on the showrooms of nearly every dealer I visited when I was searching a few months ago (the exception showed just what I was missing at the other dealers!). [/QB][/QUOTE]

I think you will see the biggest difference in the Steinway between prepped and unprepped and I would not make my decision until you heard it prepped, as it can be, as noted above, "night and day" in most cases. I really like the Shigeru but I don't find them as colorful as S&S nor does the timbral change with "opening up" happen as much. Really, it comes down to personal preference but don't make up your mind until you've heard the S&S in its prepped state. THen you'll have a better idea of what your choices among these three really are. There are also other good options out there too, as has been mentioned.

Sophia

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#93962 - 04/17/08 02:45 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
mozartian18 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/05/01
Posts: 88
My 2 cents:
1. Kawai tends to have tighter quality control than Steinway, resulting in pianos that are near-perfect out of the crate, which does not happen normally with Steinway pianos. Does this mean that Shigeru has a higher quality of workmanship than Steinway? If we're talking about precise alignment of every part, for example, then the answer is yes. However, the greatness of a piano is a lot more than precise alignment of parts. The scale designs of Steinway are what make that brand great, not just the precise alignment of parts.
2. No difference. This depends on how the piano is used and how it's maintained, not really about quality, since both are high-quality pianos.
3. Steinway, hands down, if you mean resale value. While Shigeru is prized by people who know excellent pianos, it doesn't have Steinway's name recognition, which ultimately affects it's resale value. For people who don't really play the piano, but have the money to buy a high-end piano, they almost always want a Steinway and nothing else.
4. I think you mean, mellow, right? Gentleness of tone is largely dependent on voicing. Both pianos can be made to be mellow sounding, but I lean toward Steinways because I believe that their hammers are more malleable, producing a more mellow tone.

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#93963 - 04/17/08 05:05 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2250
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I posted this on a thread about the LX playback system, but I think it's worth re-posting here...it's a new Shigeru Kawai SK-6 7ft grand with an LX playback system installed. It's very well recorded and will give you a fairly good representation of the Shigeru sound, not to mention the fantastic playback of the LX. Scroll down to the bottom to see and hear the files. Incidentally, if you have a high speed connection, the very large video file is worth the wait to download.

http://www.grandpianohaus.com/iklavier.asp

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#93964 - 04/24/08 07:06 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
Bachfan39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 82
Loc: Vancouver, BC
Awesome. I'd love to see clips like this featuring other great pianos.

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#93965 - 04/24/08 11:35 PM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
BlahBlahBlahh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/08
Posts: 44
Loc: New York, New York
Steinway does offer a free after-sale in-home visit by a Steinway technician, to tune, voice and regulate the piano to your liking, etc. Whether the particular technician you get has the "master technician" title is beyond my knowledge. \:D

Bottom line - buy the one you LOVE because pianos at these price points are serious purchases and you want to be happy with your purchase for a long time.

The following is my personal experience from dealing with a Steinway-owned showroom (the Steinway Gallery) in Westport, Connecticut. Read it for what it's worth.

I recently purchased a Steinway O during a sale event for pre-owned pianos. When I bought the piano, my understanding was that it was made in 2006. It played and sounded great in the open and carpeted showroom so I took the plunge and traded in my Steinway M, knowing that this O should age well as far as the tone/sound goes.

Anyway, it became apparent that the tone was not even after playing it in my living room (with hardwood floor) and that some notes sounded harsh and somewhat piercing though the piano was in tune. I called the store about it since this was somewhat unusual in a piano that had been broken in and supposedly had had voicing/regulation done already. (I did not expect perfection, but the O was just a bit more off than I had expected. My previous M was also pre-owned when I bought it and the tone was much more even, etc. upon delivery.)

Steinway recommends waiting at least 4 weeks before the technician's visit so that the piano has enough time to acclimate to its new home, so I thought that I just had to tough it out.

Anyway, about 2 weeks after I took delivery, I got a call from the store that the technician would be in my area and could stop by for a quick check/adjustment after he finished with his other appointments while I continued to wait for the "official" after-sale visit by the technician.

The technician (who is full-time at the Westport store and who tunes/regulates/voices every piano in that store so he is very familiar with the inventory) told me that while my O was "used" it was never really played. It was used because it had most likely been loaned for some photo shoots and to stage a house (houses) for sale, etc., so Steinway cannot sell it as new. All of a sudden, everything made sense! I really got a "new" piano and this explained everything. (The technician also told me what documentation came with a new piano and what came with a used one, etc. so I was able to compare the O with my M and to conclude that the O was really a new piano in that sense.)

I'm still waiting for the official visit but the piano sounds a lot better already! \:\)

Steinways are expensive (even after a fairly generous discount for my "used" O), but I have to say I really love the sound and the touch. (The touch on the recent-vintage Steinways also feel quite differently from the rebuilt ones, even those by Steinway, which I don't care for as much.)

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#93966 - 04/25/08 04:00 AM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Hey BlahBlahBlahh....Just curious about your signiture. Did you mean to put 2006 Steinway O instead of 1996?. There was no such mdl. "O" in 1996 unless of the Hamburg factory(always in production in the Hamburg factory)The Steinway "L". was still in production in N.Y. in 1996 not being discontinued till,I believe 2005-2006ish than being replaced by the O. The NY "O" was replaced by the L in 1922-1923. \:\)
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#93967 - 04/25/08 11:38 AM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
BlahBlahBlahh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/08
Posts: 44
Loc: New York, New York
My piano is indeed a 2006. Was still a poor law student back in 1996! \:D

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#93968 - 04/29/08 02:34 AM Re: Steinway vs. Kawaii vs. Shigeru Kawaii
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Thats funny,I sell more Steinways to attornies than any other profession though there is not a shortage of attornies in southern California.Some very talented piano playing lawyers in this town! Having litigated my last case prior to 1996 I just write points and authorities on Independent Steinway restoration vrs. new Steinway on PW.
I only take cases I can win. \:D ;\)
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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