Boston vs. Kawai upright - my decision and purchase!

Posted by: alexb

Boston vs. Kawai upright - my decision and purchase! - 04/25/10 09:55 PM

After 3 months of looking around, reading everything I could, and actually playing many, many pianos, I decided on the Boston UP-118E PE in Satin Ebony finish and bought one yesterday. Delivery is on 5/11 and I can't wait! I don't know what to do until then - my junky 10 year old Clavinova is killing me! wink I live in a condo for now, so I have to do with an upright until we buy a place. Then on to the grand I go!

Initially (like for many), the main contenders, were the Yamaha U1/U3 & Kawai K3/K5. The Yamahas had too light an action and too bright a sound for my taste (classical music mainly). So it was then up to finding some K3s/K5s to play, and I did that back to back as many times as I could with the Bostons. The K3 was/is $4k cheaper than the Boston 118E PE, and also 2" taller. The Millennium III action is clearly a great innovation. So I played them many times to hear and feel the differences. Would there be many? None? Would they be worth $4K?

Well, despite what I've read on this forum (and other places) about Bostons being re-badged Kawais - they clearly are not. Not to my ears. And the more I played them, the more apparent the differences became - in both touch and sound. They really are quite different - trust me, I wasn't looking to spend more for a Steinway badge. To me, the Kawais had too dark and dull a sound in comparison, with less sustain as well - too "meaty" and "thick" for me. Some may prefer that however. The action was great, but a bit heavier than what I like as well. The Bostons just had a very clear sound, not too dark, not too bright, and seemed more even in tone from the bass to treble transition. And the sustain is just better to my ears. The action? Well, I can't say anything bad about the Millennium III, it makes sense, but the Bostons felt better. Wood parts will swell and shrink, but maybe they also resonate and add to the sound? Who's to say? Even if not, at least the feel is different. Different enough for me, and I really have to believe different enough for anyone who plays them back to back and is objective about brands.

Some may prefer the Kawai sound & feel and some the Boston, but they are not the same. Are the differences worth the price? That's for each person to decide. For me they were. Could Steinway have made the same Boston piano and charged $2K less? Probably. But they didn't. Does that make me a sucker? Not at all. So why am I writing all of this? To encourage others to go do the same. Play back to back and see which you prefer. Don't trust posts that seem to have an agenda. Pay as much as you can afford for what you love. No need to put down any brand of piano.
Posted by: NancyM333

Re: Finally decided on and bought my new piano this weekend! - 04/25/10 10:06 PM

Congratulations, Burma. I'm sure you'll have many happy years with your new Boston. I have a Yamaha, and I agree that the action is very light, though I never noticed Kawais as being exceptionally heavy. Of course, we all are like Goldilocks, trying to find something that is "just right," and that is definitely something only the future owner can determine.

Are your neighbors ready for a piano to move in next door? :-)

Nancy
Posted by: PianoWorksATL

Re: Finally decided on and bought my new piano this weekend! - 04/25/10 10:33 PM

Congrats on your new piano! Why the 2 week delay in delivery?
Posted by: alexb

Re: Finally decided on and bought my new piano this weekend! - 04/25/10 11:45 PM

Originally Posted By: NancyM333
Congratulations, Burma. I'm sure you'll have many happy years with your new Boston. I have a Yamaha, and I agree that the action is very light, though I never noticed Kawais as being exceptionally heavy. Of course, we all are like Goldilocks, trying to find something that is "just right," and that is definitely something only the future owner can determine.

Are your neighbors ready for a piano to move in next door? :-)

Nancy


Thanks Nancy. True, touch and sound are subjective. What's a light action for me may be heavy for another, etc. Then there is preference - light vs. heavy touch, etc.

I think the main thing I wanted to point out is that while searching, it's a good idea to play the final 2-3 pianos you may decide on for a bit. Initially, the differences between them may not appear that great. Or they may be *too* great. And both scenarios can be misleading. But as you play them more, differences/characteristics will become more and more apparent. So that's why it took me a while to decide. I wanted to be sure it wasn't room acoustics, etc. After 1.5 months, I really got to be familiar with both brands. The store managers got tired of me, but I could care less. It's just too important a decision to jump the gun.

Regarding the neighbors, I'm lucky in that regard. I'm on the ground floor with no attached units next to mine. And the only neighbor that can hear anything is across the hall. And I own that unit as well LOL! The reason for not getting a grand is purely space, not volume. In 2-3 years I'll move to a grand, when I can dedicate a room just for it.
Posted by: alexb

Re: Finally decided on and bought my new piano this weekend! - 04/25/10 11:48 PM

Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
Congrats on your new piano! Why the 2 week delay in delivery?


The tech I want prepping it is on vacation. What is normal? 1 week? I didn't think that much about it. Now that I'm staring at the space I cleared for it, I am smile BTW, though I use home humidifiers and AC in the summer, I decided to get the Dampp Chaser installed too for extra assurance!