which ones aren't high end and whY? aren't they all top tier pianos?
The pianos you listed are ALL wonderful instruments. The variances at this level are small and really boil down to personal likes and preferences. For example, you listed Bechstein and Mason & Hamlin. IMHO, a pianist who liked the sound of one, would probably not like the sound of the other, yet in technical specifications they have an equal build quality.
In my 40 years of doing this, we have been lucky to carry several top instruments - all on the floor at the same time. Each of these manufacturers has a different approach to sound and I am careful to only represent one manufacturer of the various tone palates at a time. For example, I think one could argue that Fazioli, Steingraeber and Hamburg Steinway all have a similar tone palate and approach to sound and performance. We chose represent Steingraeber. In the products we choose to represent, there are other similar comparisons. Yet, they all have marvelous craftsmanship and impeccable credentials.
Curiously, two of the least mentioned names are two of my personal favorites: Sauter and Grotrian. For years, I argued with Larry about their listing in a slightly lower category (1B vs. 1A in earlier versions) and his reply was more about brand name sizzle rather than anything structural. Thankfully, Larry has come to my way of thinking