I live in Thailand and have tried literally 100's of Kawais and Yamahas - and every single one of them (even the brand new ones and even the grands) exhibit an irritatingly noticeable high-pitched metallic zing in most of the low register. Possibly in the rest of the range as well, but the high-pitched sounds are probably beyond my hearing level.
One (Kawai) dealer admitted that in Japan, these brands are considered level 4 tier in terms of quality. It's not possible to eradicate these extraneous noises because of the overall construction of the piano.
He then told me that Atlas was a fore-runner of Yamaha and branched off on its own. They are considered level 3, at least the pianos made before 1990's.
I tried the two Atlas uprights he had in stock. They were ever so slightly better in sound, but otherwise equal in other respects. They had the same problems, but only in around 5-6 notes. The Yamahas and Kawais had this problem in over half of the keys in the lower register to a greater or lesser degree. And that was for the "good" pianos that actually produced a decent, powerful sound. So many pianos had dull notes, like the strings were made of nylon, not metal!
So far, no technician can explain to me why so many pianos produce these metalic sounds in some/many, but not all, of the (lower register) keys.
Is it true that Kawais and Yamahas can never aspire to producing a clean sound because of the materials inherent in their construction?
Saying that, I did detect similar problems with a few brand new $100,000 Steinways in a showroom. So it may simply be some regulation or voicing issue that no-one I've been in contact with seems to know about.
I challenge dealers/technicians to prove me wrong. It seems I've got to go back to the German and British made pianos. You gets whats you pays for as they say in the London streetmarkets...