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#294226 - 08/05/05 10:07 PM Pearl River pianos
cerulean5 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 678
Loc: USA
Dear All,

My piano professor recently went on a tour in China to give masterclasses. When she came back, I was surprised to hear from her that she really enjoyed playing on Pearl River pianos. Now, since the tour was sponsored by Pearl River, I am assuming the organizers made sure the best instruments were made available. Still, it was the first time I heard her compliment pianos of Asian make (she has two gorgeous Grotrian Steinwegs that are some of the best pianos I've ever played on. By the way, I am Japanese-American, and grew up training on and loving a good old Yamaha grand.) Does anyone know anything about Pearl River's high-end pianos and how they are received by piano professionals? I would especially appreciate input from those of you who have gone piano shopping recently and tried out Pearl River grands...
Now, PLEASE keep in mind that my intention is NOT to start another religious row on what pianos are superior/inferior to what other pianos! Rather, I'm trying to collect more information on Pearl Rivers and what people think of them.

cerulean5

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#294227 - 08/06/05 01:46 PM Re: Pearl River pianos
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Cerulean5,

A few months ago I visited a local dealer who carries Pearl River pianos. I'm going to quote myself from a post that I made after that visit.

 Quote:
I didn't ask the model numbers, but the Pearls were in the 5-6' range. The actions were acceptable at best, mushy and slow at worst. The tone was rather dead sounding ...no real life. The sound was percussive, but not bright. Not a lot of sustain. Personally, I wouldn't have bought any of the ones I tried for a beginning student. The Yamahas dominated. I have a 34 year old Howard label Kawai that I prefer to the pianos I played today. Of course, some of my preference is formed from years of acquaintance with my own piano, but I think I'm an objective enought observer of tone and action to say that my aging Kawai is a better piano than the new Pearls I played today.[/b]
I would never assert that this is a representative group of Pearl River pianos. This is just my response to a handful of Pearls I played at a single dealer. These were not "special editions." Instead they were the typical entry level Chinese pianos for sale alongside Yamahas (and one lonely Petrof) at a local Yamaha dealership. I suspect the prep was very limited.

Best,

David F
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#294228 - 08/06/05 03:39 PM Re: Pearl River pianos
Glyptodont Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/05
Posts: 377
Loc: Wisconsin
Cerulean--

You write, "I am assuming the organizers made sure the best instruments were made available."

Most large manufacturers, including Yamaha and Pearl River, have a pretty good catalog of available models and sizes. The largest and best may easily cost twice the price of their smaller and cheaper items.

Piano Dad may very possibly have been playing their small and least expensive grands.

That might be at least part of the difference. Also, some dealers do not have their showroom pianos prepped well, so they may even be slightly off tune.

Larry Fine in his book says the acoustics in many piano showrooms are often terrible, making the impression from playing a few bars on a showroom piano to be highly unreliable.
_________________________
the Glyptodont

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#294229 - 08/06/05 07:40 PM Re: Pearl River pianos
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10349
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
I may very well have been playing less than the creme de la creme of Pearl River. They were also smaller as I mentioned (5' to 6'). But I was able to play them directly against the Yamahas on the floor, and there wasn't much of a comparison. The Yamaha action was far more responsive and the tone was crisp and consistent up and down the keyboard. This is from someone who is not at all fond of the Yamaha piano. ;\)

Of course, the Yamaha was a touch more spendy. But my overall impression was that the Pearls that I played were definitely entry level pianos. There is a market for that. I'm just not in that market.

Best,

David F

P.S. Where did Glyptodont come from? Surely you're not extinct. \:D
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

https://www.youtube.com/user/dhfeld/videos

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#294230 - 08/06/05 10:54 PM Re: Pearl River pianos
masaki Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/16/02
Posts: 374
Loc: Tokyo, Japan
cerulean5,
Here are some information about PearlRiver pianos you might be interested with.

A concert tuner, who also has been taking care of my Boston grand told me, when we happened to talk about very-low priced pianos that 1)He visited a home of a China-born professor of a famous conservaory in China and found a PearlRiver piano. He asked the professor why you have this piano. The professor answered him they have just dumped it there. 2)Do not expect any piano techs can imporove the sound of PearlRiver than they are displayed in the shops(i.e., if you are satisfied with sound of PearlRivers displayed in shops, you may get it, but if not do not get it.)

Here are price list of PerlRiver Grand available in Japan.

GP275 jpy2,980,000.
GP183 jpy1,098,000.
GP159 jpy798,000.
GP142 jpy598,000.

I guess you can hardly believe the prices. Visit
http://www.soundhouse.co.jp/shop/SearchList.asp?i_type=m&s_maker_cd=1091

Regards,
Masaki

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#294231 - 08/06/05 11:31 PM Re: Pearl River pianos
cerulean5 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 678
Loc: USA
Hi All,

Thanks for the replies. It does seem that my piano professor played on exceptionally fine, high-end Pearl Rivers while in China. I should call her up and ask for more details... Incidentally, I saw Pearl River grands up to 6' long being sold in a Costco in Sacramento today. Talk of the devil! Those were definitely mass market models. I will NOT comment on the sound quality of those instruments, but at least the outward appearance was very pretty \:\)

Ah, talking of Asian grands: are there South Korean piano brands? Just a random question...

cerulean5

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#294232 - 08/07/05 12:34 AM Re: Pearl River pianos
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14120
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
The *run-of-the-mill* Pearl Rivers have never stirred my own soul in the past, which happened to be the very reason I turned down the line when it was offered to us some time ago.

By the same token, I have recently also heard a similiar story by another Grotrian owner about one apparently really fabulous, newly designed Pearl River from China.

Renner action, Strunz soundboard, the works.

Perhaps these are just the *appetizers* or forbodings of what I have long called the next threatening tsunami of potentially serious pianos coming or about to come from China in the [near] future.

Admittedly, I never would have believed this 2 years ago - and I am sure many here still don't believe this even now.....

Which won't make one iota worth of difference to the story - as it unfolds before our very eyes.

And worse - ears.

norbert
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#294233 - 08/07/05 07:59 AM Re: Pearl River pianos
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14048
Loc: Louisiana
 Quote:
Originally posted by cerulean5:
Hi All,

Thanks for the replies. It does seem that my piano professor played on exceptionally fine, high-end Pearl Rivers while in China. I should call her up and ask for more details... Incidentally, I saw Pearl River grands up to 6' long being sold in a Costco in Sacramento today. Talk of the devil! Those were definitely mass market models. I will NOT comment on the sound quality of those instruments, but at least the outward appearance was very pretty \:\)

Ah, talking of Asian grands: are there South Korean piano brands? Just a random question...

cerulean5 [/b]
Some of the Rittmullers (PR's next step line) are not bad at all.

As for South Korea, think Samick, Samick-owned, and Royale.

Lastly...there was an experiment done several years ago whereby concert pianos with Renner and Detoa actions were prepped by the same tech team. The pianos were voiced as nearly identical as possible. At the time, Renner was by far the better action, but none of the pianists who performed on the pianos could tell which was which!

Also, there are gentlemen in the U.S. curently using a base Dongbei platform, and building some pretty amazing pianos, especially for the price.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the Chinese are rapidly making better and better pianos. The question is whether they are capable of expanding into the higher tiered markets.
_________________________
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Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#294234 - 08/07/05 10:56 AM Re: Pearl River pianos
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10452
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jolly:
[QUOTE]
As for South Korea, think Samick, Samick-owned, and Royale.
[/b]
And Young Chang and most of the Weber line.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#294235 - 08/07/05 12:15 PM Re: Pearl River pianos
Pardew Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/13/05
Posts: 22
Loc: Malta
I have a Pearl River Baby Grand. It was not the piano I wanted but it was all I could afford for the time being. It's not that great at all...but there again one gets what one pays for.

I've had it for a few months now. Its around three years old. It got a tuning a few weeks ago. It now needs regulating. I think it was never prepped after leaving the factory. My tuner is going to do it for me. Right now it 'twangs'. The sound is not too bad I guess. There again I have not been able to compare it to all that many pianos. Malta is very limited for choice.
_________________________
What would life be like without pIaNoS???[/b]

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#294236 - 08/07/05 11:06 PM Re: Pearl River pianos
RickG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/08/02
Posts: 947
Loc: Texas
The PR I played in Lancaster, PA last winter, I feel, had been prepped to the point of not being bad at all ( I don't remember if it was one of the newly designed ones). But, here again, that dealer also carried Steinway and some good Tier 2 pianos and was a "class act" store in that ALL the pianos were in good shape. I agree with Norbert in that it is going to be interesting to see the improvements from them.
_________________________
RickG

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#294237 - 08/11/05 12:21 AM Re: Pearl River pianos
cerulean5 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 678
Loc: USA
Dear All,

Thank you very much for your input. Norbert, I am glad that at least there is one another person who shares my piano professor's opinion on high-end Pearl Rivers. I am keenly interested to see how well the Chinese pianos do in the near future...

Jolly, your post about the "experiment" where two pianos with different actions were prepped by the same tech team was very interesting indeed. It seems to me more and more, as I learn from previous threads at Pianoworld, that who preps your piano contributes a lot to the final sound quality of any given instrument.

Again, thanks to all of you for your valuable input!!

cerulean5

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#294238 - 08/11/05 01:02 AM Re: Pearl River pianos
Steve the ragtimer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/02
Posts: 206
Loc: Philadelphia
Not a comment on Pearl Rivers, but on better Chinese pianos in general.

I played a concert on a 6'2" Nordiska - exceptionally prepped by a tech who believes in these pianos - and was very impressed.

The firend who invited me to play the concert had recently purchased a 7 foot Nordiska from the same tech/dealer. Wonderful instrument. I have been invited to record on it, and will likely do so.

If it isn't too commercially crass, I'll let y'all know when the CD is done - special price for PW members.........

Steve

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#294239 - 08/11/05 05:03 AM Re: Pearl River pianos
Larry Larson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 992
Loc: Carmel, Indiana
Steve, I had a very similar impression of a Nordiska I played recently. This was at very good dealer in the Chicago area who was personally aquainted with the American guy who is heading up the Nordiska operation. This dealer had a number of Nordiskas of various sizes. I couldn't believe how good they were, especially for the price. I briefly played a Peal River grand once, and there was no comparison. It was awful. I think anyone interested in an inexpensive grand should consider Nordiska. If they are an indication of what may be coming from China in the future, this could have interesting repurcussions for the global market. Larry
_________________________
1995 Baldwin L grand
2001 Baldwin Hamilton upright
Yamaha S90 synthesizer
www.larrylarsonpiano.com
YouTubeChannel www.youtube.com/LarryLarsonPiano

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