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#2072529 - 04/28/13 12:01 AM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: laguna_greg]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1251
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg


Yes, but there are some objective measures that can be compared. I mean, 48 grams is 48 grams, right?


Actually, 48 grams isn't 48 grams. The dynamic feel of an instrument can vary wildly even though the static measurement is the same. Depends on what's happening -- moving a piece of lead a ways down, compressing a spring or accelerating a mass, or a mix of all three.
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#2072562 - 04/28/13 12:49 AM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Thank you Marty!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2072564 - 04/28/13 12:51 AM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: kpembrook]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg


Yes, but there are some objective measures that can be compared. I mean, 48 grams is 48 grams, right?


Actually, 48 grams isn't 48 grams. The dynamic feel of an instrument can vary wildly even though the static measurement is the same. Depends on what's happening -- moving a piece of lead a ways down, compressing a spring or accelerating a mass, or a mix of all three.


So? Let's talk about it! What do YOU think?

(sheesh, I've never had such trouble getting people to express an opinion...)

Cheers!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2072572 - 04/28/13 01:03 AM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Supply]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Supply
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
..there are some objective measures that can be compared. I mean, 48 grams is 48 grams, right?
Absolutely not! Do not confuse the static touchweight with the way an instrument actually feels and responds in play.


Great! What variations do you observe? Can they be characterized by brand? How does a specific maker's action design affect the touch?

Originally Posted By: Supply
Again - I say no. Very, very few people could positively identify a piano's brand by tone 100% of the time.


I didn't say 100% of the time, but I still disagree on that point. Over the last 100+ years, S&S has made certain that their instruments have the most distinctive and consistent timbres of any piano made even during their bad years. But that's just me. As far as getting the lay person to hear the differences, it has been my experience that such a skill can be taught, with enough time and training, and a little talent. But then again, that's just me.

Originally Posted By: Supply
The saying goes that the devil is in the details. I would counter by saying that divinity is in the nuance.


I agree completely!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2072574 - 04/28/13 01:10 AM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Norbert]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Quote:
Are you asking if these "name-brand" intermediate grade pianos are as good and solid as the similar product from Yamaha or Kawai?


This IMHO is the killer question.

If "yes" then we can't talk about Japanese pianos 30-40 years old.


All new pianos then, practically non-vintaged. Let's make this easy. The Bostons, after all, are brand new practically. But if there's been a shift in quality or character over time, I'd love to hear somebody, anybody talk about it.

So. What do you think?
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2072576 - 04/28/13 01:13 AM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Almaviva
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Originally Posted By: Almaviva
All of these intermediate-grade pianos are designed by their respective parent companies, but they are all over the map with regard to where and by whom their parts are manufactured, and where and by whom they are assembled...What I DO care about is the tone, touch, build quality, and longevity of the finished product....Please answer the question posed by the subject line - "Are they also-rans or excellent?"


Alma, let me ask you another question. Are you asking if these "name-brand" intermediate grade pianos are as good and solid as the similar product from Yamaha or Kawai? That is their immediate competition, after all.


Yes, Greg, that is what I am asking. I am asking if these intermediate-grade offerings from companies with impressive pedigrees (e.g., Bechstein's "W. Hoffmann Tradition" line, Bluthner's "Irmler Europe" line, Schimmel's "Vogel" line, etc.) are as good and solid as the Kawai "RX" and Yamaha "C" lines. Are they better than, equal to, or worse than the Kawai and Yamaha competition?


You know Alma, it's getting rather humorous that nobody will answer this question, or even discuss it.

cheers!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2072836 - 04/28/13 02:02 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
joe80 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 951
My two cents:

The reason that these premium makers - you mention Bechstein, Bluthner, Steinway and Schimmel - offer these lower priced lines is to sell to people who have a lower budget. The Irmler line isn't actually made by Bluthner, it's selected by Bluthner to be sold in their outlets. The pianos have been made in various factories, notably Young Chang, Samick and Pearl River. There are some made in Europe, badged 'Irmler Europe', but I don't know which factory made them. Bluthner's 'second' line is actually Haessler, which conforms more or less to Bechstein's Hoffman Tradition series.

The Bechstein Hoffmann and the Bluthner Haessler, are still actually fairly expensive pianos when compared with Yamaha or Kawai, they are priced probably at the mid point between say, Yamaha and Bluthner. Bluthner is actually less expensive than Bechstein in the UK, which is not a measure of their quality but more a measure of how retail works. Both are excellent pianos.

Whether or not these lower priced lines (Irmler, Hoffmann, Vogel, Brodmann, May-Berlin) are as 'good' as Yamaha and Kawai, well, perhaps Hoffmann tradition is. I've played some of their uprights and thought they were just beautiful. They are priced very well - £10,000 for a 132 cm upright.

Brodmann PE is in a lower class than Yamaha, and Irmler (non Europe) is in a lower class still. Their prices reflect this in the UK.

It's not that Yamaha and Kawai don't have a good pedigree - they do. They build pianos in all price ranges, Yamaha being a good example with the GC series, right up to the CF series. Kawai with their GE and Shigeru at either end of their spectrum. The instruments coming from these manufacturers are amongst the best in their price range, and the upper end of their output, the handbuilts, equal many of their competitors.

Now, whether or not the other manufacturers in the lower price range (I call it low price if it costs £10-20k for a 6foot grand when a Steinway A is 65,000....), for me, No. I would prefer to spend my money on a Yamaha or Kawai, or find an older instrument from the high end market and have it comprehensively rebuilt, which is a little more expensive but well worth it if you get a good one.

I actually own a Brodmann, and it has had it's problems with consistency, it takes a bit more tech time to keep it right, and I've had the top section restrung due to a fault. The piano sounds good now, and for the money (FOR THE MONEY!!) at the time I bought it, I couldn't have bought better. They are probably still amongst the best IN their class.

Since I am a concert pianist, and despite recession my concert workload has more than doubled in the last two years, the Brodmann is not coping as well as it did before, and I am searching for my next victim, which I'm hoping will be with me in the next 18 months - of course, you'll all be the first to know what I buy and I already have my sights zoning in closer to my choice....

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#2072847 - 04/28/13 02:35 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: joe80]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Joe,

Thank you for having the courage to chime in.

I'll start by saying I took a look at your site, and I have to say it's just GORGEOUS-LOOKING!!! And your idea for that fugue is lovely, really captivating.

I always find it disappointing that the few people who can actually appreciate a really fine instrument can almost never afford them. What are you thinking of buying next? Or rather, what attracts you?

Cheers!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2072875 - 04/28/13 03:01 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
Norbert Offline
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Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13963
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
for the money (FOR THE MONEY!!) at the time I bought it, I couldn't have bought better. They are probably still amongst the best IN their class.


Which makes me think.

If a piano is *not* to be judged "for the money" - then by what other measure is a shopper actually to make a decision?

Just "brand name"?

The thing coming to mind is that if "the money" constricts one to make a more suitable choice one needs to save up more cash and come up with more $$.

So, that for "more money" an even better choice hopefully can be made.

"For the money" is where almost every single purchase is taking place I know. Buyers right or wrong, are generally being convinced getting best quality exactly "at" or "within" that range.

With special attention given to active players and pianists...

Isn't that exactly what happened - or "will" always happen - when buying your own piano?

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (04/28/13 03:17 PM)
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#2073141 - 04/28/13 09:19 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: joe80]
Almaviva Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 435
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: joe80
My two cents:

Whether or not these lower priced lines (Irmler, Hoffmann, Vogel, Brodmann, May-Berlin) are as 'good' as Yamaha and Kawai, well, perhaps Hoffmann tradition is. I've played some of their uprights and thought they were just beautiful. They are priced very well - £10,000 for a 132 cm upright.



Thanks for the info, Joe. So, based on your playing experience, you think that Bechstein's "Hoffmann Tradition" line is probably on a par with the Kawai RX and Yamaha C lines, but you don't know about the "Irmler Europe", "Vogel", "Boston" etc. lines. Fair enough.

You said in your post that you didn't know much about the "Irmler Europe" line., Well, here is a link that will inform you:

http://www.pianobuyer.com/spring13/177.html

Polish cabinet, Indonesian strung back, Czech or German action, German hammers & final assembly - if this "Irmler Europe" isn't a "global piano", I don't know what is. Jeez! confused

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#2073227 - 04/28/13 11:56 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Norbert]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Quote:
for the money (FOR THE MONEY!!) at the time I bought it, I couldn't have bought better. They are probably still amongst the best IN their class.


Which makes me think. If a piano is *not* to be judged "for the money" - then by what other measure is a shopper actually to make a decision?

Just "brand name"?


Norbert, I absolutely adore you!

However, you are evading again. You know very well that is not how an informed buyer buys anything. When Chateau Haut Brion has a bad vintage, not many people show up at their auction because the wine tastes bad. The ones who do show up in a bad year don't care about quality, or don't know how to tell. The latter can easily be duped by, well, so many things.

As professionals with a sense of ethics, isn't it our job to educate the buyer so they actually know what they're getting? Now if they don't want to really know, then it's no longer our problem. But if we don't tell the ignorant in the first place, then it is.

I await, with breathless anticipation, your thoughts....

Cheers!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2073233 - 04/29/13 12:24 AM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
DanS Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 469
From my experience,

I've played a few Hoffmanns. They're not bad at all. They certainly don't compare to a good Bechstein, but they're much better than say a Boston, IMHO. I realize that they (Boston and Hoffmann) are very different instruments, but just a point of comparison for tier two brands.

I like the RXs much better than the Boston piano. I think the RX is just a far superior sounding and playing instrument.

I've played a few Vogel grands. I didn't really care for them, but then again, I don't really like Schimmels.

I've never even seen an Irmler.
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#2073270 - 04/29/13 04:19 AM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
joe80 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 951
Laguna Greg, thank you for your comments, it's nice to know people appreciate some of the things I'm doing!

To both Norbert and Laguna Greg, on the subject of 'for the money', what I meant was, the Brodmann (and others) are good in their price range, but obviously a top tier piano blows them out of the water in terms of performance and quality. However, it's good for those of us that can't afford top tier pianos, that there are realistic alternatives that still allow one to function in the profession. This hasn't always been the case, and with the price of Yamaha and Kawai rising, and with the recession knocking in to teaching fees, concert fees etc, it's a big helping hand that we are getting from the makes that cost a lot less.

Yes, I purchased the Brodmann because of the funds I had, but also, I believed - and still believe - it was the best I could get for that money. I couldn't have afforded a Yamaha at the time I bought it, yet I needed a new piano. Owning the Brodmann has meant that I'm able to put funds aside and think longer term about my next instrument, because it's of a quality that allows me to wait a while before taking another plunge. My next instrument, of course, will be purchased based on a price-quality ratio. I don't have the means to spend tens of thousands on an instrument in one go. I simply don't have the purchase power to walk into Steinway Hall and buy a model B, or a Fazioli from Samuels, or a new Bluthner model 6 or whatever. Actually my preference in tone is for the Bluthner piano, especially in a domestic studio situation.

The other thing that I might add is that each piano should be taken on it's own merits. It is, of course, possible to make sweeping statements about brands (I just did saying my personal preference), but there are some exceptions. I've played some pretty poorly set up Bluthners in my time and they've been horrible. I've played some exceptionally well set up Bostons and they've been wonderful, and vice versa. That, however, is to do with the technician. I've also played pianos from exceptional makers that have been set up exceptionally well, and yet they just didn't speak to me, yet another of the same make and model, set up by the same technician, did! It's actually quite difficult to walk into a piano shop, and try a piano for half an hour, and form an opinion of it - of course there are certain things that are obvious, but lets say you have three Bechstein model Bs, next to each other in the showroom. You play all three, sometimes it can be very difficult to find what one piano can give you, that the other can't. It becomes even more complex when you start comparing Bechstein to Bluthner to Steinway.

Yamaha and Kawai are a little more obvious, a little more consistent, and to a greater or lesser extent, usually how they sound is how they sound. How they feel is how they feel. There are subtle differences between two C3 Yamahas for instance, but you can go from one C3 to another without having to make too many adjustments to balance from a pianists point of view. It's not quite the same with the high end manufacturers. I'm not sure why that is. Also, I'm not saying this consistency is a bad thing, in fact it can be very comforting, a reassurance if you like. Also, Yamaha and Kawai are great pianos, I wouldn't dare knock them. I might never have played a C3 that really inspired, but I've never played a bad one. The hand build concert grands are a different matter. They can be very inspiring indeed.

Laguna, I'll not give my plans away completely.... but there might already be some clues given away in my former posts....

Besides I might change my mind. I might say I want to buy a Boston and end up buying a Vogel.... (I'm not actually looking at either of them haha!)

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#2073431 - 04/29/13 11:26 AM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
Plowboy Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2173
Loc: Huntington Beach, CA
I'm no expert pianist, and have limited exposure to them, but the W. Hoffmann, to me, is no also ran.

Quote:
They all have a different target of person and, I believe, different reasons for being. I have spoken with two of the European companies owners - Nicklaus Schimmel and Karl Schulze (Schimmel and Bechstein) and I can tell you that truly, at the heart of their decisions was the desire to provide a better piano to the consumer market.


Yes, the German manufacturers are just full grown versions of Santa's elves! shocked Really, Rich, are you that naive?
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#2073473 - 04/29/13 01:11 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Plowboy]
joe80 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 951
If I may, Plowboy, we're talking about the piano industry here. We're not talking about a multi-million pound industry with huge profits. The german manufacturers have all really struggled through some difficult times and managed to stay afloat.

In my experience these people want to get the right instrument to the right people. Yes, it's a business, yes they have to make money. I have to make money too. People tend to work in the piano industry out of a love of music or craftsmanship.

The reason that Bechstein have Hoffman, and Bluthner have Haessler and Irmler, is because they want to find ways to get a good quality instrument to those who can't buy the top tier instrument. This is mutually beneficial to the customer and to the firm - the firm sell an instrument, thus they are able to keep things ticking over, and those of us who can't quite afford top tier are provided with a piano that will function and sound good, even if it's not the one we really want.

Since Rich is selling a house brand of pianos that he brought out for exactly the reason I've stated above, I trust him when he says that the heart of their decision was the desire to provide a better piano to the consumer market.

Now, personally I would like to see more Schimmels, Bechsteins, Bluthners, Grotrians, Steingraebers on the concert platforms of major venues, and perhaps by providing instruments that music students have a chance of affording, these makers will develop a brand loyalty and it will mean that in years to come the next generation will request one of their instruments on the concert platform. Bechstein recently supplied a piano to the Wigmore Hall for a performance, so it seems to be working.

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#2073534 - 04/29/13 02:58 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6045
Loc: Rochester MN
Meanwhile, Almaviva (remember him? - he's the OP), is checking out a Mason & Hamlin.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2073556 - 04/29/13 03:14 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
LJC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 1502
Loc: New York
I really don't know why it would be so great to hear different brands of pianos on the concert stage. Since I've played most of them I already know what they sound like and anyone with the desire can go find out for themselves. Now since Joe likes a good Bluthner best I suppose it would be best for him to play one in his concerts but I'm afraid that if he wants to make sure he gets a good one he probably needs to supply his own. I wish him enough success to do so.

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#2073581 - 04/29/13 03:35 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: LJC]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6045
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: LJC
I really don't know why it would be so great to hear different brands of pianos on the concert stage.

Sometimes it can lead to unexpected results.

"The first half of the program, though, was dedicated to a crude and painfully heavy-handed account of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto, with pianist Garrick Ohlsson using a Fazioli grand piano to pummel the music into submission.

This 10-foot juggernaut is the anabolic steroid of the piano world. It produces lots of extra muscle that seems to make pianists excited, but it turns Ohlsson's playing, at least, into something freakish -- the loud passages excruciatingly loud, the softer passages metallic and menacing.

When Ohlsson introduced this nasty machine a year ago, in a dreadful performance of the Brahms Second Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, I assumed it was simply a one-time experiment. But if he has in fact become a convert, the news is dire. Those of us who have loved and admired his artistry over the years can only hope for an intervention."


San Francisco Chronicle Review
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2073591 - 04/29/13 03:43 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19096
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: LJC
I really don't know why it would be so great to hear different brands of pianos on the concert stage.

Sometimes it can lead to unexpected results.

"The first half of the program, though, was dedicated to a crude and painfully heavy-handed account of Beethoven's "Emperor" Concerto, with pianist Garrick Ohlsson using a Fazioli grand piano to pummel the music into submission.

This 10-foot juggernaut is the anabolic steroid of the piano world. It produces lots of extra muscle that seems to make pianists excited, but it turns Ohlsson's playing, at least, into something freakish -- the loud passages excruciatingly loud, the softer passages metallic and menacing.

When Ohlsson introduced this nasty machine a year ago, in a dreadful performance of the Brahms Second Concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, I assumed it was simply a one-time experiment. But if he has in fact become a convert, the news is dire. Those of us who have loved and admired his artistry over the years can only hope for an intervention."


San Francisco Chronicle Review
Of course, anything is possible in one particular performance or for one particular piano. But there are so many great YouTube recordings on Faziolis and great pianists who play them that to make a generalization the way that reviewer did seems completely ludicrous. As if he has some ax to grind.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/29/13 03:44 PM)

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#2073595 - 04/29/13 03:48 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6045
Loc: Rochester MN
It was Ohlsson, not Axe. grin
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2073606 - 04/29/13 03:57 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Almaviva Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 435
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
It was Ohlsson, not Axe. grin


LOL, Marty.

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#2073709 - 04/29/13 06:44 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: joe80]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Joe. You're very welcome!

Originally Posted By: joe80
Yamaha and Kawai are a little more obvious, a little more consistent, and to a greater or lesser extent, usually how they sound is how they sound. How they feel is how they feel. There are subtle differences between two C3 Yamahas for instance, but you can go from one C3 to another without having to make too many adjustments to balance from a pianists point of view...Yamaha and Kawai are great pianos, I wouldn't dare knock them. I might never have played a C3 that really inspired, but I've never played a bad one.


That has also been my experience. One of the best things about those two makers is their consistency. You know pretty much what you're going to get when you sit down at one. You don't usually feel like you've played on the best piano you've ever played when you play a "C", for example. But they're not bad, very serviceable, and can be made to do a number of things. It will also hold a tune well, and put up with a lot of abuse in an institutional setting, which is good!

The best experience I ever had with the "C"s was when I was in graduate school. I was getting private coachings on the Schubert lieder cycles from Allen Smith, the head of the accompanying department at USC. And he had two C7s in his studio that were amazing! He somehow got his department to budget major work on these two pianos, so he got his favorite tech to voice the heck out of them and change a bunch of stuff, including monkeying with the geometry of the scale design, and other, expensive things I don't even understand. They still sounded like Japanese instruments, but they were incredibly responsive with a truly lovely, lush sound, and the most amazing colors in the decay, many more than you'd ever hear from a Yamaha off the showroom floor. Whatever sound you wanted, you could just wish that note into being.

Now if I could just raise the money...

Originally Posted By: joe80
It's not quite the same with the high end manufacturers. I'm not sure why that is. The hand build concert grands are a different matter. They can be very inspiring indeed.


I really think it's the amount of handwork that goes into them that not only makes them at the top end a bit less consistent, but also allows the most wonderful aspects to come out in their best ones.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2073722 - 04/29/13 07:05 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 509
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Almaviva
Thanks, guys, this has been very enlightening.

Norbert summarized nicely why Bechstein, Bluthner, Schimmel, etc. have introduced these "sub-lines". As a consumer, I wish to know how well these sub-line pianos compare with competitively-priced pianos with less impressive pedigrees. I don't want to assume that, just because a piano is made in Asia or is comprised of Asian-made components, it is inferior to American or European pianos.

For instance, the long-established Kawai RX and Yamaha C lines are in the same "intermediate-grade" category as the recently-arrived Brodmann Artist, Irmler Europe, Hoffmann Tradition, Vogel, Seiler ES, Steinberg AC, and Boston lines. So are Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian lines like Hailun Vienna, Kayserburg Artist, Knabe Concert Artist, Perzina, Pramberger Platinum, and Albert Weber.

My question is - Do any of these lines have an advantage over their competitors with regard to tone, touch, longevity, fit/finish, etc., or are they all about the same?

My two cents.
Last year, at the Musikmesse Frankfurt, I tried out lots of pianos; from Pearl River to Fazioli. The "Chinese" piano I liked best was a Steinberg P. So I assumed that when the final quality check is in Europe (as it is the case for piano brands like Hoffmann or Steinberg; built in China but final check in Europe), then the piano will be better than a piano tested in China. I was not impressed at all with Pearl River/Ritmuller, or Schumann.

Silly me. wink

This year I went to the Musikmesse again, and Feurich/Hailun had a common stand. I tried out both, and couldn't find a significant difference between the pianos that had "Feurich" on their fallboard, and those that had "Hailun". They were both not overly bad for Chinese instruments; but they don't have Japanese quality yet.

So: I guess that the name written on the board will not make a big difference as to how a new piano feels and sounds. I believe it's possible to like the sound and feel of a Pearl River better than of a Steinberg P or Hoffmann Vision.

The real test is: How well does a piano hold up? I have my doubts as to Chinese pianos (regardless of the name on the fallboard). If they are made from cheap parts, then they will deteriorate faster than pianos made out of high quality European or Japanese components.

This is probably true for Yamaha and Kawai as well; their GB (Yamaha) or GM (Kawai) grands are built in Indonesia, as far as I know. Maybe people who own them can tell about their experiences. I'm guessing that the quality difference between a Yamaha C and a Yamaha GB is the same as between a Bechstein Academy and a Hoffmann Vision.
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2073735 - 04/29/13 07:20 PM Re: Are they also-rans or excellent? [Re: Almaviva]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 212
Originally Posted By: Almaviva
For instance, the long-established Kawai RX and Yamaha C lines are in the same "intermediate-grade" category as the recently-arrived Brodmann Artist, Irmler Europe, Hoffmann Tradition, Vogel, Seiler ES, Steinberg AC, and Boston lines. So are Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian lines like Hailun Vienna, Kayserburg Artist, Knabe Concert Artist, Perzina, Pramberger Platinum, and Albert Weber.

My question is - Do any of these lines have an advantage over their competitors with regard to tone, touch, longevity, fit/finish, etc., or are they all about the same?


I'll list my personal experience for models that are close to the ones you mention above. Note that most of the time, only one of each was available, so of course, this doesn't at all represent what an entire line is worth.

Boston 5' 4" - very ordinary for the (IMHO too high) price.

Pramberger Signature 5' 7" - one grade lower than the Platinum you mention, but I liked its clear tone and decent response.

May Berlin - Very surprising for a consumer-grade piano. Excellent keyboard response and OK overall sound.

This simply to tell that grade categories can overlap depending on prep and individual piano.

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