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  • #16
    Originally posted by John Kinkennon View Post
    For performing artists Steinway has a technical presence in support of professional artists that is essential to the success of performers and the Steinway brand.
    Very good remark. IF you are a professional, then your livelyhood depends on it. And that being able to absolutely count on pro support can be the difference that counts.

    A bit like why the 2 brands that are always used by pro photographers are so much liked: at events where you need support, they are there with a no questions asked fast support on the spot. Needing support and knowing you will have it in minutes instead of hours or days... that is the difference.

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    • #17
      There's a little bit of apples-to-oranges comparison inherent in comparing a regular-series Steinway (D, B, L, etc) to a Yamaha C-series. The Yamaha CF-series, which is higher end, more expensive, and much more rare, is probably a better standard of comparison. The same is true with Kawai.

      I have always found the Yamaha C-series to be absolutely competent, very consistent, well-made, and kind of boring tonally. Kind of like the Toyota Camry of pianos. Thoroughly competent and dependable, and unless neglected or abused, you know exactly what you're getting. I would absolutely never complain about walking into a C3, C5, or C7, but I wouldn't likely dream about it either. Broadly, there are "Japanese," "American," and "European" piano tonalities- certainly a lot of variance within that, but the Yamahas are solidly Japanese- very consistent, kind of bright, not as warm or quirky as some of the others. "European" especially is a huge generalization, as a Fazioli sounds VERY different than a Bosendorfer, so I realize the categories are limited.

      The Steinways in the same sizes are a somewhat mixed bag depending on their setup and the quality of the tech maintaining them. The older ones had temperamental actions, the ones from the mid 1980's on seemed much more consistent. I've never been super impressed with any L I've played- I think other people do a better job in the 6' piano class. But I have played a lot of B's and D's in that range from decent to spectacular. Whether it's worth the cost premium? That's a good question.

      I prefer the "American" tonality, but not the Steinway price tag, so my personal piano is a 7' 1969 Baldwin F. Wonderful action, warm and colorful. Needs some investment in the next few years in the action and hammers to keep it up, but I'd take this one to any of the run-of-the-mill newer 5'8" to 6' Yamahas and Kawais that occupy the same price point.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by michaelhoddy View Post
        There's a little bit of apples-to-oranges comparison inherent in comparing a regular-series Steinway (D, B, L, etc) to a Yamaha C-series. The Yamaha CF-series, which is higher end, more expensive, and much more rare, is probably a better standard of comparison. The same is true with Kawai.
        I don't know if I agree with that. IMO, straight from the factory a regular C-series Yamaha or RX-series Kawaii wins almost every time. The Steinway may have more potential, but that potential is in the hands of a field tech who may or may not have the time, skills, or funding to realize that potential. If a Steinway instrument is brought up to its full potential, it might match a CF-series instrument. The CF instruments will be consistently similar and amazing while the maxed out Steinways will still be great but not consistently so (some amazing and some passable).

        Originally posted by John Kinkennon View Post
        For performing artists Steinway has a technical presence in support of professional artists that is essential to the success of performers and the Steinway brand. My opinion only...
        Most brands sponsor professional artists and provide instruments and support for their performances. Steinway (and their artists) may be more vocal about it but they are definitely not unique. Also, most venues that cater to performing pianists have a tech on-call for performances. A lot of unsponsored artists have tech and instrument requirements in their contract. There is an artist here in Utah that usually requires the venue to rent a Fazioli for him to play. That is one way to get around QC issues and not require much (if any) assistance from the brand or local tech.
        Last edited by samibe; 11-27-2018, 11:34 AM.
        Sam
        Home: Yamaha P22 and a modified Allen ADC-4500 ... for now.
        Church: Allen MDS-5
        Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, Chorus/Mixture TC Generator, ADC TC Soundfont, and MOS TC Soundfont

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        • #19
          Originally posted by michaelhoddy View Post
          I prefer the "American" tonality, but not the Steinway price tag, so my personal piano is a 7' 1969 Baldwin F. Wonderful action, warm and colorful. Needs some investment in the next few years in the action and hammers to keep it up, but I'd take this one to any of the run-of-the-mill newer 5'8" to 6' Yamahas and Kawais that occupy the same price point.
          I was fortunate to own a Baldwin SF-10 for a number of years and wouldn't have traded it for another brand -- though we eventually sold it to a church at a "semi-donation" price. The Baldwin needed and received a complete damper job from one of the finest techs in the business, Priscilla Rappaport, and was just an amazing instrument.
          http://www.kinkennon.com

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          • #20
            Everyone's hearing is different. Even your left and right ear hear differently! As such, what appeals to one person may not to another..
            I'm both a musician and audio technician.. for many years.

            Piano's are such a 'personal thing' when it comes to what a person would like. I can only speak for myself from my own experiences.

            Like Andy, I love a Bosendorfer [Yamaha bought them!].. I also like the Steinway Model D and I also like The Fazioli Pianos and the Kawai and Yamaha's. each have their own character in both sound and 'touch'. I tried to like a big Baldwin Grand, but it wasn't to my liking.. and the touch was so heavy.. it was like hammering on the keys to play [for me at least]. After awhile though, I could play it.. but I wasn't 'moved' by its sound.

            Since I neither have room for a Grand Piano, nor care to maintain one, I then started searching for a nice digital grand. I also have no room for a digital grand with one of the mini grand cabinets.
            I have tried the Yamaha digital pianos. I liked the touch and sound of the ones that had graded and weighted hammer-action.

            As of late, I'm more drawn to the PX series of Casio digital pianos. Casio has come a long way! They even worked with Bechstein piano and created 2 Hybrid digital pianos! The Hybrid's use a REAL Bechstein wood piano grand keybed! -- and the sound choices are Steinway, Bosendorfer and another.. Impressive.

            Even Casio's 'entry level' digital piano is amazing! The touch is very nice [scaled/weighted].. and Casio developed what they call their 'AIR' system..

            Here's Casio's description of the AIR:

            "To reproduce the sound of the finest acoustic grand pianos, the Privia features Casio's proprietary AiR (Acoustic and intelligent Resonator) processor. Accessing more than three times the memory of the previous generation, the AiR processor utilizes grand piano samples recorded at four dynamic levels of sampling to deliver grand piano sounds with long natural decays and remarkable expression. To further the grand piano experience, AiR adds realism by simulating the sound of the open strings when the dampers are raised by the pedal."

            I'm presently enamored with the Casio's.. plus, if you like going the 'digital route', there's no physical maintenance [tuning, humidity, felts etc.] to deal with.

            Casio used the Steinway 'D' Grand for their pianos..

            The best advice I can give, is to decide whether you care for a real or digital one, and then if you can.. try them! That way you will be happiest with your choice!
            Lowrey MX2 (NT400x)
            Thomas Floridian Classic -- aka Wersi Rondo Classic
            Kimball K800 'Fascination' Theater Organ
            Conn 650 - Type 1 with Conn Pipes - Model #145
            Baldwin Cinema 2 (214-DR)
            Wersi Spectra DX 700 CD - LiveStyle, Memory Tower
            Wersi Beta DX400 TS - (with AMS)
            Wersi Delta DX 500 - (with AMS)
            Wersi Pegasus Keyboard!
            MOOG Eterwave Standard Theremin & MOOG Werkstatt
            Roland GAIA SH-01 Virtual Analog Synthesizer
            Casio Privia PX-160 Digital Piano!

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            • #21
              Digital pianos are getting surprisingly good. I'm forever soured on Casio though. Their portable keyboards irritate me.

              The only thing I haven't seen in a digital piano yet is true resonance. When you can hear the echo of another instrument in an undampered digital piano, then I'll be impressed. I actually don't know why they don't do this already. It should be really easy to do.

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              • #22
                Home: Johannus Opus 370

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                • #23
                  I really like the sound of darker pianos, which has always drawn me to Steinways. For price-point, though, you're probably better off with other pianos. Yamaha makes great pianos with great action. Bosendorfers are too bright for my liking, and if you thought Steinways were expensive...
                  I probably own too many keyboards
                  https://bensnacksturner.com/the-fleet/

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by snacks View Post
                    I really like the sound of darker pianos, which has always drawn me to Steinways. For price-point, though, you're probably better off with other pianos. Yamaha makes great pianos with great action. Bosendorfers are too bright for my liking, and if you thought Steinways were expensive...
                    Darker pianos? I didn't think the color of the piano mattered? Sorry, couldn't resist.

                    Michael
                    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

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                    • #25
                      Since I only own grand pianos from the "golden years" of USA production (1920s) I can't speak about the non-domestic brands currently available in the USA.

                      My 1925 Weber (5'8" with Duo-Art reproducing system) has a glorious balanced sound from bass to treble and works well in a residence sized living room. The bass is amazing for a piano that size. The action is amazingly light and people love to play it.

                      My 1925 Mason&Hamlin (also 5'8" but with Ampico reproducing system) has that rich, complex, more mellow sound I love in a Mason. It will be rebuilt next year with bass strings from Ari Isaac in Canada and hammers with felt that matches the originals, from Ronsen.

                      My 1929 Steinway, well I love the "ballsy" sound of it when played loud. It is a Model A with a 6" factory stretch in the case for the Duo-Art reproducing mechanism, making it very close to 7' long. I put Isaac bass strings and Steinway hammers in it when I had it rebuilt. The Steinway hammers were softer than other brands (we experimented with 3 types before settling on the Steinway hammers) and that helps it work in my 27'x15'x11' tall living room.

                      But I'm looking forward to having it in a room with more cubic volume so the sound can "bloom" more and I don't have to put down the lid when listening to Percy Grainger pound the keyboard (via the Duo-Art rolls he recorded).
                      Larry is my name; Allen is an organ brand name.

                      Main: Allen RMWTHEA.3 with Rocky Mount Electra-Piano, Allen 423-C + Gyro cabinet, Britson Opus OEM38, Saville Series IV Opus 209, Steinway AR Duo-Art, Mills Violano Virtuoso with MIDI
                      Lower Level: Hammond 9812H with roll player, Gulbransen Rialto, Roland E-200, Vintage Moog
                      Shop: Mason&Hamlin AR Ampico piano, Allen ADC-5300-D with 18 speakers and MIDI, 4 Allen theater organ tone cabinets (including 3 Gyros, but don't call me Gyro Gearloose!).

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                      • #26

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                        • #27
                          This last post brings up some questions for me.

                          Recently, I found a Yamaha concert grand selling on a website for almost nothing. The explanation was that the campus in question was becoming a Steinway-only campus. That classified appears to support darditti's claims above.

                          Also, at one point in my life someone mentioned Chickering was almost synonymous with Steinway over 100 years ago. What was the relationship between the two companies? Did someone defect from Chickering and go to Steinway (or vice versa)? Are there features from one piano in the other?

                          Interesting post, darditti.

                          Michael
                          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                          • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Chickering was certainly a top name in the piano business a century ago. Like several other dedicated manufacturers, they built extremely fine pianos, capable of going head to head with Steinway in almost every way except "cachet." Other examples of fine American builders a century ago would be Baldwin, Mason & Hamlin, and Knabe, to name a few that immediately come to mind.

                            The great destroyer of piano brands was the great depression. I've read somewhere just how many piano factories (many of them very small, family-run shops, but highly competent) existed in the USA in the 1920's. It may have been a couple thousand. Anyway, when the crash happened, nearly all of them collapsed, as they depended on regular sales to keep the doors open, and people no longer had money to spend on a piano.

                            A few deep-pocketed firms snapped up the facilities and brand-names and continued to make a facsimile of many of these brands, some more successfully than others.

                            One such firm was called Aeolian, which eventually wound up as the "parent" company of Chickering, Mason & Hamlin, Knabe, George Steck, and a large number of lesser-known and lesser-quality pianos. They used the very fine facilities of the high-end builders to keep on making superb pianos under the old names, and used the lower-end plants to build cheaper pianos, some of them quite shabby, by the end. It was said that the plant in Memphis Tennessee took pride in hiring only "musicians" to work the assembly line, but most of them were bongo players

                            I think this all went on until perhaps the 1980's or so. In the late 70's I worked for a piano store in Fort Worth that was an outlet for Aeolian pianos, and they carried Chickering, M&H, and Knabe in very limited stock, as they were expensive and did not sell very fast. Mostly we stocked inexpensive lines with names like Cable and Winter, which were not terrible pianos, just not great ones either. They were marketed at families with kids taking lessons, and some of the models were so cheap we could rent them out for $25 a month or some such ridiculous figure, applying the rent to an eventual purchase. Many of these were truly tinny sounding little spinets that almost couldn't be tuned up. The cheapest had wire lifters on the back ends of the keys to actuate the dropped action. The touch left a great deal to be desired, but Mom and Dad could at least say that they had gotten Sally a "new" piano to learn on.

                            At some point, I think Aeolian went under and the various names were sold off in different directions. I know that Samick got Knabe and now uses the name Knabe for their top of the line and very excellent grand pianos. M&H may still be in business as a very small company building expensive pianos in small quantities. Chickering brand was bought by Baldwin before they went belly-up. Baldwin used the Chickering name on their somewhat poorer pianos, sadly. The Chinese group that now builds "Baldwin" pianos may also offer a line branded Chickering, but I'm not sure.

                            Anyway, I concur with what darditti says above. Steinway has gotten where they are to some extent by forceful marketing and heavy-handed tactics. I know of several universities around here that have fallen for the "Steinway Only" program, thus required to get rid of all other pianos on the campus. I'd say the "Steinway Only" branding of a music school is a questionable badge, but they seem right proud of it.
                            John
                            ----------
                            Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                            Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                            Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                            Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                            https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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                            • #29
                              As a followup to John's remarks, I was in the P & O biz all through the 1970's. Bad times: the war was winding down, and inflation was roaring (remember WIN?). Aeolian's chief claim to fame, except for K, M&H, and C, was the hundreds of brand names they controlled, having bought them from companies that, as John mentioned, went belly up during the Depression. Why the big deal? Every dealer could have an "exclusive" brand. In Philadelphia, department store A would exclusively sell Hallet & Davis; department store B would have an exclusive on Steck; piano store C would be the only ones to sell Winter etc etc. Since they were all the same ("stencil") pianos, the stores were smart enough to each have a different cabinet style on display so the customer wouldn't catch on!
                              Stuff like that- and Steinway sold out to CBS in 1972; and Baldwin was starting to run into financial problems, even before the Baldwin-United fiasco. Not a good time for the piano industry, alas.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Just as I remember it, beel. I was a complete novice in retailing at the time and was surprised at the rather obvious duplicity going on, but at least pianos were still selling.

                                This period of prosperity and musical interest, from the mid-50's to about the mid-80's, might be called the "second heyday of the American piano" (the first heyday being the 1890's through the 1920's when "everybody" owned at least one piano, and some people had several). The piano frenzy wasn't as strong as it had been in the old days, of course, but there were several American builders doing quite well during that time.

                                I'm sure I couldn't name nearly all of them, but pianos were actually being made on-site by such companies as Steinway, Baldwin, Wurlitzer, Kimball, Aeolian, Kohler & Campbell, Story & Clark, Everett, Sohmer. Small firms like Astin-Weight making high quality pianos in very low numbers. And the bottom-feeders like that company in North Carolina that cranked out truckloads of those "Grand" branded spinets (also produced with other names on the fallboard). Currier and other small operations making decent medium quality home pianos.

                                Then somewhere along the way it all fell apart as demand for home pianos collapsed. One by one these companies closed up, and very few are left today. Steinway of course, the eternal survivor. Yamaha and Samick both produce pianos in the US now. Not sure about Mason & Hamlin, though I saw a video not many years ago showing their US plant producing boutique pianos for the high end. Are there any others still actually building pianos here? I'm sure I've left some out. But most pianos today are coming out of China, better ones from Japan and Korea.
                                John
                                ----------
                                Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                                Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                                Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                                Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                                https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

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