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Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
#1807242 12/16/11 04:45 PM
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Hi,

My daughter and I been learning piano for 3 years on a Yamaha CVP. I think it's time to upgrade to a real piano. I've read the piano buyer book online and done some research on the web. On my first couple of trips, we fell in love with the 5'6 Estonia, but I think it's out of my price range. The sale man showed me the 5'4 Brodmann PE 162 and I think it sounds pretty similar to the Estonia, warm and clear, but the action on the Estonia is better. I read many positive reviews of Rittmuller, unfortunately, there's no Ritt dealer near where I live. The closest one is about 2.5 hour drive. What's your opinion of comparable Brodmann vs Rittmuller piano? I'm looking at the grand around 5'6 plus or minus a few inches. I guess that would be Ritt model GH160R vs Brodmann PE162. I think price wise, they are similar. I could go for the Ritt GH170R, but would 4 inches more make a big different in sound? We have a small living room. Thanks and wish you all a happy holiday.

Jen

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Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1807247 12/16/11 04:57 PM
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Jen,

I just purchased a new Grand a month or so back. I looked at the three brands you mentioned - Estonia, Rit and Brodmann as well as Hailun. I too fell in love with the Estonia but it was out of my price range.

I was looking at the PE 187 but at least the one I was able to try was very bright for my taste - did not sound anything like the Estonia in my opinion.

For pricing - check out the Piano Buyer link on the left hand side of this page. It can give you a good ballpark to start from. I think the PE 162 is probably closer in pricing to the Rit GH170R. (By the way I purchased the GH170R.)

I would have loved to drive 2.5 hours to play the Rit I ended up buying - I ended up flying 2.5 hours to CA to play one.

I am glad I took the trip as I ended up with a wonderful piano.

I do think the additional 4 inches will make a bid difference in sound. But that is ultimately up to you (and your ears) to decide.

Good luck!

Jonathan

Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1807249 12/16/11 05:03 PM
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Jen:

You gave a good summary of your own impressions already.

Since we have both exact pianos side by side on our showroom, I can tell you that the different length is not an advantage of one over the other.

In my opinion [and that of many customers..] the Brodmann tone is closer to the Estonia.

In final decision making, the split between Brodmann and Ritmüller is about 50/50

Good luck in your shopping - don't forget to play a good number of other pianos as well!!

[loving competition - and every minute of it...]

Norbert smile



www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
Norbert #1807336 12/16/11 07:47 PM
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This just an opinion since I don't sell any of these brands.
The Estonia is in a whole different class (touch, tonal quality and overall performance).
I got quite familiar with Brodmann since we sold them for a short period of time. In terms of tone and touch the Brodmann has been always superior to the Ritmuller and a more refined and costly piano. If you are looking for this kind of answer my vote is for the Brodmann.


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Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1807511 12/17/11 06:51 AM
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Jennie

If you're comparing the latest models, I'd agree with Norbert. Between the Rit and the Brod, one isn't better than the other, it's more down to your personal taste. Add Hailun into the mix to complete the 'big three' in that price bracket and go for the longest you can accommodate.


Chris Venables
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Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1807591 12/17/11 11:35 AM
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Thank you all for your responses. A local dealer has a 2005 Estonia 168 selling for comparable price to a new Brodmann SMP pricing. I will give that used Estonia some serious consideration.

Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1807843 12/17/11 10:25 PM
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I think the design of the Rit gives a richer sound below 6 feet, but both lines have developed good reputations in recent years. I was also able to get a Rit for less than the Brodmann.

The 2005 Estonia sounds like it may be a compelling deal, though.

Good luck!

Mike


If you're bored, try my blog (mostly faith & family): http://mikeheel.wordpress.com.
Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1807844 12/17/11 10:36 PM
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We had a customer today exactly between these 2 pianos - however my lips remain sealed...

Norbert help


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
Norbert #1808381 12/18/11 11:32 PM
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Come one Norbert, how about if you were to pick one for yourself, which one would you choose based on your personal preference? Also, I read somewhere that if I choose used Estonia, I should buy something built in 2001 or newer, after Laul made improvement to it. I also heard that Estonia made further improvement in piano built in 2008 and newer. Is this a ploy for people to avoid used piano? If modern improvement is so great, there wouldn't be any market for vintage and rebuilt piano. I suspect that most of the adjustments made recently are like changing the shape of the car bumper. Just for look and the sake of change, not really improving the performance. If anyone can change anything, I wish they made the acoustic piano light enough to be moved around easily.

Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1808419 12/19/11 12:46 AM
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I think the Ritmuller has a more mellow tone. The Brodman is brighter.


Piano obsession started November 2010.
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Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1808433 12/19/11 01:12 AM
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jennie:

Even at best of times I can't recommend anyone on one piano over the other. Not mine not anybody else's.

So much depends on how we play, how we "perceive" sound and the instrument itself.

If and when you find a used Estonia, this would certainly merit much attention. I've seen good and not-so-good but recently we reconditioned a 14 year old 5'4 grand for a professional pianist that came out wonderful.

This person also owns a $ 80,000 7' German grand - but claims loving her "little Baby just the same".

O.k. now - good dose of sentimentality granted....

Norbert wink


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1808437 12/19/11 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jennie_hp
If modern improvement is so great, there wouldn't be any market for vintage and rebuilt piano. I suspect that most of the adjustments made recently are like changing the shape of the car bumper. Just for look and the sake of change, not really improving the performance. If anyone can change anything, I wish they made the acoustic piano light enough to be moved around easily.


Sure, there are good reasons for a vintage/rebuild piano, but that doesn't mean modern improvements aren't great. Take for example, the Kawai and WN&G actions. Also the new designs in Ritmuller (Thomma wasn't hired by Pearl River to just sit around and not make competitive designs), Young Chang, Hailun, Walter, Estonia, etc., etc. You don't read on this forum about people only looking for pre-2001 Estonias...

Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
Norbert #1810261 12/21/11 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Norbert
We had a customer today exactly between these 2 pianos - however my lips remain sealed...

Norbert help


I think Norbert is referring to me as the *unnamed* customer that was deciding between these two brands/models (appreciate the anonymity Norbert!).

I can give you my perspective on our decision-making process, and hopefully it'll help you in yours. Some background first:

- I don't play piano.... at all. This is for my daughter (and eventually sons), who seems to be outgrowing our current Casio electric. At least that's what her instructor told me.
- In automobile parlance, we're "Honda/Acura" (and maybe soon "Hyundai") people. Nothing fancy, but we seek good value, and a respectable nameplate.
- We need a small/medium grand (grand vs upright is admittedly aesthetics).

So being a non-player, I went about my search on a more technical basis, looking at 'value for money'. I did tour the local shops and looked at the standards -- Steinway/Boston/Essex, and Yamaha/Kawai. I think I figured out the top European models were out of my price range early on (unless I found a good deal on Craigslist). I stumbled upon Heritage almost by chance, looking for local piano shops with different brands. As luck would have it, Norbert carried a couple of brands that interested me, so it was worth the trip out to the suburbs.

I have to say at this point that Norbert is a heck of a character. He's very different from other piano salespeople I've encountered. Most cultivate a helpful, but reserved and inoffensive personna (almost like going to a high-end department store). Not saying Norbert is *offensive*, but he was very blunt, verbose, and highly knowledgeable -- really refreshing. I'm sure some people might find it a bit off-putting (i.e. those that like high-end department stores), but I personally enjoyed his passion and, quite frankly, he and I were on the same wavelength as to getting good value. His wife Lina was also very lovely and was kind enough to distract my kids while Norbert discussed pianos and final terms. Overall, I enjoyed the buying experience more than I realistically would have expected. Norbert, charasmatic as he is, could very well have been snowing me (I don't think he was), but I came out of the transaction feeling good about it. The sign of a very good salesman and/or an honest man -- I think he's both.
wink

Back to pianos, we did narrow it down to the Ritmuller 160 and the Brodmann 162. Generally, I think the Rit160 is cheaper by a few thousand, whereas the Brod162 is relatively closer in price to the Rit170.

Both pianos are very nice. They're both very warm/musical to my untrained ears, and it was very surprising how much I enjoyed the sound, particularly compared to a used Yamaha that he had in the store (which I gently accused him of - and he vehemently denies - detuning to make the other pianos sound better, haha!).

Looking at specs (I thought Ritmuller was better at spelling out what was actually inside, whereas Brodmann just name-dropped on a few of the major components), it's kind of a pick-'em. I relied on this and other forums for more knowledeable people than I to assess, so that probably gave me the favourable impression of these two makes.

Ultimately, I decided on the Brodmann for the following reasons:

- A friend of mine that works in the local classical music scene, whom I asked about these brands, noted that a noted local pianist, or someone in his clan, had bought a Brodmann. I figure classical pianists have a king's palatte and a pauper's wallet, so they're going to spend as little as possible but still demand an enjoyable sound. +1 for Brodmann.

- My daughter didn't like the feel of the Ritmuller keys -- specifically the ebony sharps (!). Go figure, she doesn't like the nice stuff. I would've forced this down her throat if this was the only issue. Really, though, it's just because she's used to a plastic keyboard. I know she would've appreciated the higher quality *in time*.

- Thankfully, my daughter also had an actual piano-related preference for the Brodmann. She found the Bass Clef (?) on the Ritmuller too soft/light.

- My friend did note that the Brodmann sound seemed fuller, whereas the Ritmuller, while nice, was a bit more clipped. When I sat and listened, I *think* I noticed that. What I did notice, though, was that the Rit seemed a bit more muted.

- Little things, like the Brodmann had wider castor wheels. I think the Rit170 had double wheels, which are supposed to be better?

- Thinking about it a bit more broadly (and maybe it's a bit of self-justification), the two pianos are "Chinese pianos", whatever that term connotes. However, I looked at the Ritmuller as a Chinese piano that imported a lot of European talent/parts to create a really nice piano at a fantastic price. In the end, though, it is still a Chinese piano from a Chinese company. The Brodmann is effectively the same, but is a European company that manufactures its pianos in China for cost-savings -- just like Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway/Essex, etc. I know it seems like hair-splitting and it really is two-sides of the same coin, but qualitatively this may make a difference in how much resale value the Brodmann will retain over the long-term (particularly when Brodmann comes out with its European-built pianos, hopefully elevating the brand beyond a 'value-brand').

- Not much for glitz, but the Brodmann logo on the side was kind of a nice touch. It also suggests to me that they're unashamed of their name and in fact expect people to be proud of showing off what they're playing.

- I know we're taking a bit of a risk on a relatively new nameplate (goes against my more tried-and-true nature), but I had to rely on the online reviews, background of Brodmann executives (I assume ex-Bosendorfer staff would rather poke their own eyes out rather than have their names attached to a crappy piano; also their expertise must have filtered down into the Brodmanns), and use of major parts that have some history to them.

Price-wise, either of these two are really great value on an overall basis. I managed to justify the differential between the Ritmuller and Brodmann for the reasons above, but truthfully I don't think we'd be selling ourselves too short if we went with the Ritmuller. Norbert and I managed to come to a very *fair* price for the Brodmann, certainly per Larry Fine's suggestions. From web archives of the old MSRP, though, I wish I bought it a few years earlier! I mean, I know that there are healthy markups and negotiating room inherently built-into the MSRPs, but a 50% increase in MSRP from 3-4 years ago for essentially the same piano?!? Damn....

There it is, for better or worse. Hopefully I've made some sense for someone. I'll try to remember to post a follow-up when we get the piano in January (finishing renovations, and I'm waiting for a new one), once my daughter's piano teacher and another piano teacher friend have a chance to test drive it.

Last edited by bishop8; 12/22/11 04:51 AM.
Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1810284 12/21/11 11:29 PM
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...Not saying Norbert is *offensive*...



grin

That cracked me up, but I enjoyed your analysis of the pianos and the man.

I liked a Rit I played some years back, but I can go along with that "clipped" as fitting what I heard.

(It also sat beside a Yamaha C3 I've often thought surely may have been detuned, though a new CFIII in a hotel I managed arrived little better, begging in my mind that reputed "consistency".)

Congratulations.

Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1810299 12/21/11 11:49 PM
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Bishop8, I'm glad you guys found the one for you; enjoy! Sounds like Norbert took great care of you.

ChickGrand, was that before or after the Rit was redesigned in 09? The new ones (which I'm sure is what Bishop8 played in Norbert's shop) are much nicer.



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Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1810311 12/22/11 12:14 AM
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Norbert is a heck of a character.


i'll vouch for that! thumb

one of my most memorable pianoworld forum member encounters was the day we visited norbert in his showroom and then enjoyed a lovely dinner with him.

my piano search was long over by then, but norbert still took obvious and great pleasure in showing off his collection. and he plays a mean boogie-woogie, too.


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Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
jennie_hp #1810313 12/22/11 12:20 AM
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It was around 2006. And while I'll grant "clipped" fit the condition I found it in, I thought it had the most potential of any piano on that floor that day begging only a little regulation. Not my ideal but very good, even then. I've mentioned it before here, in a favorable light, on average (not even taking into account the price/value aspect). It had a very nice timbre, needing only to be brought up a little. Don't take my comment as unfavorable. My overall reaction was, "I could see myself working with this".

Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
ChickGrand #1810329 12/22/11 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ChickGrand
It was around 2006. And while I'll grant "clipped" fit the condition I found it in, I thought it had the most potential of any piano on that floor that day begging only a little regulation. Not my ideal but very good, even then. I've mentioned it before here, in a favorable light, on average (not even taking into account the price/value aspect). It had a very nice timbre, needing only to be brought up a little. Don't take my comment as unfavorable. My overall reaction was, "I could see myself working with this".


Serious backtracking! Sort of like slamming the old 4-on-the-floor into reverse and laying rubber. grin

Little did you know that the Ritmüller Lobby was open late for the holidays.


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Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
piqué #1810390 12/22/11 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by piqué
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Norbert is a heck of a character.

...and he plays a mean boogie-woogie, too.


But he's got some deadly serious competition from the Fatherland. If 16-year-olds are doing this, I defy anyone to say piano is a dying art:

Luka Sestak

I think I'll go burn my pianos for shame of insufficient use now. (Look at his early stuff at age 13, too.)

Re: Brodmann grand vs Rittmuller grand
turandot #1810393 12/22/11 04:02 AM
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Originally Posted by turandot
Originally Posted by ChickGrand
It was around 2006. And while I'll grant "clipped" fit the condition I found it in, I thought it had the most potential of any piano on that floor that day begging only a little regulation. Not my ideal but very good, even then. I've mentioned it before here, in a favorable light, on average (not even taking into account the price/value aspect). It had a very nice timbre, needing only to be brought up a little. Don't take my comment as unfavorable. My overall reaction was, "I could see myself working with this".


Serious backtracking! Sort of like slamming the old 4-on-the-floor into reverse and laying rubber. grin

Little did you know that the Ritmüller Lobby was open late for the holidays.


I like your writing style there, but no.

You can look up my old posts about that piano. There were several, amid some of our earlier discussions about the quality of some of the Chinese grands. My view then was that I felt at least that one had “arrived” because I found that one piano and quite liked it. I don’t think it’d been prepped at all, but it had a very nice touch and a good tone/timbre, and immaculate fit and finish. It seemed to me that, if anything, the strike distance was a little too great and that it’d have a real kick and be right in there where I’d want it with a bit of regulation. It blew the socks off of any other in the room and made the Yamaha cower in the corner. Reregulate it so you could really dig in and I think you’d have something. No inconsistency there at all. All too often when people have knocked Chinese pianos, I’ve mentioned that one to say, “Wait a minute”. I think it had great potential. I didn’t need it as I had five pianos already, including a concert grand. I’d gone into the shop for sheet music, but you know how we are and how we can’t resist trying them all out.

I liked the poster’s word “clipped”. My guess is the dampers were set a hair too close and the strike distance too far for my taste, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like its touch and overall tone, nor that I would think I couldn’t “work with it”, which is what I said way back when.

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