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Estonia Pianos
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Yes, I'm eating crow, LOL! smile I know some of you said it, and more of you probably thought it..."for the money you're considering on an upright, you should be looking at grands..." We really don't have the room for one, but after today's experience at the Steinway showroom, we are thinking that the money WOULD be better spent on a grand...and, yes, even the entry-level grands sound so much better than good uprights. After hearing and playing a couple grands in there, I can hardly bring myself to audition any more uprights.... Not that we won't, but...now we are considering small grands.

We really liked the Boston grands but the Essex is more in our price range...we looked at the 5'1" models. So, now I'm going to start reading about grands in that category... Any stellar performers in the baby grand "upper tier" that I should look at specifically? Thx!!

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I really wouldn't recommend anything that small. If you can manage, find something in the 5.5' range. Estonia, Schimmel, and Petrof are good values if you can find them!

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Originally Posted by sushifor5
Yes, I'm eating crow, LOL! smile I know some of you said it


HEY, I was the FIRST to say it! cry

Pianobuyer did a really good expose on this size range last year. You should certainly read it.

In my totally biased opinion, you won't find a better sounding small grand in this price range than the new 148 from Ritmüller. If you liked the Essex you heard, you will LOVE this piano!

.... and by the way, I hear those Idaho potatoes taste much better than Crow smirk


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Here's a link to the PB article on small grands Master88er mentioned. It focuses on pianos less than 5 feet long. If you can manage a few extra inches, it'll make a lot of difference in the bass sound.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall10/92.html

Charles

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Thanks for the info! We definitely don't want one of the "promotional level" baby grands...I think the 5'4" is the smallest we're thinking and that fits our price...Honestly, we probably can't even get that size in our space...it will take a lot...so going bigger, well, right now I'm not sure it would work. We are in the $11k to $15K range, so will look at anything that fits in there right now...I'm interested in the Hailun and will look at the others mentioned above... Any more recommendations in that price range?

@master: can you tell me about the Ritmuller 160R?

Last edited by sushifor5; 03/08/12 10:26 PM.
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In the price range you mentioned the finest examples I know [as totally biased dealer..] are the 5'3 Ritmueller 160 or 160 Kayserburg and the 5'4 Brodmann 160.

SOUND SAMPLES:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkNGRbEWT4o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxmLWzVF8Bc

It's exactly those smaller grands that persuaded us to become dealers of these brands.hose.

These pianos were not designed as 'entry-level' but fully professional grands. The use of authentic European design, top quality components and [still] low Chinese labor rates have produced results IMHO impossible to match in today's market.

After you checked these pianos out it may be at least a good yardstick to measure others by.

Another piano also worth checking are Albert Weber and the new, Dell designed Young Changs. Heard nothing but good things about them. Unfortunately am personally not too familiar with them.

Within the 10-15 k range, those are some of the best choices I happen to know. Let us know if you find some others.

May the best piano win: especially when 'comparatively' tested between them!

Norbert thumb

Last edited by Norbert; 03/08/12 11:20 PM.

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I love my Petrof V. (5'3") It has warmer, deeper tone than other baby grands. I got it within your price range. Here is one on sale - http://riverside-california.olx.com/petrof-model-v-grand-piano-iid-20409889

I also liked the Kawai grands, too. I prefer the mellower sound of Kawai than the brighter Yamahas. I did not like the other Asian pianos and the Americans and Europeans I liked were totally out of my price range.

Good luck!


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I'm with Junko about the small Petrof. They're very nice. I like the Wm. Knabe WKG-53, too. I don't know the street price of the Knabe, but it might be doable for less than $15k.

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@ Norbert, thanks for the links...both sound like great instruments...that Brodman seems to have the power my son would want. I have no idea where I'd find a dealer here, but will add these to the list.

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Originally Posted by Norbert

The use of authentic European design, top quality components and [still] low Chinese labor rates have produced results IMHO impossible to match in today's market.


Norbert thumb


Hi Norbert,

Could you please explain the meaning of " Authentic European design" and how/why it is significant? I am truly interested and it may prove useful to the OP as well.

Thanks,
fingers


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Yes, that interests me as well....And, does anyone have experience with the Albert Weber 5'1"?

@Junko and ChasT, the Petrof wasn't something I even considered, as the SMP really put me off...but that link, wow...$16Kish...how does that happen? Old model? Used? Possible implications? Making me want to look at Petrof, but just doesn't seem realistic...even with that price and shipping, outside our range. But from what I'm reading, seems like a fabulous instrument!

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Originally Posted by fingers
Originally Posted by Norbert

The use of authentic European design, top quality components and [still] low Chinese labor rates have produced results IMHO impossible to match in today's market.


Norbert thumb


Hi Norbert,

Could you please explain the meaning of " Authentic European design" and how/why it is significant? I am truly interested and it may prove useful to the OP as well.

Thanks,
fingers


I'm on pins and needles myself. grin I know this. It can't mean German scale design because Norbert recently issued a warning to stay away from pianos that touted German scale design. Maybe it's about Swiss precision.

Sushi,

I'm just pulling Norbert's chain. All of the pianos Norbert mentioned are worth your consideration if you can find them. They would also suit your new budget well without forcing you to raise it once again. Estonias, Schimmels, and Petrofs are out of reach.

If your son is naturally attracted to the power end of dynamic range (not unusual), he should work harder on the other end.




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Could you please explain the meaning of " Authentic European design" and how/why it is significant? I am truly interested and it may prove useful to the OP as well.



That's easy.

It's a long known fact that the new Ritmuellers had been designed 'from the ground up' by Lothar Thomma. Mr. Thomma had been specifically commissioned by Pearl River to design a completely new line of pianos that would clearly exceed anything company had built before.

This incuded Pearl River's own main line of pianos as well as the Essex line of pianos designed by Steinway.

If Mr. Fine's ratings mean anything, this appears to have meantime been accomplished:

http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall11/45.html

Ritmueller's design has succinctly been described by Piano Buyer:

http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall11/176.html

Brodmann designs originated at a time when Chris Hoeferl, company's CEO was still marketing director for Boesendorfer.

Piano Buyer recently implied a purported similarity in scale design between Brodmann model 187 and Steinway A

http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall11/159.html

Anybody ever trying a PE series Brodmann will quickly agree that the pianos' clear and lushious tone is neither orietal nor American - but clearly European.

The rest is personal preference and own interpretation of things.

Norbert smile

Last edited by Norbert; 03/09/12 02:26 AM.

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Sushi, if I presume correctly that you're in a somewhat rural location, perhaps your first step should be to find a local tuner/technician. This is someone you're going to need on a regular basis. A good experienced one may have some suggestions on local dealers. And you'll certainly impress them as a savvy client if you start the conversation by saying you're looking to buy a piano, and want to find your regular tuner first.

As for make and model, it's not like a big city where you can find them all. You'd do better to not get set on one thing, but rather be open to what's available within reasonable moving distance. Consider good used ones, you can do very well in your price range. But have your pre-selected technician check it out before you commit the money.


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Yes, that interests me as well....And, does anyone have experience with the Albert Weber 5'1"?



Again, this appears to be a very promising choice.

The pianos are very hard to find but even a tad higher rated than the ones we carry.

Heard great things about them.

As long as the price jump is not too great...

Norbert wink

Last edited by Norbert; 03/09/12 02:32 AM.

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Sushi - I took Russell and Norbert's sage advice when I started shopping for pianos and they convinced me to consider getting a grand rather than an upright. I'm so glad I did. I went looking at Ritmullers and went hunting for a Hailun at the local Steinway dealer. He wasn't a Hailun dealer, but I got to play the Steinways and several Bostons and Essexes (pl?). I thought the Steinways sounded the best, but I preferred the Essex sound over that of the darker, more mellow Bostons. I'd have to have won the Powerball Lottery to seriously consider buying a Steinway and figuring that the Essex and Ritmuller were related by both being Pearl River products, went with a Ritmuller GH-170R over the Essex 173 because of the over $3000 price differential. I also thought the Ritmuller sounded better than the Essex. You should check them out if you have a dealer nearby. Many Ritmuller dealers are also Pearl River dealers and sometimes they have the same size in both lines. It makes for an interesting comparison. The cost premium of the Ritmuller over a corresponding Pearl River is well worth it! I'm a happy camper!

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I must say that for me, dealing with pianos on a daily basis, Youtube videos to judge an instrument's tone are a mixed blessing at best. Too many factors can distort the sound or give the wrong impression of the instrument's real tone. Tone recording and playback quality, as well as instrument condition often leave much to be desired.

In my opinion, the piano in the first video sounded like a muffled digital, while the piano in the second video needed tuning badly, and the harsh tone of the recording was reinforced by the player's percussive attack. Not a nice sound at all, coming to me at this end. Neither video piqued my curiosity and interest for more, in fact I couldn't even be bothered to listen to either of them in their entirety. Maybe it is just me, but good advertising it was not.

I am sure the instruments are much better in real life than their representation on Youtube.


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Supply - I soo... agree! Judging the quality of sound of that Bosendorfer Imperial through 1" laptop speakers is a daunting proposition! grin

Last edited by Emissary52; 03/09/12 03:22 AM.

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Re: the youtube videos: I agree, too, but am trying to compare to other videos of other instruments...understanding that all of the sound quality of the videos is horrid. It's still a way for me to attempt to hear something that I have no way of hearing in real life unless/until we take a weekend trip.

We currently have a piano and a tech, but I'm not sure how familiar he'd be with the grands we're considering...he's out of the country for a while, or i'd ask...

It is a pain being so remote, but then that's an argument hubby and I have had since the day he dragged me here on this "grand experiment!" LOL smile

If any dealers here can help me find dealers within driving distance, I'd be ever so appreciative...for Ritmuller, Albert Weber, Brodman...I think I can find a Hailun/Knabe dealer, but he won't have what I'm looking for on the floor, so I'd need a bigger store for those as well. Tracking down stores in which to play the instruments is a real headache. We can go to the WA and OR cities for the weekend, and still have connections in northern and southern CA...it's just a much longer trip. I'm wondering if we should try Canada? Hmmmm...We will be ready with the cash in early summer, so I really need to get all this figured out...

Thanks so much for all the input; it's great!

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That's easy.

It's a long known fact that the new Ritmuellers had been designed 'from the ground up' by Lothar Thomma. Mr. Thomma had been specifically commissioned by Pearl River to design a completely new line of pianos that would clearly exceed anything company had built before.


OH, so "European Design" = "Designed by a European."

I guess I never realized that engineering was an ethnic thing. [Linked Image]


This is not a knock on Ritmeuller, by the way.

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