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#2035436 - 02/18/13 07:48 PM pianoranking.com  
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turandot Offline
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http://www.pianoranking.com/

This website came up on another thread today courtesy of member Mickangel33. I don't think it's apt to get much attention there and may be unduly criticized. I found the content interesting in that comparisons are made of specific models. It doesn't stop at a general brand ranking or class rating. It also discloses some of its own shortcomings in not having much to go on in some cases and in not being current with the latest models from some companies.

Personally, I think the best one can hope for in such a site is that it is an honest effort and not a sham from some industry insider promoting something. I have a feeling this is not a sham. One may agree with some of it, all of it, or non of it. That's what makes such a thing interesting, whether it comes from a team of five pianists or from 100 RPT's. In the end it's subjective.

The question came up on the other thread of the editor's native language. There were some noticeable rough spots in what was obviously a homemade translation to English.

I e-mailed the editor to ask him about the composition of the rating panel. Here's his kind response. I'll withhold his name, but anyone is free to contact him.

Thanks for your mail. The team is composed with a technician who works for Steinway. It's the only one who could be influenced by the industry, but I can swear He is not ! And Steinway doesn't know about his work on this website. The other professionals are not funded by a particular brand. Some of them are not pianist.
Personally I'm an amateur. We have tried to be the most honest, even if it's a subjective work. When we will have enough time, we will try to include notes from website users.
Only two countries for the team, and every one with french language, so sorry for the poor english and all the mistakes :-)
If you have advises, don't hesitate to tell me


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#2035516 - 02/18/13 10:40 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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Sorry - I don't find the site very helpful
other than a very rudimentary "reference sheet".

Also very wary when a banner ad takes up a
good part of the screen.

#2035872 - 02/19/13 02:26 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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ranked by a steingraeber owner smile


PLEYEL P124
#2035946 - 02/19/13 04:56 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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As I said in another post that dealt with this, this pianoranking site could be something of substance, but without more information it is of little value. Further I like "group rankings" much better than an order that appears to say "first place", "second place", etc.

It is also making revenue for the owner and looks like an unfinished product. Until I know more about the who, how, and when involved in this website, it is only noise to me. It bothers me when the scope and involvement of the rankings and the rankers are not in some way disclosed.

My 2 cents,



Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
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#2035989 - 02/19/13 05:59 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: Rich Galassini]  
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Thank you Rich,

I didn't move the question here to get away from you. I appreciated your earlier comments too. My plan is simply to pass on others' ideas to the site editor. He's indicated that he's open to advice. I will certainly pass on all your comments and anyone else's constructive criticisms as well. You're completely right in commenting that it's a work in progress.


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
#2036015 - 02/19/13 06:37 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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Rich Galassini Offline
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Originally Posted by turandot
Thank you Rich,

I didn't move the question here to get away from you. I appreciated your earlier comments too. My plan is simply to pass on others' ideas to the site editor. He's indicated that he's open to advice. I will certainly pass on all your comments and anyone else's constructive criticisms as well. You're completely right in commenting that it's a work in progress.


Thank you Turandot. I didn't think you were trying to get away from me. You know that would never happen. wink

I just wanted to keep up with the dialogue.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Check out the Science Channel's "How Its Made" featuring our piano restoration:
http://www.cunninghampiano.com/how-its-made/
#2036041 - 02/19/13 07:18 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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Wondering on how this 'ranking' has been done and what factors were used doing it.
Just heard of one coming from somewhere in Switzerland: entirely different results....
As has Diaposon in Paris.
In fact, after some 200 years the Germans/ Europeans haven't figured this one out either.
Nor most of the esteemed members of Piano World.
At least L. Fine got a system making some sense.
He's put pianos into 'groups' - so every pianos seems having it's own 'groupies'....
Liking that. thumb

This one was particularly nice to read:

Quote
not having much to go on in some cases and in not being current with the latest models from some companies.


At least, hopefully your financial adviser works somewhat differently......

Norbert grin

Last edited by Norbert; 02/19/13 07:27 PM.

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#2036069 - 02/19/13 08:39 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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Although I found the site interesting, I think it suffers from a few problems if one is trying to use it to make some decision about buying a piano:

1. It's difficult enough to put pianos into 5 or 6 groups like Fine does, but trying to rank them in a precise order from 1-10 seems particularly difficult to do in a meaningful way. Perhaps the author of the site felt he had to do this because the site only discusses the best pianos. Fine did do this in some of the earlier Piano Book editions, but he at least rated the pianos in around 5 categories and then calculated an overall ranking based on the ratings in those categories. Even when Fine did this there were groups of pianos where the overall rating was a tie. So at least there was more transparency about how individual overall ranking were obtained.

2. Although the author of this site does have some categories in which he separately comments on the pianos, the verbal descriptions seem very vague although I did find them interesting. For example, under the category of bass strings we get descriptions like: "incredibly deep, hugely deep, very deep, very strong," etc. and IMO this doesn't mean much. Some love the Steinway B bass(called "incredibly deep")but others find it muddy. Same problem with the various description of the treble: "glittering and clear, crystalline, very good clarity, enchanting, very clear, very pure, singing, very singing, sweet". Interesting, maybe, but not very helpful or meaningful. It's not clear why one description would be better than another even if there was agreement on what these words implied.

The Fine categories were more meaningful as they didn't depend on personal preference so much.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 02/19/13 08:54 PM.
#2036080 - 02/19/13 09:25 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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Norbert Offline
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Whenever there's an attempt to "rank" pianos, people forget that when instead of 10 different brands 10 identical pianos by same maker would be tried out, it also will result in a ranking from 1-10.

As long as one tries to compares products based on such variable factors as musical instruments happen to be based upon, no valid type ranking can be made at all. And if someone would attempt to do so, it certainly wouldn't make any sense.

Anybody traveling the world having played a great many of these pianos knows that.

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 02/19/13 09:27 PM.

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#2036090 - 02/19/13 09:47 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: Norbert]  
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Originally Posted by Norbert
Whenever there's an attempt to "rank" pianos, people forget that when instead of 10 different brands 10 identical pianos by same maker would be tried out, it also will result in a ranking from 1-10.

As long as one tries to compares products based on such variable factors as musical instruments happen to be based upon, no valid type ranking can be made at all. And if someone would attempt to do so, it certainly wouldn't make any sense.

Anybody traveling the world having played a great many of these pianos knows that.

Norbert
So does that mean all the pianos in your store are priced the same since they're equally good? What nonsense.

The fact that one piano can better than another piano of the same make and model is a separate issue.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 02/20/13 08:52 AM.
#2036186 - 02/20/13 02:14 AM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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I am not sure why on a practical level that the top pianos need to be ranked. What purpose does it serve? I don't see how some group of so called objective whoever labeling [a high end brand] with a ranking number would make one bit of difference. Just having an exercise in itself is non-objective and self serving unless all the rankings were done in double-blind tests. In which case, maybe the result would have some validity, but in the case where pianists are put in double-blind testing situations, the results are generally too embarrassing to publish.


Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci
#2036187 - 02/20/13 02:22 AM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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There's probably more text in this thread than there is on that entire website! I wouldn't pay much attention to it unless they provided more information about how the rankings were produced. And we all know that rankings are very subjective, esp. once you reach a certain quality/price level. (And there's no way Fazioli and Bösendorfer are beneath Steinway! :-) )

Last edited by Thrill Science; 02/20/13 02:23 AM.

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#2047140 - 03/12/13 05:51 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: pianoloverus]  
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I'm bumping this just to update.

I communicated the suggestions made here to the editor of pianoranking.com. Those came principally from the constructive criticism of Rich Galassini and plover. The first item I mentioned was that people here seemed more comfortable with groupings of pianos of roughly equal quality than they did with a one–to-ten list in descending order. The editor's response was that dividing the pianos reviewed into two groups would create a clear division that he and the other team members felt did not exist. They were much more comfortable listing the ten pianos in one group exploring the differences while at the same time stating that differences were small and mostly subjective. In his words: “If you do groups, you clearly mark a difference between the 2 groups, so for a subjective appreciation, I'm not sure it's the best way.”(I was pleased to read the word “appreciation”. In my opinion it's the best way to approach any piano.)

The editor was quite familiar with Fine's work and the fact that it groups pianos into categories in terms of manufacturer rankings rather than dealing with specific models. The approach the team members wanted to take in their work was to compare specific models of approximately equal size according to specific aspects of playing quality.

The second issue I mentioned was the language, which was documented objectively by plover in his post on this thread. The editor was apologetic and very much aware of the translation problem. In his words: “I'm sorry, I will try to correct all mistakes (I don't have a lot of time, and nobody wants to take care of the website instead of me.”) In that context I would add that the editor is a medical doctor with a busy practice and that he is not drawing any income whatsoever from the site, from pianos, piano playing, or from any segment of the piano industry. My intent is to help him with some of the obvious problems such ad writing “completely regular” instead of ‘in full regulation’. Stuff like that is easily remedied. It's very challenging though to describe tonal qualities of a piano's sound. Even putting aside the L1 to L2 translation problem and just sticking to English, there's a big difference between one person's rounded, dark, bright, etc., and another's.

I also linked the editor to this thread (while wondering if by so doing I might never hear from him again). He picked up on a couple of criticisms posted here. To the peculiar charge that he owns a Steingraeber piano, he stated bluntly that no one on the team did, and added that most would be happy to. To the criticism of the banner ad, he responded that unfortunately the team had no control over the ads that appeared. Ad content placed by the site host was a trade-off in getting help in site set-up and free hosting. The ads that come up when I go into the site are usually local ski areas in SoCal. I would assume the editor doesn’t have a commercial interest in them. Obviously, the website could benefit from major improvements in format and navigation. I don't think those challenges are overwhelming. The editor mentioned he is not a computer whiz.

In writing him a second time, I threw in my own criticism that the site should have at least one named individual associated with it and should contain information about the backgrounds of the team members. He wrote back that such content would be added some time this year and that a group photo of the team would be added as well.

In the meantime, for those who are interested, the team is composed in his words as follows: “there are 2 semi pro pianists, 1 pro flutist (who began with piano), 1 technician pro pianist, and 2 amateurs.” The editor is one of the amateurs. The team evaluates mainly from group visits to Paris showrooms, factoring in individual reports from team members who encounter pianos when they travel. The team hopes to visit factories in the future.

It seems to me from the editor's description of discussions within the group, which I won't go into here, that these guys (no gender inference) enjoy getting better acquainted with great pianos and enjoy lively discussions about the pianos as well. They're not selling dogma, simply sharing their impressions. The website is their way of furthering the discussion beyond the group. I can dig it.


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#2047246 - 03/12/13 09:11 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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I just stumbled upon this thread now.... didn't see it the first time around. The way I see it: anyone can purchase a domain at GoDaddy.com for a few bucks, link it to a crudely-designed website, and place his/her own opinions as to the ranking of pianos on there.

The website design alone makes the site quite laughable, but, as someone's opinion, people shouldn't be taking the website content too seriously. I know I didn't...


Charles R. Walter 1520 QA Mahogany #531739 w/ High Polish, Renner and Quiet Pedal
#2047302 - 03/12/13 10:20 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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I find the site crude and not very informative. I would certainly disagree with the rankings and not put much credibility into it.


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#2047323 - 03/12/13 10:41 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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The website design alone makes the site quite laughable

#2047383 - 03/13/13 12:33 AM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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Again, I'm in no way looking for input at this point on this topic. I'm simply updating the site editor's response to some constructive criticism that had been offered here.

If you want to be an Internet hero by slamming something in a chat room, that's your prerogative, but the site does have a contact email address and that's the only way your criticism will reach those you are criticizing.


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
#2047389 - 03/13/13 12:44 AM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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I think expanding the categories may help. Or the judge may end up confusing himself (for example, hes obviously a Steingraber Fan)

ie, taken A.Forster 215 as a example
http://www.pianoranking.com/august-forster-215.php

take 5 judges, each category give 10 points, then take the average number.
Blind test is preferred.

---------------------
August Förster 215

Dynamic Range Excellent
ppp fff response Very good accuracy
Power Volume The floor trembles...
Treble Strings Adamantin
Middle Strings Singing
Bass Strings Strong
Tone So musical !
------------------------
add up the number of 6 categories, each piano will receive a score out of 60.

I think the result will be a lot different.


PLEYEL P124
#2047418 - 03/13/13 02:00 AM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: Steven Y. A.]  
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Originally Posted by Steven Y. A.
I think expanding the categories may help. Or the judge may end up confusing himself (for example, hes obviously a Steingraber Fan)

ie, taken A.Forster 215 as a example
http://www.pianoranking.com/august-forster-215.php

take 5 judges, each category give 10 points, then take the average number.
Blind test is preferred.



Steven,

There are six members of the group. If you want only 5, one will need to be dismissed. grin

I don't think that numerical point values would be appealing to this group. Their objective is "subjective appreciation". That's safer! Also, I think Mr. Fine would concur that the further you get into objectifying subjectivity through the use of something like point values, the more scalding water you can get yourself into.

The reason given me for Steingraeber's position is that the members of the group unanimously felt that the Steingraeber 170 grand dominated its category, and that the other Steingraeber entries were at least close to the top in everyone's view. Does that mean that Steingraeber is clearly the best piano maker? Not at all. It just means that no member of this group found much of anything to fault in the Steingraeber pianos under review, and as I mentioned, none of them owns a Steingraeber piano.

Blind testing is easier talked about than accomplished. Thirty pianos were under consideration. Where are they to be found under one roof? Anyone who has traveled in Europe can tell you that some of the models under review are scarce in dealer showrooms. Someone earlier suggested ten samples of each piano. Good luck to that approach when evaluating the Bosie 130. grin

I'm not criticizing here. I cam see you've put your thinking cap on. I would sincerely encourage you to communicate with the site. The editor is quite friendly and not a bit presumptuous.



Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
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#2047518 - 03/13/13 08:20 AM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: Steven Y. A.]  
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Originally Posted by Steven Y. A.
take 5 judges, each category give 10 points, then take the average number.
Blind test is preferred.
A good approach, in my opinion.
When I bought my grand piano I had prepared a grid beforehand with all models I would consider, with categories like "Sound overall", "Sound bass", "Sound treble", "Responsiveness", "Feeling of key tops"...
I filled in symbols like ++ (very good), + (good), o (average); and in very rare cases: - (bad). This is an approach like in the German institute "Stiftung Warentest", which tests consumer products. You can then see what product excels in the category that's important for you; or doesn't have flaws.

I don't know if anyone here has read the German PianoNews magazine (I haven't).
But in their issue 4/2011, there is a comparative test of 22 pianos in the 170cm-180cm category. Maybe they went about that way. And as far as I know, they didn't rank the instruments.

In my opinion scores are better than rankings. Especially when divided into categories.

Last edited by patH; 03/13/13 08:20 AM.

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#2047554 - 03/13/13 09:47 AM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: patH]  
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Originally Posted by patH
Originally Posted by Steven Y. A.
take 5 judges, each category give 10 points, then take the average number.
Blind test is preferred.
A good approach, in my opinion.
When I bought my grand piano I had prepared a grid beforehand with all models I would consider, with categories like "Sound overall", "Sound bass", "Sound treble", "Responsiveness", "Feeling of key tops"...
I filled in symbols like ++ (very good), + (good), o (average); and in very rare cases: - (bad).


Those aren't numbers and I doubt you shopped blind.

However, I think that your approach was the approach used here, with the qualification that virtually everything was on the plus side, so the range was pretty tight and came down to how many pluses were awarded. The verbal language difficulties of expressing that tight range show thorough in the descriptors whether they're in English or French.

The personal grid or checklist is invaluable in my shopping experience. My scoring has been exactly like yours -- checks and pluses. The most obvious advantage of the grid is that it keeps one from forgetting to do one's homework when overly impressed with something like a big booming bass or a lovely treble. The secret of a piano is often in the mid-range. To fill out your categories, you have to follow through and that pays off in the long run.

Would it be possible for you to link to the 4/2011 edition of PianoNews? I can't get anywhere with that link.


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
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#2047578 - 03/13/13 10:41 AM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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Originally Posted by turandot
The personal grid or checklist is invaluable in my shopping experience. My scoring has been exactly like yours -- checks and pluses. The most obvious advantage of the grid is that it keeps one from forgetting to do one's homework when overly impressed with something like a big booming bass or a lovely treble. The secret of a piano is often in the mid-range. To fill out your categories, you have to follow through and that pays off in the long run.
I would like to add that it should be something an individual piano buyer should do. Because one thing that came to my mind: Different pianists like different qualities in a piano. Some like a mellow sound, some like it clear. Some like a light action; others like it a bit harder. Ask 5 pianists, and you'll get 6 opinions.

Originally Posted by turandot
Would it be possible for you to link to the 4/2011 edition of PianoNews? I can't get anywhere with that link.
To read it online, you need a subscription.
The paper edition can be ordered here; the table of content is available (in German). The test in question is on page 38.


Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
#2047657 - 03/13/13 12:58 PM Re: pianoranking.com [Re: turandot]  
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...Can't believe this thread is actually this long.....


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Anyone who likes Chopin (Noct 9 opus 1) but intimidated
by piano_primo_1. 09/25/17 05:51 PM
The Fourth
by Goof. 09/25/17 05:18 PM
The Secret Life of Pianos
by Grandman. 09/25/17 02:32 PM
What makes me play too loudly?
by Beemer. 09/25/17 08:21 AM
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