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#2108435 - 06/26/13 02:12 PM Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)?  
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
GGO Offline
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GGO  Offline
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Hello everyone:

I'm in the market of a new small grand piano, and Steinway (New York) models A and O are my finalists (but I'm not completely excluding Model M).

Price of Model A is a big stretch for me, but I don't want to compromise the sound. (I'd like to keep pianos and trading-in to upgrade is not a consideration.)

Size-wise, Model A can fit. But I'm not sure if my room is big enough for it, and I don't want the piano to be deafeningly loud. I live in a condo and floor plan is shown below (two adjacent walls are big windows). Would Model A get too loud for this room size/layout?

(UPDATE: furnishing most likely wood floor, carpet is possible but I have cats and they may scratch the carpet.)

[Linked Image]

Any thoughts and suggestions in any aspect will be greatly appreciated! Thank you!


Gavin


--
PS: I play mostly work from Liszt and Chopin. Pianos I have auditioned during selection include Steinway (Hamburg and NY), Estonia, Shimmel (K and C), Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, Shigeru Kawai, Grotrian, Bluthner, Bechstein (C and A), August Forster, and Steingraeber & Sohne.

Last edited by GGO; 06/27/13 12:45 PM.
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#2108511 - 06/26/13 04:02 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: GGO]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Minnesota Marty  Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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Rochester MN
Hi Gavin - Welcome to Piano World!

As far as volume is concerned, that is totally dependent on the furnishings in the room and the ceiling height.

I consider the new NY-O's to be one of the best smaller grands available from any company. In that size room I probably would choose it over the A. The Steingraeber B192 is a spectacular instrument, but ouch, the price!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2108574 - 06/26/13 05:30 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: GGO]  
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Rich Galassini Offline
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Originally Posted by GGO

--
PS: I play mostly work from Liszt and Chopin. Pianos I have auditioned during selection include Steinway (Hamburg and NY), Estonia, Shimmel (K and C), Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, Shigeru Kawai, Grotrian, Bluthner, Bechstein (C and A), August Forster, and Steingraeber & Sohne.


Hmmm... Well I cannot give my standard advice to audition more than one brand of piano.

IMHO, size offers color more than it does volume. I can control any large piano's volume with no problem, but longer strings generate more noticable overtones and this equals a bigger palette of colors to choose from. I cannot get more color from a piano with shorter strings.

This means that I will generally prefer the larger instrument within any given brand. Occasionally I will go against that trend because of the beauty of a given instrument though.

Also, be careful and be sure that you choose the actual piano you will get, especially with your chosen brand. They have historically had more inconsistency from piano to piano than any other brand you have mentioned.

Keep us posted,


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:
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#2108608 - 06/26/13 06:08 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: GGO]  
Joined: May 2001
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pianoloverus Online content
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What are the yellow and grey areas in your diagram?

Do you plan to play with the lid fully opened?

How much better do you like the sound of the A compared to the O in the showroom? Do you feel the O's sound is compromised compared to the A or are you asking for opinions about that?

I don't know whether Steinway does this, but some dealers will allow you to audition the larger piano first and then replace it by the smaller piano if the larger piano seems to loud for the space. This is because concern about a piano being too big for a given space is a common concern. Of course, you'd have to promise to buy the smaller one if the larger sounds too loud. And you might have to pay extra shipping costs. You can always ask if this is possible.

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#2109056 - 06/27/13 12:32 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
Joined: Jun 2013
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GGO Offline
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GGO  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2013
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Hi Gavin - Welcome to Piano World!

As far as volume is concerned, that is totally dependent on the furnishings in the room and the ceiling height.

I consider the new NY-O's to be one of the best smaller grands available from any company. In that size room I probably would choose it over the A. The Steingraeber B192 is a spectacular instrument, but ouch, the price!

Thank you, Marty!

I tried Steingraeber 192, 170 and 168 with Phoenix. Didn't quite like them. I think Steinway pianos are more versatile and sound better with the pieces I normally play.

#2109059 - 06/27/13 12:36 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: Rich Galassini]  
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
GGO Offline
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GGO  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2013
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by GGO

--
PS: I play mostly work from Liszt and Chopin. Pianos I have auditioned during selection include Steinway (Hamburg and NY), Estonia, Shimmel (K and C), Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, Shigeru Kawai, Grotrian, Bluthner, Bechstein (C and A), August Forster, and Steingraeber & Sohne.


Hmmm... Well I cannot give my standard advice to audition more than one brand of piano.

IMHO, size offers color more than it does volume. I can control any large piano's volume with no problem, but longer strings generate more noticable overtones and this equals a bigger palette of colors to choose from. I cannot get more color from a piano with shorter strings.

This means that I will generally prefer the larger instrument within any given brand. Occasionally I will go against that trend because of the beauty of a given instrument though.

Also, be careful and be sure that you choose the actual piano you will get, especially with your chosen brand. They have historically had more inconsistency from piano to piano than any other brand you have mentioned.

Keep us posted,

Thank you Rich!

Many people have mentioned to play the actual piano, but I have question on this...To me, the variations are not that much and they have a lot to do with voicing, is this true?

I am thinking of a factory order as I want the Steinway logo also appearing on the side. This means I basically have no opportunity to audition the *specific* piano in advance, but I was told that I could inform the Steinway technicians to help me select a piano that sounds like what I want. Then through voicing, the piano could grow over time to exactly of my liking. Would this work out nicely?

#2109062 - 06/27/13 12:43 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: pianoloverus]  
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
GGO Offline
Junior Member
GGO  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What are the yellow and grey areas in your diagram?

Do you plan to play with the lid fully opened?

How much better do you like the sound of the A compared to the O in the showroom? Do you feel the O's sound is compromised compared to the A or are you asking for opinions about that?

I don't know whether Steinway does this, but some dealers will allow you to audition the larger piano first and then replace it by the smaller piano if the larger piano seems to loud for the space. This is because concern about a piano being too big for a given space is a common concern. Of course, you'd have to promise to buy the smaller one if the larger sounds too loud. And you might have to pay extra shipping costs. You can always ask if this is possible.

Thank you! The yellow and gray areas are empty spaces for furniture (or just empty). They are used to indicate the size of the living/dinning room. The kitchen is open concept.

Most of the time I will play with lid closed or slightly opened, but when I have guests I would like the piano to sound good (and not too loud) when lid is fully opened.

I think Model A sounds noticeably better than Model O. I wouldn't say O is compromised, but A is richer and more colorful across the entire keyboard range. What would you think?

#2109063 - 06/27/13 12:46 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
GGO Offline
Junior Member
GGO  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Hi Gavin - Welcome to Piano World!

As far as volume is concerned, that is totally dependent on the furnishings in the room and the ceiling height.

I consider the new NY-O's to be one of the best smaller grands available from any company. In that size room I probably would choose it over the A. The Steingraeber B192 is a spectacular instrument, but ouch, the price!

Forgot to address your comment on furnishing. Most likely I will keep the wood floor. I can get carpets but I have two cats who may love to scratch the carpet. So it's a tricky question and wood floor is the primary consideration.

#2109083 - 06/27/13 01:25 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: GGO]  
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 195
Anne'sson Offline
Full Member
Anne'sson  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 195
El Paso, TX
What exposure do the two walls with windows have? If they face south and east, you will probably need full drapes to shield the piano from direct sunlight.
If they face north and west you'd need drapes on the west windows. Assuming you're in the northern hemisphere.

Direct sunlight will be murder on the finish and could also dry out the action and soundboard. The drapes could help with volume.

If you really prefer the sound of the A, go ahead!




Anne'sson
El Paso, TX
#2109086 - 06/27/13 01:26 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: GGO]  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,668
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New York City
Originally Posted by GGO
Thank you! The yellow and gray areas are empty spaces for furniture (or just empty). They are used to indicate the size of the living/dinning room. The kitchen is open concept.

Most of the time I will play with lid closed or slightly opened, but when I have guests I would like the piano to sound good (and not too loud) when lid is fully opened.

I think Model A sounds noticeably better than Model O. I wouldn't say O is compromised, but A is richer and more colorful across the entire keyboard range. What would you think?
Based on your room dimension(I get around 22' by 20'), the fact that it seems like your living/dining area opens up into other parts of your home(making the effective space even larger), and your lid not fully open most of the time preference, I think the A would work but it's virtually impossible for anyone to guarantee this. As others have said it depends on many other factors like the furnishings, voicing, and even your hearing(one person's loud may not be so loud for another person). If you already have a tech you think is very knowledgeable they might be able to help you predict the outcome because they actually know the space the piano will be in.

Since you prefer the sound of the A that could clearly be another reason to get that model.

Despite your wish to have the Steinway logo on the side and hence order the piano from the factory without playing it, I think that could be a big mistake. Especially since you seem to be quite choosy(not a bad thing) about the sound of the piano. Even makers that seem to have a more generally consistent sound than Steinway can vary quite a bit at least for some listeners. There is no guarantee that the piano could be voiced to your liking.

I would try and find out if the logo can be added after you purchase the piano. I'm assuming any logo on the side would be a decal and not brass, so I don't see why that couldn't be accomplished. Risking not getting the sound you like because of your wish to have a logo on the side is not a trade off I would recommend.


#2109099 - 06/27/13 01:52 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: Anne'sson]  
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
GGO Offline
Junior Member
GGO  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by Anne'sson
What exposure do the two walls with windows have? If they face south and east, you will probably need full drapes to shield the piano from direct sunlight.
If they face north and west you'd need drapes on the west windows. Assuming you're in the northern hemisphere.

Direct sunlight will be murder on the finish and could also dry out the action and soundboard. The drapes could help with volume.

If you really prefer the sound of the A, go ahead!

That's an important consideration...Thank you! My exposure is unfortunately the south east. But better than south west I guess.

#2109105 - 06/27/13 02:02 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: pianoloverus]  
Joined: Jun 2013
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GGO Offline
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GGO  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 16
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by GGO
Thank you! The yellow and gray areas are empty spaces for furniture (or just empty). They are used to indicate the size of the living/dinning room. The kitchen is open concept.

Most of the time I will play with lid closed or slightly opened, but when I have guests I would like the piano to sound good (and not too loud) when lid is fully opened.

I think Model A sounds noticeably better than Model O. I wouldn't say O is compromised, but A is richer and more colorful across the entire keyboard range. What would you think?
Based on your room dimension(I get around 22' by 20'), the fact that it seems like your living/dining area opens up into other parts of your home(making the effective space even larger), and your lid not fully open most of the time preference, I think the A would work but it's virtually impossible for anyone to guarantee this. As others have said it depends on many other factors like the furnishings, voicing, and even your hearing(one person's loud may not be so loud for another person). If you already have a tech you think is very knowledgeable they might be able to help you predict the outcome because they actually know the space the piano will be in.

Since you prefer the sound of the A that could clearly be another reason to get that model.

Despite your wish to have the Steinway logo on the side and hence order the piano from the factory without playing it, I think that could be a big mistake. Especially since you seem to be quite choosy(not a bad thing) about the sound of the piano. Even makers that seem to have a more generally consistent sound than Steinway can vary quite a bit at least for some listeners. There is no guarantee that the piano could be voiced to your liking.

I would try and find out if the logo can be added after you purchase the piano. I'm assuming any logo on the side would be a decal and not brass, so I don't see why that couldn't be accomplished. Risking not getting the sound you like because of your wish to have a logo on the side is not a trade off I would recommend.


Thank you so much, pianoloverus! Really appreciate it. I agree with every suggestion you made.

The problem with choosing a piano is that, there are only a couple of A's available at a time to choose from. So I'd either pick the better one out of the 2 or factory order one, which no guarantee of being better or worse (guessing is the name of the game).

#2109110 - 06/27/13 02:10 PM Re: Need help: Steinway A or O (or M)? [Re: GGO]  
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Originally Posted by GGO
The problem with choosing a piano is that, there are only a couple of A's available at a time to choose from. So I'd either pick the better one out of the 2 or factory order one, which no guarantee of being better or worse (guessing is the name of the game).
Or, if you're more patient you can wait until the dealer has an A you like a lot. You don't really have to choose one of the two presently available. Or, perhaps there is a Steinway dealer within traveling distance that has a larger selection of A's to choose from.


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