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#2234684 - 02/20/14 06:21 AM Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D  
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JamesYorkPiano Offline
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Hi everyone,

I was just wondering what people think about the difference in quality, touch, price etc?

This is a recent video of me on the Bosendorfer which I found beautiful to the touch. The bass was incredible (skip to around 2:00-2:10 when I first properly touch the bass notes)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUsC463qIUk

Let me know your thoughts? I've never actually played a Steinway D but will be playing a 6" Steinway in a few weeks

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#2234776 - 02/20/14 11:06 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Are you a dealer?


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2234781 - 02/20/14 11:12 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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JamesYorkPiano Offline
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No, just someone interested in the instruments and people's opinions of them.

#2234784 - 02/20/14 11:23 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Both great pianos!




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#2234807 - 02/20/14 12:21 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Karl Watson Offline
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Apples and oranges !

Yes, they are both great, really great, but Oh soooooooo different.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY


#2234836 - 02/20/14 01:23 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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phantomFive Offline
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The most obvious characteristics of a Bosendorfer imperial are the loud volume, the long sustain, and the extra bass notes. It is such a fun piano to play, you can feel the sound in your chest. The first few notes you play feel electric. The bass is solid. That said, the delicious volume comes at the cost of subtlety at the softer side of the dynamic range. It can be a frustrating instrument to try to play softly.

The Steinway D is also an excellent instrument with a strong bass, which you will miss in the shorter model (though no piano matches the bass of the Bosie). The strength of Steinway is the scale design, which lets you bring out 'color.' You might notice how clearly the melody shines when you play. It has the sound of a powerful and intimidating virtuoso, like Liszt or Rachmaninoff. Horowitz really showcases the beautiful elements of the piano in this recording:



Both are excellent pianos with their own design.


Poetry is rhythm
#2234841 - 02/20/14 01:38 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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Hamburg-D Offline
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having a piano with great bass, or as some techs would say "balls" is very good, but in a sense a very superficial trait that should not dictate all by itself a choice between piano over another.

in a musical context, a piano with amazing bass but lacking tone in the 4,5,6 octave will not sound as good as a piano that sings but lacks bass power.

If comparing to a steinway D, I never heard one that had a bass that doesn't do the job. Actually, any 9 foot piano will have more than sufficient bass. Some better than others, and yes, perhaps the Bosendorfer excels.

The point is, music is not written for the bass. A piano is not a bass guitar. Check out other pianos and pay closer attention to the octaves of the piano where most music is being played.

A steinway B or any 6-7 foot piano is possibly the perfect size for a home. But that depends if you are buying for a home or a hall...

Last edited by noambenhamou; 02/20/14 01:44 PM.
#2234860 - 02/20/14 02:00 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Hamburg-D]  
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iLaw Offline
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I agree with Noam. As a left-hander, I have had to rein in my left hand on nine-footers all my life. I personally would not be impressed by marketing that boasted of a piano as having more bass than a Steinway D.

More important is that Bösendorfers and Steinways just don't sound the same. Play them both and see which one you prefer.

Larry.

#2234892 - 02/20/14 03:05 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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BDB Offline
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Well, the Bösendorfer Imperial literally has more bass than most other models of pianos.

There are a number of factors that go into the sound of the lowest notes on pianos. Length is just one of them. I have heard longer grands with what I consider to be poorer bass notes than some shorter grands. But as Damon Runyon put it, the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's how the smart money bets!


Semipro Tech
#2234946 - 02/20/14 04:08 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Hamburg-D]  
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phantomFive Offline
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You're focusing on volume of the bass, but don't ignore the most important part. Clarity of tone is very difficult to get, but Bosendorfer does it well. On some pianos, the overtones of the bass notes (not always an octave above the note you want) sound louder than the actual fundamental. The bass of every piano is a series of compromises, and you have to choose which ones you want to make.

So these are the things to take into consideration when looking at a bass piano.


Poetry is rhythm
#2235735 - 02/21/14 10:46 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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LJC Offline
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I don't always play the piano, but when I do I prefer a Steinway.

#2235745 - 02/21/14 11:50 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: LJC]  
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Hamburg-D Offline
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Originally Posted by LJC
I don't always play the piano, but when I do I prefer a Steinway.



Hahaha!! Funniest thing I've heard all week!!!

Stay thirsty my friends...

#2235764 - 02/22/14 01:33 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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Norbert Offline
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For someone who has tried as many different 9' grands as I have during my many visits to trade fairs, factories etc, it would be impossible to single out one maker.

One would have to be slightly narcissistic or at least have a bit of a 'brand fetish' to argue otherwise... wink

One of the finest 9' in memory were neither Steinway or Bosie.

But good ol' Baldwin.

Norbert thumb

Last edited by Norbert; 02/22/14 01:34 AM.

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#2235836 - 02/22/14 08:18 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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Rich Galassini Offline
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First, both the D and the Imperial are fantastic, but different, pianos.

I am happy that the discussion has led away from the bass on the Imperial. Yes, the bass is there if it is needed, but the strength of the Imperial, IMHO, is the clarity and control throughout the entire register, particularly if the instrument is well prepped.

I have to disagree with the comment that the Imperial lacks the ability to play softly. That is not my experience at all. Again, this only holds true if the piano is well prepped.

My 2 cents,


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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#2235938 - 02/22/14 12:53 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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BDB Offline
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My experience with dissimilar concert grands is that there is a place that has a pair which live in different rooms. They are both maintained similarly, and have about equal wear on the hammers. Both have had concerts since I have been maintaining them. In both rooms, I have heard the same complaint: People saw the recording mikes, assumed they were for amplification, and said the sound was turned up too loud.

There was a two-piano concert once, and one piano was moved on stage with the other. As I tuned them, the differences were really apparent, but those differences disappeared when the pianists performed.

So my conclusion, as I have often stated, is that the most important difference in pianos of similar quality is the quality of the maintenance. The rest is a matter of personal preference, and it rarely gets past the pianist to the audience. For that reason, brand name may be important when you are buying a piano, but most people are not buying concert grands, just listening.


Semipro Tech
#2236018 - 02/22/14 03:56 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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LJC Offline
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BDB Couldn't agree more. Maintenance and personal preference.

Re Norbert's comment "One would have to be slightly narcissistic or at least have a bit of a 'brand fetish' to argue otherwise... wink " (in singling out one brand) Sorry Norbert but I cannot agree. All you need is a strong preference for a certain sound.

#2236024 - 02/22/14 04:07 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Rich Galassini]  
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phantomFive Offline
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
I have to disagree with the comment that the Imperial lacks the ability to play softly

It's very possible that I attempt to play more softly than you (not a criticism, just trying to understand why our perceptions are different here). I do tend to play weakly sometimes.


Poetry is rhythm
#2236172 - 02/22/14 11:52 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: phantomFive]  
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Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
I have to disagree with the comment that the Imperial lacks the ability to play softly

It's very possible that I attempt to play more softly than you (not a criticism, just trying to understand why our perceptions are different here). I do tend to play weakly sometimes.

It could also be that Rich has played Bosie Imperials whose actions were better regulated. In fact I would be surprised if that was not the case.

#2236210 - 02/23/14 03:07 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Steve Chandler]  
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phantomFive Offline
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Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
Originally Posted by phantomFive
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
I have to disagree with the comment that the Imperial lacks the ability to play softly

It's very possible that I attempt to play more softly than you (not a criticism, just trying to understand why our perceptions are different here). I do tend to play weakly sometimes.

It could also be that Rich has played Bosie Imperials whose actions were better regulated. In fact I would be surprised if that was not the case.

The tech who regulated mine claimed to be one of the best techs around. Surely that was true!


Poetry is rhythm
#2236226 - 02/23/14 04:58 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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Withindale Offline
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It was interesting to hear that no current Bosendorfer Imperial (or possibly my 1905 Ibach!) can be regulated to play anything like as softly as any Steinway D.

I was sceptical about this and looked up Christopher Greenleaf's article Thoughts on hearing Maurizio Pollini's Hamburg Steinway Fabbrini in concert.

It goes some way to answering the OP's question.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
#2236463 - 02/23/14 06:17 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Withindale]  
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I have the good fortune and immense pleasure to own both a D and an Imperial. They are of similar age, are maintained similarly, are located in the same room and are played an equal amount of time. My observation is that they each offer their own unique (read different types of beauty) sound palette and can both be played equally softly. So I agree with Rich and the others who emphasize the importance of the regulation and the quality of the technician.

#2236480 - 02/23/14 07:10 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: plumpfingers]  
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Originally Posted by plumpfingers
I have the good fortune and immense pleasure to own both a D and an Imperial. They are of similar age, are maintained similarly, are located in the same room and are played an equal amount of time. My observation is that they each offer their own unique (read different types of beauty) sound palette and can both be played equally softly. So I agree with Rich and the others who emphasize the importance of the regulation and the quality of the technician.


We agree plumpfingers. I just wanted to refer to a video that I enjoy of one of my favorite artists playing a Bosendorfer Imperial in concert. Se is able to get some gorgeous delicate passages out of this piano.





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/
#2236594 - 02/24/14 12:24 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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I have never serviced a Bosendorfer with factory hammers that couldn't be regulated to play very well softly.

Recently, there was an art case Bose at the dealer in Bellevue WA that I played-and it did have no ability to play softly. I don't know how it got that way and I never got a look inside.


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#2236595 - 02/24/14 12:26 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Rich Galassini]  
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phantomFive Offline
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by plumpfingers
I have the good fortune and immense pleasure to own both a D and an Imperial. They are of similar age, are maintained similarly, are located in the same room and are played an equal amount of time. My observation is that they each offer their own unique (read different types of beauty) sound palette and can both be played equally softly. So I agree with Rich and the others who emphasize the importance of the regulation and the quality of the technician.


We agree plumpfingers. I just wanted to refer to a video that I enjoy of one of my favorite artists playing a Bosendorfer Imperial in concert. Se is able to get some gorgeous delicate passages out of this piano.



This is a good post, because it clarifies the issue. Indeed her playing is delicate and the piano is beautiful. The sound fills the whole concert hall. The sustain notes sing long and full.

When I play, I play for myself in a smaller room, and my desire is to play softer than even she is playing. That is why we have different opinions, we are talking about different volume levels.

Incidentally the end of this video really makes you appreciate the rich power of the Imperial's bass. You don't always need it, but when you do, it's nice to have:




Poetry is rhythm
#2236680 - 02/24/14 09:11 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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I came very close to purchasing an Imperial last year. Certainly there was no problem with the action. It was prepared to a very high standard indeed and was a superb instrument.
I have encountered another at a major London concert hall in a relatively poor state compared with the various D's also available. That Imperial simply needs attention.


Steingraeber E-272 and Walcker pipe organ
#2236696 - 02/24/14 09:55 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: phantomFive]  
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Rich Galassini Offline
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Originally Posted by phantomFive

When I play, I play for myself in a smaller room, and my desire is to play softer than even she is playing. That is why we have different opinions, we are talking about different volume levels.


Dear Phantom,

I understand. Of course I chose a professional video of an artist playing in concert. I stand by my statement that, if they are well prepared, any of the larger Bosendorfer grands can be controlled to a beautiful pianissimo in any space.

I am sorry you haven't had that experience and I respect your thoughts.

I currently have a Bosendorfer concert grand in stock - it is a 280 though, not an Imperial. I invite you to visit me in Philadelphia to see this first hand.

OR, if you like, I can make a short video from a smaller room that demonstrates the control that is possible.

Let me know if you would enjoy seeing that.

Yours,


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/
#2236785 - 02/24/14 01:45 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Rich Galassini]  
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phantomFive Offline
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by phantomFive

When I play, I play for myself in a smaller room, and my desire is to play softer than even she is playing. That is why we have different opinions, we are talking about different volume levels.


Dear Phantom,

I understand. Of course I chose a professional video of an artist playing in concert. I stand by my statement that, if they are well prepared, any of the larger Bosendorfer grands can be controlled to a beautiful pianissimo in any space.

I am sorry you haven't had that experience and I respect your thoughts.

I currently have a Bosendorfer concert grand in stock - it is a 280 though, not an Imperial. I invite you to visit me in Philadelphia to see this first hand.

OR, if you like, I can make a short video from a smaller room that demonstrates the control that is possible.

Let me know if you would enjoy seeing that.

I am always happy to increase my knowledge about pianos, but I am quite certain we are talking about different dynamic levels here. I've played on well prepped 290s and poorly prepped 290s, but maybe you can do better.

I would love to come visit you. I am in California though, so it's a bit of a trip. I probably won't be able to make it until next month at the earliest. Actually that sounds like a really fun trip so let me see what I can arrange. I start a new job next week so my schedule is a bit unpredictable.


Poetry is rhythm
#2237087 - 02/24/14 10:31 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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I would imagine that any piano costing over $100,000, if prepped well, should be able to handle dynamics from ultra loud to ultra quiet. Perhaps the performer is even more important. My daughter, and my tuner for that matter, can make my piano sound much better than I can, but that is my problem. The videos offered above are good examples of artists who can bring out the best in a piano. I would guess just about any professional concert artist could. Just one other thought: at a concert isn't it a given that the pianist has to play loud enough for the hall so playing loud is more common than if the performance were in a salon or small home. I can play very softly on my BB, but that would be a disaster in a concert with 1500 seats wouldn't it? (I have to confess that I attended a concert with my eldest daughter to hear my favorite concerto, the RACH 2. The performer, a very highly-regarded Grammy-winning classical artist, was attempting to give a subtle, delicate performance and even though we had seats very close to the stage in a really famous, fine hall, I had trouble hearing a lot of it. I was really sorry to have such a bad experience as my daughter had taken me to the concert as a special birthday present and I had to kind of fib in my comments to her after the concert. I hated doing that but didn't want to take anything away from her excitement at taking me to hear one of my favorite works with this famous artist.) The sound had nothing to do with the brand of piano. It was a Steinway D which has performed admirably at other concerts in the same venue.

#2238372 - 02/27/14 10:20 AM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: JamesYorkPiano]  
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JamesYorkPiano Offline
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Thank you for all the comments everyone. I appreciate the feedback on my question. If anyone has time to give my videos a view and a like on Youtube (both played on the Bosendorfer 290 Imperial) I'd really appreciate it.

I'll be playing my first Steinway D in April so I'll finally be able to put all your advice to the test and see the difference for myself. Here are the links if you'd be kind enough:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54Nld8IuvGg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUsC463qIUk

Thanks everyone for being so helpful!

JamesYorkPiano

#2238422 - 02/27/14 12:20 PM Re: Bösendorfer 290 Imperial v Steinway D [Re: Chopinlover49]  
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Originally Posted by Chopinlover49
...and even though we had seats very close to the stage in a really famous, fine hall, I had trouble hearing a lot of it.


These are both OT observations on my part. Sitting on the floor close to the stage in Avery Fisher, you really can't hear anything clearly. I feel like the best sound in AFH is up in the cheap seats. And I'll also say that Carnegie Hall isn't very good for piano concerti. Anything outside of the proscenium arch doesn't project well, which unfortunately is where the piano will normally be located--especially with a large orchestra.





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Mar 21st, 2010
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