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#2672924 - 09/05/17 09:59 AM Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I)  
Joined: Jul 2017
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Play it slower Offline
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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Hi all - this is my first post on Piano World after many months of looking up threads as I researched and looked at various pianos. Thank you all for the collective wisdom!

Just for context, I'm an adult beginner, just starting to really reach into intermediate repertoire. I tend to like Romantic-era pieces. For ex., I'm currently working on a few of the less demanding Chopin Nocturnes. For the past several years I've been playing on a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-280.

Here's my situation:

Currently, I have a (refundable) deposit in on a slightly used Kawai GX2 (ca. 2014) from a local dealer. I still have to schedule the inspection and make a final decision, so it's not a done deal by any means.I think the Kawai is an excellent piano that I could be very happy with, but my one quibble is that I find the tone to be very (struggling for the word here...) 'straightforward'? Not a bad thing, but I don't hear a ton of color or complexity (I realize opinions may differ on this, but that's my impression). As a point of comparison, the same dealer has a small-ish Bechstein set up in the same room and the tone just bursts with all kinds of color (again, to my ear). Sadly a Bechstein (any Bechstein) is not in the conversation...

To complicate things, I just learned of another dealer who has a slightly more used (ca. 2011) Boston GP-178 PE (I) for sale in a similar price range (about $3K less than the Kawai). I have only tried a Boston once, many months ago, and only very briefly (it may have been a 178 but I'm not sure). I recall really liking it, but it wasn't really on my radar at the time so I didn't make any notes and don't have a strong memory of the what the tone/feel was like.

So, finally, to my question: for those that have experience with both of these instruments, what are your impressions of the Boston relative to the Kawai in terms of tone? Feel?

I know the real answer is "go try it", but for various reasons it's going to be logistically complicated to get out and try the Boston in the next little while. So I'm trying to tap the collective PW wisdom again for any ideas of what to expect if I do make it out to give the Boston a try.

Thanks!
Klaus


Last edited by Play it slower; 09/05/17 10:58 AM.

Klaus Christoffersen
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#2672952 - 09/05/17 12:49 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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What to expect? You'll like it better than the Kawai. Or not. Only you can answer that. Both are nice pianos.


Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
W. Hoffmann T-122 at the beach
#2672962 - 09/05/17 01:26 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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Originally Posted by Play it slower
[...]
So, finally, to my question: for those that have experience with both of these instruments, what are your impressions of the Boston relative to the Kawai in terms of tone? Feel?

I know the real answer is "go try it", but for various reasons it's going to be logistically complicated to get out and try the Boston in the next little while. So I'm trying to tap the collective PW wisdom again for any ideas of what to expect if I do make it out to give the Boston a try.

Thanks!
Klaus



Klaus:

Unfortunately, the answer has to be: "Go try it!" The reason for that is that each piano is different, even among the same models of the same brand. Made up of so many organic parts (wood, felt, leather, etc.,) no two pianos of the same make and model can be guaranteed to sound or even feel alike. That said, sometimes those two examples can feel and sound quite similar, but there is no guarantee of that. Therefore, you can't really take opinions of those on the forum who have had experience with these two pianos, except very generally and your experience with the specific instruments may differ from what you may read here.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
#2672969 - 09/05/17 02:07 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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FYI - Boston Pianos are made by Kawaii to Steinway's design specifications.

Steinway markets 3 lines: the top tier New York and Hamburg Steinway pianos, the mid-tier Boston's built by Kawaii for them, and the lower tier Essex pianos built by Pearl River in China I believe.

Kawaii makes different tiers of pianos all marketed under the Kawaii name. Knowledge of model number prefixed is the key. I believe the GX series is a middle tier instrument.

My point being that quality and even some component parts should be very similar b/c the Kawaii and Boston pianos you're considering may have been built in the same factory. Scale design of the pianos and some materials that are dictated by Steinway is what makes them different and have very different tonal characteristics.

I'm sure someone will correct me if my facts are incorrect.

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#2672996 - 09/05/17 04:05 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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PianoWorksATL Offline
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Atlanta, GA
For their differences, the pianos remain qualitative equivalents: apples to apples, just different recipes made by the same baker.

One plus for the Kawai is that the remaining warranty is likely transferable. One plus for the Boston is $3k cheaper for what is still an exceptionally young grand. They are two sides to the same coin, so the biggest factor is preference. While I do not assume the condition of each is the same, but for the hypothetical posed here, the relative discount for the Boston is more substantial than the age difference.

If they remain your favorite options, then your preference is the most important factor.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
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#2673382 - 09/07/17 02:52 AM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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AJB Offline
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I owned a GP178 for some years. Once regulated it was a very good instrument.


Currently playing 2017 C212 with carbon fibre soundboard, WNG action. Working on Bach, Beethoven, Grieg mainly.
#2673383 - 09/07/17 02:56 AM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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Kenny Cheng Offline
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I have tried new Kawai GX2, SK2, and Boston 178.

Boston 178's tier is closer to SK2. They both are lovely pianos but I prefer SK2.

Maybe you could also try SK2.

For some reasons, there are just a few used SK2 in my country. Not sure if it's same in other countries.

#2673515 - 09/07/17 10:29 AM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: AJB]  
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Play it slower Offline
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Play it slower  Offline
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Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted by AJB
I owned a GP178 for some years. Once regulated it was a very good instrument.


Just curious - were there specific concerns that led you to have it regulated, or was it just a matter of fine-tuning things overall?

In general I'm trying to get a sense of what to look/listen for when I try the Boston - I'm still a bit of a noob when it comes to acoustic pianos, so I think there's value for me in having a few specific things to focus on, in addition to collecting general "like"/"don't-like" impressions. That was what led me to ask about peoples' impressions of the tone differences.


Klaus Christoffersen
#2673544 - 09/07/17 12:06 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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This is a little long. Sorry, I'm trying to give you some thoughts. I hope this helps.
Since you're a "noob when it comes to acoustic pianos", I'll try to give you all I can.

No 2 pianos are alike, so the best advice I can give is experiment and sample before you buy to get to know what you like. I would suggest a trip to several piano dealers or rebuilders and play as many instruments as you can. Focus on the sound and touch of each of the piano that you play and find what you like. Is the piano bright enough, is there depth of color in the sound, is it overly mellow or bright, is it easy to play and control, is the action too light, or is the action too heavy, does it produce a good dynamic range from pp to ff? Think about the kind of music you like to play most and the environment the piano will be in. Wood, carpet, fabrics, ceiling height, etc. all play a big factor in how the instrument will sound when you get it home.

If you play 2 pianos side-by-side same model, same finish, produced on the same day in the same factory they will be different. Acoustic pianos are not like keyboards at all. No 2 are alike, even when prepared (voiced and regulated) by the same technicians. The materials (wood, metal, felts, etc.) are so organic that each instrument has it's own inherent characteristics tonally. One will be a little brighter than the other, one will sing a little more, one will project more in the bass and the other more in the treble, one may be a little nasal in the tenor, etc. One may seem to play a little easier than the other and you may think you have more control, when in all actuality, the action is a little heavier on it than the one you think is heavier. That may be because the one with the heavier action has a more balance voicing and dynamic range that appeals to you even though it's heavier to play. I just experienced this comparing a Steinway B and a Mason&Hamlin BB (both 7-ft grands) in a repair shop. My technician proved it by putting the gram weights on the keys.

When it comes to used instruments, so much depends on the instruments history; usage, owner's preferences, technician caring for the instrument. All these are factors that can change them so drastically.

Yamaha's C-series pianos tend to come regulated and voiced consistently from the factory. Their voicing has a more metalic and bright quality, but this is preferred in the rock / pop scene because it cuts thru the mix when the vocals, drums, bass, horns, etc. are cranking.

Kawai's are voiced and regulated pretty consistently as well, but their voicing is a little more on the mellow side. There's a little more color and roundness to the tone and their not quite as bright. I find that the tenor section can have a nasal quality, especially if it's a little out of tune.

Traditionally, Steinway doesn't do as much voicing prep at the factory. They leave that up to the dealer. So you can play 3 different Steinway Model B's in the same dealership and they sound completely different on purpose to appeal to different buyer tastes. They are preferred by many in the Classical and Jazz world. Boston's may be treated the same since they are a Steinway product.

So there is a lot to consider and think about, but the good news is that pianos are also very customizable (within limits) to your taste if you have a good concert level technician. A good tech can voice the piano up or down (brightness) and give you a little more or less power. They can regulate the action to suit your needs if the touch-weight is close to your liking.

You're comparing 2 quality instruments in the same class so-to-speak. They're both relatively new so they shouldn't have too much wear and tear unless they have been used in an institution/commercial setting or they have been abuses (high humidity, not tuned regularly, etc). So I'd definitely check them out by a reputable technician before purchasing.

One more suggestion -- play the pianos back-to-back if you can.
In January, I purchased a used Steinway Model B 2nd hand at a local dealer. The local Steinway dealer had 4 Model B's in the store at much higher prices; 2 new, 1 Concert Services instrument, and 1 used from the same era as mine. I made a trip to the S&S dealer and played all 4. Then I went immediately to the other dealer to play the one I was considering to make sure I was happy with it compare to the competition.

#2673559 - 09/07/17 12:56 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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musicpassion Offline
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Welcome to the forum!

My experiences with the pianos doesn't provide a fair comparison. The Kawai I've played new at a dealer where everything was perfect. I play a Boston 178 all the time at one of my accompanying gigs, but it's been out in the field under heavy use for a long time. I've never played one at a dealer.

I think they are both quality instruments, and good competition. The Boston I play is brighter and more aggressive, but that could be simply because of the amount of wear.


Pianist and Piano Teacher
#2673610 - 09/07/17 05:47 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Kenny Cheng]  
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Originally Posted by Kenny Cheng
I have tried new Kawai GX2, SK2, and Boston 178.

Boston 178's tier is closer to SK2.
I'm curious of your reasons for stating this? Other than in price, the Boston and Kawai GX (previously RX) are generally considered close competitors. They are comparable in size and workmanship. In fact, the SK2 is essentially a GX2 design with more refined execution/workmanship and better aesthetics.
Originally Posted by Kenny Cheng
For some reasons, there are just a few used SK2 in my country. Not sure if it's same in other countries.
This is a function of total numbers. There are far fewer SK's made to begin with. Also, they have only been in production since ~2003.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta
#2673611 - 09/07/17 06:13 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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AJB Offline
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To answer your question, I was studying for an ABRSM performance diploma and I wanted the piano to suit exactly what I wanted. There was nothing wrong with it - it was just customising for my taste.


Currently playing 2017 C212 with carbon fibre soundboard, WNG action. Working on Bach, Beethoven, Grieg mainly.
#2673650 - 09/07/17 11:07 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
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Kenny Cheng Offline
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Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
I'm curious of your reasons for stating this? Other than in price, the Boston and Kawai GX (previously RX) are generally considered close competitors. They are comparable in size and workmanship. In fact, the SK2 is essentially a GX2 design with more refined execution/workmanship and better aesthetics.


Sorry, I meant price-wise, similar price range for the new piano, you can buy SK2 which I think is better.

I think RX was replaced by GL series which is lower tier than GX.

#2673763 - 09/08/17 11:30 AM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Kenny Cheng]  
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Originally Posted by Kenny Cheng
[quote=PianoWorksATL]I think RX was replaced by GL series which is lower tier than GX.
This is not correct. The RX-series became the GX-series, certainly with some evolutions mostly in the smaller models. While we have encountered a few lower level RX-2C & RX-3C models released after the GX-series was introduced, these to "C" models are below the normal level for all other RX-series.

The GL-series takes and combines from several previous lines from Kawai that were below the RX/GX. The GL series takes from the GM & GE series. The larger GL's are certainly the same scale design as the GX2 & GX3, but built to a lower level and cost. The GM-series was the entry level and the GE was the "home" level, for lack of a better word, rather than the "institutional" level for the RX/GX and years ago, GS-series.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta
#2673809 - 09/08/17 02:43 PM Re: Opinions on tone/feel?: Kawai GX2 vs Boston GP 178 PE (I) [Re: Play it slower]  
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Robert 45 Offline
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A change in the GL series is the longer key stick highlighted by the "L" in GL which increased the length of the pianos by about an inch.
Regards,
Robert.


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