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Re: What is the best Chinese piano brand in 2018? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2790224
12/11/18 06:18 PM
12/11/18 06:18 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 55
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Jack Knuckle Offline
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Posts: 55
I have had the pleasure of playing four different grands of equal size from the Hailun factory: a Hailun, several Feurichs, two Venables and a ZImmermann all in the 178cm or thereabouts range in the UK. Here a some reflections from a reasonably competent (I'm Grade 8 distinction standard) but non-professional pianist.

(i) Hailun. Very impressed, some unusual touches like all Hailun grands have some sort of gas struts holding up the hinges to hold the lid up if you remove the prop stand. Actually it doesn't stay up under its weight but it only falls very slowly so you can't trap your fingers or risk damaging the piano by lifting and dropping the lid on yourself. I mean the lid covering the strings, not the fallboard lid. The struts are a bit ugly and even incongruous but the concept is impressive. The key surface of the one I played was slightly different and felt nicer than that of the 165 or thereabouts right next to it.

(ii) Feurich. I nearly bought one on the spot. I've played I think four. Two were very good, two were what I considered to be exceptional. The voicing and action regulation of the best that I played were done by a German technician called Carsten Shulz who apparently visits the UK regularly and the result blew me away.

(iii) Venables (180 and 200). These were deliberately voiced very differently and had different action adjustments in the showroom to demonstrate the degree of variation possible, which was both helpful and slightly frustrating, in that neither was quite adjusted to my complete satisfaction and I wasn't sure how to articulate exactly what I was looking for in a piano. The same day I later tried a Feurich regulated by Carsten Shulz in another store and just felt it had the edge slightly. However, both two Venables pianos were very fine instruments in their own right and the company customer serviced seemed second to none.

(iv) Zimmermann. Lovely lovely thing but at a price point well above what I could afford, and well above the same sized Feurich.

Concerns that I had:
(i) Components like key surfaces seem to vary from same model to model and if I particularly liked a piano in a showroom but had to order from a factory I'd be a bit concerned as to whether it would come with exactly the same components that I liked so much.
(ii) Similarly if a specific technician made the difference (at least for me) between a piano that was very nice and a piano that I couldn't stop playing until closing time, I'd need to be sure that I could get that same technician to work on my piano.
(iii) Regarding the Zimmermann, the Zimmermann brand was bought by Bechstein in 1992 after German reunification but only in the past few years have these pianos been made in China. Pre-1990 I have read disappointing opinions of "older", east German-era Zimmermanns. I would be interested to know whether that might in future years affect the resale value - would an outstanding nearly new Chinese-made piano with a German-sounding name suffer from confusion with a poor quality Soviet-era east German made piano?

Some time later I found myself playing a new Bluthner of similar size. My personal thoughts were that the action was slightly more responsive and offered a slightly greater degree of subtlety and dynamic range - but I'd hope so given it was five times the price of the Feurichs.

I have also played a Feurich 218 (briefly - I could never fit it in the house but tried it out of curiosity). Superb.

And finally I have played other Chinese-made pianos (but not sure where they were made or who by). Similar or even higher price points than the Hailun factory models, but I just didn't care for them as much - they felt too mass produced and lacking in personality.

Conclusion? I'm frankly blown away by these pianos and not surprised that the price is creeping up. Well done I say to the Chinese craftsmen and women who are creating such fine instruments, if this is the best they can do then the acoustic piano has a lot of life left in it.

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Re: What is the best Chinese piano brand in 2018? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2790238
12/11/18 06:39 PM
12/11/18 06:39 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,218
Moscow, Russia
I
Iaroslav Vasiliev Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
Iaroslav Vasiliev  Offline OP
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I

Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,218
Moscow, Russia
Today I had an opportunity to play several Chinese upright pianos. I played Ritmuller, Weber and Elise. Of that four Weber has impressed me the most. I thought it was almost as good (90% I would say) as the same-sized Petrof upright nearby that I used as a benchmark, although Weber costs less than 50% of Petrof's price. Considering the price disparity I would definitely prefer Weber to Petrof.

Ritmuller was second. It has strange white keys, the plastic looks like it's a little bit transparent, very unusual and cheap looking.
Elise is a piece of junk.

I was told by a salesman that Becker brand is also good. Have anyone met a Becker piano?


Edit: Sorry, I just realised that Weber is South Korean brand, not Chinese.

Last edited by Iaroslav Vasiliev; 12/11/18 06:46 PM.
Re: What is the best Chinese piano brand in 2018? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2790429
12/12/18 11:23 AM
12/12/18 11:23 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 63
Lexington, NC
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mackguy Offline
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Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 63
Lexington, NC
I'm headed to a Steinway gallery today (I think) to check out an Essex and Boston.

The above Steinway experience certainly sounds like a bad dealer, or at least a bad salesman. Insulting your capability is just dumb.
How can they upsell you if they don't suggest your skill exceeds a meager piano?

I had a fairly impressive salesman at a jewelry store once, I was looking at a variety of $10,000+ Rolexes. I had been clear, I was not in the market, just curious to look. As I was getting ready to leave, I thanked the salesman for his time, despite my not being a serious buyer at the time. He pointed to the 20 year old Omega watch I was wearing (that I paid under $1,000 for) and said "That tells me you're a watch guy, and someday you'll be buying another nice watch, and when you do, I want you to buy it from me."

A great sales philosophy I think. Especially since Steinway has such tiers and aspirational status. "Oh, you love this Steinway, but your budget isn't there yet? I think you'll enjoy this Essex and if you have a budget to pursue a Steinway in the future, head back here, and we'll make you a great deal"


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Re: What is the best Chinese piano brand in 2018? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2790475
12/12/18 01:42 PM
12/12/18 01:42 PM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 14,245
Louisiana
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Jolly  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 14,245
Louisiana
Quote
We've been impressed with our experiences with the mainline and higher-line products that have been produced at the Hailun, Pearl River (Ritmuller, Kayserburg), Parsons (Brodmann et al), and Perzina factories. However, there are specific models we tend to like more than others, see the Piano Buyer "staff picks" section for examples. It's not fair to say because it's made by "brand x", it's automatically good/bad, in the lower-priced segment.


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Re: What is the best Chinese piano brand in 2018? [Re: Furtwangler] #2790840
12/13/18 12:19 PM
12/13/18 12:19 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 615
Rockville, MD
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Seeker  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 615
Rockville, MD
Originally Posted by Furtwangler
No-brainer to me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J82GBNBBAZc&t=384s

Many dealers all over Europe

Or go to Vienna and visit the showroom

Hadn't seen (or heard) this one.
I agree - very impressive.
I've played a couple of the older German made Feurichs, thought they were outstanding too.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
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