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Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
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Originally Posted by Karl Watson
Keith:
Despite such wonders as the RCA Horowitz Barber Sonata and Cortot's Chopin recordings which sound so beautiful to me, in their very different ways, I believe a smaller sound is always easier to record, more microphone-friendly, just as it is in the vocal world.
Bosendorfers typically record very nicely and I stand by my preference for this particular recording (#3).
In a large concert hall, I think that I'd still want to play or hear a fine D.
Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY


I think you know I consider the Horowitz Barber Sonata recording my reference for the best Steinway sound on recording. I also just love Cortot, so great minds think alike or maybe there is no accounting for taste for both of us!

The owner of this Bose is actually an exceptional pianist/recording engineer who chose it for his recording studio instead of a Steinway D.


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Originally Posted by Chrispy
Of course I picked the Steingraeber as my favorite. Why do I have to like the ridiculously expensive pianos so much?


We have taken Avant Grands on trade towards Steingraebers twice recently. Just sayin.....:) Thanks for comment!


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Originally Posted by AaronSF
Very interesting. I chose #3, then #1, then #2 -- but I thought they were all pretty great. I'm not surprised the Bösendorfer was my first choice! cool


Thanks for comments and participating!


Keith D Kerman
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Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
Keith, this has indeed been very interesting. Some comments if I may.

This is high level voicing at its best, the result of a collaboration between a pianist and technician where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It is informed by the perspective of each, and moves towards a common goal. This can be an immensely satisfying partnership for both pianist and technician.

The best voicers are more than a master of technique and the range of choices available to them. I think they must also be aestheticians, whereby they search for the beauty that lies within an instrument (sometimes hidden), have the ear to know when it is beginning to emerge, and then bring it towards its best voice. And so the collaboration with the artist begins.

I hear an overarching tonal aesthetic that is common to the three instruments. Certainly a desire for a brilliant and clear treble is one of them. That said, I believe the individuality of each instrument has been respected within the work, and they do sound different to my ear. Each has a different set of strengths.

Of the three, I think the Steingraeber is the better piano, but not the best voiced. I much favor the bass and tenor, but find the treble overly bright, even brittle in a few places, and somewhat discontinuous with the rest of the piano. To my ear, the Bosendorfer sounds the most of a piece, but lacks excitement. The Estonia is a revelation in how good it sounds, "better than it has any right to be."

I hope my comments do not come across as negative, as I greatly respect the quality of the work you have done. These are deliberate choices on the part of the technician and the artist here. They are not right or wrong. And the ears of piano voicers can be as different as those of musicians. I say the world is a better place when we have this variety.



Thank you for the very nice comments as well as constructive criticism. All three instruments can continue to improve and be refined with additional attention. This recording process gave us insight into the sound and performance of all three instruments that we would not have otherwise had and more work is being done!


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Originally Posted by Roy123
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I am surprised so many people liked the Steingraeber. Every one I have experienced had that "thuddy" sound and I could just "hear" the action feel through the slight inflexibilities heard in her playing on that piano. In my opinion they are a very overrated make. They sound like a heavy hammer piano that has been "worked" to the max to get what tone is possible with that style of action setup. I do know their tone character changes rapidly with use.

The Estonias that I have experienced have a more Steinway like warmth as do many of the smaller Sauters.


I played a Steingraeber once. The action definitely had a high moment of inertia, supporting your diagnosis of heavy hammers. I must say it sounded very good, but I only spent a few minutes with it.


The Steingraebers do have heavier hammers when compared with the weight of NY Steinway hammers from the 1950s and earlier for sure. But so do the Estonias and Bosendorfers and pretty much every other current high quality ( and low quality instrument )

I don't think Steingraebers, Estonias, Bosendorfers, Steinways, Yamahas etc are for everyone but I will say that it has been our experience with Steingraeber that the better the pianist and the better their ears and the more experienced they are the more respect they have for the Steingraebers even if they prefer or are used to another piano style.


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Originally Posted by sroreilly
I wonder if the performer had any insights on the instruments?


The performer liked the sound on the Steingraeber best and the action on the Bosendorfer best and liked the Estonia sound quite a bit. The performer loved the Bose for 18th century repertoire particularly Mozart and felt that the action on the Steingraeber would be her preference if she was practicing a lot for more concerts ( she is ready for concerts with little notice right now but I don't think she is practicing 4+ hours a day at the moment )


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I think that what this really proves is that different people have different tastes, and it is a good thing that there are several manufacturers to choose from.


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Originally Posted by WimPiano
If there is one thing I found lacking in the Estonia tone it was warmth.

Is there any contradiction between warmth and clarity?
Some people feel clarity of tone as being cold.I do not feel this at all so am a bit puzzled ?

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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by WimPiano
If there is one thing I found lacking in the Estonia tone it was warmth.

Is there any contradiction between warmth and clarity?
Some people feel clarity of tone as being cold.I do not feel this at all so am a bit puzzled ?


It could just be semantics. What you recognize and describe as clarity, warmth, cold etc in terms of piano tone is likely to not be necessarily the same as someone else and even if it is your approach to piano playing might mean that one piano works better or worse for you than another with a different approach.


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Sadly, too few otherwise good pianos in the rest of the piano world get the kind of attention that you are devoting to these instruments. In part, that is due to the fact that getting the very best from an instrument is an ongoing process that is best spread over a period of time. Instruments of this caliber deserve this attention, and the piano will reward the voicer and pianist by ever continuing to improve.. There are too few piano dealers or makers who are willing to pay for this level of attention.

Regarding warmth and clarity, one of the things that has most impressed me about the Steingraeber is that it gives the player more of both of these seemingly contradictory qualities of piano tone.


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I'm very impressed with the Steingraeber's tone in this video, where it seems just about perfect for Beethoven. This is a concert grand in a reverberant hall at a Swiss school, though. And the quality of Mr. Hanselmann's playing helps, of course. smile





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With respect, I don't care for this playing AT ALL, and I don't like the piano, not even a little.
Just my opinion.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

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Originally Posted by Karl Watson
With respect, I don't care for this playing AT ALL, and I don't like the piano, not even a little.
Just my opinion.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY


Hi Karl,

I wonder if you prefer this Steingraeber Concert grand which is prepared differently.




Keith D Kerman
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Keith,

I loved this. These kinds of videos keep people honest. With all the ambiguous talk about how XYZ piano has such and such a tone, it's really helpful to hear them blind like this. I hope you'll continue to do more of these--especially to showcase your amazing inventory.

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They are totally different pieces.The recordings are also different.
I have never had the chance to play either Steingraeber or Estonia.
Not sure a better pianist will always choose Steingraeber however,judging by the pianos great pianists in past preferred.
One day I hope to try a Steingraeber,not that I am not virtuoso pianist!

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I think this total exercise was very interesting and fun! I agree with BDB that this shows every one has different tastes. As I said in my earlier post, I would be thrilled to have any of the three pianos!



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Originally Posted by NobleHouse
I think this total exercise was very interesting and fun! I agree with BDB that this shows every one has different tastes. As I said in my earlier post, I would be thrilled to have any of the three pianos!

Thank you yes I agree!

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Originally Posted by Karl Watson
With respect, I don't care for this playing AT ALL, and I don't like the piano, not even a little.
Just my opinion.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY


Well, bless your heart, with all due respect. 😁 I do tend to like clarity of articulation (which means "fingery" and "notey" to some people) for Beethoven. 😁


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Originally Posted by Karl Watson
With respect, I don't care for this playing AT ALL, and I don't like the piano, not even a little.
Just my opinion.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY
What, specifically, do you not like 1) about the pianist's playing, and 2) the piano?


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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by WimPiano
If there is one thing I found lacking in the Estonia tone it was warmth.

Is there any contradiction between warmth and clarity?
Some people feel clarity of tone as being cold.I do not feel this at all so am a bit puzzled ?

No I don't think there is conflict between clarity and warmth. In my opinion the Estonia's treble and tenor are more stringy, metallic sounding, not perse really cold but just not warm. I don't intend to say stringy and metallic about the Estonia in an extreme way as those words may sound, it's all relative. As a more extreme example you might consider the tuning of Horowitzes Steinway or the piano of Richard Clayderman. Although Horowitz could make it sound fantastic it was pinged out to the max.

If two ends of a scale are Blüthner and a plucked instrument (such as a harpsichord) I consider the Steingraeber to be quite a lot closer to the Blüthner than the Estonia although the Steingraeber and Blüthner are hard to compare as they have very different sound profiles. The weird thing is that I really like the Estonia's bass.

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