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Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) #2858107 06/13/19 09:06 AM
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Csillag Offline OP
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Dear Fellow Pianists,

I am based in Hungary. I am seriously considering purchasing the N1X (for the whole family, 5 piano players and counting), but I am not sure what would be the best channel. I would like to ask for your advice on this topic.

The two main options seem to be:
- Thomann.de: Price would be ~7800 EUR plus shipping, and they can ship right away (according to their webshop, at least.)
- Local (Hungarian) piano dealers: Price would be ~ 9287 EUR (that is 19% more), and they offer shipping in October.

So Thomann seems to be an easy winner, except the warranty. If I understand their policies correctly, in case of a problem, any problem, I am supposed to ship the piano back to Germany.
Sure, they will cover shipping (unless they decide that the problem was a user error - yikes, how am I supposed to no beforehand?), but I still need to move it to the door (including bringing it down the stairs), possibly remove the legs, and put it back to the original packaging materials.

Doing this seems to be an overkill, for problems that could/should easily be fixed by a technician locally.

I am not against supporting the local dealers, even at a slight premium, but the ~1500 EUR difference seems to be a bit too much.

What do you think?

Kristof

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Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858109 06/13/19 09:10 AM
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CyberGene Offline
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I returned a NU1X to Thomann. No problems whatsoever besides losing a total of €130 for piano movers to get it in and out of my apartment and I had to pack it back, etc. but other than that a local Yamaha store wouldn't have accepted my return.


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858112 06/13/19 09:15 AM
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CyberGene Offline
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Since you asked me on PM, let's also answer some of your other questions if other people are also interested.

Thomann (and/or Yamaha) give you 5 years warranty for the N1X and I don't think you have to ship the piano back to them. At least in the case of my NU1X which had a problem with some keys playing slightly louder than the rest they proposed that I find a local piano technician to try to fix the piano and send them the invoice for them to cover it. So, they allow for local technicians to work on the piano. And I decided that I prefer to just send the NU1X back and upgrade to N1X.

Last edited by CyberGene; 06/13/19 09:16 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858134 06/13/19 10:07 AM
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You run some creditor risk with Thomann. If Thomann has financial difficulties in the future, good luck with warranty claims so you may need to hire a tech & buy parts from Yamaha Europe.

This is not a high probability scenario but local retailers and super-stores in the US are getting crushed by the internet, particularly by the richest man in the world. Also the music and musical instrument industries generally are struggling outside China so they are worse off than other industries.

Virtually all my local mid-town NYC music stores, sheet music shops, and studios have closed. I like to think have been replaced with international banks and coffee chains. It was fun to wander into a violin or horn or drum specialty store and see what was available. Supporting your local store makes your neighborhood a nicer place to live in.

Finally, the N1x is rather complex but Yamaha has a good reputation for quality. I like warranties from solid makers like Yamaha but maybe the Thomann guarantee is enough for you. The Yamaha 5-year warranty is probably worth 10%-20% of retail price so some economist somewhere will argue something.

Last edited by newer player; 06/13/19 10:08 AM.
Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858150 06/13/19 10:34 AM
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As long as yo order an item that gets shipped by actual piano movers, I wouldn't worry.

Be weary of shipping companies like UPS/DHL etc. I received 2 defective slab pianos in a row. These guys just don't know how to handle sensitive equipment properly and the factory packaging is not designed to protect from rough handling at all.


The backbone of modern industrial society is, and for the foreseeable future will be, the use of electrical Power.
VPC 1 -> Pianoteq 6 Std | Garritan CFX / Pearl Alto Flute 201
Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858157 06/13/19 10:41 AM
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CyberGene Offline
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I am not an economist but I think what Internet has done to local stores is actually better for everybody. We have better prices. Sure, local brick and mortar stores are closing but that's inevitable. I don't think they actually offer anything valuable besides the way to test instruments. However Thomann also have their demo store. Presumably not everywhere but it's still something. Even if they didn't have any demo store at all it would still be OK. For instance I ordered a NU1X without testing it, the same with N1X. If people can't test instruments but can return them, they will safely purchase them and that will create a lot of turnover which is ultimately better for manufacturers. You better sell 1000 pianos with a low surplus charge and have 10 returns rather than sell 10 with no returns but at high surplus which anyway goes to the store and not to the manufacturer, right? smile Even the returned instruments are still sold as B-stock at a slight discount. Isn't that what capitalism is? laugh

Probably a similar, although not exactly perfect analogy is music streaming. People pay monthly subscription fee and listen to everything. Well, yeah, no CD-s are being sold but ultimately you generate more from streaming rather than from selling CD-s which were pirated anyway.

The world is moving forward and some outdated business models will inevitably disappear. I am sorry for them but that's life.

Last edited by CyberGene; 06/13/19 10:46 AM.

My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858160 06/13/19 10:54 AM
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barbaram Offline
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Csillag, I was in a similar dilemma to you 3 years ago. Local dealer was ~€400 more and not in stock. I mailed the dealer asking if they would match the Thomann price (I had got great service in store at the local dealer trying out all the instruments and wanted to give them a fair chance). When I didn't get a reply after a few days I went ahead and ordered from Thomann.

About a week later, the guy from the local store came back to me and agreed to price match. He'd been away on holidays. I wish I had waited/followed up with a phone call! The local store would have set up my CS8 and dealt with any after sales issues.

Thomann service was absolutely as promised, no issues at all. Assembly of the instrument was perfectly manageable.

I've had a few very minor but still irritating louder/softer/harder to play v soft key issues, and while they were not anything like serious enough to send the instrument back to Germany, I would certainly have had a local technician out to service if I could, so I'm really interested to hear your experience CyberGene. I looked into it before and on the website etc Thomann did say the instrument needed to be shipped back for issues to be dealt with (I have a CS8). My issues were not serious enough to warrant that and I didn't explore further, so good to know that in practice they may be pretty pragmatic about things and cover the cost of a local technician (think I may have a shorter warranty though).

The issues have not been consistent over time, and I'm not having any right now. This leads me to suspect that it's tiny quantities of dust or similar affecting the sensors that move over time. I have had other people sense check that I'm not just imagining it!

Long story short -
I would give your local dealer a chance to price match or come close to it (I'd have been happy to pay a smallish premium to the local dealer, say €100 - €150 more on my much lower priced CS8. You need to figure out what if any premium you are happy with).
Learn from my story and make sure you have their answer before going to Thomann.
If they won't come to a price that works for you then go to Thomann - they are good and reliable.


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Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: CyberGene] #2858163 06/13/19 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
The world is moving forward and some outdated business models will inevitably disappear. I am sorry for them but that's life.
There is nothing like testing out dozens of instruments, or shoes or books in person.

Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: newer player] #2858165 06/13/19 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by newer player
Originally Posted by CyberGene
The world is moving forward and some outdated business models will inevitably disappear. I am sorry for them but that's life.
There is nothing like testing out dozens of instruments, or shoes or books in person.

There can be demo stores. Not at every corner, for sure. In small countries like Bulgaria there has never been a store that demoes AvantGrand instruments and I have tested those while on business trips to Germany. Now, extend that idea and accept that in order to test many instruments at one place you may have to travel to a big city (in a big country). Instead of it being a store, it can be a manufacturer funded piano demo store. People go and test but can't purchase there. Instead they go home and purchase from Internet. Which is what most of us do anyway, which isn't fair to the brick and mortar stores in a way.


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858166 06/13/19 11:07 AM
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Go to the local store in your country and ask them if they can meet you halfway on the price.

I buy locally and when the price is much cheaper online, I pass that information on and the local dealer works with me.

We have to keep the local music stores alive.


website | mp3 files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Dave Horne] #2858167 06/13/19 11:13 AM
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CyberGene Offline
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
Go to the local store in your country and ask them if they can meet you halfway on the price.

I buy locally and when the price is much cheaper online, I pass that information on and the local dealer works with me.

We have to keep the local music stores alive.


This isn't particularly helping local stores. For instance I have a friend who sells Kawai pianos in Sofia. He is often approached by customers who ask a price match with Thomann and he does it but admits this leaves almost nothing for him and so he is currently on the verge of bankruptcy. Because he needs to pay rent, etc compared to Thomann. If you want to support local business, you have to pay them the higher price and not ask them to price match.


My YouTube, My Soundcloud
Currently: Yamaha N1X, DIY hybrid controller -> Garritan CFX
Previously: NU1X, ES7, MP6, CA63, RD-700SX, CDP-100, FP-5, P90, SP-200
Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858176 06/13/19 11:56 AM
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Csillag Offline OP
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There are a few pieces of info that I should have made clear right from the start.

1. The local dealer is not that local; I have to travel ~1 hour to get there.

2. I couldn't play-test the N1X at the local dealer; they don't have it, and won't order it just for testing. In fact they don't have any N1X for testing in Hungary. The nearest one in in Vienna, Austria ... which I might visit during a business trip in the future. So the local dealer can't help with the testing.

3. The 1500 EUR price premium for the N1X seems to be unique. Looking at the NV10 (which I could test), the price premium at the local dealer (compared to Thomann) is about 5%: 520 EUR. I would would be happy to pay that extra, but why does the N1X have three times the extra cost?

4. Yesterday I have sent an email to my local dealer, saying that I will drop my today. When I arrived today (around noon), the shop was closed, with a note saying "be right back (<phone number>)" at the door. After waiting 10 minutes I called the number. He said he won't be back at least for another 20 minutes. I was standing there with my two daughters. All the activity available locally was watching a gang of juvenile criminals crashing bottles and spreading the glass shards all over the local playgrounds. I didn't dare to call them out, because that's when the lynchings usually happen. (I won't tell you the ethnicity of the gang, but you can guess. This is Eastern Europe.) Eventually we got in the shop, but they don't (and won't) have the N1X. All in all, I can't say that my trip to the dealer was pleasurable.

Compare this with the 1500 EUR premium.

Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858178 06/13/19 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Csillag
There are a few pieces of info that I should have made clear right from the start.

1. The local dealer is not that local; I have to travel ~1 hour to get there.

2. I couldn't play-test the N1X at the local dealer; they don't have it, and won't order it just for testing. In fact they don't have any N1X for testing in Hungary. The nearest one in in Vienna, Austria ... which I might visit during a business trip in the future. So the local dealer can't help with the testing.

3. The 1500 EUR price premium for the N1X seems to be unique. Looking at the NV10 (which I could test), the price premium at the local dealer (compared to Thomann) is about 5%: 520 EUR. I would would be happy to pay that extra, but why does the N1X have three times the extra cost?

4. Yesterday I have sent an email to my local dealer, saying that I will drop my today. When I arrived today (around noon), the shop was closed, with a note saying "be right back (<phone number>)" at the door. After waiting 10 minutes I called the number. He said he won't be back at least for another 20 minutes. I was standing there with my two daughters. All the activity available locally was watching a gang of juvenile criminals crashing bottles and spreading the glass shards all over the local playgrounds. I didn't dare to call them out, because that's when the lynchings usually happen. (I won't tell you the ethnicity of the gang, but you can guess. This is Eastern Europe.) Eventually we got in the shop, but they don't (and won't) have the N1X. All in all, I can't say that my trip to the dealer was pleasurable.

Compare this with the 1500 EUR premium.

When David B bought his N1X without testing it first, I felt a twinge - maybe I should just order one too? Why do I need to try it? It's not like I am that great of a pianist that could tell a good action from a bad, right? We'll certain members of the forum insisted the policy should be try-before-buy. So I waited and waited and waited. I waited 3 months before my local store had the N1X to try. I went tried. The result? I bought it the same day as I tried it. And I spent exactly the same money as I would have in February or March if I had just ordered it sight unseen. The only effect is that I didn't have it for 3 months and played on my entry-level FP30 instead.

So now of course, I am second guessing my long wait. Life is short. Why didn't I just follow David B and CyberGene's lead and just buy-before-trying? What was the worst that could happen to me?

Anyways, I guess this is all to say that if you end up buying the N1X from Thomann's without trying it first, I can't blame you! Perhaps I should have done the same and in my case, I would have been practicing on my N1X instead of my old FP30 for 3 more months.


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Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858191 06/13/19 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Csillag

I am not against supporting the local dealers, even at a slight premium, but the ~1500 EUR difference seems to be a bit too much.


The two questions I'd be asking myself:
- Would something go wrong that wouldn't involve me really wanting a new piano under warranty that would cost €1500? Am I willing to pay a local tech out of pocket for smaller issues?
- Could I go to the local dealer and show them the cost from Thomann and make a deal?


Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth) and C minor Prelude (big chords), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO
Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858197 06/13/19 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Csillag
I am not against supporting the local dealers, even at a slight premium, but the ~1500 EUR difference seems to be a bit too much.


If you keep the piano for 5 years, it's only about 82 cents per day.

For 82 cents per day you might get it delivered to your home and easier after sales in case of any troubles.

Re: Thomann.de vs local piano dealers (within Europe) [Re: Csillag] #2858221 06/13/19 02:04 PM
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So, the "local" price premium on the NV-10 (compared to Thomann.de) is 5%. I asked the local dealer if they can do the same with the N1X. (Ie. 5% price premium, instead of the 19%) I'll see what he says...


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