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New Kawai GX-2 disappointment #2937291 01/22/20 08:17 PM
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Katieji Offline OP
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I posted this on the new piano owners forum but it was suggested that that is more for "happy" new owners, so I'll post it here as well.

After nearly 2 years of looking for a wonderful used grand piano, I finally gave up and bought a new Kawai GX-2 at Piano Vertu in Montreal. It was shipped to my home in Ottawa last May and to my horror I found it didn't sound anywhere near as lovely as it did in the store. The main issue is the treble section, which has an uneven sound, with notes going from super bright/shrill, to almost dead sounding (like a toy piano) to no volume. Max at Piano Vertu was amenable to covering the cost of 2 tunings and voicing (instead of the usual one). A first-rate technician has been here twice in the last 8 months, and while the sound has improved a lot, there is still a section in the treble that is most unsatisfactory. Playing anything with a singing melody in the right hand is not enjoyable. (I'm playing a Schubert sonata and it's full of uneven sounding passages.) I will have the tech return in the spring for another tuning and voicing.
I'm told new pianos get better with age. I hope this is true. It has been the biggest disappointment of my life (and the second biggest outlay of cash after buying a house!!)If anyone has en encouraging word, I'd love to hear it! Or even a sympathetic one.Thanks all,
Kathy
P.S On the positive side, the tenor & bass sections sound really nice.
P.P.S. Yes that is a whole lot of snow outside my front window...
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Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937297 01/22/20 08:37 PM
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I had the luck of being gifted a new Yahama grand a few years back. It still sits there in a difference house from where I live, and it still sounds dull maybe because we hardly play that piano.

I also recently got back a Steinway B fully restored. It sounds duller than before. My wife plays Beethoven sonatas and the difference is clear.

Maybe the pianos do get better with age, but I am no expert. Good luck and please keep us posted with how things are.

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937299 01/22/20 08:39 PM
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Hi, Katieji,

Sorry to hear about your disappointment with your new Kawai grand. Kawai is a very well known brand, with a very good reputation. Have you discussed your disappointment with your dealer? Perhaps so, as you said they offered you two complementary tunings/voicings instead of one.

I'd still stay in contact with your dealer. You should be elated and on top of the world with your new Kawai grand piano, and not down in the dumps (as we say here in the south:-).

It may be possible that you need the services of a more highly skilled tech than the one the dealer has sent out to tune and voice the piano, but I'm just speculating.

If Kawai Don sees this post, he may chime in with suggestions. He's a long time member here and an authorized Kawai service rep. I know they have certain areas they cover, but Don has gone out of his way before to help new Kawai owners here on PW. A great guy.

If it is any consolation to you, acoustic pianos, all acoustic pianos, are very sensitive, and the sound/tone can change very slightly and subtly from morning to evening the same day, depending on humidity/temperature changes.

I hope you find satisfaction with new Kawai GX-2, and soon.

All the best!

Rick


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Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937312 01/22/20 09:34 PM
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I’ll give encouraging words and sympathetic ear. New pianos take awhile to settle in and achieve stability. A new piano needs 3 or 4 tunings and maybe some voicing or regulation to really settle in. Since you loved the sound in the showroom it’s highly likely with some additional adjustments during the GX2’s adaptation to your home, you’ll have the sound you expect. Kawai’s are really good pianos so don’t panic and the money you spent was for a quality instrument. If the tech you’re using isn’t able to voice it back to what you expected, ask the dealer to suggest another piano technician whose particular expertise is in voicing. You have a quality piano and I’m fairly sure it can be tweaked to your liking. You can also ask questions about your issue on the Piano Tuner and Tech Forum. Best Wishes. Again don’t panic. Pianos are made of organic materials which expand and contract with temperature, humidity and environmental changes. How long was your piano on the showroom floor? Sometimes pianos that are recently unboxed or uncrated take more time to fully settle in. Congratulations on your new GX2! It is very beautiful and should settle in to sound as beautiful as it looks.


J & J
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Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937318 01/22/20 10:03 PM
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Thank you for the encouraging words. Funny how it helps to share my feelings with other piano lovers.
My piano has a Dampp-Chaser installed, so dryness/humidity shouldn't be an issue. As for how long it was on the showroom floor, it had just recently come in from Japan via Vancouver. So not long. I will give it more time and if Kawai Don is reading this, feel free to chime in!

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937321 01/22/20 10:17 PM
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What did the tech who worked on say was causing the problems? What did he say about the prognosis for fixing the issues? Are you sure they sent the same piano you tried in the showroom? It makes no sense to me that the treble could have such serious problems assuming you tested that area in the showroom.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 01/22/20 10:20 PM.
Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937322 01/22/20 10:32 PM
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Did you record the serial number of the piano you tried at the dealer? Are you certain you received the same piano? Did you explicitly play pieces demanding a singing tone when you tried out the piano?


Login name is a tribute to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, arguably the historically first great keyboard virtuoso.
Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937323 01/22/20 10:32 PM
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Katieji,

I'm sorry to hear the sound isn't satisfying to you in the GX-2. You have had it for a while now, and it seems that the technician should have been able to voice it properly.

I'm wondering, did you play this piano in the store showroom? Does the sound seem significantly different after it was moved to your home? I'm wondering if the room acoustics could be affecting the tone adversely, in which case some minor adjustments to the piano location or the room arrangement could resolve it.

If you didn't play the piano before it was delivered, well, maybe that is at the root of the problem. All pianos do not come sounding the same, and it can be problematic to try to turn a piano into the instrument you love, instead of you having chosen the piano that is right for you from the start.

In either case, you do need to keep working with your dealer. It's also a little awkward that you bought it out of town, but I know Maxime very well and he will want to keep working with you to find the answer.


Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America
Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937324 01/22/20 10:39 PM
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Did you test the piano right after the tech finished and before he left? When there are serious problems on a new piano the tech they send is supposed to deal with them and make sure the customer is satisfied.

Maybe you should see if the dealer will pay for a visit by a tech of your choice unless you have great confidence in the one he sent. I don't see bow moving the piano to your home should change the voicing. Did you test the treble in the showroom?

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937360 01/23/20 01:02 AM
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What size room do you have your piano?

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937425 01/23/20 06:06 AM
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From your comments it appears that you did not play this same piano before purchase?
Ian


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Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Beemer] #2937430 01/23/20 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Beemer
From your comments it appears that you did not play this same piano before purchase?
Ian


In the other thread ay My New Piano subforum OP has said it was the same piano.

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937433 01/23/20 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Katieji
My piano has a Dampp-Chaser installed, so dryness/humidity shouldn't be an issue.


Did the piano had the Dampp-Chaser when you tried it at the show room? Or was it installed after the delivery to your home? Or was it installed after your purchase by the store and delivered as installed?

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937549 01/23/20 12:25 PM
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Katieji,
It would be helpful to those here to hear your piano being played especially the notes that you feel have a problem. You would need to upload any audio files to a free host service like Box.com or dropbox.com, make the files readable by others by setting them to "share" then posting the links here.
Ian


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Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937587 01/23/20 01:27 PM
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Katieji,
I’ll second some of what KawaiDon said (not that he needs the support of an amateur such as myself). Having been through several brand new grands (including a GX-2) in the last six years, I know all too well the frustration and buyer’s remorse that can come with adjusting to the sound—and adjusting the sound itself—of a new piano in the house. Especially for those of us with a discerning ear who desire perfection from the expensive instrument in which we’ve invested, it takes time, patience, and some trial and error to get the satisfaction we desire. Be aware that voicing a piano to a room and vice versa can be a gradual process. And on the following point, I disagree wholeheartedly with pianoloverus: a piano that sounds lovely in a showroom may very well need to be voiced once it’s in the unique acoustic environment of the room in which it’s placed in your home. The size and shape of the room, as well as the type of flooring, number and size of windows, window treatments, ceiling height, the furnishings in the room, as well as the location and orientation of your piano in the room all factor into what your piano is going to sound like there. Certain notes may sound dead and certain notes may be accentuated or boomy sounding, because of the interaction of sound waves and their reflections in the particular room that houses the piano. Some of the very qualities that make a high end concert grand sound gorgeous and lush in a concert hall may sound quite obnoxious and harsh in a smaller room. So try to be patient, experiment with positions of the piano in your room (if you’re able to move it around), and by all means try to find another tech if your current one is not satisfying you. But remember that if you’re fussy like me, it may take several voicing sessions with your tech before all the kinks are ironed out. Good luck!

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: SMA55] #2937602 01/23/20 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by SMA55
KatiejI disagree wholeheartedly with pianoloverus: a piano that sounds lovely in a showroom may very well need to be voiced once it’s in the unique acoustic environment of the room in which it’s placed in your home.
I didn't say that a piano that sounds good in the showroom doesn't need to be voiced in the home. In fact, I think that would be quite normal and definitely reasonable. Some dealers even include voicing with the free in home tuning.

But, as I said, I would be surprised if a piano changed as much as the OP indicated, i.e. going from fine/acceptable in the showroom to a state where the treble has an "uneven sound, with notes going from super bright/shrill, to almost dead sounding (like a toy piano) to no volume."

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937616 01/23/20 02:52 PM
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Room acoustics might also influence the sound. Like glass
,which reflects high frequencies whereas passes through low ones.

Here is an article that might help.

https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/ten-ways-to-voice-a-room/

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Hakki] #2937738 01/23/20 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Hakki
Room acoustics might also influence the sound. Like glass
,which reflects high frequencies whereas passes through low ones.

Here is an article that might help.

https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/ten-ways-to-voice-a-room/


Informative link. Thank you

Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937780 01/23/20 09:27 PM
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Katieji:
Sorry to hear about your experience, hope not all is lost. First off you bought from a very good dealer and Max is great people. Absolutely certain he will do his best for you. ( say Hi when talking to him again...) There has been good advice already and it perhaps helps adding that treble is certainly one of the hardest parts of the keyboard to sound nice, i.e. warm, clear and at same time “singing” One thing I noticed over the years is how much humidity changes seem to affect especially particularly in that range. Was often puzzle myself about that. Recommending to measure your room humidity and compare to that of your dealer. There could be an explanation right there! Also make sure your tech is good in spot voicing, not all are! Wishing you best of luck.

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 01/23/20 09:30 PM.

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Re: New Kawai GX-2 disappointment [Re: Katieji] #2937785 01/23/20 09:38 PM
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Wow, this forum is amazing. Thank you for all the advice. And to answer some of your questions-
1. yes it's the same serial # as the one in the store
2. the tech agreed there was a lot of unevenness in the treble (I had made a list of all the notes I had issues with). After tuning it, he worked on all the notes (both visits) and it did sound much better when he left. There were still a couple of notes he didn't think he could improve (he was also on his way out at that point, so perhaps the next visit he can try again). I do think he's very competent.
3. Dampp Chaser was installed in the store. I can't remember if I played it before or after installation.
4. I played a variety of pieces when deciding on the purchase. I had a choice of 2 GX-2s. To be honest, I didn't absolutely love the sound in the showroom (I loved the Estonia 5'6" that was about $14,000 more...:). The piano I didn't choose had a nicer treble I think, but I really didn't like a section in the tenor. Maxime, the dealer, seemed to feel it would be easier to bring the treble to my liking than the tenor-bass section. And he emphasized that the piano would only improve with age, especially after the first 2-3 years. Also, I'd been playing a Kawai digital (ES8) for 2 years previously, having sold my Yamaha baby grand because of having to move temporarily into an apartment. So my ear and my fingers were out of practice playing an acoustic grand... I remember playing the Chopin etude op10 n3 in E and not being all that thrilled with the right hand melody. But for some reason which I don't understand I rushed into buying it (with a little pressure knowing that the prices were going up April 1st and the $600 rebate would no longer be available after that date).
5. Very informative link re. room acoustics. Thank you for that. The room is 16'10" X 10'11". The piano, at 72", would therefore be a little too big for the room (the combined lengths of the four walls at 666" should be at least ten times the length of the piano, so 720") There are definitely dead spots and maybe the room acoustics are part of the problem. Not easy to move the piano around though...but maybe I could angle it a bit more.
6. SMA55 you really spelled out what I'm experiencing, some boomy notes and some dead notes.
Thanks all once again, much appreciated. I'll keep you posted...

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