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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think experience without much knowledge about pianos(other than what's available from the dealer or the internet), playing skill(yes, it's relevant although not the only important factor), or the ability to verbalize clearly isn't significant by itself. To see what I'm talking about contrast JPS's comments with some of the detailed reviews of specific brands in the Piano Buyer, the lengthy ones that appear as single separate articles in many of the editions.

I do think JPS probably helps popularize pianos which is a very good thing and probably does love many of the pianos he raves about. But he shouldn't be presenting himself as some kind of expert.

Well I think it is probably not fair to compare written analysis printed on a book to few minutes youtube video.

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Quote
https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/a-map-of-the-market-for-new-pianos-ratings/

Pianobuyer has a subjective listing here.

They put Steinway well above Yamaha SX series


Thank you for reminding us of that page, Hakki.

However, it has a block of text entitled "Why We Don’t Precisely Rate Piano Quality". Steinway is well above Yamaha SX by market position, not quality.

There is no single scale of quality for a piano. For instance, if piano A has superb tone and good touch while piano B has superb touch and good tone, which is the better piano?

My example is oversimplistic. One needs to categorise aspects of tone, aspects of touch, and other elements. Then you might be able to say in what respects Yamaha SXs differ from Steinways.


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Pianobuyer clearly states -

“Performance-grade pianos are divided here into five groups, based on our perception of their reputation and market position in the piano industry.”

The rankings are not related to any evaluation of piano quality, just reputation and market position (doublespeak for price). That is interesting but not that useful. Do you want a piano with a long reputation and high price or just one you love to play?

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https://youtu.be/XSnvCXPefig

I will give the link I posted above once again to explain why I would prefer the Steinway tone over the Yamaha.

Probably it is because I have grown up by listening to recordings which were always recorded using a Steinway since it was the norm in old days.

So I feel at home when I hear that familiar Steinway tone. And perhaps long for that tone if I hear a piece recorded on a Yamaha.

OTOH, James is unbiased because he is very young. His preference might be a crisp and clear tone of a Yamaha rather than the complex tone of a Steinway.

IMO, from a craftsmanship point of view the Yamaha CF line might be comparable to a Steinway not the SX. I think SX is still just an improved CX piano.

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Originally Posted by zeitlos
Originally Posted by Windjammer
but I greatly enjoy learning about other people’s experiences with and predilections for certain pianos even if I don’t share them.

So do I. It’s interesting that one always finds this pattern in Internet forums again and again. In another thread I started (best upright) I was told various times that I had to play the pianos myself and then decide. I don’t know who often I had to reply that this goes without saying. But I wasn’t interested in hearing my opinion, I wasn’t even really looking for a new piano, I just wanted to hear other people’s opinion. As soon as I had stated this the next person told me that only I could answer this question for myself ...

I often learn new things along the way, often “unintended” side issues which suddenly turn out to be helpful in a way.

Hahahaha yes. There's a number of regulars at PW who drop by every post to make these comments. Clearly people are able to form a more complete picture of the differences or advantages between different pianos by considering other people's opinions as well.

What we can say is that while the SX line is more handmade than Yamaha CX, it is less handmade than Yamaha CF, Steinway and Shigeru Kawai.

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Originally Posted by Hakki
OTOH, James is unbiased because he is very young. His preference might be a crisp and clear tone of a Yamaha rather than the complex tone of a Steinway.

I cannot comment on the "unbiased" thing... but in one of his videos he said that he plans to go to Europe and visit as many piano manufacturers as possible. Well, then Corona kicked in...
He also mentioned that he probably won't visit Steinway (I hope I'm not mixing up names now) because they haven't been very friendly, don't even allow him to film their pianos when he wants to review them.

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Originally Posted by oldMH
Pianobuyer clearly states -

“Performance-grade pianos are divided here into five groups, based on our perception of their reputation and market position in the piano industry.”

The rankings are not related to any evaluation of piano quality, just reputation and market position (doublespeak for price).

Thanks! This is a very important aspect, I think it helps to understand it more clearly. And it also means that even a piano from a generally not that renowned manufacturer can be really good or pleasing.

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Originally Posted by zeitlos
I cannot comment on the "unbiased" thing... but in one of his videos he said that he plans to go to Europe and visit as many piano manufacturers as possible. Well, then Corona kicked in...
He also mentioned that he probably won't visit Steinway (I hope I'm not mixing up names now) because they haven't been very friendly, don't even allow him to film their pianos when he wants to review them.

I thought all unbiased S&S reviews are done by Tiffany Poon.

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For those people who prefer Steinway to Yamaha because Steinway has a "complex" sound while Yamaha has a "plain" or "clean" sound, presumably you aren't a fan of Fazioli either?

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
For those people who prefer Steinway to Yamaha because Steinway has a "complex" sound while Yamaha has a "plain" or "clean" sound, presumably you aren't a fan of Fazioli either?
This is why I love Petrof, Estonia, Fazioli, don't mind Seiler, and "generally" I can't stand Steinway because of its "Steinway sound". Though I have now played three S&S that I don't mind out of 100s that I have played over the years performing in the oddest of places. I like the clear, bell-like, singing sounds of the mentioned pianos. I don't need to sound like I am headed off to war like I do when I play a Steinway. smile

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Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
To see what I'm talking about contrast JPS's comments with some of the detailed reviews of specific brands in the Piano Buyer, the lengthy ones that appear as single separate articles in many of the editions.

Does anyone have a set of objective and/or subjective criteria for assessing grand pianos beyond length, touch and tone? Is there such a list in Piano Buyer, or would one have go through some or all those lengthy reviews to compile one?

https://www.pianobuyer.com/article/a-map-of-the-market-for-new-pianos-ratings/

Pianobuyer has a subjective listing here.

They put Steinway well above Yamaha SX series.
for quite a while(maybe around ten years) the PB "ratings" have been based to a large extent on the pianos' price and, in the performance category, on prestige. Fine does state there is a general correlation between price and quality. Before that time the ratings were done much more on Fine's impressions and many reports from techs. It's important to read the material right before the ratings to understand the ratings chart.

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
For those people who prefer Steinway to Yamaha because Steinway has a "complex" sound while Yamaha has a "plain" or "clean" sound, presumably you aren't a fan of Fazioli either?
It's not that simple IMO. Many pianos don't fit precisely into one category or the other. It's not common to use "plain" for what you're describing as that has a negative connotation.

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Originally Posted by kre
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I think experience without much knowledge about pianos(other than what's available from the dealer or the internet), playing skill(yes, it's relevant although not the only important factor), or the ability to verbalize clearly isn't significant by itself. To see what I'm talking about contrast JPS's comments with some of the detailed reviews of specific brands in the Piano Buyer, the lengthy ones that appear as single separate articles in many of the editions.

I do think JPS probably helps popularize pianos which is a very good thing and probably does love many of the pianos he raves about. But he shouldn't be presenting himself as some kind of expert.

Well I think it is probably not fair to compare written analysis printed on a book to few minutes youtube video.
Have you read any of the articles I mentioned? If you do, I think you will see the reviewers talk about pianos in a far more nuanced, comprehensive, and knowledgeable way. It's not the length of the article vs. video I'm talking about or the quantity of the information.

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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
Originally Posted by Sonepica
For those people who prefer Steinway to Yamaha because Steinway has a "complex" sound while Yamaha has a "plain" or "clean" sound, presumably you aren't a fan of Fazioli either?
This is why I love Petrof, Estonia, Fazioli, don't mind Seiler, and "generally" I can't stand Steinway because of its "Steinway sound". Though I have now played three S&S that I don't mind out of 100s that I have played over the years performing in the oddest of places. I like the clear, bell-like, singing sounds of the mentioned pianos. I don't need to sound like I am headed off to war like I do when I play a Steinway. smile

...While I think of the Steinway sound as full and orchestral. I've never felt like I was headed off to war.;). For me, it's a very controllable sound that I can take where I want it to go, when the piano is regulated and voiced well. But I'm glad that there are so many different piano-makers and a wide variety of sounds so we can all have access to the ones that meet our preferences. I'd hate to be forced to own and play a piano I didn't like, nor would I want that for anyone else! sick

Back you Mr. Shawcross' videos, I watch them from time to time. I do pick up on a lot of misinformation in some of them. I've never tried to engage him on them. He is passionate about the piano, so that's a plus. I wish I could spend all that time traveling the country, making videos of me playing pianos, and make a little $ at the same time. Since COVID-19 hit, I've seen a huge uptick of piano retailers making their own piano videos of all types to market their pianos and increase sales. I have to say that while some of them are well-done by professionals who seem to really know pianos, others are full of the same types of misinformation that show up in young James' videos. I'm glad PW is here to answer peoples questions!

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Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
To see what I'm talking about contrast JPS's comments with some of the detailed reviews of specific brands in the Piano Buyer, the lengthy ones that appear as single separate articles in many of the editions.

Does anyone have a set of objective and/or subjective criteria for assessing grand pianos beyond length, touch and tone? Is there such a list in Piano Buyer, or would one have go through some or all those lengthy reviews to compile one?
In terms of tone, Fazioli's website used to(but no longer, I think) have a very interesting article on what the considered to be important qualities of good tone followed by videos showing how Fazioli exemplified those tonal qualities with performances of carefully chosen pieces. Of course, not everyone would agree with all the tonal qualities in that article, but I think many people would agree that most are important.

Unfortunately, I can't remember all the qualities Fazioli deemed important but I can remember a few. Sustain and ability to hear polyphonic voices clearly were two of them but there were quite a few others. Dynamic range might have been another one. Can anyone find this article? It would make a good discussion point IMO.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
To see what I'm talking about contrast JPS's comments with some of the detailed reviews of specific brands in the Piano Buyer, the lengthy ones that appear as single separate articles in many of the editions.

Does anyone have a set of objective and/or subjective criteria for assessing grand pianos beyond length, touch and tone? Is there such a list in Piano Buyer, or would one have go through some or all those lengthy reviews to compile one?
In terms of tone, Fazioli's website used to(but no longer, I think) have a very interesting article on what they considered to be important qualities of good tone followed by videos showing how Fazioli exemplified those tonal qualities with performances of carefully chosen pieces. Of course, not everyone would agree with all the tonal qualities in that article, but I think many people would agree that most are important.

Unfortunately, I can't remember all the qualities Fazioli deemed important but I can remember a few. Sustain and ability to hear polyphonic voices clearly were two of them but there were quite a few others. Dynamic range might have been another one. Can anyone find this article? It would make a good discussion point IMO.

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The current PB rankings are based to a large extent on price and for performance grade pianos additionally on prestige. But I think it's important to note that the current rankings are quite/very similar to the rankings from 20 years ago when the rankings were much more detailed into categories like performance, build quality, warranty, etc. were based a lot more on reports from techs and possibly dealers.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Have you read any of the articles I mentioned? If you do, I think you will see the reviewers talk about pianos in a far more nuanced, comprehensive, and knowledgeable way. It's not the length of the article vs. video I'm talking about or the quantity of the information.

No I haven't, and if an article of such high standard exists on Yamaha SX-series, I definitely want to read it. Meanwhile, we just have to live with the fact that you can vlog or write anything to the internet, no matter credentials, and viewers/readers have the responsibility to decide if it's worth their time. I just bought a back issue of Pianist Magazine, that had a story about SX-series. There was, whole 2 pages of it, and it contained less analysis of the piano than even shortest of Shawcross videos.

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What appeals to me about the S7X is that the C7X is a very popular and well regarded piano, admired particularly for it's impressive bass. The S7X is kind of a "super charged" version of the C7X for people who want something a bit more premium.

But they claim that the idea behind the ARE rim treatment is to make the piano sound more like an antique instrument. Personally, I've never particularly liked the sound of old pianos...

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Originally Posted by kre
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Have you read any of the articles I mentioned? If you do, I think you will see the reviewers talk about pianos in a far more nuanced, comprehensive, and knowledgeable way. It's not the length of the article vs. video I'm talking about or the quantity of the information.

No I haven't, and if an article of such high standard exists on Yamaha SX-series, I definitely want to read it. Meanwhile, we just have to live with the fact that you can vlog or write anything to the internet, no matter credentials, and viewers/readers have the responsibility to decide if it's worth their time. I just bought a back issue of Pianist Magazine, that had a story about SX-series. There was, whole 2 pages of it, and it contained less analysis of the piano than even shortest of Shawcross videos.
JPS does not have credentials. Those writing the articles I mentioned have major credentials.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 02/05/21 09:01 AM.
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