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I know that the V-Pro casting method can make piano harps faster and cheaper than the wet sand casting method. However, how do the harps made by the two casting methods compare in quality?

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My understanding is that vacuum molding is only cheaper for higher manufacturing volumes. For low manufacturing volume instruments, wet sand casting is cheaper. Vacuum molding has a higher fixed cost but lower variable cost.


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Originally Posted by Almaviva
I know that the V-Pro casting method can make piano harps faster and cheaper than the wet sand casting method. However, how do the harps made by the two casting methods compare in quality?

Quote
The wet sand casting creates a more bell like tone with rounded edges (think Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, etc) while v-pro plates tend to sound more bright and crisp (think Yamaha, Kawai, etc).10 Mar 2020
source: internet

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Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?

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Originally Posted by SuzyUpright
Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?

Im unsure about just by examinating. I do recalled that's a video mentioning the differences:

Wet:
- Handmade (take longer time for the process). Highend piano (S&S, M&H etc)
- found in old(er) piano around / pre 70s
- Warmer tone

V-pro:
- A pouring and vaccum process (a few minutes job). A lot of Asian made piano use this
- New(er) pianos especially after 70s
- Brighter tone

I believe tech forum can answer better.

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Of all the factors contributing to the sound of a piano, the plate is by far the least significant. I wouldn't be factoring that into my buying decision at all because you will be assessing the piano as a complete instrument. There is also no A/B comparison available on any pianos to assess the contribution of the plate casting method. The piano is the sum of its parts, and you'll either like it or you won't based on its totality. But to go specifically looking for a plate of either method of manufacture would be folly because you will be mostly hearing all the other decisions that went into the piano. I spend a lot of time on the technicians forum and the amount of interest in the plate casting method is next to nothing - and I've certainly never seen it suggested that players or rebuilders avoid either plate type when evaluating a piano.

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Originally Posted by ando
Of all the factors contributing to the sound of a piano, the plate is by far the least significant. I wouldn't be factoring that into my buying decision at all because you will be assessing the piano as a complete instrument. There is also no A/B comparison available on any pianos to assess the contribution of the plate casting method. The piano is the sum of its parts, and you'll either like it or you won't based on its totality. But to go specifically looking for a plate of either method of manufacture would be folly because you will be mostly hearing all the other decisions that went into the piano. I spend a lot of time on the technicians forum and the amount of interest in the plate casting method is next to nothing - and I've certainly never seen it suggested that players or rebuilders avoid either plate type when evaluating a piano.

thumb

My understanding is that there is no qualitative difference.


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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
My understanding is that vacuum molding is only cheaper for higher manufacturing volumes. For low manufacturing volume instruments, wet sand casting is cheaper. Vacuum molding has a higher fixed cost but lower variable cost.

thumb

Vacuum casting has a higher up-front setup cost, but when allocated across large production runs still results in a lower unit cost. OTOH, wet sand casting is more cost effective in smaller production runs (because v-casting’s setup costs cannot be spread thin enough).


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Personally, I don't like wet sand in my piano. The vacuuming method has the advantage of vacuuming up all the wet sand leaving a piano that is dry and clean.

It's interesting that Shigeru Kawai and Yamaha SX series are (relatively) high end pianos that use V casting, because they can make use of the same machinery used to make their mainstream pianos of the same size and shape (GX and CX lines respectively). Fazioli and Bosendorfer can't do that.

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Originally Posted by Jojovan
Originally Posted by SuzyUpright
Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?

Im unsure about just by examinating. I do recalled that's a video mentioning the differences:

Wet:
- Handmade (take longer time for the process). Highend piano (S&S, M&H etc)
- found in old(er) piano around / pre 70s
- Warmer tone
V-pro:
- A pouring and vaccum process (a few minutes job). A lot of Asian made piano use this
- New(er) pianos especially after 70s
- Brighter tone

I believe tech forum can answer better.
Unless the source of the video is independent of manufacturers in addition to being knowledgeable, this info is not useful. Some of the information I know is incorrect. Plenty of new pianos use wet casting. The tone is not affected by the casting and Yamaha/Kawai should no longer be classified as bright pianos.

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I believe, but can’t be sure, the Yamaha CF line and the Kawai Shigerus use the wet sand process because again they produce far fewer of these pianos than they do their CX series or GX series. Estonia uses the wet sand cast harp unlike my C3. It seems that the differences in the soundboard, strings, hammers have more to do with the differences in the sound and playing than does the casting difference. I don’t have tools to measure and understand this but I do still love both the C3 and the Estonia.


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Originally Posted by j&j
I believe, but can’t be sure, the Yamaha CF line and the Kawai Shigerus use the wet sand process because again they produce far fewer of these pianos than they do their CX series or GX series. Estonia uses the wet sand cast harp unlike my C3. It seems that the differences in the soundboard, strings, hammers have more to do with the differences in the sound and playing than does the casting difference. I don’t have tools to measure and understand this but I do still love both the C3 and the Estonia.

Makes no sense. V-Cast is a core marketing technology. The CF is the flagship. Yamaha has resources. The only logical reason their top of the line piano doesn't use their proprietary technology is that it can't compete at the highest level. For the CF they can expense it against their immense marketing budget.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Jojovan
Originally Posted by SuzyUpright
Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?

Im unsure about just by examinating. I do recalled that's a video mentioning the differences:

Wet:
- Handmade (take longer time for the process). Highend piano (S&S, M&H etc)
- found in old(er) piano around / pre 70s
- Warmer tone
V-pro:
- A pouring and vaccum process (a few minutes job). A lot of Asian made piano use this
- New(er) pianos especially after 70s
- Brighter tone

I believe tech forum can answer better.
Unless the source of the video is independent of manufacturers in addition to being knowledgeable, this info is not useful. Some of the information I know is incorrect. Plenty of new pianos use wet casting. The tone is not affected by the casting and Yamaha/Kawai should no longer be classified as bright pianos.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by Jojovan
Originally Posted by SuzyUpright
Is there a way one can tell which method was used by examining the harp?

Im unsure about just by examinating. I do recalled that's a video mentioning the differences:

Wet:
- Handmade (take longer time for the process). Highend piano (S&S, M&H etc)
- found in old(er) piano around / pre 70s
- Warmer tone
V-pro:
- A pouring and vaccum process (a few minutes job). A lot of Asian made piano use this
- New(er) pianos especially after 70s
- Brighter tone

I believe tech forum can answer better.
Unless the source of the video is independent of manufacturers in addition to being knowledgeable, this info is not useful. Some of the information I know is incorrect. Plenty of new pianos use wet casting. The tone is not affected by the casting and Yamaha/Kawai should no longer be classified as bright pianos.


Hi, found it. May not be useful to you who already have the knowledge, perhaps, others may benefit. I would leave it to the expert to assit the OP further.
.

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Steve, I am not getting the gist of what you are trying to say. Can you please elaborate a bit more.

I think there is more to it than just two different ways of doing the same thing.

Vacuum castings result in a much more "finished" casting than a wet sanding casting because the vacuum process fills the mold so well. The wet sand casting is much rougher out of the mold and will require more sanding and filling to be sufficiently cosmetic. It is also my understanding that the vacuum castings are slightly denser, and more prone to plate resonances, although wet sand castings can also have such resonances.

Retsacnal says it best, "Vacuum casting has a higher up-front setup cost, but when allocated across large production runs still results in a lower unit cost. OTOH, wet sand casting is more cost effective in smaller production runs (because v-casting’s setup costs cannot be spread thin enough)."


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Originally Posted by Jojovan
Hi, found it. May not be useful to you who already have the knowledge, perhaps, others may benefit. I would leave it to the expert to assist the OP further.
.
He owns a piano store and is naturally biased in favor of the pianos sells and against the competition like Yamaha. I listened to the first few minutes and there were many IMO incorrect statements and obvious bias. When a dealer makes an "educational" video one should not assume it's not really an advertisement.

Did I have to check to see if he sells Yamaha or Kawai? Of course not, because he would have never said what he did in the video if that was the case.

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Yamaha do say on their website that the CF series use wet sand casted plates, but they don't state a reason why. My hunch is that since the CF series is to be a directly comparable product in build and price to the highest priced European and American pianos, they decided to build these instruments in the same way.

The SX series use V-Pro plates and they aren't voiced with a particularly bright sound. I know they have the Acoustic Resonance Enhancement technology used on the rim so that also changes things a bit, but the inclusion of the V-Pro plate in these models suggests to me that the "brighter sound" does not have anything to do with the plate. In fact the CX series and the old C series can be voiced to be very rounded and mellow as well.

The only way we on this forum would know the difference a V-Pro plate vs a wet-sand casted plate would make is to build a piano with exactly the same specifications except for the plate manufacturing process, voice them to the same specifications, and then analyse the sound with the highest level computer software in an anechoic chamber. I could be wrong but I suspect Yamaha have done this, since they do things like this quite often in their R and D department. Maybe a wet sand casted plate does actually give a greater range of colour or sustain that makes a connoisseur's difference.


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Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
Vacuum castings result in a much more "finished" casting than a wet sanding casting because the vacuum process fills the mold so well. The wet sand casting is much rougher out of the mold and will require more sanding and filling to be sufficiently cosmetic. It is also my understanding that the vacuum castings are slightly denser, and more prone to plate resonances, although wet sand castings can also have such resonances.

This is also my understanding.

Jojovan - I wouldn’t put too much stock in what you copied and pasted as a direct causal relationship.


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Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
Steve, I am not getting the gist of what you are trying to say. Can you please elaborate a bit more.

I think there is more to it than just two different ways of doing the same thing.

Vacuum castings result in a much more "finished" casting than a wet sanding casting because the vacuum process fills the mold so well. The wet sand casting is much rougher out of the mold and will require more sanding and filling to be sufficiently cosmetic. It is also my understanding that the vacuum castings are slightly denser, and more prone to plate resonances, although wet sand castings can also have such resonances.

Retsacnal says it best, "Vacuum casting has a higher up-front setup cost, but when allocated across large production runs still results in a lower unit cost. OTOH, wet sand casting is more cost effective in smaller production runs (because v-casting’s setup costs cannot be spread thin enough)."

In Yamaha marketing, they tout the V process. Their CF grands, which get redesigned regularly at great cost do not use this technology, never did.
Considering the marketing potential of claiming their concert grand uses the same technology as their regular pianos, and their huge marketing budget and their regular highly expensive redesigns and retooling of this piano, the cost of tooling for a V plate in the CF is insignificant and the only reason I can think of is at the very highest of levels of performance, the V process has to be lacking. They spend a fortune retooling this piano every few years, they give many away for free at high visibility venues. They could easily make a V plate on this piano but don't. The cost argument falls very flat and is not believable to me.

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Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
In Yamaha marketing, they tout the V process. Their CF grands, which get redesigned regularly at great cost do not use this technology, never did.
Considering the marketing potential of claiming their concert grand uses the same technology as their regular pianos, and their huge marketing budget and their regular highly expensive redesigns and retooling of this piano, the cost of tooling for a V plate in the CF is insignificant and the only reason I can think of is at the very highest of levels of performance, the V process has to be lacking. They spend a fortune retooling this piano every few years, they give many away for free at high visibility venues. They could easily make a V plate on this piano but don't. The cost argument falls very flat and is not believable to me.
You're missing the salient facts here, Steve. The V-pro method is employed when they have a high volume run of plates to cast. It is expensive to set up a run, but once you do, you can pump out a large volume at a time, with the cost spread across these units. The CF is a low production piano line. They don't use the V-pro method because they don't pump out a thousand of these plates at a time, so they can't amortise costs over many units. You're looking for hidden reasons, but it's already a known fact that this is how it works. Yamaha makes very high quality grand pianos - they are one of the few piano manufacturers with enough sales volume to actually make the V-pro method work for them. Other smaller makers aren't doing it because it doesn't work for their production volume. Yamahas aren't beset with terrible resonances. So I'd say the idea that the vacuum method is inferior is a non-starter. It's an industrial/production calculation. I have no doubt that if they suddenly had cause to make 10,000 CFX grands, they be setting up a V-pro run immediately.

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Originally Posted by Almaviva
I know that the V-Pro casting method can make piano harps faster and cheaper than the wet sand casting method. However, how do the harps made by the two casting methods compare in quality?

There is also the No-Bake method.

Steinway say, Thanks to STEINWAY’S advancements and innovations in technology and process, our improved cast-iron plate is one of the reasons why the pianos we build today sound and play better — and last longer — than those built just a decade ago.

STEINWAY & SONS now owns and operates its own foundry solely to produce the elemental, integral cast-iron plate to our exacting specifications.Our foundry forges the bell-quality plate with a new No-Bake Process implemented just five years ago, which permits a single-use high-strength mold that creates more precise and consistent casting.


Does anyone know what are the pros and cons of No-Bake plates, compared with wet sand and vacuum?


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