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Piano Advice

Posted By: musicforce

Piano Advice - 01/30/13 09:39 PM

I'm new to this site, although I've been using this website to do research for almost a year, now. I have also been searching for a piano to purchase for about 6 months (and saving in the meantime). I play the piano casually - I started learning when I was 8, but I am definitely not an aficionado. Still, I know what I like as far as touch and sound. My 3 kids and wife are all taking lessons. We are playing on an ancient, out of tune piano and I want to upgrade. Over the past year, I have kept my eye on Craigslist and stopped in at every place that sells new and used pianos that I know about. I have narrowed it down to two options that I'm trying to decide between:

1) Kawai K3
2) Hailun HU-5P

I played the Kawai first and fell in love. It just sang to my ears and I loved the smooth action. It was brighter than the Boston and Essex (they sounded muddy to my ears), but it wasn't too bright like some of the Yamaha's I played. It seemed perfect to me.

Then I went and played the Hailun. First I played the HU-1P and I really liked it. It seemed extremely similar to the K3 in my unprofessional opinion, although it had been a week since I had played the Kawai. What's more, it's almost $1500 less than the Kawai.

Then I played the 5P and I noticed two things. It had more depth of tone - more character. I absolutely LOVED that aspect of the piano - very much so! But, it sounded somewhat more muted. I feel as though they are two separate things - muted vs depth. When I say muted, it didn't sing out as much to me. It didn't have as much of a bell-like consistency to the sounds. I have to admit that I didn't really like the muted nature as much, but I loved the depth. So, then I went to another store right after playing the Hailuns which had two K3s side-by-side - exactly the same color, model, etc. One, which I had played previously, was great. It sounded very similar to the Hailun HU-1P. The other sounded awful - it was extremely muted (I think it was newer and not voiced the same?). So, now I need help or advice. I can think of several different reasons that the 5P might have sounded the way it did as compared to the 1P (and, for that matter, that the two Kawai K3s sounded so different, although their difference was much greater than that between the 1P and the 5P). Can anyone help me determine which of these might actually be the case?

1) The back of the 1P was closer to the wall than the 5P. Perhaps the sound was getting thrown back at me more on the 1P so it sounded brighter to my ears? (The 5P was in the middle of the room. I was told that against the wall, as it will be in my house, it will have more sound and more depth - not sure if that's true)
2) Maybe the 5P was not voiced the same as the 1P, but it could be made to sound similar to the 1P in terms of the brightness.
3) The 1P might have been played more than the 5P and just playing the 5P could get it to sound better.
4) Perhaps a 50" piano will usually have more depth but sound more muted when compared to a 48" of the same brand? (I wouldn't think so)
5) Or, every piano has a different sound and there's really no way to get a certain sound out of a piano (I hope that's not true).

Sorry this post is so long, I'm just trying to get this right. I think I like the depth of the 50" HU-5P much more than the Kawai K3 and the Hailun 1P, but I don't want to be disappointed that it sounds muted (not a lot, it's subtle, but noticeable).

I am considering getting this and, within 5 years, upgrading to the Hailun HG 161 baby grand (the dealer will allow trade-in of 100% of the price I paid for the 5P toward an upgrade).

Oh, one other question. What is the advantage of real ebony sharps?
Posted By: Steven Y. A.

Re: Piano Advice - 01/30/13 10:38 PM

i personally prefer the touch of ebony sharps. from a marketing point of view ebony sharps are more of a "prestigious" feature (consider ivory keys)- imo - not enough of a factor to choose 1 over the other.

Hailun makes high quality pianos at affordable price. many people prefer hailun over yamaha/kawai.
Posted By: musicforce

Re: Piano Advice - 02/01/13 01:46 PM

I went with the Hailun. I think my original post was too long so people didnt' want to read it, but I figured I'd follow up with my decision, anyway, for posterity.

We are super-excited to get our piano next week. We went with the Hailun for many different reasons:

- It's a well-made piano with some "higher-end" features not available in the K3 like agraffes, ebony sharps, full-perimiter plate, metal "keyboard stability system" under the keybed, etc.
- It's a 50" piano instead of the 48" K3
- It cost about $1000 less than the K3
- 15 year warranty (in case I decide to sell it)
- lifetime warranty on the action and plate
- The seller is also a piano technician that I trust and he is the same person who will be tuning and voicing it.

The things I feel I am leaving behind by not geting the K3 include the better name and longer reputation of Kawai, possible resale value (although, in my mind, the Hailun has an extra $1000 to drop in value since it cost $1000 less), and the Millennium III action, which I like in theory, although I have no bad impressions at all about the all-wood action on the Hailun.

If anyone is interested, I may post pictures of the 5P when we get it in.
Posted By: jawhitti

Re: Piano Advice - 02/01/13 03:06 PM

I have never seen nor heard a Hailun piano so I'd love to see pics and/or hear a recording.
Posted By: musicpassion

Re: Piano Advice - 02/02/13 09:07 AM

Congrats on the new piano!

Yes, please do post pics.
Posted By: musicforce

Re: Piano Advice - 02/07/13 03:05 PM

We got the new piano in yesterday. I absolutely love it! I keep playing the piano when I need to get other stuff done. As promised, here are some pictures.

[Linked Image]

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Posted By: Scout

Re: Piano Advice - 02/07/13 03:17 PM

That is a very handsome-looking piano. Congratulations!
Posted By: supersport

Re: Piano Advice - 02/08/13 11:36 PM

Very handsome indeed
Posted By: UK Paul UK

Re: Piano Advice - 02/09/13 09:53 PM

Lovely looking! I got a k3 a few months ago, pretty sure we will both be happy. ( i am!)
Posted By: adak

Re: Piano Advice - 02/09/13 10:11 PM

congrats on the piano, very nice indeed.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Piano Advice - 02/10/13 12:12 AM


That is a fine looking musical instrument! and, I'll bet it sounds as good as it looks!

Posted By: piano_deb

Re: Piano Advice - 02/11/13 02:16 AM

Congrats on the beautiful new piano. It sounds like you made a very thoughtful decision and chose a piano you will love!

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