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Posted By: Keith D Kerman Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 03:51 PM
I took this from another thread where I thought this cool comparison was getting buried.
The first thing I did after listening to Kana Mimaki's beautiful Liebestraum on a Bosendorfer was to immediately listen to the Pandolfi recording on a Steingraeber. How can any piano nut resist? smile
Here we have 2 outstanding pianists playing the same piece of music on 2 well prepared pianos.
It is of course not an ideal comparison. The Bose is 2 feet longer, the pianos are played by different people, they are recorded by different people in different spaces etc., but I think it is still very interesting to put these 2 top quality instruments with such different voices side by side.
FWIW the Steingraeber is a sold instrument belonging to one of the forum regulars.
The volume of each video differs, so, it helps to adjust the volume to be more similar.
Enjoy!

[video:youtube]PtHhAuSptpY[/video]

Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 04:25 PM
Keith,

The problem remains that you are a Steingraeber dealer. "PianoCraft" is all over the video and it is not a submission from a private owner.

How can you maintain that you are not pushing a particular brand? It's called marketing.
Posted By: ClsscLib Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 04:47 PM
Both beautiful performances on fantastic pianos.

Thanks for posting those, Keith. I found both very illuminating and inspiring.
Posted By: Keith D Kerman Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 05:02 PM
Marty,
This is a truly interesting comparison. This is exactly the kind of thing that people who read this forum find useful.
Please don't distract from this interesting thread.

Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 05:06 PM
@Minnesota Marty, you are right [with sad realization].

However, it would still be nice to be able to discuss the differences. These are both nice pianos that I think demonstrate the difference in tonal qualities based on their fundamental construction philosophies. A viennese sound--with a thin and comparatively flexible rim--does much better with loud and punchy attacks, whereas a solid rim--which is intended to keep the energy on the board--does better with a fuller forward singing tone. One rarely gets to hear these difference side-by-side so clearly...
Posted By: ClsscLib Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 05:06 PM
I'd love to see recordings of the same piece on Steinway, Grotrian, and Fazioli grands. And it wouldn't bother me if dealers arranged the recordings. Not everyone has access to pianos of that quality.
Posted By: scholarr Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 05:36 PM
I must say I prefer Pandolfi's playing.
Posted By: David-G Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 06:41 PM
Why does the dog not act as a large damper?
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 06:51 PM
@David-G, because she is not laying on the strings; that is the capo section of the piano and the speaking length is on the opposite side of that bar. ;-)
Posted By: Norbert Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 08:18 PM
Call it marketing or whatever: I liked the Steingraeber myself much better!
Cream- puff...

Were I a Boesendorfer deale, would immediately counter-attack with a video of my own.

Out of fairness to all parties however, won't do this with a Ritmuller.

Norbert grin
Posted By: Withindale Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 08:24 PM
The dog sparked my interest. For comparison, here is some more Liszt on Bosendorfer from the Klangraum 2012 festival in Austria:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0C16E9-Shts
http://klangraum.waidhofen.at/klangraum/videos/
Posted By: lluiscl Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 08:29 PM
Both grands and pianists are great (Pandolfi more virtuose) as well as the recordings. In my headphones the Steingraeber sounds sweeter than usual in this brand and the Bosy a little sour in the contralto section (with the Bb4 unison not perfect at the end...).
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 08:31 PM
An immediate counter-attack? LOL...really?!?
Posted By: Dwscamel Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 08:32 PM
I don't see this as marketing any more than the forum practices of defending Steinway constantly or comparing the merits of XYZ pianos are thought of as marketing. If Keith weren't a dealer, this would be okay, right? The first is a sold piano, as he mentioned, so I don't see the big deal -- the videos are interesting and of high-quality, and they only represent positive things about the two piano makers (and the pianists playing them) -- they're not an invitation to go buy from a particular dealer.

EDIT: I immensely enjoyed seeing the dog react to the music smile.
Posted By: Alex Hernandez Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 08:42 PM
Both videos are lovely. Both instruments are prepared to a very high standard and played by a gifted pianist. I find it a bit difficult to really assess the true musicality of an instrument via a professional video presentation when conditions are so close to optimal.

I submit this video of a Blüthner from an amateur hobbyist. The piano is out of tune and the micing leaves much to be desired, but there is a soul that is unique and identifiable as Blüthner.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06uHLY9eUvA

Imagine what a Blüthner would sound like if conditions were optimal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0l6Ev3Cwnk

wink

Posted By: Keith D Kerman Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 08:57 PM
Alex,

So nice to hear from you. I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the first Bluthner. The Bluthner concert grand sounds exceptional in the Bach.
Posted By: Alex Hernandez Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 09:49 PM
Keith,

My compliments on the 232, what an instrument!

I hope all is well with you and yours.

-Alex
Posted By: ando Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 10:57 PM
It's not a fair comparison because the Bösendorfer is in a small domestic space, while the Steingräber is in a larger reverberant space.

So it's a comparison of two very different pianos in very different spaces, with pianists of a very different nature. What exactly are we trying to learn from this?
Posted By: Withindale Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/19/14 11:21 PM
Originally Posted by Withindale
The dog sparked my interest. For comparison, here is some more Liszt on Bosendorfer from the Klangraum 2012 festival in Austria.






Other Bosendorfer videos from the Klangraum 2012-13 festivals: http://klangraum.waidhofen.at/klangraum/videos/

Posted By: WimPiano Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 10:14 AM
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
I'd love to see recordings of the same piece on Steinway, Grotrian, and Fazioli grands. And it wouldn't bother me if dealers arranged the recordings. Not everyone has access to pianos of that quality.

Me too.
Originally Posted by scholarr
I must say I prefer Pandolfi's playing.

Me too. But I prefer the tone of the Bösendorfer.
Posted By: LJC Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 01:48 PM
I would never base my opinion of a piano on a recording. I've heard recordings then gone and played the same piano afterward and usually left with the impression that the piano didn't sound much like the recording.
Posted By: ClsscLib Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 02:15 PM
Originally Posted by LJC
I would never base my opinion of a piano on a recording. I've heard recordings then gone and played the same piano afterward and usually left with the impression that the piano didn't sound much like the recording.


A recording is better than no direct info at all on a piano's sound. Piano buyer and PW posts, as good as they are, are just descriptions of sound and action. Playing the actual instrument, of course, is better than listening to a recording.

I can say with some confidence that the Pandolfi recording fairly depicts the sound of that particular piano.
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 02:21 PM
Seriously: is there anyone out there that has an interest in discussing non-commercial agendas? There are so many issues pertaining to artistry that could be discussed with these two videos. Does anyone care, or is this forum a litmus test for the current state of the arts?

1. Artistic Interpretation
How close do each of the pianist come to what is indicated in the score? Are either pianist doing anything artistically unique/special, especially that which is inline with the composer's implied instructions? This piece is essentially about old bitchy love that has weathered the test of time. She wishes he'd die already and fantasizes about standing at he's grave--that's when she begins to realizes that she would miss him; she begins to understand that they should cherish every moment together. In order to get her to this realization, the poem depicts intense graveyard lamentations (i.e., this is not a romantic Disney love story of fairy-tail romance). How did these pianists convey that in their interpretations? Are the pianists using the limitations of each of the pianos to their advantage when presenting their ideas? Were they thinking about anything?

2. Pianist Technique
Both of these pianists use their body and muscles in a different an interesting manner; that alone is worthy of a discussion. How did they use their shoulders, their arms, their fingers to bring forth their intended musical ideas? Was there anything unhealthy or distracting with their motions?

3. Piano Sounds
How were the pianos tuned, voiced, and regulated? There may be a lot going on here. Could anything be improved? The fundamental sound concepts are drastically different between these two pianos: one has more punch and the other has more body. In piano design, you must decide where on this spectrum you wish to fall: if you expend more energy in the attack, there is not as much left over for the body (i.e., decay portion of the sound). There are times when both of these approaches in performance are seriously needed (e.g., in terms of genre, performance space, etc.). There is no such thing as the ideal piano: we need variety--we need the extremes and we need everything in the middle!

4. Recording
It might be interesting for people to know what, if any, post-production enhancements were done to the audio. Where were the microphones placed--what kinds were they? Was there anything special done to eliminate unnecessary room noise? What about the lighting: any special concerns/approaches? What kind of format are people recording in these days? Can anyone do that at home, or is the equipment prohibitively expensive? What might the people who made these videos do better for the next time?
Posted By: Keith D Kerman Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 05:11 PM
So, just to have more fun, here is another recording of the same piece on a concert grand Steingraeber ( the other was a smaller piano being compared to the Bose Imperial )
Unfortunately, the sound quality in this one is just from the video recorder's mic, so the recorded sound leaves much to be desired. Still, it is fun to happen to have yet another excellent performance of the same music on a different Steingraeber. You may notice this piano to have a much brighter sound. Part of that is the quality camcorder mic up too close, but it is also that this piano is voiced to project and cut through a large reverberant room.

Posted By: Grandman Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 05:27 PM
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by LJC
I would never base my opinion of a piano on a recording. I've heard recordings then gone and played the same piano afterward and usually left with the impression that the piano didn't sound much like the recording.


A recording is better than no direct info at all on a piano's sound. Piano buyer and PW posts, as good as they are, are just descriptions of sound and action. Playing the actual instrument, of course, is better than listening to a recording.

I can say with some confidence that the Pandolfi recording fairly depicts the sound of that particular piano.


Right, its better than nothing at all. I, for one, appreciate videos of pianos posted by anyone.
Posted By: MiguelAngel07 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 05:43 PM
"Seriously: is there anyone out there that has an interest in discussing non-commercial agendas? There are so many issues pertaining to artistry that could be discussed with these two videos. Does anyone care, or is this forum a litmus test for the current state of the arts?"

As a newcomer to the world of pianos, I would certainly love to see a discourse along the lines suggested by "A443". After reading the questions asked on his/her post, I was able to gain so much from watching the two videos again.

Could you guys/gals take a stab at commenting and answering the questions asked?

Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 05:47 PM
Generally, it is in the Pianist Corner that questions of performance are discussed. This forum is focused on the piano as an instrument, rather than the technical and artistic skills of playing.
Posted By: ClsscLib Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 05:49 PM
Originally Posted by MiguelAngel07
"Seriously: is there anyone out there that has an interest in discussing non-commercial agendas? There are so many issues pertaining to artistry that could be discussed with these two videos. Does anyone care, or is this forum a litmus test for the current state of the arts?"

As a newcomer to the world of pianos, I would certainly love to see a discourse along the lines suggested by "A443". After reading the questions asked on his/her post, I was able to gain so much from watching the two videos again.

Could you guys/gals take a stab at commenting and answering the questions asked?



To be fair, the "Piano Forum" is a forum about instruments. That's what we discuss here.

The Adult Beginner's Forum is about music-making aimed at those who start (or re-start) piano as adults.

The Pianist Corner Forum is where I would expect the focus of the discussion to be precisely what A443 proposes.

So yes, there is a place for that discussion. But no, this isn't necessarily the ideal place.
Posted By: MiguelAngel07 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 05:50 PM
In particular, the following quote from A443 was very insightful:

"3. Piano Sounds
How were the pianos tuned, voiced, and regulated? There may be a lot going on here. Could anything be improved? The fundamental sound concepts are drastically different between these two pianos: one has more punch and the other has more body. In piano design, you must decide where on this spectrum you wish to fall: if you expend more energy in the attack, there is not as much left over for the body (i.e., decay portion of the sound). There are times when both of these approaches in performance are seriously needed (e.g., in terms of genre, performance space, etc.). There is no such thing as the ideal piano: we need variety--we need the extremes and we need everything in the middle!"

After reading it, I was better able to understand fundamental differences between these two great pianos.

A discussion along these lines would be quite useful and pertinent to the nature of this particular forum.
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 06:55 PM
uhhhhh...well...mmmm....I guess my point was: perhaps we could talk about ANY aspect of piano that doesn't lead to a commercial agenda. That is not interesting; that is not a discussion; that just is...[stupid].

OK, so we shouldn't talk about technical and artistic aspects and how they relate to and influence each of the performances; that's fine. But, there are still so many things that we could discuss about the pianos in the two examples. Right?

I'll start:
One of the aspects I find amazing about a 290 is that the extra strings can be timed early to enhance the reverberance of the room. This is easily adjustable, and gives the pianist some control over the 'wetness' of the room's sound. At c.1:30 on this recording you can hear this effect pretty well. TIP: listen to the video at 1080; the audio is less compressed.
[video:youtube]PtHhAuSptpY[/video]
Posted By: Withindale Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 07:23 PM
Originally Posted by A443
TIP: listen to the video at 1080; the audio is less compressed.

Seems to 360 only, how to listen at 1080?
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 07:44 PM
@Withindale, as of right now, it seems like you I can only change the setting to 720 from within this context. It is probably best to click on the YouTube icon on the lower right of the screen and view it from the YouTube page. There you can select 1080p setting with the gear-looking icon (i.e., settings) on the bottom of the view screen.

Also, if you want to hear what I am talking about, earphones would be helpful if your environment is too noisy.
Posted By: Withindale Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 08:24 PM
@A443, here in Suffolk, England, YouTube offers only 360p for Kima Mimaki and 480p for Thomas Pandolfi so I'm still wondering about the "wetness" of a room's sound!
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 09:29 PM
@Withindale, I'm not sure why only 360 is offered in your location...

You can still hear it at 360p though. At 1:31-1:33, you are not hearing pedal (i.e., the dampers are all down on the strings, except for the extra bass notes)--you are ONLY hearing sympathetic reverberation coming from the lowest octave [C0 to B-flat0] at that timing; the dampers go down on the strings at 1:30.

Naturally, this effect is also happening throughout the entire time the piano is being play; the only difference being that at this special point in the recording, that is the ONLY kind of sound that is being heard (i.e., it is similar to the reverberance of a larger hall)--the rest of the time, notes that have been struck are also sounding, so it is much harder to isolate the effect.

If anyone really wants to hear this, please use earphones--it's really soft at that section.
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/20/14 11:50 PM
re: room wetness via the extra bass notes on a 290

Here is a different example of how the extra bass strings can be adjust to make the room more reverberant; this is a slightly different set-up than the Liebesträume example. It is the same piano, in the same small dry space (i.e., the living room/kitchen is c.200 sq ft). There is no post-processing of the audio--no reverb, no EQ, and the mics are internal from the camera.

In this example, the dampers on the extra bass notes never come completely down on the strings. It is arguably a bit too much reverb, but at least it demonstrates what is possible with extra bass strings/notes:
[video:youtube]_bKZFVUwQqg[/video]
Posted By: Withindale Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/21/14 08:31 AM
@443, I hear what you say about the reverb.

Incidentally the Burgmüller comes up at 1080 within PW but only at 360 on YT. This piece of Liszt allows HD in YT here in Suffolk:

Posted By: Withindale Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/21/14 08:45 AM
Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
I think it is ... very interesting to put these 2 top quality instruments with such different voices side by side.

Keith,

In his opinion in this blog the HighEndPianoGuy says Bösendorfers are low rim tension pianos while Steingraebers are high rim tension instruments.

Would you and others agree that is significant to their tone?
Posted By: Joseph Fleetwood Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/21/14 09:55 AM
I can't tell which piano I prefer, but I can tell which recorded sound I prefer, and I prefer the Bosendorfer between the Steingraeber and the Bosendorfer, and the Bluthner concert grand above them both. I think in this case it has less to do with the actual pianos and more to do with microphone placement or recording type, because when I've heard these models in the flesh I've thought they were all equally beautiful.
Posted By: Rich Galassini Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/21/14 12:59 PM
Originally Posted by joe80
I think in this case it has less to do with the actual pianos and more to do with microphone placement or recording type, because when I've heard these models in the flesh I've thought they were all equally beautiful.


This is a perceptive statement, joe80. In reality, if we do not know what mic. type and placement is used or if the video/audio went through any processing post recording, anything like these video comparisons are misleading to the listener.

Having siad that, while I have my preferences, I can confidently say that all the instruments in these videos are very fine pianos.

My 2 cents,
Posted By: AJF Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/21/14 06:02 PM
Originally Posted by ando
It's not a fair comparison because the Bösendorfer is in a small domestic space, while the Steingräber is in a larger reverberant space.

So it's a comparison of two very different pianos in very different spaces, with pianists of a very different nature. What exactly are we trying to learn from this?


+1

Funny how often the most sensible posts go unnoticed here...
Posted By: phantomFive Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/22/14 03:42 AM
Originally Posted by AJF
Originally Posted by ando
It's not a fair comparison because the Bösendorfer is in a small domestic space, while the Steingräber is in a larger reverberant space.

So it's a comparison of two very different pianos in very different spaces, with pianists of a very different nature. What exactly are we trying to learn from this?


+1

Funny how often the most sensible posts go unnoticed here...

The thing that stood out to me the most between the two pianos is that one sounded poorly regulated. I won't say which, but I might by hyper-sensitive to regulation difference due to recent events.
Posted By: Keith D Kerman Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/22/14 06:42 PM
Originally Posted by phantomFive

The thing that stood out to me the most between the two pianos is that one sounded poorly regulated. I won't say which, but I might by hyper-sensitive to regulation difference due to recent events.


I just listened very carefully to both recordings and I didn't hear anything that would lead me to believe that either piano is anything but extremely well regulated.
Both pianists do some very subtle playing that would be extremely difficult on a piano that was not well regulated.

There is no way that I would be able to credit anything I heard on either recording to regulation rather than actual performance or interpretive choice.

The Steingraeber was certainly well regulated and I didn't hear anything that would lead me to believe the Bose was anything but well regulated as well.

I thought the Bose sounded very nicely voiced and of course, I like the voicing on the Steingraeber very much as well.

Posted By: Keith D Kerman Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/22/14 06:53 PM
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by joe80
I think in this case it has less to do with the actual pianos and more to do with microphone placement or recording type, because when I've heard these models in the flesh I've thought they were all equally beautiful.


This is a perceptive statement, joe80. In reality, if we do not know what mic. type and placement is used or if the video/audio went through any processing post recording, anything like these video comparisons are misleading to the listener.

Having siad that, while I have my preferences, I can confidently say that all the instruments in these videos are very fine pianos.

My 2 cents,


In my first post I clearly point out that this is for fun and I go on to point out several reasons why it is far from an ideal comparison.
Does anyone here think that listening to a recording on YouTube is anything but a big compromise?
Everyone is also listening through different systems with different speakers and at different volumes in different acoustics.
Even with all that, I could clearly hear the Bosendorfer voice and the Steingraeber voice and I am glad there were several besides me who found it interesting to listen to the same piece on both well prepared instruments being played at a very high standard.

Posted By: Joseph Fleetwood Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/22/14 07:20 PM
sorry Keith I didn't mean to upset you.

OK, I trust your judgement that the recordings capture the characteristics of the pianos in question. The Bosendorfer to me sounds more 'spread', almost like there is a space between each key, like surround sound.

The Steingraeber sounds more focused, like it's more directed into one particular area.

I'd have either at home.
Posted By: Keith D Kerman Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/22/14 07:26 PM
Originally Posted by joe80
sorry Keith I didn't mean to upset you.

OK, I trust your judgement that the recordings capture the characteristics of the pianos in question. The Bosendorfer to me sounds more 'spread', almost like there is a space between each key, like surround sound.

The Steingraeber sounds more focused, like it's more directed into one particular area.

I'd have either at home.


So would I! You didn't upset me at all, sorry if I am coming off maybe a little too caffeinated.....
I am at an advantage with the Steingraeber since I know intimately how that piano sounds in person and what the recording captures. I am at the same disadvantage as you with the Bose, except I have heard enough of them in person to feel like I could clearly hear its voice in spite of the limitations of listening to YouTube through a computer.
Posted By: ClsscLib Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/22/14 07:31 PM
Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Originally Posted by joe80
sorry Keith I didn't mean to upset you.

OK, I trust your judgement that the recordings capture the characteristics of the pianos in question. The Bosendorfer to me sounds more 'spread', almost like there is a space between each key, like surround sound.

The Steingraeber sounds more focused, like it's more directed into one particular area.

I'd have either at home.


So would I!...


Make me an offer I can't refuse, Keith.
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/22/14 08:18 PM
@joe80, I think your "spread" comment is right on track--in fact, I think it also goes to answering Withindale's question about rim tension. Though I'm not so sure I like that terminology, I believe the main difference in the sound is an issues of the rim, and that "spaciness" is the result of that construction.

These are two extremes in construction philosophy, and It is amazing that we can contrast these two main components of sound over the internet. Hopefully there will be more videos in the future, no?
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 09:46 AM
That 'spread' kind of sound also explains why the 290 is not necessarily an ideal choice for concerti--mostly, pianists are looking for something to cut through the orchestra. Vocalists, in comparison, are not looking for that. Hence, we need variety.
Posted By: Joseph Fleetwood Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 10:08 AM
I agree, and I think that's where Steinway has conquered the market in concert grand manufacture (although there are others).

I've seen a few Bosendorfers in concerto performances, and pre WW2 there were many other makes used for them - Ibach, Grotrian, Bechstein and Bluthner. Bechstein, Bluthner and Fazioli are making a comeback in the concerto circuit (well, Fazioli isn't a comeback but you get my drift), but I still feel that in a large hall with a large orchestra, Steinway is unmatched.

I mean, sometimes Steinway works in chamber and song settings too - it depends on the acoustic of the venue, and how that piano has been voiced, but I know many singers prefer their lied on a Bosendorfer. I think variety is very important actually, and I think it's incredibly important that pianists get used to all different types of pianos in all different types of situations. Most of us on the concert circuit are not lucky enough to specify what kind of piano we want, and just have to cope with what's there - be it a crappy old piano with no sound left, or be it the most beautiful piano that a tree has ever given birth to!
Posted By: Withindale Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 12:57 PM
@A443, I eventually got Kana Mimaki at 1080, quite different. Like Bosendorfer, but in a different direction, I suspect (from recordings) that M & H is another brand that owes its character to rim construction.

Now that Steinway has come into the picture, here are three recordings of the same piece played by Jorg Hanselmann, its composer, on Steingraeber, Steinway and, for good measure, Borgato to compare.







Enjoy!
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 01:13 PM
Hi Ian - Thanks for posting those examples. It's great to have some recordings with the same acoustics and same recording techniques employed. The Steingraeber and the Hamburg sounded to true to what my ear tells me I should expect. I have never had the chance to hear a Borgato before, either on recording or playing one in person. I was surprised that the sound is so thin in the high treble.
Posted By: Karl Watson Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 01:47 PM
Ian and fellow forum members:

This is a fascinating and informative exercise. Thank you very much Ian for making it possible.

The following is my reaction to the three samples and represents my opinion ONLY and is not meant to get up anyone's nose or cause offense in any way.

The first, the Steingraeber, is beautiful, so wonderfully beautiful, and represents the culmination, the perfecting of all that I would call the middle-European piano aesthetic. With the greatest respect to our brother Rich, if one put together a cocktail of the three Bs, this Steingraeber is an example of something that is greater than the sum of those parts. It's an entrancingly beautiful sound.

It's very difficult for me to assess the S&S sample, esp. for someone born in the rural mid-West in the post-war period. Like Rubinstein's Chopin, the Steinway sound is the last thing I hear in my head before sleep and the first in the morning ! This is a fine example and I love it. Everything has extensive harmonic development and a bit more roundness than the Steingraeber. I think that it must be a Hamburg piano and represents an ideal for which they alone own the patent ! One has the sense of significant power in reserve.

I liked this particular Borgato NOT AT ALL. The tenor is clunky and the extreme treble quite remarkably dead.

Just my opinions.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: Joseph Fleetwood Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 02:11 PM
Thanks for that Ian, it's very interesting.

Out of these three, I prefer the Steinway, and he seems to play better on the Steinway.

The Steingraeber has more clarity and a certain inner beauty if you like, but it doesn't seem to sing as well as the Steinway.

The Borgato sounds very ordinary.

Again it comes down to individual pianos than brands in many cases, but these are the sounds I associate with both Steinway and Steingraeber.
Posted By: Joseph Fleetwood Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 02:12 PM
I'd like to hear a Yamaha CFX in the same situation
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 03:24 PM
@Withindale, yes, I agree re:M&H, I think that we are listening to the same aspect of piano sound. And, thank you for the new examples in the same space. This hopefully gives us more to talk about...

While I understand that some people might listen to the recordings and find familiarly with the Steinway's sound--and also may feel bothered by the focused clarity of the other two pianos--I'm curious if you also hear how ugly the Steinway is when Hanselmann tries to layer his texture and bring out more sound? The opening is mellow and comfortable to listen to on the Steinway, but later lacks range and the ability to comfortably sing out the melodic line by balancing out the other aspects that are compositionally going on. Do you hear that, or is that not important to you?

Again, I would recommend listening at the highest setting, which seems to be 480.

We should be grateful to experience these examples, however we still need to account for the pianos being in completely different positions and the voicing done to different styles/standards. Then there is tuning...but that gets complicated...
Posted By: phantomFive Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 03:30 PM
Here are a Bosendoerfer and Steingraeber in a concerto for comparison:



Posted By: Almaviva Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 03:52 PM
Yeah, Joe, throwing the Yamaha into the comparison would be nice. If we wanted to make this the ultimate comparison thread of all time, one would also have Jurg Hanselmann playing this same "Romance" on the Estonia L274, Mason & Hamlin CC, Schimmel K280, Grotrian 277, August Forster 275, Bluthner Model 1, Seiler 278, Shigeru Kawai SK-EXL, Petrof P284, Faziolli 278 (or 308), Sauter 275, and C. Bechstein D282. We would have the same pianist playing the same composition in the same acoustic venue, with the same recording equipment and microphone setup, on virtually every performance-grade concert grand out there.

I suspect Herr Hanselmann would probably be sick of his own composition by the end of that marathon, however! grin
Posted By: sophial Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 06:14 PM
Also, I think that might not be the best piece to use in such a comparison. It's fairly restricted in dynamics, mood and tonal color range, and does not really explore or use the full range of the instrument. Maybe a selection of different pieces would be needed to accomplish this but I found this one fairly limited.
Posted By: Joseph Fleetwood Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 07:35 PM
I don't feel bothered by the focused clarity of the other two pianos, no it's not that. I don't know what it 'is' exactly, other than I just quite like that Steinway more than I like that Steingraeber or that Borgato in that recording.

I think the Steinway sound is actually designed not to have such a focused clarity - so that chords sound like chords rather than layered notes (am I making sense?). It's just a different concept of how a piano should sound.

Actually it's quite interesting that all the other European pianos - Bechstein, Bluthner, Steingraeber, Bosendorfer, Fazioli anyway, have that kind of clarity, but then they don't have the same power. It's not that they can't be as loud, per se, it's like they don't have the same level of saturation.

What is interesting to me is that he plays slightly differently on each piano. That's probably partly to do with the fact that nobody ever really plays the same way twice, but it could be also that different instruments inspire different qualities in the same pianist. I find that I don't play the same way on a Bosendorfer as I do on a Steinway for instance.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 07:49 PM
Originally Posted by joe80
I find that I don't play the same way on a Bosendorfer as I do on a Steinway for instance.

I couldn't agree more.

I also agree with you on the layered, inner clarity of a Steinway. Even more so on the Astoria issues. With a Bosey, it's possible to become quickly overwhelmed with overtones and try to fight for balance clarity.
Posted By: LJC Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 07:56 PM
" I think that it must be a Hamburg piano and represents an ideal for which they alone own the patent !"

Yes, That is a Hamburg. You can tell by the rounded arms and by the one piece fall board. (no hinge)

"I'm curious if you also hear how ugly the Steinway is"

Nope - can't hear an ugly sound at all....

I never trust recordings to judge sound quality of a piano anyway. Nowadays you can't even trust live sound all the time because some of the showrooms have secret sound processing systems. I had one demonstrated to me. It does enhance the sound significantly.
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 08:22 PM
Basically, this piece requires three different pianistic colours: 1) inner melody 2) arpeggio motion/accompaniment in left and right hand, and 3) bass.

I hear the Steinway performing the worst of the three pianos, in terms of drawing out different textures to highlight these compositional aspects. Is this not heard by others?

c.1:33 (inner melodic line vs.right hand motion)
c1:58 (inner melodic line vs.right hand motion)
c.3:00 (texture/colour issues among everything going on)
Posted By: PianoWorksATL Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 08:37 PM
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by joe80
I think the Steinway sound is actually designed not to have such a focused clarity - so that chords sound like chords rather than layered notes...

I find that I don't play the same way on a Bosendorfer as I do on a Steinway for instance.

I couldn't agree more.

I also agree with you on the layered, inner clarity of a Steinway. Even more so on the Astoria issues. With a Bosey, it's possible to become quickly overwhelmed with overtones and try to fight for balance clarity.
??? I won't tackle the subjective nature of perception but here you and joe80 refer to the exact opposite observation. So agree on the first part, disagree on the second? Or maybe I'm just puzzled by the dichotomy of layered & clarity.
Posted By: Withindale Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 09:27 PM
Well, A443, you put me on the spot.

At the start I agreed with Joe and my feeling was Jorg Hanselmann seemed a bit diffident about the Steingraeber. Maybe that's part of what Joe meant by playing the Steinway better. Later the Steingraeber seemed to come into its own, particularly in the passages you mentioned.

A few months ago Jorg mentioned they were both fine instruments and his choice on the day would depend on his mood.

Of the two, were I an accomplished pianist with a budget, I'd go for the Steingraeber but then I might be able to bring the best out of a Bosendorfer.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 11:19 PM
Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by joe80
I think the Steinway sound is actually designed not to have such a focused clarity - so that chords sound like chords rather than layered notes...

I find that I don't play the same way on a Bosendorfer as I do on a Steinway for instance.

I couldn't agree more.

I also agree with you on the layered, inner clarity of a Steinway. Even more so on the Astoria issues. With a Bosey, it's possible to become quickly overwhelmed with overtones and try to fight for balance clarity.
??? I won't tackle the subjective nature of perception but here you and joe80 refer to the exact opposite observation. So agree on the first part, disagree on the second? Or maybe I'm just puzzled by the dichotomy of layered & clarity.

Hi Sam,

I agree, I didn't state my intention well. The S&S forms a cohesive chordal sound where the intervals intertwine, for lack of a better word, than other pianos. Yet, the intervals remain distinct. It becomes like the sound of a truly fine wind section in a great orchestra. The individual personalities remain, but form a 'different' whole. It's hard to explain. The Bosendorfer is so harmonic/overtone rich that thick chordal passages, at higher volume levels, become somewhat of an overall muddle of "sonic splendor."

This is truly difficult to put into words. In simple terms, a major triad seems to be comfortable with itself.
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 11:31 PM
Minnesota Marty, that is a very good description!
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/24/14 11:33 PM
Thanks
Posted By: PianoWorksATL Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/25/14 12:37 AM
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
This is truly difficult to put into words. In simple terms, a major triad seems to be comfortable with itself.
I follow your observation, especially for Steinway, but I think different forces are at work.

Most notably in NY Steinway, you have the tone, the distant harmonics that give depth and the nearby harmonics that contribute to a thicker sound. The chords resolve well because of these nearby harmonics that settle into each other. With Bösendorfer, you have the tone and strong distant harmonics at regular intervals but fewer nearby harmonics. Here, a chord retains the individual notes more strongly for different effect.

If you ever want to quickly hear the difference, play a dissonant chord on the two back to back or, even more simple, play two adjacent notes. On the Steinway, the dissonance softens but on the Bösendorfer, the dissonance carries all the way. The sustain on Bösendorfer from pp to ff will hover almost supernaturally. For this reason, I've always thought Bösendorfer makes the best jazz piano because the chord expression can really wrench at the audience, push them up and pull them down, before letting them relax in a nice, resolved chord - even at lower dynamic levels. This is an unusual quality.

For these reasons, I associate Bösendorfer with clarity and Steinway with a more round, also beautiful character.

Separately, you mentioned the difference at higher dynamic levels. NY Steinway is readily associated with their growl, sonically speaking, a pleasing distortion that changes the tone radically as you reach forte and above. This is fun, predictable and controllable for amateurs and experts alike. Bösendofer's tone changes more evenly and actively resists this distortion point until the highest dynamic levels. I don't think it is about clarity, but it certainly is a different philosophy of design. When you finally reach that distortion point on a Bösendorfer, it is surprising and yes, a little violent, less likely to hover when compared to Steinway.

Sorry to sidetrack around Steingraeber. I've had fewer opportunities to enjoy them or compare side by side.
Posted By: master88er Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/25/14 12:48 AM
Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL

Sorry to sidetrack around Steingraeber. I've had fewer opportunities to enjoy them or compare side by side.


Well Sam, you're welcome to come visit - and I'll throw in a Napa Valley wine tasting! Probably best if we do that AFTER you compare the instruments though whistle
Posted By: PianoWorksATL Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/25/14 01:11 AM
Originally Posted by master88er
Well Sam, you're welcome to come visit - and I'll throw in a Napa Valley wine tasting! Probably best if we do that AFTER you compare the instruments though whistle
Cheers! I'll be in touch.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/25/14 01:17 AM
Sam, hold out for a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Delightful!

(If only the train had both a Steingraeber and a Bosendorfer)
Posted By: PianoWorksATL Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/25/14 01:46 AM
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Sam, hold out for a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train.

Delightful!

(If only the train had both a Steingraeber and a Bosendorfer)
Even without a piano, that sounds like a stylish way to tour wine country.
Posted By: sophial Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/25/14 02:12 AM
Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
This is truly difficult to put into words. In simple terms, a major triad seems to be comfortable with itself.


Separately, you mentioned the difference at higher dynamic levels. NY Steinway is readily associated with their growl, sonically speaking, a pleasing distortion that changes the tone radically as you reach forte and above. This is fun, predictable and controllable for amateurs and experts alike. Bösendofer's tone changes more evenly and actively resists this distortion point until the highest dynamic levels. I don't think it is about clarity, but it certainly is a different philosophy of design. When you finally reach that distortion point on a Bösendorfer, it is surprising and yes, a little violent, less likely to hover when compared to Steinway.



My experience is that the Bosendorfer doesn't have as much "headroom" as the Steinway and the sound will get strained at a lower volume level in the Bosie than in the Steinway. I feel like they hit that distortion point sooner, and not in a particularly good way. The Bosie has many strengths but that's not one of them IMO.
Posted By: Almaviva Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/25/14 02:29 AM
That was a very good comparison of the Steinway and Bosendorfer design philosophies, Sam.

There are three other performance-grade piano lines that you carry - Estonia, Grotrian and Seiler. Can you compare them to Steinway and Bosendorfer?
Posted By: PianoWorksATL Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/25/14 08:02 PM
Originally Posted by Almaviva
There are three other performance-grade piano lines that you carry - Estonia, Grotrian and Seiler. Can you compare them to Steinway and Bosendorfer?
It's natural to talk about the characteristics of concert grands as exemplar of these brands. For Steinway & Bösendorfer, I've had many experiences. I've had a few with Estonia beyond ours but only a few experiences with the largest Grotrian and only 1 with the largest Seiler.

I started to write about these but realized without the more opposing philosophies like Steinway vs. Bösendorfer, talking about the differences is talking in space.

At some point, I may be able to have a comparison recording of Bösie 200, Estonia L210, Grotrian 208 & Seiler 208. That would be a fun project.
Posted By: Keith D Kerman Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/25/14 08:18 PM
Someone just brought to my attention an older thread that compares a Steinway B and a Steingraeber 205. Same pianist, same music, same space, same piano tech, same recording equipment etc. The original videos no longer linked since we have subsequently changed our youtube channel. I figured I would link it here since it seems to be the kind of thing people in this thread find interesting.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/2267009.html#Post2267009
Posted By: Ori Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 12:33 AM
I must admit that I started reading this thread but after Alex's pot with the Bluthner recording skipped to post these lines.

I find that recordings are far from ideal to try and compare pianos.
Not only the acoustics, recording, piano preparation and players are different...but more importantly, some pianos have a presence that can rarely be captured even with high level recordings.

In addition...comparing concert grands played by professionals may be interesting if one wanted a concert grand for a room with 1200 people... and can play at such high level.
However, my guess is that most readers on this forum will be more interested in a comparison of home size pianos of this caliber...and the best purposes and uses in which they excel.

So for Keith, Alex and the others who expressed interest in such a comparison:

You have an open invitation to visit Allegro Pianos, which is the only place in the country where you can actually try many models of Bosendorfer, Steingraeber and Bluthner side by side...in the same quiet acoustics and prepared to their utmost by the same person.

Before you post more videos with the name of your store attached at the bottom for the good of all interested...just come by our Stamford showroom...when you can start with the Steingraeber 170, Bosendorfer 170 and Bluthner model 10.

Then, move to the Steingraeber 192, Bosendorfer models 185 / 200 and Bluthner model 6.
after a short rest you can move to test the Steingraeber 212, Bosendorfer 214 and Bluthner model 4..,and finally, try the Steingraber 232, Bosendorfer 225 and Bluthner model 2.

Of course, we have many other very fine pianos on the showroom floor, if you think you can handle the flavors and some concert grands as well...

So by all means, instead of analyzing videos make the time to visit here and post your impressions and input of these pianos afterwords.
Coffee and cake on me! smile

Oh...and Kieth, my friend, given that you know that such a comparison of so many high level European pianos is not available anywhere in the united states (even, including and perhaps especially at NAMM) do you think readers of this forum will find such a visit interesting and the ensued discussion rewarding?






Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 01:34 AM
Oooooooh - The plot thickens.
Posted By: LJC Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 02:16 AM
"I hear the Steinway performing the worst of the three pianos, in terms of drawing out different textures to highlight these compositional aspects. Is this not heard by others?"

Nope.
Posted By: Almaviva Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 02:59 AM
He does have a point. In addition to Bluthner, Bosendorfer, and Steingraeber, Ori also carries the Estonia and August Forster lines. I salivate at the prospect of a marathon audition of five performance-grade marques under one roof!

If my left arm ever recovers permanently, I have gotta get up to Stamford, Connecticut ... and New York ... and Philadelphia ... and Atlanta! Surely a piano suitable for me exists within the confines of those four cities! eek
Posted By: Keith D Kerman Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 03:21 AM
Hello Ori,

Congratulations on having a showroom with such expensive pianos. I have heard favorable reports from people who have visited your establishment. I have encouraged several people interested in expensive pianos to visit your store.
As my time and energy are limited, it is unlikely I would visit your store in the near future, although I must admit, I am sure I would enjoy seeing the way it is set up, and I have no doubt the coffee and cake would at least be first rate.

I wish you continued success with your retail establishment.
Posted By: Karl Watson Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 11:37 AM
Dear Sophial:

Not to strike a combative tone, but the Bosendorfer is the only middle-European piano that I've played that I couldn't play through, for want of a better expression, whose tone would not collapse and distort when played fff. All the others, without exception, cried "Help ! Stop that !"

Of course, I'm excepting Hamburg Steinways.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 01:07 PM
@karl Watson, that "playing through" sound you write about is a function of the treble strings cutting into the capo bar--this happens on ALL pianos; some worse than others. Surprising to most people: this is even prevalent in brand new pianos, and only worsens with time and tuning!

The great thing with the Bösendorfer design: one can loosen the string tension, remove and polish the underside of the bar, and have the piano back up to concert standards within a day. This is excellent for maintaining high concert standards; this logistically doesn't work with the other pianos.
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 01:19 PM
Ori, how many hours of technical work and concert preparation have been done to the pianos that you are trying to sell? If people take the time to travel to your store, are they going to see all of those pianos you mention in the same extraordinarily high concert standards that this thread is discussing?
Posted By: LJC Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 01:41 PM
Ori - if you end up hosting a special day for these comparisons I would love to visit your showroom once again.
Posted By: Joseph Fleetwood Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 03:06 PM
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by joe80
I think the Steinway sound is actually designed not to have such a focused clarity - so that chords sound like chords rather than layered notes...

I find that I don't play the same way on a Bosendorfer as I do on a Steinway for instance.

I couldn't agree more.

I also agree with you on the layered, inner clarity of a Steinway. Even more so on the Astoria issues. With a Bosey, it's possible to become quickly overwhelmed with overtones and try to fight for balance clarity.
??? I won't tackle the subjective nature of perception but here you and joe80 refer to the exact opposite observation. So agree on the first part, disagree on the second? Or maybe I'm just puzzled by the dichotomy of layered & clarity.

Hi Sam,

I agree, I didn't state my intention well. The S&S forms a cohesive chordal sound where the intervals intertwine, for lack of a better word, than other pianos. Yet, the intervals remain distinct. It becomes like the sound of a truly fine wind section in a great orchestra. The individual personalities remain, but form a 'different' whole. It's hard to explain. The Bosendorfer is so harmonic/overtone rich that thick chordal passages, at higher volume levels, become somewhat of an overall muddle of "sonic splendor."

This is truly difficult to put into words. In simple terms, a major triad seems to be comfortable with itself.



Yes, Marty you're absolutely right. I have felt for a long time that at one end of the spectrum there is Steinway, with that cohesive sound that sounds consistent throughout the register, and at the other there is Bluthner or Bechstein, that has a differentiation between each register. The Steingraeber has more differentiation.

I think it's pretty much impossible to say which piano is 'better', it's really a matter of which sound does one prefer.
Posted By: m1990 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 05:48 PM
Good day everyone, my first post but not my first reading of this forum. Thank you for the years of pleasurable and informative readings. I am an adult piano student, learning for the joy of it since 12. I am a music lover but not a musician, so there is no piano expertise or opinion to contribute. I am just now exploring Liszt-Beethoven's 6th Symphony under tight guidance of my teacher, so all I can do is read to learn. This first post is to seek a deeper understanding of a few terms used in the current discussion.

Having practiced on our family Bösendorfer 214, I am confused by terms such as "overtone" (MInnesota Marty), "Headroom" (Sophial), "strain at lower volume" (Sophial), "distortion" (Sophial). The questions below are open to all but especially the original posters.

What is an "overtone" in this context? My teacher has her definitions, so does the web, but it is important to get what is meant here.

"Headroom" is most often heard in describing the ability of an audio amplifier to support short spike in music signal demand. Lack of headroom means lack of power to properly support such spike in signals. The end result is often distortion. My father is an audiophile and we grew up with these terminologies. How does it apply to a piano? How does it apply to a Bösendorfer?

What does the "strain" in "Strain at low volume" really mean? I can understand the word in terms of stereo systems (mine vs. my Dad's) but cannot associate it to a piano.

What does "distortion" mean? In stereo system, distortion often rings our ears or make pieces sound "loud" and hashed; it can happen for a variety of reasons. A high resolution system with inaudible distortion often sounds quiet and beautiful even at "loud" volume; thus the "loud is not loud" adage. How does "distortion" apply to a piano? How does it apply to a Bösendorfer?

I am trying to match what was described here to our own piano and not sure where to start and what to listen for? If what you are discussing is beyond my level, feel free to say so.

Lastly, I have practiced on Steinways of varying sizes in private homes and schools and love how they sound, but each is slightly different especially when we move from size to size. Maintenance level also impact the feel and what can be expressed. Other pianos I have tried are larger Kawais (unsure which model) and Yamaha (CX's?). Trying means playing through several favorite pieces by Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. I have not tried any other European models yet.
Posted By: sophial Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 07:03 PM
m1990,

To me, "headroom" means room for the sound to get more power and volume while maintaining good tone quality -- without the tone sounding strained or distorted as in getting overly shrill, harsh, or breaking apart. The sound can change color of course with volume and get more brilliant, but it maintains its integrity and wholeness. It's absence would be similar to a singer who tries to push volume and the voice starts to get a screamy or shouting quality to it and loses part of the tonal spectrum rather than a continuation of good vocal tone. does that help?

This might be more noticeable in settings calling for more power and volume as in a concert hall or playing a concerto with an orchestra than in a home .

Sophia
Posted By: pianoloverus Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 07:21 PM
On any tier 1 or tier 2(and probably additional tiers)I don't think headroom is ever an issue in a home setting.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 07:42 PM
Hi m1990 - Welcome to Piano World!

You asked about my use of the term "overtone." When hearing any sound generated by vibrations, it is composed of the fundamental, the basic 'note' we hear, and a series of "overtones" which are formed at mathematical intervals above the fundamental. Other terms which are used interchangeably are "partials" and "harmonics." These resultant intervals, with careful listening, can be heard within the single "note." The octave is the easiest to pick out.

The 'sound color' of a given piano string is dependent on the strength of the various overtones (partials/harmonics) of the resulting frequencies. This is what causes Piano-A to sound different from Piano-B. The strength of the vibration, volume, will affect the relative strength of the resulting overtones with greater or lesser energy in the string. I.e.: loud vs. soft, or hard vs. gentle strike force.
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 08:04 PM
Headroom essentially describes the dynamic range ABOVE the comfortable moderate-playing-range of the piano. Once the piano's sound starts to break apart--which is a function of the string groves worn into the capo bar--the headroom is said to be maxed out. NOTE: there are still louder sounds to be drawn out of the instrument, but the sound is, for the most part, ugly/metallic/buzzy/etc.--no amount of voicing will fix this.

The perception of headroom is subjective: some pianos can be controlled at a softer moderate-playing-range, which makes the piano seem like it has a higher headroom. Headroom is rarely thought of in terms of the middle or descant section of the piano, it is mostly a limitation of the melodic section, and sometimes the brassiness of the bass.
Posted By: Almaviva Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 08:26 PM
A443,

Interesting. How often does this procedure have to be done?

Other than Bosendorfer, what other piano manufacturers utilize the removable capo d'astro bar for the treble?
Posted By: A454.7 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/26/14 09:34 PM
@Almaviva, I can't exactly say how often the capo needs to be polished because the issue seems to be exacerbated by a number of variables:

1) excessively heavy hammers in the capo section
2) how frequently the piano is tuned
3) how hard the piano technician renders while tuning (i.e., pounding on the keys to unsure stability)
4) how hard/heavy-handed the pianist(s) plays
5) the make-up/quality of the iron

On concert instruments that demand the highest standard of musical sound, it could be necessary as often as every few months--or at least once before the beginning of each concert season. The procedure can be delayed by slightly moving the string to either the left/right as isolated issues begin to manifest themselves.

The time to polish the capo comes when a note in the melodic section struck at ff produces metallic/buzzing sounds. Many technicians try to mask that problem with hammer voicing, but doing so robs the piano of colour change throughout the dynamic ranges.

Throughout history many, if not most, european piano makers had removable capos. Why? Because it just made a lot more sense to do it that way! I'm not sure what other manufactures today, if any, continue this practice on grand pianos. Most manufactures today simply imitate other, seemingly more successful, piano manufacturers.

Dealing with that problem on a piano like Steinway requires soooooooooo much extra time; most technicians don't even bother unless they are restringing the piano. It CAN be done, but it is VERY time consuming: you need to remove the dampers--which means they then need to be re-regulated afterwards--and instead of polishing the capo along its entire length with one long motion, it is necessary to move the strings to the side and polish the capo note-by-note. It probably takes c.4-6 times longer to fix the issue with a piano using a single-piece-frame design.
Posted By: m1990 Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/27/14 05:53 AM
Thanks Sophia, Marty and A443 for the very informative posts. I now have a head-start at detecting and anticipating potential problems; if they ever occur.

So far, our 214 is functioning "fine", at least within our own home "hall". I will discuss the capo service issue with our technician the next time he comes out. No buzz or headroom problem in that area yet, but good to be prepared.

Thanks again!
Posted By: Ori Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/27/14 01:23 PM
Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Hello Ori,

Congratulations on having a showroom with such expensive pianos. I have heard favorable reports from people who have visited your establishment. I have encouraged several people interested in expensive pianos to visit your store.
As my time and energy are limited, it is unlikely I would visit your store in the near future, although I must admit, I am sure I would enjoy seeing the way it is set up, and I have no doubt the coffee and cake would at least be first rate.

I wish you continued success with your retail establishment.




Keith,

Thank you for your response.
Should you be in the NYC area please make the time to visit as I too believe you'll enjoy it.

As for having so many pianos in the showroom which you refer to as 'expensive'...indeed, Allegro Pianos has by far the most extensive selection of high end pianos in the country...so I'm aware as to how unique is my set up.

However, both from the perspective of someone playing the piano as well as a piano technician, my heart/passion is with the very fine instruments.

I'm sure you too know the difference between price and value...and I consider pianos which are able to create and maintain a player's enthusiasm over years to be the better values.
Such pianos provide 'ordinary' players and families the most joy over extended periods of time.

Of course, I'm also aware that not all customers see things this way...and so I ensure that we have considerable selection pianos at varied price points.

Allegro Pianos is the NYC and Southern NY/CT Kawai dealer...and just like you we have the (wonderful in my opinion) Estonia pianos and work with many Steinway pianos of different vintages.

Of course...we get many trade ins and usually have about 10 other different makes of used pianos within our inventory.

So while having so many pianos sounds great...I bet you know it can also be a confusing experience.
partly for this reason Allegro Pianos NYC showroom (which is certainly no slouch either) has more limited selection in comparison to our Stamford showroom.

Allegro Pianos Stamford showroom was built from the ground up in order to accommodate such a selection without being too 'overwhelming' to the customer.

Should you visit, this aspect may be one of the more interesting for you to consider as a piano store owner.

Of course, I wish you and Sean also great success!
Thanks,

Ori




Posted By: Ori Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/27/14 03:50 PM
Originally Posted by A443
Ori, how many hours of technical work and concert preparation have been done to the pianos that you are trying to sell? If people take the time to travel to your store, are they going to see all of those pianos you mention in the same extraordinarily high concert standards that this thread is discussing?



A443,

The short answer is that these pianos are prepared to the highest level...but this is only a part of story.

The pianos are actually prepared in a manner that the manufacturer intends them to be...and just as importantly, I take the time to express the manufacturer's view of how they intend these pianos to be played so that customers who play can quickly adjust and get the best results.

Although both Bluthner and Steingraeber are very fine German pianos...they call for a very different style of playing.
Once players adjust, they often find beauty in each piano but concentrate on those best suitable to their intended use.

This leads me to the words that both you and Keith used in your posts in reference to these pianos as 'trying to sell'.

Many years ago...when I was young and before I came to the United States (I'm originally from Israel), I used to compete in Track and Field...and particularly Long Jump... on a fairly high local level (I was first in Israel but it certainly isn't the same as being first in the US smile ).

The best results occurred on days I felt I was doing the least amount of effort.
If the external conditions were right, and the body was relaxed and well prepared things just 'happened'.

The same mindset is applied at our showroom, creating ideal conditions to evaluate and understand the differences between pianos.
These include preparing and maintaining pianos at a very high level...but there is so much more.

I built our Stamford showroom from the ground up on the side of a beautiful pond highlighting a commitment to create a relaxed, 'no rush' environment.
Special construction and windows ensures that outside world noises to not disturb our customers tranquility when they try and listen to the pianos.

It was a coherent decision to build several separate rooms of manageable size rather than one or two gigantic rooms allowing for pianos to be heard in a natural 'home environment'.

I created the ability to vary the acoustics , simulating living rooms furnished with anything from fairly dry acoustics to very live ones.

Our showroom is filled, of course, with high quality piano inventory that actually allows for such unique side by side comparison to occur...and customers visiting have the time and quiet conditions to listen, play, evaluate and understand the different piano brands...no matter how long they stay or over how many visits.

When the right conditions are created...things tend to happen...and the pianos tend to speak for and 'sell' themselves.

In case you weren't aware of it...Allegro Pianos is consistently the leading (largest) dealer in the United states (and often the world) for piano brands such as Bosendorfer, Bluthner and Estonia.

If the conditions were not right for evaluating pianos...I doubt it would be so.


In a similar manner/philosophy, we operate a successful music school.
Rooms were built spaciously built, acoustically isolated and those used for piano students feature high level grand pianos such as (almost) new Bluthner and Estonia grand pianos.

I'm often asked if I 'lost my mind' letting 7 and 8 year old kids play on such high level pianos for their lessons...or if it makes commercial sense.

Well... the answer is that it certainly does as creating the right environment for both teacher and student allows the kids to enjoy their piano lessons, develop musicality and encourage them to continue.

We don't have to charge more for the lessons than the average in our area but we certainly provide a lot more and make up for it in continued growth of students and a remarkably high rate of re - registration.

I hopes this answers you question.
Thanks,

Ori


Posted By: Rickster Re: Bösendorfer vs Steingraeber - 04/27/14 06:24 PM
Ori, you are a nice guy and I enjoy most of your posts...

However, the last few have been slanted more toward self-promotion, it seems to me, than general information.

In fact, I think this is a good place to move on...

P.S. I got a PM from Ori saying that I abused my power by locking this thread without giving him a chance to respond to my comments. I don’t feel that way, and here is why I locked this thread... We got moderator complaints about this thread being a sounding board for dealer advertising and self-promotion. Sometimes the line is difficult to draw and it always seems to make somebody upset with the moderators when this kind of thread is locked.

It seems like once the dealer promotion thing gets going, some of the dealers try to out-do one another, almost like a sports competition… who can self-promote the most on Piano World and get by with it.


Best regards to all,

Rick
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