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Hi all.
My quest for a good acoustic piano yesterday led me to Albert Weber AW-131 -- http://weberpiano.com/ublminxportfolios/aw131 A Youtube review is also here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bcp4BXAWAQ8

In short, among the uprights I've played so far this one sounds most appealing to my ears. I also love its key action and touch to the point that I want to purchase it. However, I haven't yet touched the Yamaha U3 -- https://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/pianos/upright_pianos/u_series/index.html I'll go take a look at it in a few days. But I'm hearing mixed reports and opinions about the reduced quality of some components used in U3 and U1 -- like some plastic components etc. Maybe these are Yamaha bashers -- don't know, but not everyone can be a Yamaha basher anyway! By the same token, I don't know much about the built quality of the AW-131 other than it's hand-made and that it takes 9 to 12 months to assemble it. As such, which of these do you recommend? Have you seen the AW-131, or do you own one? Do you think which one will give me fewer headaches in terms of maintenance, holding its tune longer, and more resistance to dry weather? Also which one do you think sounds better, to your ears? Is the U3 the very same so-called bright-sounding piano like the U1? They're apparently in the same price zone.
It might also be worth mentioning that I currently have a Yamaha Clavinova CLP-575 digital, but the more I play it, the more I come to the conclusion that I covet an acoustic!

Your opinions, recommendations and advice are appreciated. So looking forward to hearing from you.
Hello, and welcome to Piano World!

I would imagine a brand new Albert Weber 52" upright would be a nice piano. On the other hand, a Yamaha U3 in good condition would be of better quality in my opinion, if only in the quality of the components and craftsmanship. Who ever told you the U1 and U3 had reduced quality due to plastic part is mistaken in my view. I could take the low road, and say it was pure BS, but I won't. Okay, I just said it and there is no need to take it back. The person who made that comment is probably the Albert Weber salesperson. That strategy is a common one among piano salespeople; bash and trash the competition and plant negative seed-thoughts into the mind of the potential buyer; I believe they call that FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). Don't fall for it...

Buy the piano you like best, period, whether the AW 131 or the U3. In my opinion, Yamaha quality, design and engineering is hard to beat. Yamaha is a top competitor among professional artists and performers, and many other professional music venues; Albert Weber is a consumer grade instrument; that in and of itself is not a criticism of the Albert Weber brand, but just a fact of reality.

And, yes, I'm a fan of Yamaha acoustic pianos. However, I did have a big disappointment with a Yamaha digital piano once, but I've since forgiven them; no need in holding a grudge... smile

Good luck!

Rick
I got the Yamaha plastic parts scare line from a competing salesman in St. Louis when I was shopping for a piano in 1996. I ended up buying a Yamaha U1, and was very happy with it. It's held up well and is currently being used by one of my sisters and her children.

Buy the piano you enjoy playing the most, whether it has plastic parts or not.
Hi Rick, and thanks for the warm welcome!
Your points were quite informative. So I'll go take a closer look at the U3 more critically as I may very well end up purchasing it. You're right about the AW salesperson telling me about Yamaha component issues, but he looked so genuine and knowledgeable that I didn't doubt him. Honestly, though, I haven't been able to find such reports on the web.
Of course, I have to purchase either of these brand-new, but don't know how much I should pay for the U3. Perhaps if I can get the Yamaha guys to get my Yamaha digital and offer a discount, that would be the best of both worlds.
And if this counts, I played Mariage D'Amour and Fur Elise via the AW-131, and was surprised by its warm sound and key action. With Mariage D'Amour I was instantly reminded of the piano Richard Clayderman used to play that -- something I didn't feel when I played the very same piece on, say, the AW-121. In general -- and coming from a CLP-575 digital, 121/48 acoustic pianos don't appeal to my ears. I'm visually impaired and, if it matters, the sound is really important to me.
Once again, thanks for your pieces of advice -- they help me a lot.

Cheers,
Amir
Thanks, Corvus, for your advice.
I'll go take a clos look at Yamaha U3 with your point in mind.
In particular, I'd like to see how it sounds as I play the very same pieces -- Mariage D'Amour and Fur Elise. Have you seen the AW-131 in action yourself, or have you heard any report of its components malfunctioning after a few years? It has a 5-year guarantee.
BTW, Corvus, I know this might be rather off-topic, but do you have advice regarding how to reduce the sound which leaks from my room as I play an acoustic? I have a 10-meter room in our house, and I can imagine a U3 or an AW-131 will be heard quite clearly and loudly as I start playing. As such, should I forget practicing with either of these after 9 PM? This is, IMO, perhaps the most obvious advantage of a digital piano as one can easily switch down the volume -- I don't like headphones anyway.

Thanks,
Amir
Amir, your plan to play the same pieces on the yamaha as you did on the Albert Weber should tell you what you need. both pianos represent the best big upright their respective manufacturers can muster. yamaha has a huge brand recognition/prestige advantage over Young Chang in the piano business, and YC invested heavily into the creation of the Albert Weber pianos as their premium line, using German made components and an esteemed american designer, Del Fandrich, as a principal consultant. Albert Weber pianos haven't been in the u.s. market for very long and don't have the dealer/distribution network that yamaha or kawai have here, so relatively few people have owned and played them.

carpet on the floor, and (filled)bookshelves lining the walls of the piano room will significantly reduce the 'sonic leakage' beyond that room. it's great to hear from an Iranian musician, peace go with you.
Thanks, huaidongxi, for your insights.
Perhaps that explains why so few -- if any -- AW-131 reviews can be found on the web -- even on YouTube. On the other hand, the internet is brimming with U3 reviews and user opinions!
I'm very much looking forward to playing those pieces on the U3. The AW-131's sound signature was warm and mellow -- something very suitable for romantic pieces I think, but even with Fur Elise it sounded quite acceptable. Its key action was also quite light to my fingertips -- something which I'm not sure is an asset or a shortcoming at the end of the day. Hope the U3 turns out to be as impressive as that. This way I can probably negotiate with both sellers to get a better deal.
BTW it's an honor to be here -- in the vicinity of so many piano experts and adepts!
Hi Amir, welcome to the forum.

I see you've had a lot of good advice already on here. The truth is, this comes down to what you like and how much you are happy spending. Neither of these instruments are going to fall apart on you, so whichever one suits you best is probably the right choice. Personally I'm not a fan of the U3, simply in the sense that I think it represents poor value relative to other models in the range (and that's not Yamaha bashing, I'm currently on my 3rd Yamaha so I'm certainly not someone with a poor view of the brand).

There are of course lots of other choices I could suggest you try, and in particular i'd look at equivalent Kawai models before making a choice if you get a chance.
Amir, forty years ago, enjoyed playing medium heavy actions as long as they were consistent. from a lifetime of cooking almost exclusively with hand tools and plenty of manual labour, the muscles and tendons of my hands are overdeveloped and taut. very much prefer lighter actions now. if the albert weber and yamaha are both brand new, there probably won't be a huge difference with their touch response, though their key weights might be set up a bit differently. the used yamahas in my experience have varied widely between light and medium heavy (which was in a lightly used, late model grand). how softly with control you can play each piano will tell you something about their touch and response.
The Albert Webers are pretty hard to find here. The sparse reports I hear are positive, but some of those are from their own dealers.

Every piano is a mixture of automation and hand-manufacturing. Some in different proportions than others. I don't really pay attention to that marketing side of things, nor would I give much credence to what a dealer says about a product with which they directly compete...especially something negative.

Tone, touch, appearance, price, dealer service prior to and after the sale. That's what matters.
The "real" Albert Webers, not Webers but with the first name came from the Pramberger Pianos that Young Chang commissioned from Joseph Pramberger, a designer formerly with Steinway. The YC Prambergers were designed to have a warmer more "European" sound than the normal YC premium lines that were voiced to compete with Yamaha. After Joe Pramberger died, the right to his name were sold to another company that specializes in stencil pianos. The designs were retained by YC and renamed Albert Weber. Soon after, Del Fandrich, another noted piano designer of classic Baldwins was contracted to refine the design of most of the Albert Weber uprights, grands and some of the Indonesian made Webers as well. These pianos received very good reviews when they were released. Unfortunately when Hyundai bought YC and the Weber name they seemed to not have much interest in promoting either brand. What used to be 3 lines under each brand was consolidated to just 2-3 and I'm not sure any of them are made in South Korea anymore.

If it's a Korean built AW-131 from a few years ago, It was meant to be a premium piano and if you like it's "warmer" tone, it will be a very good piano. I have a Korean Pramberger from about 2005 that still pleases me and has been trouble free in my So Cal home.

You can verify where and when the AW-131 was made by calling Young Chang in Cypress California with the serial number.


HTH,

Kurt
Hi Jason, and thanks for the warm welcome.
Your points are well taken. May I know which Kawai acoustic piano is the so-called equivalent of the U3 or the AW-131? And are high-end Kawai acoustics still manufactured in Japan?
Unfortunately the Kawai brand isn't as recognized or advertised as, say, Yamaha here though I have to give the Kawai dealer a call to see what they offer and at which price point. When I wanted to purchase a digital, I couldn't even make arrangements with the Kawai dealer but I've been told it's been my bad luck.

Best,
Amir
Hi Kurt,

The salesperson says it's a Korean built, but honestly now that you bring it up, I'm a bit worried about future maintenance of the AW-131 down the road.
So am I correct to assume that Hyundai's purchase of YC and the Weber name will influence the way spare components for the AW-131 will be provided to dealers and resellers in the future? On paper at least, it's a bit disheartening to feel that your new acoustic piano belongs to a certain company which isn't so enthusiastic about pianos!
Thanks.
Thanks, huaidongxi. That's what I'm also eager to try when I go to see the U3. Quite strangely, several brand-new European pianos I tried here had medium-heavy to heavy actions and coming from a digital I had a hard time playing on them! However, with the AW-131, I felt at home almost instantly.
I'm also now in a position to go try a couple of Kawai models, so if you have any recommendations or if you feel Kawai offers good competition in this price point, please kindly let me know.
BTW I've enjoyed your insights and thoughts on Piano World long before joining... So do keep up the good work!

Best,
Amir
Hi,

It's getting late here in the US where most of the forum members are so I will post some information until more knowledgeable folk chime in. Here is the profile link in the Piano Buyer to the Kawai line in the US. There are probably similar models in your location but sometimes the actual place of manufacture may vary.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/current-issue/acoustic-brands-kawai.html

The K300 model, is typically the one that is cross shopped with the U1. The K400 has a grand piano style music desk and different fall board for a modest price increase. The larger size Kawai's are the K500 and K800. The Piano Buyer is linked in the left hand column if you haven't found it and has a lot of online information.

Good luck
Amir, if you have access to an experienced and competent technician, you're not likely to have problems addressing routine maintenance and repair for the albert weber. how likely it is that more serious problems arise is more difficult to determine because there have been relatively few out in the market and exposed to real life wear and tear. your technician/tuner can always use this site for 'international technical support'. some of the components are internationally sourced, not fabricated by young chang. Del Fandrich himself is a member here. would you be purchasing the piano from a dealer who's been in the business for an extended period, with a reputation for customer support ?

not surprised by your observations re. new euro pianos. many or most new steinways would also tend to have actions in that range. with some companies, it's a conscious choice of how they want their brand new pianos to feel. there's a big variability in how much prep each manufacturer puts into the instruments before they get to the retail showrooms, how many hours of 'break in' (they use mechanical players to produce hundreds of key strikes on the strings) the pianos get, after the assembly is complete. logically, one might suppose that the premium tier brands give the pianos many hours of the finishing adjustments, but even among those there are some that leave considerable prep to the dealers before they reach the showroom floor.

the top tier kawai uprights have received favorable responses from their buyers/users to the same degree as the equivalent yamahas ; to me they generally have a warmer and mellower tone relative to yamahas, but with every brand there are differences between individual instruments, with their prep and use after they left their factories part of the variability. simply consider how much of the piano is wood, and no two trees are identical, and how many thousands of individual components get put together in a single instrument.
Very useful points, huaidongxi, as always.
Well, it's difficult to tell how reliable the Weber/Albert Weber dealer is here other than knowing that they've been selling these brands for more than 6 years. The Weber/Albert brands are recommended by many Iranian buyers, but my assumption is that given the difficulties accessing or working with other brands, many of them might not have had the opportunity to appraise Kawai and Yamaha uprights as they deserve. It strikes me as odd that the likes of U1 and U3 aren't very well received, at least on some Persian forums.
I was also rather pleasantly surprised to see a few posts by Del Fandrich here -- hopefully his presence means the mother company still cares about the Albert Weber brand!
Now that Kawai has also been recommended by a couple of people here, guess I should go take a look at Kawai K500. Admittedly what made me gravitate toward the AW-131 was its mellow, warm sound/tone as well as its light action, so it would be interesting to see how the K500 stacks up in these respects. Just hope it isn't more expensive.

Best,
Amir
Originally Posted by KurtZ
The "real" Albert Webers, not Webers but with the first name came from the Pramberger Pianos that Young Chang commissioned from Joseph Pramberger, a designer formerly with Steinway. The YC Prambergers were designed to have a warmer more "European" sound than the normal YC premium lines that were voiced to compete with Yamaha. After Joe Pramberger died, the right to his name were sold to another company that specializes in stencil pianos. The designs were retained by YC and renamed Albert Weber. Soon after, Del Fandrich, another noted piano designer of classic Baldwins was contracted to refine the design of most of the Albert Weber uprights, grands and some of the Indonesian made Webers as well. These pianos received very good reviews when they were released. Unfortunately when Hyundai bought YC and the Weber name they seemed to not have much interest in promoting either brand. What used to be 3 lines under each brand was consolidated to just 2-3 and I'm not sure any of them are made in South Korea anymore.


The Albert Webers are definitely still built in South Korea.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/current-issue/acoustic-brands-young-chang.html
Thanks. The more I look at the situation, the more I come to appreciate the points you raised.
So other than checking which one sounds more pleasant and which one has a more acceptable action to my fingers, I should check to see which dealer can offer a better price, a better discount or something akin to purchasing my digital and extracting its sum from the cost of a new acoustic.
Thanks, David.
The K500 is grabbing my attention though I haven't yet seen/touched it. However, based on the following comparison I've found, it seems that Kawai K500 is a serious contender: http://kawaivsyamaha.blogspot.com
Like the AW-131, Kawai K500 uses ebony wood caps for its black keys. I don't like plastic caps on my CLP-575 and if the U3 uses the same material, that might be an important factor. Also if the comparison is valid, the K500 should have better hammers. And, last but not least, the use of Carbon Fiber in Kawai's action should give it an extra vantage point.
All of these, however, mean little if the sound doesn't turn out to be appealing to my ears or the price turns out to be prohibitive!
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2620446/My_New_Kawai_K500_Piano_-_Init.html

if you wish to find out more from the owner of the k500 you can send a personal message through this site. he'd owned and played a respectable Baldwin studio upright for some time and had looked at tall uprights similar to those you're considering.
Thanks. It seems that the K500 is a bit more expensive than both the U3 and the AW-131, moving it beyond my projected budget. But I'll take a look at it and if the Kawai acoustic impresses me, maybe I can reconsider the budget <laughing>.
BTW, huaidongxi, I noticed that you joined this forum last year. But I'm dead sure I've been enjoying your posts over the last few months or so... Your insights are a boon to us -- piano novices!
Originally Posted by Amirhsol
Hi Jason, and thanks for the warm welcome.
Your points are well taken. May I know which Kawai acoustic piano is the so-called equivalent of the U3 or the AW-131? And are high-end Kawai acoustics still manufactured in Japan?
Unfortunately the Kawai brand isn't as recognized or advertised as, say, Yamaha here though I have to give the Kawai dealer a call to see what they offer and at which price point. When I wanted to purchase a digital, I couldn't even make arrangements with the Kawai dealer but I've been told it's been my bad luck.

Best,
Amir


The broad equivalent to a U3 would be the K500. That said, my own take on it is that if budget allows, the step up to the next models in both the Yamaha and Kawai ranges give you a lot more for a relatively modest outlay. The K600 is a really nice piano, and a piano i personally much prefer to the U3. And, here in the UK at least (I can't comment on your local market), the fact that Kawais tend to be a little cheaper than Yamaha model for model means that the price difference from a U3 to a K600 is minimal. From what you've said, I also get a sense that the tone profile of a Kawai might suit you better than a Yamaha.

If a Yamaha is really what you want, then personally I wouldn't spend money before looking at the YUS series. Although based on the U series, they are imho much better, thanks to some carefully chosen component upgrades. I have a YUS5 mysefl, and consider it well worth the extra money (the YUS3 less so , strangely imho). If budget is an issue, the YUS1, despite being smaller, is imho a much better piano than the U3 for a similar price.

But that's just my view. Like I say, I don't think you'd have a problem with any of those options, so it just comes down to what yo ulike.



Thanks, Jason, for the interesting analysis.
It seems that in Tehran Kawai pianos are a bit more expensive than Yamaha ones though I'll definitely take a look at the K600, too, based on your recommendation. The price difference might be because of the fact that only one dealer sells Kawai pianos here whereas Yamaha pianos are imported and sold by different dealers. Also I'll see if I can find and play YUS pianos here to get a sense of their sound and action.
Hi Jason and all,
Today I managed to call some sellers/rep and found out that here the U3 isn't available at all! Of course, I should check other venues over the next 48 hours, but the major Yamaha importers tell they don't have the U3 at the moment -- the U1 is available though.
However, both the YUS1 and the YUS3 are available, with the YUS3 being priced slightly more expensive than my first choice -- Albert Weber AW-131. The YUS5 is also apparently available though I haven't checked its price.
Also it's worth mentioning that Kawai K500 is more expensive than all Yamaha acoustics I've checked, and that's why I haven't even chased the K600! Guess the single Kawai dealer specifies whatever price he wants arbitrarily.
Anyhow, do you think the YUS3 is considered an improvement over the U3 in terms of sound, touch, build quality, and so on? Before playing it myself, does it sound warmer/mellower than the U3? Its reviews on the web are rather scarce -- compared with the U3 which is everywhere!
Thanks for your assistance.
Well, I don't know that YC would admit that they're less committed to pianos. Remember, I'm not a dealer or tech but what I remember was that about the time they had this great product that could really compete agains Yamaha and Kawai while having it's own unique sound that worked great for smaller rooms, Hyundai bought YC and both YC and AW started to have less presence in advertising on the web and in the music press but also seemed to start to disappear from dealers showrooms. Then came the reduction in number of lines and having more of them built outside of Korea. Maybe one of our dealers who is more informed about Hyundai and YC has some insight.

Young Chang will have parts in the very unlikely chance that parts are needed. We still are able to get parts for some Kurzweil Keyboards (another YC product) that were made 20 years ago.

I would call Young Chang with the serial number to verify the year and place of manufacture and if it seems to be legit, buy the piano you like best. The AW is a well made product designed by a well known and respected designer of pianos. Here's a short article about him and his work for YC.

Del Fandrich

Kurt

PS. Del didn't rework ALL the models of YC and Weber. It's possible that he didn't work on the 131 but I do remember when I was shopping that the 131 was well received in reviews.
Regarding your concerns about late night practicing—who are you concerned about disturbing? The neighbors? Children? Roommates?

When I was a child, my bedroom door was only about 5 m from my dad's Mason & Hamlin model A grand piano. I fell asleep many, many nights while listening to him play the piano, and it did not bother me at all. I am a lighter sleeper now, though.

If your piano room has a door, then how solid and tight-fitting the door is will probably have a bigger effect on sound reduction then any treatment of the room interior.
Hi Kurt,

Valid points and concerns indeed! I'll definitely ask the dealer for the serial number. Wish YC had an online place/website which could help us check the serial numbers. Or wish they had a mechanism whereby one could figure out the year/country of build-origin.
To be honest, I'm rather pissed off by the arbitrarily high price of Kawai acoustics here in Tehran. Guess the so-called one-dealer exclusivity has done its harm! The K-500, for instance, is at least $1500 to $2000 more expensive than both the YUS3 and the AW-131. Maybe at that price point I should go check the Petrof brand -- rather ridiculous!

Thanks again.
Hi Corvus,

My concern is three-fold <smile>:
1. How the piano sound will be received/hated/loved upstairs. I mean the family that lives upstairs might be directly affected. I have very good relations with them, though. But if the sound becomes unbearable, that might ruin the best of relations I guess! Anyhow, since the window which is a few meters behind the piano seat isn't a truly sound-proof one, I think I should work around that as well.
2. How the sound will be heard/hated/loved in other rooms. As you rightly said, perhaps I should add extra protective measures to the door. This is probably the major concern given the vicinity of the rooms.
3. And, last but not least, the back of the piano will be placed against a wall. The wall itself faces the wall of a neighbor's house. That might not be a great concern in and out of itself. But since nothing is on my wall to absorb the sound, my fear is that the sound might travel in an unhibited way so as to pester them.
BTW my room is carpeted -- I mean heavy carpets are on the ground.
A friend of mine who saw me yesterday and actually knows about my struggles finding a good and long-lasting acoustic told me, jocosely of course, the following: "Now that you're practically losing your breath in this endeavor, why don't you sell your CLP-575 and purchase a new CLP-685 for some solace?! It might not be available here yet, but it's cheaper than all of your acoustics and, hey, it's most probably the best digital!" And I said: "Get out of here ASAP!"

Cheers,
Amir
Hi all,

Just an update.
Today I talked to the Kawai dealer via telephone and, after having complained about their relatively higher prices, they kindly told me that they do offer discounts. So The K500 is a possibility -- yet again. Also their K300 is even more reasonably priced. Do you recommend the former in terms of sound and touch?
Moreover, today I managed to pin down the Feurich reseller. What do you think about the Feurich Mod. 133 Concert? Do you recommend this or do you think the K500 is a better acoustic? Of course, I don't know the price of the Feurich 133 and haven't played it either, but online reviews indicate that it possesses a warm/mellow and European sound.

Thanks again.
You are paralysed by these questions. They're all good. None of them is poor quality. Go play them. Buy the one that you like best, and stop worrying about what other people think about them.
Sure -- I'll do. I just wanted to make sure if Feurich pianos are regarded as high-quality acoustics by Piano World members.
Thanks.
where we live in Calif/u.s. it would be very difficult to even find a tall upright Albert Weber or Feurich to audition. if you don't have a memory for details, it might help to keep a notebook once your serious candidates get beyond one or two. don't be shy about re-auditioning any piano, you'll probably be living with it for years or decades.

as for your consideration for the neighbors, the feurich 133 concert and some other uprights (including our 120 yr. old upright) have a middle pedal that raises a fabric between the hammers and strings, sometimes called a sordino or celeste pedal that can also be used for near-silent practice. apparently feurich offers an option as well for silencing plus headphone listening, which would require electronics and extra cost, probably not available without a special order.

https://www.feurich.com/innovative-production/mod-133-concert/
Thanks for the advice. The Feurich acoustics also seem to be reasonably priced so the 131/125 models might be serious contenders -- along with Kawai K-300/K-500, and AW-131. The U3 isn't available here, and I didn't like the sound of the YUS3.
stiff competition now between the almost countless asian and pacific rim piano manufacturers (incl. essex and boston of course). some companies, especially those who don't build big quantities, have conceded certain geographic markets, and how much piano consumers benefit can vary widely depending where they are.
What I read in this thread is that Amirhsol has taken a liking to the Albert Weber 131. If that is the case, then that is what he should buy.

Worst case scenario, if it turns out that the AW 131 is not "The One", it is not the end of the world. I've read where some people trade pianos every year to like some folks trade automobiles. Sometimes the shopping experience itself, with all the different options, can be confusing and frustrating. In fact, it can get so frustrating at times the idea of not buying a piano at all becomes an option.

Amirhsol, go with your instincts! You know better than anyone else what you like and what you want...

Good luck!

Rick
Hi all,

Now that I've limited my choices to Feurich 125/133, Albert Weber AW-131 and Kawai K-300/K-500, I'd like to know if there's a website or perhaps a phone number which allows me to provide the piano serial numbers in order to check the year/country of their manufacturing. In particular, this is very critical both for Feurich and for Albert Weber. Most Feurich uprights, including the 133, were re-designed in 2015, and I'd like to make sure I'm getting a post-2015 manufactured piano. The same applies to the AW-131 -- I want to ensure that I'm getting a relatively new Albert Weber piano which has been manufactured in South Korea. This seems to be less of an issue for Kawai as the K-300/K-500 are new models.
As such, if you happen to have phone numbers or website/email addresses to help me with Feurich/Albert Weber serial numbers, please kindly provide them.
Kurt, in case you're reading this, you mentioned that I can verify where and when the AW-131 was made by calling Young Chang in Cypress California with the serial number. Would you please provide their phone number or their email address -- if the latter also works?

Best,
Amir
Originally Posted by Amirhsol
Hi all,

Now that I've limited my choices to Feurich 125/133, Albert Weber AW-131 and Kawai K-300/K-500, I'd like to know if there's a website or perhaps a phone number which allows me to provide the piano serial numbers in order to check the year/country of their manufacturing. In particular, this is very critical both for Feurich and for Albert Weber. Most Feurich uprights, including the 133, were re-designed in 2015, and I'd like to make sure I'm getting a post-2015 manufactured piano. The same applies to the AW-131 -- I want to ensure that I'm getting a relatively new Albert Weber piano which has been manufactured in South Korea. This seems to be less of an issue for Kawai as the K-300/K-500 are new models.
As such, if you happen to have phone numbers or website/email addresses to help me with Feurich/Albert Weber serial numbers, please kindly provide them.
Kurt, in case you're reading this, you mentioned that I can verify where and when the AW-131 was made by calling Young Chang in Cypress California with the serial number. Would you please provide their phone number or their email address -- if the latter also works?

Best,
Amir
Apparently you missed the link I posted earlier in this thread - which includes contact info for Young Chang in Cypress California. smile

http://www.pianobuyer.com/current-issue/acoustic-brands-young-chang.html

And for Feurich......

http://www.pianobuyer.com/current-issue/acoustic-brands-feurich.html

.

..
Amir,

Google has: 657-200-3470

Per the Website, the AW-131 is a Del Fandrich design with the floating soundboard in the professional series so it should be a South Korea piano.

Kurt
Thanks, Carey. You're right -- I'd missed the first link.
Will make good use of them <smile>.
Thanks, Kurt.
I'm now trying to convince myself to purchase one of the following: Kawai K-500, Albert Weber AW-131, or Feurich 133 Concert -- really awesome pianos with great action and a mellow/warm sound to boot!
Cheers.
Did you actually get to audition all three at this point?
Yes, I managed to take a look at all of them.
Feurich 133 is an awesome piano, is the least expensive acoustic in my list, and has a great action. However, its mids sound rather nasal to my ears (sorry if my terminology isn't correct or technical), and that's a bit unfortunate as everything about the Feurich seems great. Seems it's no longer on my list unless I absolutely have to pay less for a piano.
Kawai K-500 is, IMO, the true beast and ticks almost all of my requirements though it's a bit more expensive than Albert Weber AW-131. It has a noticeably higher price tag, but the Kawai dealer is willing to provide a good discount. I love Kawai's sound signature as well as its action -- a tad heavier than AW-131 but very pleasing to my fingers, and the recognition of the brand is also something I can't easily ignore.
All that said, I should re-visit both dealers, record myself playing both the K-500 and the AW-131 via my audio recorder, compare the recordings at home, and then come to a sound conclusion. Even then it wouldn't be very easy I guess <sigh!>
Cheers.
That's great, and it sounds like you'll be making a good choice, either way. We don't have many members from your part of the world, and I had no idea there was much in the way of piano dealers or significant musical study in Tehran. I guess that's the trouble when the press tends to focus more on politics than people...
That's very true. We do have a vibrant community of piano lovers, dealers and sellers here -- even brands like Petrof and Steinway & Sons have a foothold in Iran through their dealers. However, as we're talking about a more or less economically isolated country, irregularities also abound. For instance, I couldn't find Yamaha U3 at all as no Yamaha dealer has it. Moreover, all of them told me that I can't play the YUS series as they're available brand-new -- only a fool purchases a piano this way. The same applies to their top CLP digital piano -- the CLP-685; it can be purchased but not tested. That's why I dumped Yamaha altogether.
Kawai has also got its own quirks. For instance, I was told that they don't sell Kawai's top digital pianos -- CS-11 and CA-97, and that their best digital is the CA-17. That's rather unfortunate for those who want a digital because I believe the CS-11/CA-97 are the best digital pianos available -- even more interesting than the CLP-685. Casio digitals are also up for grab, but Roland doesn't have an official dealer in Tehran.
Anyhow, when it comes to acoustics, the Kawai fellows display and selll the major ones -- very encouraging IMO.
YC/Weber/Albert Weber also has a strong presence here -- unlike what might be the case in, say, North America.
Sorry for my long-windedness!
You might need to start a new thread with your K500/300 and Feurich questions, so people with opinions about those pianos will notice.

The sound of the piano will not be transmitted to the upstairs neighbors as much as it would be to downstairs neighbors. However, if you're playing with the window open, that will be more intrusive. Especially if they have a window right above yours.
Thanks, Corvus. I'll be doing that once I go check the Kawai acoustics yet again.
As for the sound transmission issue, fortunately no one lives downstairs. The window in my room, a couple of meters behind the piano bench, is oftentimes closed. But it's not a true sound-proof window and guess I should pay attention to that.
Hi all,
Today I'm going to see the Kawai K-500 for a second evaluation. It'll be compared with the AW-131. However, I got some recommendations from a piano-related Persian forum to also take a look at Schimmel and Petrof uprights now that I'm spending this much. They say if I increase the budget a bit, I can get a very good Schimmel, for instance.
Now -- and even before touching those pianos, do you think it's wise to widen the choices and go the Schimmel/Petrof route? If so, any recommendations for good 130CM uprights from these manufacturers? In particular, I'm looking for a so-called warm and European sound as opposed to the bright/eastern/jazz sound.
Thanks.
Amirhsol:

I don't think that the typical Schimmel is especially warm-sounding, but they are very nice. Warm is the word I'd use to describe Petrof pianos - very warm and smooth - at least MINE was: rather dark, but full of colour, with a lyric treble.

Hope this helps you.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY
kw35@si.rr.com
Thanks, Karl.
Today I managed to check some top Schimmel uprights. Their sound didn't impress me much as I played them (interesting sound but not as mellow as I want), and I didn't like their action either.
I also managed to check Kawai K-500 and K-300, and both were removed from my list as I played them for 15 minutes. Maybe they were out of tune, but their sounds were dull, uninteresting and sort of bright. Their actions, particularly that of the K-300, was rather stiff! Honestly I did expect more from Kawai.
So, as of this writing, the only interesting acoustic on my list is the Albert Weber AW-131 -- a combination of light/soft/comfortable action, awesome/warm/mellow sound, and reasonable price. Of course, today I also played a Sauter Ragazza 116 which really impressed me in almost all aspects, but it's more than twice as expensive as the AW-131 -- outrageously beyond my allocated piano budget, and is a 116CM-high piano -- something rather short for an upright which can affect its low sounds. So I'll purchase the AW-131 unless I find something special in Petrof uprights.
When I started this journey, I didn't know how challenging and equally fascinating it can be to find the proper upright capable of ticking most -- if not all -- boxes. Lesson learned I hope!

Best,
Amir
Amir:

Thanks for your last. You write well about your thoughts and impressions. About the Kawai: they can sometimes be quite good but require a bit of prep to sound their best. Of course, one really can tell very little about a piano that's out of tune. Out of tune pianos on a selling floor are generally a signal for one to quickly find the door.

I encourage you to take Ando's advice and follow your heart/mind/soul/fingers etc. and make your choice with little regard to name or anything else. BUT - unless you're afraid that you'll loose a particular Albert Weber to another buyer, do try to play some Petrofs. They're sweet.

Good luck.

Karl
Hi Karl,

You're most welcome.
Having been on the lookout for an upright over the past couple of weeks, the thing which strikes me at odd the most about out-of-tune pianos is that dealers definitely want to sell them, but they fail to understand that no one would purchase such pianos. The Kawai dealer, for instance, apologized and said that he was sorry for such a problem with the K-500 as it was also under direct sunshine and had some serious tuning issues. I then concluded that many of these sellers don't know the ABCs of taking care of acoustic pianos. To be fair, I've observed this in most -- if not all -- piano galleries here and it's not a Kawai-specific issue. With Kawai -- especially the K-300, though, the action felt rather stiff to my fingers -- something which wasn't obvious when I played a Yamaha U1 today, too.
Thanks also for recommending Petrof pianos -- I'll go play them in a couple of days.

Best,
Amir
Many years ago Kimball dealers would buy the cheapest Wurlitzer piano model and put it right next to one of their models. The Wurlitzer, besides being of very poor quality and not really representing the best Wurlitzer could offer, was also kept out of tune. Play that right next to a well tuned Kimball and you wouldn't even want to go to a WUrlitzer dealer because their pianos were so bad. Trick of the trade back in the day.
What a dirty trick!
What I've observed is that dealers who import a certain piano brand fail to display properly tuned pianos which belong to their own brand. Their justification -- which might be really crude IMO -- is that "since we're going to sell this piano, it hasn't yet been properly tuned" or something akin to that. However, this just discourages potential buyers with so many brands available up for grab.
You are not imagining things: the Kawai action is noticeably heavier than an equivalent Yamaha. I find Kawai actions too heavy, but some people love a heavier action.
Originally Posted by ando
You are not imagining things: the Kawai action is noticeably heavier than an equivalent Yamaha. I find Kawai actions too heavy, but some people love a heavier action.

I too believe that most Kawai pianos have a heavier action.

We had a visitor yesterday, a director of music at a near-by church, who is a good friend with my wife, and a good pianist. I asked her if she wanted to play my Yamaha C7, which I always thought had an action that was on the lighter side, but not super light. She seemed thrilled to play it, and it sounded beautiful, to hear someone else play it. She did comment that the action felt heavier than the Cable console piano she had at home. I was a bit surprised at her comment. The action feels superb to me.

So, I guess the feel of the action depends on the player. One person's light feeling action may well be another person's heavy feeling action.

The action on my Howard/Kawai 550 (5'10") grand is heavier than the Yamaha C7. My Baldwin R action feels about like the Yamaha C7.

I suppose it is more of an individual preference...

Good luck, Amirhsol!

Rick
Thanks, Rick, for the clarification.
It's actually surprising that so far the only acceptable/comfortable action from my perspective has been that of the Albert Weber AW-131, and I've played a very good number of acoustic pianos! Moreover, it's been the only piano that uses high-quality wood for its black keys. Even the Sauter Ragazza 116, despite its exorbitant price, doesn't use such a material for its keys. I did expect a lighter action from the likes of Shimmel and Kawai with their more expensive uprights, but that wasn't the case. Now it would be interesting to see how Petrof stacks up both in the sound test and in the action test.

Best,
Amir
Hi all,

Just to provide an update... If nothing goes awry, guess I'll be purchasing a Feurich Mod. 133 Concert.
I played both the 133 Concert and the AW-131 a few times and came to like the former's action, warmth and consistency. Quite interestingly, at first I thought the AW-131 has a warmer sound, but with the pieces I played the opposite became evident.
It's worth mentioning that Feurich re-designed their action for uprights in 2015. So their uprights released post-2015 have a more smooth, softer action. I guess my friend's Feurich I played once was manufactured before the re-design. The ones provided by the Feurich dealer now are all 2017 models.
Feurich models are also cheaper than Albert Weber ones, so may I know your opinions and experiences regarding their uprights? Do you recommend Feurich at all?

Thanks,
Amir
new Feurich pianos don't seem to be distributed in the u.s. anywhere west of Chicago. with an associated piano firm with Austrian origins, Wendell & Lung, they appear to have a strong market presence in the U.K. ; the video linked in the earlier post impressed me and the marketing guy/pianist sounded like he's Scots. you've been thorough in playing and comparing pianos in a similar price range ; it doesn't seem you can take this much further unless you toss out your budget and look at the elite tier uprights made in Germany and Austria. perhaps a member from the U.K. or Australia can chime in with their experience of Feurich pianos.
Originally Posted by huaidongxi
new Feurich pianos don't seem to be distributed in the u.s. anywhere west of Chicago. with an associated piano firm with Austrian origins, Wendell & Lung, they appear to have a strong market presence in the U.K. ; the video linked in the earlier post impressed me and the marketing guy/pianist sounded like he's Scots. you've been thorough in playing and comparing pianos in a similar price range ; it doesn't seem you can take this much further unless you toss out your budget and look at the elite tier uprights made in Germany and Austria. perhaps a member from the U.K. or Australia can chime in with their experience of Feurich pianos.

Thanks.
Unlike Albert Weber/Weber pianos, Feurich piano reviews can be easily found on the web. Other than the company's video promos, many people, sellers and experts have reviewed them and most of them sound positive. The dealer here also sounds quite professional.
As for top-tier ones, I've also looked at Shimmel, Petrof and Sauter, but the only one I've fallen in love with belongs to Sauter which is well beyond my budget.

Best,
Amir
Do I remember correctly that Feurichs are contract built by Hailun?

Amir,

Congratulations on the decision. May the piano make you happy for many years.

Kurt
Thanks, Kurt, for your kind words.
You're right re the way Feurich pianos are produced.

Best,
Amir
Congrats Amir. I've never tried the big Feurich, but the smaller one (122 ?) seemed like a nice piano at it's price point, and I tried a Hailun built big upright under another brand (Venables and Son here in the UK), and for the money it was superb. I have no doubt you'll be delighted with your choice
Originally Posted by Jason74
Congrats Amir. I've never tried the big Feurich, but the smaller one (122 ?) seemed like a nice piano at it's price point, and I tried a Hailun built big upright under another brand (Venables and Son here in the UK), and for the money it was superb. I have no doubt you'll be delighted with your choice


Thanks, Jason74.
I haven't yet purchased the Feurich piano as I'm trying to use some insulation solutions first to make the room as sound-proof as possible. I've found a solution in the form of the following -- this is the image: http://www.stihvac.com/image/product_new_2014_06/3.jpg
Do you think if I install this on the walls of my room, on the window and the roof, I'll have a perfectly sound-proof room suitable for practicing at any time of day/night?

Cheers,
Amir
Perfectly soundproof? Certainly not.
Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
Perfectly soundproof? Certainly not.


So can it be titled moderately/reasonably sound-proof, suitable for practicing during the so-called odd hours of the day?
No. Perfectly soundproofed almost doesn't exist. As someone who has built 4 "soundproof" rooms, I'll tell you right now that correct usage and an understanding of how sound transmits between spaces is more important that any one "magic" material. The one you showed looks to be standard PU foam pyramids bonded to mass loaded vinyl. The foam has NO soundproofing use. It reduces mid and high frequency echo in the room. The mass loaded vinyl, if applied EVERYWHERE and in the correct manner, and ignoring any other design problems in the room will get you about 6-9 db of noise reduction. Noticeable but not massive reduction.

In a space that has to function as a living environment, getting significant sound reduction is neither easy or cheap. Hollow walls, shared HVAC ducts, and the giant sound holes that are windows and doors will always be a problem and difficult to correct if you don't own the property. If you really need to reduce sound, you should get a consultation with an architect or builder who has actually worked on noise reduction in spaces. They should see the room and create a priority list of what can and can't be treated. Failing this, it's really easy to spend a thousand dollars on product you found on the internet but only get about $100 worth of sound reduction.

Kurt
All valid points, Kurt.
This has become one of the major dilemmas I've faced over the past couple of years -- and I've been through a good number of dilemmas and ordeals! On the one hand, I want this acoustic Feurich, but I don't want to give up my precious late-night and early-morning practice hours by my switch to an acoustic. The same can be said about holidays when I can spend more time at home and do want to squeeze as much as I can from my extra time. Sadly the "silent" option isn't available for Feurich pianos here. On the other, I do know that the switch to an acoustic is good for my technique given its superior touch and tone.
This has effectively stalled me for now. The ideal situation would be to keep my current digital and add an acoustic, but I don't have room for that. Neither can I add a small stage digital to an acoustic, so I have to live with one piano at the moment.

Cheers,
Amir
Originally Posted by Amirhsol
All valid points, Kurt.
This has become one of the major dilemmas I've faced over the past couple of years -- and I've been through a good number of dilemmas and ordeals! On the one hand, I want this acoustic Feurich, but I don't want to give up my precious late-night and early-morning practice hours by my switch to an acoustic. The same can be said about holidays when I can spend more time at home and do want to squeeze as much as I can from my extra time. Sadly the "silent" option isn't available for Feurich pianos here. On the other, I do know that the switch to an acoustic is good for my technique given its superior touch and tone.
This has effectively stalled me for now. The ideal situation would be to keep my current digital and add an acoustic, but I don't have room for that. Neither can I add a small stage digital to an acoustic, so I have to live with one piano at the moment.

Cheers,
Amir

Look for a piano that has a digital system within it - this lets you play silently through headphones at night. Yamaha and Kawai both make them. I don't know about Feurich Weber etc. It seems like that's your only solution to your problem.
Amir, would the Feurich dealer be able to order the piano you like with the silent system installed ? extra cost would of course be involved, and maybe a delay both in terms of your budgeting and having the order filled, which probably involves transporting the right piano to your dealer. before my dear spouse communicated her life long dream to have a grand piano to me, considered getting a nice upright with such a system myself -- ironically it would have been a Pleyel, from one of the last years they existed as a manufacturer (unknown to me at the time of course). be patient, some obstacles dissolve as time passes.
Originally Posted by huaidongxi
Amir, would the Feurich dealer be able to order the piano you like with the silent system installed ? extra cost would of course be involved, and maybe a delay both in terms of your budgeting and having the order filled, which probably involves transporting the right piano to your dealer. before my dear spouse communicated her life long dream to have a grand piano to me, considered getting a nice upright with such a system myself -- ironically it would have been a Pleyel, from one of the last years they existed as a manufacturer (unknown to me at the time of course). be patient, some obstacles dissolve as time passes.


Thanks, huaidongxi. Honestly I haven't asked the dealer about the possibility of importing the Silent system upon customers' requests. But he told me if a customer wants a piano which requires importing, that'll take several months in order for that piano to reach here, and it'll end up being a more expensive piano. I assume the very same can apply to the Silent option.
Guess I should go ahead and order the Feurich 133, non-silent option immediately so as to acclimate others to the new situation ASAP <smile>! Seriously, thanks for the wise piece of advice you provided.

Best,
Amir
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