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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Apr 2016
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Dear forum members,

On my last post years ago, I asked for your help on deciding between the Estonia 168 and Shigeru SK-2. Thank you all for your comments and advice.

I ended up purchasing the Estonia 168 and I made the right choice, since 2 years after, I went back to the dealership and tried the SK-2; my ears weren't convinced and for the $delta between SK and Kawai, I would have picked a Kawai GX.

Fast forward 5 years later, we've downsized to a smaller place and my Estonia is currently positioned a few feet from a corner. The cement ceilings are high (>10 feet) with glass solarium 16 feet above the piano through a spiral stairway opening. While I have tried to optimize the acoustics of the room (more furniture, adding a wood bookshelf, rug under piano), I find the piano tone still a little too bright, despite asking my technician to voice it differently (which he has done and the tone is more round compared to before). Consequently, I have been playing most of the time with the piano lid closed :- ( Space is limited so I cannot place the piano somewhere else.

I stopped by my dealership and he recently became an AD for Schimmel and C. Bechstein. I tested a Schimmel Konzert K195 (6'4) and I found the tone very warm, a noticeable difference to my Estonia 168. The action was a little heavier compared to the Estonia's Renner action, as there was more key travel. However, the touch of Schimmel keys (almost like ivory) was amazing and I found that playing pp was easier than on the Estonia. I then tested the Academy C. Bechstein A175 (5'7) and I found the tone less pleasing than the Estonia, although the action was very light and easy to play. To be fair, the A175 was placed in the corner of the showroom. I also tried the SK-5 and the tone wasn't for me.

I never thought I would be thinking about trading my Estonia after 5 years but I couldn't resist the tone of the Schimmel after leaving the showroom. The C. Bechstein was underwhelming but I didn't have time to fully explore its capabilities.

To make things more difficult, there is a promotion on the Schimmel (69k vs 75k CAD, not USD), while the C. Bechstein A175 is at 61k.

In an ideal world, I would choose the Schimmel over the Bechstein in a heartbeat but I have concerns:

- considering that my current setup is smaller, I would presume the larger Schimmel will be too loud. My condo has an open floorplan and the "space" for my piano is about 12 x 14'. Has anyone noticed that a larger piano may sometimes sound less bright in a smaller space? It sounds counterintuitive but I thought I'd ask the pros and experience members!

- I've tried to find the differences between Bechstein's Academy and Concert series and although both are advertised as being 'Made in Germany' there is huge price discrepancy between the two. Also, I am unable to know the specifications which separate these two lines. Schimmel is more transparent in differentiating their Classic and Konzert lines. Without opening up a different thread, are the Academy C. Bechsteins priced accordingly, i.e. is this just a business/marketing tactic? To phrase it differently, if C. Bechstein only had their Academy grands, would it still be a great piano in its own right?

My ears and heart say K195 is worth the upgrade, but am I being crazy or has the pandemic made me lose my mind? confused

Thank you for your comments, as always smile

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The idea of trading to a bigger piano I shall leave to others.

As far as the Bechstein Academy, I have only had an afternoon in one large shop, that had a ton of samples but not necessarily complete dealer prep. I don't know precisely. Also, I was looking mainly at uprights.

Word on the street is that the Bechstein Academy is a little mellower than the Concert series, largely because of the un-tapered soundboard. There may be other things related to cost that change the kind of sound, not just the quality. There are several on YouTube that sound very fine, so excellent performance is not at all impossible.
But it is aiming a bit lower than their flagship product. If it hits the target more squarely than the expensive ones, that is all to the good-- and maybe what your tuner will best be able to do for you.

Are you able to see about getting a smaller Schimmel? Does your shop also carry the Bechstein Hoffman?

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Here is a theory to consider: High quality pianos typically have a brighter timbre the harder you strike the note(s). Therefore, if you start with a very large instrument in a small space, you will be inclined to play more softly due to its size vs space, therefore you will get less bright tones out of the instrument. Hmmmm.... I wonder how that would work in reality?

Also, a larger instrument in a small space will likely affect the perception of the feel of the action greatly compared to how it felt in the store, so be aware of that aspect, too.


I do music stuffs
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Current:
1998 PETROF Model IV Chippendale
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I recently played a Schimmel K195 and a Bechstein Academy 175. I will say that I much preferred the Schimmel. The tone for me was much warmer and the treble was bell like and clear. I found the Bechstein to have a nice action (maybe nicer than the Schimmel but barely) but the treble was much too bright for my ears- to the point where I actually wanted to stop playing. May be able to be corrected through voicing I suppose. I much preferred the Bechstein Concert series 192 in terms of both action and tone to the Academy.

I also played an Estonia 190 and like the Schimmel better than that as well.


Working on:
Chopin Ballade No.1
Schubert Impromptus Op. 90 No.2-4
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

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{Coming soon.... 1912 Steinway A3 (rebuilt in 2021 by Cunningham Piano Company)}
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Just a few days ago i asked about acoustics treatment for piano rooms. I think you would benefit a lot if you try some serious treatment for your piano. I mean serious treatment like absorbing panels and bass traps. It's always going to be less work than replacing your piano.

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Originally Posted by Ubu
Just a few days ago i asked about acoustics treatment for piano rooms. I think you would benefit a lot if you try some serious treatment for your piano. I mean serious treatment like absorbing panels and bass traps. It's always going to be less work than replacing your piano.

This is good advice and what I would try in your situation.

If your heart now belongs to the Schimmel though, you could see if the dealer would be willing to let you trial the piano in your home if you cover the moving costs. That way you could see what it actually sounds and feels like (since acoustics can affect your perception of touch) in your home smile


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Just be sure to filet the fish after playing.

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The Schimmel Konzert like the Estonia has Renner action Bechstein Academy do not. Buy the piano you like or do as Ubu suggests.

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Hi Ubu,

If possible, can you share the acoustic treatment of your room? A proper combination of many kinds of sound treatment materials sounds interesting to me. Maybe in a separate thread in order not to disturbing OP. Thanks you in advance

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I think the priority for op is to treat the room first. If the room acoustic is bad, none of the pianos will sound good. It may be hard for forum members to help if not exactly be in your space and hearing the piano. Maybe worth a try hiring a local sound engineer or acoustic professional.

I’ve tried the exact models you listed here, the Schimmel K-195 and C. Bechstein A175. There is just no comparison between Schimmel K series and C. Bechstein Academy lines. The Schimmel is way better. My impression was exactly like the others in this post. The tone of the Bechstein almost let me stop shopping. The C. Bechstein concert line was a lot better though.

Last edited by Harpuia; 03/20/21 04:00 AM.

Piano: 1982 NY Steinway Model B, Yamaha AvantGrand N3X
VST(preference in order): VSL Synchron Pianos, Vienna Imperial, Garritan CFX, VI Labs Modern U, Ivory II American Concert D, Pianoteq
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Originally Posted by VinV
Hi Ubu,

If possible, can you share the acoustic treatment of your room? A proper combination of many kinds of sound treatment materials sounds interesting to me. Maybe in a separate thread in order not to disturbing OP. Thanks you in advance

I think i can give you an answer without hijacking the thread and it also may be useful to OP.

There're basically 3 tipes of things used for treatment: the first, what is called absorbing panels. Theese are just panels made of foam or some fiber you hang on the walls, and they reduce the reflection of medium and high frequencies. Second the bass traps, similar to first but with more width, they usually go into the corners of the room and they absorv the lower frequencies. With theese you are already done in most cases. For recording purposes or if you are a perfectionist, there're also the diffusors panels, they help to create a controlled echo or reverb so there's more liveliness to the sound.

This is the basic setup. Then, as always in live, yoy can make it as sophisticated as you want.

I hope it helps and does not deviate the thread.

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Thank you.

The only Bechstein they currently have in store is the A175.

As an AD they should have access to the Hoffman line.

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Originally Posted by APianistHasNoName
I recently played a Schimmel K195 and a Bechstein Academy 175. I will say that I much preferred the Schimmel. The tone for me was much warmer and the treble was bell like and clear. I found the Bechstein to have a nice action (maybe nicer than the Schimmel but barely) but the treble was much too bright for my ears- to the point where I actually wanted to stop playing. May be able to be corrected through voicing I suppose. I much preferred the Bechstein Concert series 192 in terms of both action and tone to the Academy.

I also played an Estonia 190 and like the Schimmel better than that as well.

Thank you for observations. I really like the Schimmel sound. I noticed you are workin on Schubert Impromptus. How’s that coming along?

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Originally Posted by Ubu
Originally Posted by VinV
Hi Ubu,

If possible, can you share the acoustic treatment of your room? A proper combination of many kinds of sound treatment materials sounds interesting to me. Maybe in a separate thread in order not to disturbing OP. Thanks you in advance

I think i can give you an answer without hijacking the thread and it also may be useful to OP.

There're basically 3 tipes of things used for treatment: the first, what is called absorbing panels. Theese are just panels made of foam or some fiber you hang on the walls, and they reduce the reflection of medium and high frequencies. Second the bass traps, similar to first but with more width, they usually go into the corners of the room and they absorv the lower frequencies. With theese you are already done in most cases. For recording purposes or if you are a perfectionist, there're also the diffusors panels, they help to create a controlled echo or reverb so there's more liveliness to the sound.

This is the basic setup. Then, as always in live, yoy can make it as sophisticated as you want.

I hope it helps and does not deviate the thread.

Thanks Ubu.

I did look into these acoustic panels but I have very little wall surface area since there is a large wall mounted bookshelf and electric panel.

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We recently moved from an Estonia 168 to a Schimmel C189 (Not even the K!).

I am surprised by how pleasant the sound is across the dynamic range. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Estonia too, but I did often leave the room while my husband was practicing. The Schimmel sound is lovely.

And the key tops! How did they do that?!


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Congratulations Malkin ! I wondered if you were going to buy the Schimmel grand ? Both are lovely instruments from what I have read.

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Both pianos are sufficiently great for performance. I think on Academy C. Bechstein l play even better due to its light but still very sensitive action, and soft but still clear and rich sound. The ones I played were in good shape and I don't find them to be too bright.
But for the tone character I go for Schimmel.

Last edited by aesop; 03/21/21 01:10 AM.
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Originally Posted by aesop
Both pianos are sufficiently great for performance. I think on Academy C. Bechstein l play even better due to its light but still very sensitive action, and soft but still clear and rich sound. The ones I played were in good shape and I don't find them to be too bright.
But for the tone character I go for Schimmel.

Yes, I agree. The Bechstein action was a little more sensitive.

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Originally Posted by Markus03
Originally Posted by APianistHasNoName
I recently played a Schimmel K195 and a Bechstein Academy 175. I will say that I much preferred the Schimmel. The tone for me was much warmer and the treble was bell like and clear. I found the Bechstein to have a nice action (maybe nicer than the Schimmel but barely) but the treble was much too bright for my ears- to the point where I actually wanted to stop playing. May be able to be corrected through voicing I suppose. I much preferred the Bechstein Concert series 192 in terms of both action and tone to the Academy.

I also played an Estonia 190 and like the Schimmel better than that as well.

Thank you for observations. I really like the Schimmel sound. I noticed you are workin on Schubert Impromptus. How’s that coming along?

Never played Schubert in my youth. So happy to have recently discovered him! done reading notes on Op 90 #2 and 3. Just working on making them sing! Then I'll move onto #4...


Working on:
Chopin Ballade No.1
Schubert Impromptus Op. 90 No.2-4
Schumann/Liszt Widmung

Playing on:
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{Coming soon.... 1912 Steinway A3 (rebuilt in 2021 by Cunningham Piano Company)}
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So I received my Schimmel a couple of days and I am extremely happy! Despite a space that echoes and reverberates, the warm tone of the piano really makes it easier to play with the lid open!

I don't even think I will need a rug at all. The action is a little harder than my Estonia but I will get used to it. The bass is amazing!

Thank you all for your support and advice!


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