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?
Thank you for your comments, as always