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Originally Posted by Hakki
It is sad to see people from nowhere dispraise all the hard work those employees have put day and night through their lives to develop their flagship pianos.

It's sad to see Hakki (not sure where he's from, perhaps nowhere) dispraise all the hard work Kawai employees put into developing the Shigeru Kawai with it's inferior V cast plate.

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Compared to the accumulated expertise of companies like Yamaha and Kawai or Steinway, most of us here are often from nowhere, including me of course.

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It's so funny reading the arguments here about what sort of tech goes into high end pianos. At the end of the day, all pianos are laughably low technology, largely unchanged for 150 years or so. Today's marketing focuses on this "artisanal" aspect, but it's just marketing. Cast iron is the cheapest and lowest tech way to make a plate - even V-pro. They use this because the plate is over engineered and there's no point in making it better than it is because it makes no sonic difference. As for the piano frame, again, super low technology wood, that has tolerances loose enough it can be built by hand. In fact, all of the components are pretty low-tech except maybe the hammers. But notice all the zillion adjustments required in the action? That's because they're manufactured to very slack tolerances which have to be adjusted for. Same for all aspects of a piano's tone. Think of the stringing mechanism - steel pins whacked into a slightly small hole. It works well enough to keep tuners in a job! M&H tried to improve with the screw stringer, but it was overkill and not needed, given all the other adjustments required.

It's amazing all these low-tech components can come together to make a great sounding and functional instrument - but that's because of the skill of all the twiddlers and adjusters, not because there's some magic cutting-edge technology used in the manufacture of a piano.

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Why not all of us just leave this low tech forum.

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Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by BDB
However, that is not a comparison. It is just advertising hype.

I already explained this to Hakki and he just ignored me.

Unless you two have inside information that this is just an advertising lie and not true, I will continue to ignore your opinions.

I trust and believe what Yamaha says. They are a very reputable company.

I cannot say anything about Sonepica, but I did not say it was a lie. Hype is not necessarily a lie, it is just boosting their products. Show me where they say that sand casting is better than vacuum casting. As far as I can see, it does not say anything about that anywhere in their ads.

Yamaha is a good company that makes fine pianos. They use both methods. They do not claim one method makes better castings than the other.

I just believe that the choice of method is mainly economics. I suppose if you go back far enough, you can find pianos the were made with sand cast plates and the same model is now made with vacuum cast plates. I suspect that was the case with the 1953 U3 that I tuned years ago, and I can assure you that there was nothing about it that would distinguish it from modern U3s which undoubtedly have vacuum cast plates.


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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Whilst Yamaha is a business, I can't think that the reason they use wet sand cast plates on their CF series is because it's more profitable to do so. I would think since the vast majority of pianos they build use V-Pro plates, it would be more profitable for them to use V-Pro plates in the premium line and sell them for the current retail price.

Yamaha will tell you themselves that the CF series pianos represent the best piano they can build at the moment, and that they are constantly looking for ways to make each CF piano better than the previous one. Obviously at that level of piano making, better is subjective because one pianist likes one sound and another likes a different sound. I can only think that the reason Yamaha use wet sand cast plates for the top line and V-pro plates for everything else is that they have discovered that is what is required for producing the best possible tone that they can in a high-end piano.

If Yamaha changed over to VPlate for their CF series and kept the same price, they would likely lose the prestige that comes with a wet sand cast plate and lose a good chunk of the premier market. It would affect the bottom line. The sand cast plate is needed for that price point. If Yamaha had to produce as many CF pianos as CX and GC pianos, it might be necessary to move to VPro just to meet demand.


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Every successful business has to turn a profit or they very quickly go out of business.


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This is from Yamaha U series page:

"Yamaha was the first company to use an advanced Vacuum Shield Mold casting technology called V-Pro to create a stronger, lighter, more durable frame. Every U Series piano features a full-perimeter frame built to our exacting specifications at our Iwata Forge in Japan."

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Hakki
It is sad to see people from nowhere dispraise all the hard work those employees have put day and night through their lives to develop their flagship pianos.

It's sad to see Hakki (not sure where he's from, perhaps nowhere) dispraise all the hard work Kawai employees put into developing the Shigeru Kawai with it's inferior V cast plate.
You beat me to it.

The same employees who stand over steam jets to individually shape each strip of wood that goes into the rims before they're glued.

The same employees they fly up to half way across the world to your home to make sure you have the finest instrument in the world well over a year after you had purchased it.

The same pianos that use decades prepped and dried select "Ezo" spruce that was collected at a time when Shigeru Kawai was still alive. (Yes while Yamaha was manufacturing decades after decades of home stereo equipments that wood was being carefully dried and prepped to this day in preparation for their use in the finest pianos available)

The same piano that copied the bridge design of a Hamburg Steinway because they thought that was the finest design available.

The same pianos that use hard boxwood caps over the treble strings, cold pressed hammers, and concert grade agraffes- just because.

Yet in all of their quest to build the finest piano available out of Japan and utilized man labor to fanatical levels in the process they had no problem incorporating a V-pro plate in all their Shigeru pianos up to the SK-7. The only time they decided to use sand casted plate was in their concert grands when they felt it made no economic sense to retool their factories to manufacture a V-pro plate for a 9 foot grand so they built these plates the old fashioned way as Don Mannino stressed early in this thread.

It's clear the artisans at Kawai so no difference in sonic quality between a V-pro plate and sand casted plate. (Yes this is not a science, just a subjective opinion).

I trust the artisans who build the the Shigeru Kawai, and I trust Kawai.


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I both trust and believe Kawai and Yamaha. Both are very reputable companies.
I just don't think what they say is just for advertising purposes.

Kawai believes in ABS-Carbon action, Yamaha does not.
Kawai makes its actions a bit heavier and Yamaha a bit lighter.

I both respect the decisions of the designers at both company.
They strive for to make their best piano in their own approaches.

I just find it sad to easily dispraise these reputable companies.

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Originally Posted by BDB
However, that is not a comparison. It is just advertising hype.
Of course. That was pointed out to the poster several times when he previously quoted that same phrase.

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So it boils down that both Kawai and Yamaha actually know that using wet sand or V-pro is not relevant and does not cause a substantial change on their tone, sustain, whatever...

They know this, but yet, they think the buyers do not know what they know.

So they are both using it as an advertising trick to their advantage.

Is this it?

Are these companies joking with the public?

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Originally Posted by pyropaul
It's so funny reading the arguments here about what sort of tech goes into high end pianos. At the end of the day, all pianos are laughably low technology, largely unchanged for 150 years or so. Today's marketing focuses on this "artisanal" aspect, but it's just marketing. Cast iron is the cheapest and lowest tech way to make a plate - even V-pro. They use this because the plate is over engineered and there's no point in making it better than it is because it makes no sonic difference. As for the piano frame, again, super low technology wood, that has tolerances loose enough it can be built by hand. In fact, all of the components are pretty low-tech except maybe the hammers. But notice all the zillion adjustments required in the action? That's because they're manufactured to very slack tolerances which have to be adjusted for. Same for all aspects of a piano's tone. Think of the stringing mechanism - steel pins whacked into a slightly small hole. It works well enough to keep tuners in a job! M&H tried to improve with the screw stringer, but it was overkill and not needed, given all the other adjustments required.

It's amazing all these low-tech components can come together to make a great sounding and functional instrument - but that's because of the skill of all the twiddlers and adjusters, not because there's some magic cutting-edge technology used in the manufacture of a piano.
Exactly. My understanding is the plate is supposed a big strong heavy inert inorganic object that holds everything together but does not introduce any sonic resonances of its own. It's obviously an important part of the piano but it was introduced way back in 1825 by Alpheus Babcock in Boston with Steinway soon after adapting the design in their own pianos. It was not rocket science back then, and it's not rocket science now.


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Originally Posted by Roy123
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote
So I ask of those posters who deny what I am saying: How much experience do you have examining, and shaping V-bars? How much experience do you have examining how hard a casting is? How much experience do you have studying longitudinal waves in piano strings? How much experience do you have looking at worn piano strings under microscopes? And finally: why do you think I would lie to you?
Ed, the problem is that you continue to miss the point. We believe you that some plates are case hardened. Your work with some that are harder than others corroborates that. But the claim that case hardened plates are inferior is unsubstantiated. It is your opinion. You may be correct. But you still have presented no evidence that pianos with case-hardened plates have a faster rate of string breakage, all else equal.

You conceded that the strings "soft machine" a capo d'astro bar that was not case hardened, i.e. wear slight grooves into the capo d'astro bar. This may preserve the strings some by having the force of tuning and tension act on the softer capo d'astro bar instead of on the strings. But it also creates wear on the capo d'astro bar, changing its shape, which it seems to me could introduce subtle changes to the speaking length of the strings that run across the capo d'astro bar. Tuning to pitch would compensate for this, but it would alter the tension on the strings (potentially introducing more wear on the pin block in the treble area), alter the scale design, and alter resonance frequencies, i.e. introducing subtle changes in tone. The soft machining of the strings into the plate also will create metal dust. This will increase friction on the string sliding on the capo d'astro bar when tuning, also likely to be undesirable.

But any such claims also need to be substantiated or falsified.

Here is a famous advertising story about capo d'astro bars and that illuminates how pianos are marketed.

https://johndrake.typepad.com/advertising/2016/04/finding-the-capo-dastro-bar-1.html

I am not surprised that you found an Aeolian era Mason & Hamlin to have a hardened plate. They clearly were concerned with plate stability.

I think it is unlikely that the iron casting methods available in 1825, when Alpheus Babcock was granted a patent for his invention of a full cast iron plate, would coincidentally lead to the optimal cast iron plate. There has been almost 200 years of advancement in metallurgy since then, and it is indisputable that various piano manufacturers have experimented with technologies developed since then.

There is a big problem in the portion of your argument that I bolded. If what you say were true, the brass agraffes would be utter disasters. However, they're not, which means that the slight groove that the strings wear in the metal of the agraffes and in the less hard capo bars is simply not a problem. Now, in order for that to be the case, presumably the shape of the agraffes and shape of the capo would have to be appropriate to the task. I would add further that the string resting on a knife edge of sorts would surely be undesirable, so the small groove caused by the pressure and slight movement of the string on the agraffe or capo may be just the ticket.

Yes. My point was that any theory needs to be substantiated or falsified with experimental outcome data, not that I had a better theory than Ed. I'm sure any theory I come up with is far less well motivated than any that Ed has.


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Originally Posted by Hakki
I both trust and believe Kawai and Yamaha. Both are very reputable companies.
I just don't think what they say is just for advertising purposes.

Kawai believes in ABS-Carbon action, Yamaha does not.
Kawai makes its actions a bit heavier and Yamaha a bit lighter.

I both respect the decisions of the designers at both company.
They strive for to make their best piano in their own approaches.

I just find it sad to easily dispraise these reputable companies.
Hakki I don't think anyone's dispraising anybody. Sometimes economic decisions have to be made by any company and when those economic decisions have no bearing on quality of services or products those decisions are easier to make. It's even easier to make when you can make a profit off of it like Yamaha made by going the traditional route by incorporating a sand cast plate in their top tier piano. It looks good on marketing material. Kawai apparently doesn't care about that stuff. Just build the piano with whatever is available if a V-pro plate is just as good- fine. We use that. We'll let the piano speak for itself but why use a sand cast plate on an SK-7 when we already have a V-pro plate that produces the same result. It's a waste of resources. These are for-profit companies. They still have shareholders they have to answer to.

Last edited by Jethro; 07/30/21 06:02 PM.

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Originally Posted by Jethro
Exactly. My understanding is the plate is supposed a big strong heavy inert inorganic object that holds everything together but does not introduce any sonic resonances of its own. It's obviously an important part of the piano but it was introduced way back in 1825 by Alpheus Babcock in Boston with Steinway soon after adapting the design in their own pianos. It was not rocket science back then, and it's not rocket science now.

Chickering was the first company to license the patented plate and use it in pianos.


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Originally Posted by Hakki
So it boils down that both Kawai and Yamaha actually know that using wet sand or V-pro is not relevant and does not cause a substantial change on their tone, sustain, whatever...

They know this, but yet, they think the buyers do not know what they know.

So they are both using it as an advertising trick to their advantage.

Is this it?

Are these companies joking with the public?

It generally is people whose livelihood depends on the sale of pianos with wet sand plates who make claims about properties of vacuum-cast plates in comparison to wet sand cast plates.


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I just can't make the comments you do.

Because I just don't know and do not want to speculate on a subject that I don't have first hand information.

What if they actually tried both type of plates and made their decision accordingly? Do we surely know that they did or did not?

At least I don't know. That is why I just quoted what they say. But those quotes were dispraised.

Maybe I am a bit naive.

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Originally Posted by Hakki
Thanks JF. I wouldn’t have said it any better.

Yamaha has dedicated their best staff to develop the CF series. They say it took 19 years. Of course the reason they choose to use those plates in their CF line might not be just for advertising purposes.

It is sad to see people from nowhere dispraise all the hard work those employees have put day and night through their lives to develop their flagship pianos.
I find Sonepica's suggestion that Yamaha probably uses sand casted plates on the CF line simply because Steinways uses them interesting.It must have been a daunting decision to make these concert grands.Who did they have to compete with? Well Steinways of course!

Regarding "people from nowhere"I do wonder where Hakki comes?

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Originally Posted by Hakki
Compared to the accumulated expertise of companies like Yamaha and Kawai or Steinway, most of us here are often from nowhere, including me of course.

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