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You are right, thank you, however I am not in a hurry to get one for now. From many different places when traveling, at a different time as well, I have tried Yamaha, Kawai, Bluthner, Estonia, Irmler but I never tried them at once at the same time to compare. I have tried Steinway but it was like a long time ago. I frequently listen to Steinway sound from Youtube, nonetheless it will not be reliable.

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I think it can be hard to make judgments about piano tone. What I find about playing big Steinways (when I get the chance) is that I'll recognise things that I never noticed before. It will feel familiar in a way that's difficult to describe, but all I know is that it's the sound of the concert hall -even if my playing doesn't measure up! 🤣

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Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
Just to offer some middle-ground opinion here...on the one hand, you definitely CAN hear the difference in the tone of an instrument by listening to recordings, watching videos, etc. That's just basic physics, right?
Yes and no. It is mostly your learned and remembered (neural connections) experience of those sounds. If you know what an oboe sounds like, you can tell the sound of an oboe listening on a crystal earphone or a high-end speaker. I certainly can hear the signature Steinway 'growl' on my cheap car radio, but if I didn't know that sound was unique to a Steinway, I could not identify the instrument.

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That being said, if you're considering a piano for you personally as a player...anything you can get from the previous will be DWARFED by experience at an individual instrument. That's also just...hard fact.
Absolutely. Choosing to buy an instrument based on the recorded sound, or, IMO, on the live sound of a performer in a recital hall, may well lead to disappointment.

I wanted an S&S B because I thought it was the 'best of the best of the best' and was willing to buy one new or used. I was fortunate to travel a lot and got to play many S&S Bs in stores all around the US and Canada. I then sat down and played a new B, a old B with a new soundboard, a old B with the original soundboard, and two new M&H BBs, all in the same showroom. I wrote a cheque for the first M&H BB I played. There was simply no contest among them.

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Originally Posted by Majoo
Hi everyone, perhaps this is off from the topic. But I would like ask, what will be the closest sound and tone as an alternative to a Steinway piano?

I know that even the same type of a Steinway piano can sound differently from another due to their nature of making it with handmade.

However, I wonder if we can find the closest tone and sound in another piano as an alternative to a Steinway. Thank you.

IMHO modern M&H is close to New York S&S soundwise.


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Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
That being said, if you're considering a piano for you personally as a player...anything you can get from the previous will be DWARFED by experience at an individual instrument. That's also just...hard fact.

I agree. I have heard plenty of recordings of Steinways and they sound wonderful. But for some reason, the Steinways that I have actually played myself have been disappointing. I am not sure whether this was a problem with the pianos, or with me (more likely). The last one I tried was a D in a local concert hall that I played twice in an annual concert of amateurs. The D was prepped well, no issues at all -- just didn't thrill me. The same thing happened when I played several pieces on Bs owned by two different local acquaintances in the last couple of years, and with Bs in other homes a dozen years ago. Same thing with an older L in the local church that I've played in several amateur concerts.

Yet just about every M&H (from AA to CC) and Yamaha C7 I've tried has been great. There's also a Kawai grand (not sure which model) in the library in Woodstock VT that I like quite a bit. I can't explain this.

I did once fall in love with a Steinway C that a piano rebuilder in Monterey CA was selling. It was glorious. But this was 30 years ago when I was just starting to play again. I wonder if it would still thrill me now. No way to find out, alas.


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Regarding, M&H, is…ime this was a fine instrument I performed on several months ago. The sound was surprising to me, very unique…that had a big sound, this one was maybe a little out of tune unfortunately. I’m looking forward to playing on one again soon. The action is a little harder to work than Steinways I’ve played on but you get great things in return, the sound is just very powerful and rumbling…action did not feel as “close” to the music production as this Bosendorfer I played recently, if that makes any sense. After maybe 10 min warm up I was feeling it, I can see why people love these. Of course they’re all going to be a bit different.

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Having played well prepped, new A, B and D Hamburg Steinways, and few used ones, I would confidently put them to top (or very near) of all pianos I have played in corresponding sizes.

For reasons unknown to me Steinway has a really bad name in this forum, maybe most of the posters are talking about NY Steinways that are in bad shape or not prepped, but my own experience is that everything in their reputation is well deserved.

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My take: there may a sampling bias in the development of preference, which leads to a chicken-or-egg question. That is, which one is true: something is 'good', therefore it becomes 'mainstream' , or something is 'mainstream', therefore it is 'good' ? (The latter implying that taste is acquired).


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Originally Posted by kre
For reasons unknown to me Steinway has a really bad name in this forum, maybe most of the posters are talking about NY Steinways that are in bad shape or not prepped, but my own experience is that everything in their reputation is well deserved.

There was a Steinway B at school that my sister and I still dream of. That was over 20 years ago and I haven't gotten to play another Steinway that was close to being that enjoyable since.

I recently went to a new Steinway showroom and the action on all of the new pianos were fine but it seemed like there was no voicing done at all. The felts were so muffled and there was no dynamic range or clarity. I think those pianos needed a year or two of breaking in the hammers to be enjoyable. The manager said they would be happy to voice it to the purchaser's taste at home. The pianos were very glossy and impressive looking though. The salesperson was very nice but also gave me some BS about Bösendorfers not being powerful and the Imperial is suitable for chamber music but that's why you see Steinways on stage 🙄

My conclusion was that a lot of the showrooms in smaller cities are meant for people with money who want the Steinway name.


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I also want to throw the "pricing wrench" into the mix. There's definitely also the desire among people (i.e. consumers) to figure out if something is "overpriced". Regardless of how good it is, if it's overpriced, it runs the risk of losing people altogether for being a "rip off". Given that new Steinways (along with other high-end instruments) are so incredibly expensive (as much as a very high-end automobile), the guy out front gets the pot shot (Steinway)...especially if there is some questionability about quality control etc. Their marketing really does try to assert that they're the best and that's what you're paying for (mainly from Steinway NY). That's kind of their whole pitch, and it probably isn't accurate. Honesty is important and that relative honesty being received or not among more savvy buyers I think is potentially what disappoints.

Also this ambiguity about there being NY and Hamburg Steinways is already I think a bit disappointing once people learn about it. The tiers in that Piano buying chart you see floating around are clearly delineated (though debatable), but nevertheless, most people seem to admit that Hamburg Steinways are preferable. Yet the Steinway company says nothing of this out front in their marketing (why should they?). Steinway NY would never make any hint that they're selling a tier-two instrument, nor do they offer any suggestion that this is in some ways a "budget" instrument (compared to the Hamburgs which are harder to get most places and thus more expensive). I guess you can't have it both ways. I think Steinway NY is probably the weak link here, responsible for a lot of the reputation problems mentioned. All of that being said, they're still great pianos. How many NY Steinway buyers do you think are sold these "premium" pianos to later figure out, "Oh well, I didn't even get one of the truly best ones? That marketing guy is full of it." I don't know, maybe it does happen.

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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
My take: there may a sampling bias in the development of preference, which leads to a chicken-or-egg question. That is, which one is true: something is 'good', therefore it becomes 'mainstream' , or something is 'mainstream', therefore it is 'good' ? (The latter implying that taste is acquired).

Despite my realization of actually adoring the "steinway sound", I do think that in the past, their fame was definitely a result of excellence, as it was for the other select few brands that survived among the thousands. But today? I think it's the latter. I doubt that Steinway would hold over 90% of the concert market if the name on the fallboard wasn't a huge deal for many customers.

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Up til now the only great Steinway Pianos I have ever played have all been Concert Grands.
In both Halls & Houses.

Up until now ---- rather ironic that I went searching for 'the one' - 'the final' piano for my living room
I went searching for a Mason & Hamlin A or AA and found a Steinway Model A
It plays like no other Steinway, smaller models, I have ever played. It felt like a cross between a M&H & the Tone of a Steinway.
I grabbed it so quickly it shocked me.

Secretly, I was a little disappointed that I found one within a 3 week time frame of active searching.
Of course I was researching online for 7 months prior, amassing information, etc.
Part of the fun is in the searching & auditioning. LOL
How many have felt that way?
When I 1st purchased/secured/received the piano, I thought - 'Is this normal, to find a great piano this quickly?'


thoughts?
brdwyguy

Last edited by brdwyguy; 02/16/22 02:53 PM.

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Just play as many pianos as you can. You will find good and horrible instruments from every brand and figure out what suits you. You will definitely find some Steinways that absolutely knock your socks off.

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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Up til now the only great Steinway Pianos I have ever played have all been Concert Grands.
In both Halls & Houses.

Up until now ---- rather ironic that I went searching for 'the one' - 'the final' piano for my living room
I went searching for a Mason & Hamlin A or AA and found a Steinway Model A
It plays like no other Steinway, smaller models, I have ever played. It felt like a cross between a M&H & the Tone of a Steinway.
I grabbed it so quickly it shocked me.

Secretly, I was a little disappointed that I found one within a 3 week time frame of active searching.
Of course I was researching online for 7 months prior, amassing information, etc.
Part of the fun is in the searching & auditioning. LOL
How many have felt that way?
When I 1st purchased/secured/received the piano, I thought - 'Is this normal, to find a great piano this quickly?'


thoughts?
brdwyguy


Rejoice that you were able to find a piano you loved quickly😊. The alternative could have been years of shopping, Playing scores of pianos and finally buying one you decided was ‘ok for now’.


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I found my piano last May of 2021!
A beautiful, rebuilt Steinway Model A from 1912
It looks brand new.
My odd Steinway that plays like a cross between a Steinway & a M&H!
Thanks dogperson, yes I have been rejoicing every time I sit and play at this beautiful instrument.

The Grand Lady Amalia.
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Last edited by brdwyguy; 02/17/22 06:53 AM.

1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

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Originally Posted by cygnusdei
My take: there may a sampling bias in the development of preference, which leads to a chicken-or-egg question. That is, which one is true: something is 'good', therefore it becomes 'mainstream' , or something is 'mainstream', therefore it is 'good' ? (The latter implying that taste is acquired).
Yes, popularity is not the same as greatness.I am not going say anything about NY Steinway but certainly Yamaha is a very big and economically powerful manufacturer.There are Yamaha pianos (uprights and grands), to suite both the upper and lower middle classes.(class refering to how wealthy you are) One for each budget.There are also some really expensive pianos for those who can afford those.Many of these pianos are tough and dependable however reasonably priced they are.I cannot say that all are very expressive instruments however.Since the Bosendorfer take over, they seem to have taken on an a kind of an aura.(fake aura) So now Yamaha is sometimes spoken of in the same breath as Steinway.(which is bizarre) So perhaps Bosendorfer's greatest gift to Yamaha is in marketing Yamaha.(I do not believe Yamaha is capable of giving this type of gift to Bosendorfer) So please remember when Steinway and Yamaha are mentioned quickly together as mainstream pianos, when it comes to pianos it's Steinway that that are the true high end performance grade piano.Yamaha is still a middle class piano on the whole.(apart from the more unusual far better models) OK Kawai you can now smile.

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I have been having lots and lots of thoughts going thru my mind about this particular post.

HYPOTHETICAL - which has been done before I'm sure.
Let's take MONEY out of the Mix in choosing a piano.
So we have all hit the lottery and won Half a Billion Dollars.
Ok - NOW I'm going to go searching for my perfect piano.

My thought would be - not sure it would turn out to be a Steinway!
I would not buy the most expensive piano but I would want to search the following:

A FAZIOLI 7'(New)
A BOSENDORFER 220 or 228 (New and Restored New from a good year)
A Hamburg STEINWAY B - Spirio R compared to a NY STEINWAY B - Spirio R
A C. BECHSTEIN (also New & Expertly Restored)
A NY STEINWAY B (Expertly Restored from the Golden Era 1925 - 1940)
A MASON & HAMLIN BB (Expertly Restored from 1910 - 1929 period)
A SHIGARO KAWAI SK7 (New)
A FALCONE 7' (made in 1985 - 1988 & restored expertly)

this would be my list, how about yours?

brdwyguy


1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

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Just a note to add I am only talking about marketing and perception, not about the quantity of Yamaha and Bosendorfer pianos which remain high in Yamaha and very high in Bosendorfer.In fact Bosendorfer are often still regarded here as some of the best quality pianos around.

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Another Question:
You walk into most any Piano Store or Website and most likely in the Rebuilt/Pre-owned section
there will be 'MULTIPLE' Yamaha's & Steinway's! This really stuck out to me when I was searching.
I kept thinking, 'ok one of 2 things'

Either they are extremely popular and everyone winds up choosing Yamaha's or Steinway's
OR
They are horrible piano's and everyone keeps trading them in?

Granted every store/web page/etc have many other brands of pianos as well.
But NOT the amount of Y's & S's.

Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me?
What are your thoughts on that as well?

I Visited 4 Showrooms and Numerous Web Pages - There were NO Mason & Hamlin's to be looked at. The only place was Freeburg Pianos because they were a M&H dealer and they only had New M&H Pianos.
I would have had to travel close to 1000 miles to try out a restored one.

brdwyguy

Last edited by brdwyguy; 02/17/22 12:01 PM.

1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

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Originally Posted by tre corda
So perhaps Bosendorfer's greatest gift to Yamaha is in marketing Yamaha.

I'm sure this halo effect was entirely part of the calculus in Yamaha's decision to buy Bosendorfer. It's probably why they are being very diligent not to tarnish the brand, and being very diligent to allow Bosendorfer to continue to operate as they traditionally have.

I have always thought that Yamaha could do more to differentiate their higher end offerings, which are amazing pianos. Yamaha has over a dozen models, and they all look and are branded the same. If you don't know the specific design details, there's nothing that tells a CFX from a GB1K apart while sitting at the fallboard. It's all just a simple "Yamaha," same font, same everything. So in that sense, the vast majority of their grands, presumably good quality, including well regarded C2-C3X pianos, just overshadow the SX/CF lineup, which to me end up being "sleepers" - fantastic quality but not really prominent. And if you see a Yamaha grand in a home or venue, there's no easy way to tell high end from low end.

Contrast this with Steinway, which has separate sub-brands in Essex and Boston, or Kawai, with their Shigeru Kawai lineup. See one of those, and you know it's Kawai's top end hand-built models.


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Past: Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11, Kawai NV-10
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