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Estonia Pianos
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The estonia is an excellent piano for the price. I have played the Sauter Delta several times. It is a wonderful piano with a greqt touch but it definitely is on the clarity side with a solid bass (for that size) though in my view with more harmonic complexity than a C3. It will mellow with time, but the general character will stay.

The difficulty in your case is to define and choose which color you like. For thqt reason it is complicated to choose a piano remotely.


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The advice to purchase a piano whose tone you dislike based on specs, reputation, forum hype, or price…is simply poor advice. Unless you’re a decorator.


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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
The advice to purchase a piano whose tone you dislike based on specs, reputation, forum hype, or price…is simply poor advice. Unless you’re a decorator.

Exactly so. If you get the chance to play a different Shigeru it is worth doing that just in case the particular one you tried was poorly set up, but we all like different pianos so do get the one that speaks to you rather than someone else's favourite.

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A good comparison between the SK3 and the Estonia L190. Of Course you cant make a choice based on a YT recording. But it gives you some basics about the character of each piano.



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Originally Posted by Aritempor
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Hi again all. Dissatisfied with the limited options available here, I reached out to dealers in neighboring countries and was pleased to find that they offer shipping to Malaysia. A much wider selection of brands is available in countries like Thailand and Singapore. The problem is that with COVID, it would be impossible for me to try out all (if any) of the pianos I've zoned in on that fit my now heightened price range:

Seiler SE-186
Estonia L190
Sauter "Delta" 185/Sauter "Omega" 220
Petrof "Storm" P194/Petrof "Pasat" P210

To anyone who's played any of these models, I'd appreciate any advice and recommendations. Out of all the grands I've tried in this newfound search of mine, I most liked the touch and feel of the Hamburg Steinways. As for the sound, I'd most like to avoid a sort of muffled, covered sound that I found most glaringly apparent in the Shigeru Kawai SK3 that I tried. I'd like a ringing, resonant sound; one that has purity and clarity and with a good sustain.

That's quite a jump in budget smile. I'll chip in on the Sauter (at least the Delta anyway) which I have had the pleasure to try at Coach House in London. Bear in mind it's a sample size of one. To me anyway it was on the bright side. A pure sound which I would describe as crystal like clarity in the treble and upper tenor. The lower tenor was richer and the bass as good as I've heard for pianos around 6 feet. I do prefer my pianos more mellow so it didn't grab me unlike the Bosies that I tried that same afternoon. It's always hard to judge based on playing one piano but Sauters (in my head) are similar to the brighter Yamaha sound at least in the treble. I'm sure they can be mellowed but I'd rather start with something I loved then try and fix something that wasn't quite right.

Not quite a jump if you knew how much they are going for. I don't know how much Sauters and Petrofs cost in the West, but based on what I've seen online I'm shocked that the prices are so low in some of the Southeast Asian countries (and these are totally legit, authorized dealers).

Thanks for your input on the Delta. I'm starting to shy away from the biggest models on my list because I've come to the realization that the prices are a bit prohibitive, so right now I'm leaning towards the Petrof P194 or the Delta. I'll probably make one overseas trip (scary because of COVID) and the showroom I'm visiting only has the Omega so I'm hoping that the Delta is a close approximation in terms of touch and sound. I'm worried about the Petrof because I've read some accounts of long-term quality issues but it is bigger than the Delta (and cheaper) - perhaps the size is a good trade-off even though the quality of the Sauter may be better?

I've loved the sound of the Estonia in videos but I won't be able to make another trip elsewhere to try it out in person, so ordering it sight unseen puts me in a bind.

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Originally Posted by Sidokar
A good comparison between the SK3 and the Estonia L190. Of Course you cant make a choice based on a YT recording. But it gives you some basics about the character of each piano.


This was actually the video that I watched the night before I was supposed to put a deposit on the SK3 and it really did sour me off a bit on the SK3 - listen to that sustain on the Estonia and the SK3 just pales in comparison!

A few days later when I had the opportunity to play the Shigeru more thoroughly I realized that the impressions I got from the video corresponded to my playing experience. Maybe it's just that I'm new to grands, but the touch and sound were odd, almost like playing underwater (perhaps I'm not used to the plastic actions?). It could also be just me - I didn't really like the Bechstein next to the SK3 that I played...a very clinical tone, I thought.

I don't mean to cause offence to any Shigeru owners; I may just need to find one that is really well prepared!

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If you're able to go in person, I would recommend this so strongly. Imagine if this piano that you've spent a fortune on shows up and it's disappointing. After my own piano search I am advising to only buy if you find a specific piano that really grabs you.

Are most people in Singapore and Malaysia vaccinated/boosted? It would make a big difference in how secure I feel. Where I am, things are getting back to normal (I totally get that it's difficult to shift out of the fear mindset after having lived it for so long!). My friend's wife (in her 60's, had cancer last year) got COVID but she was only sick for a day and it wasn't bad at all. I don't know the situation where you are or if you have reasons to be extra concerned, but another option is to put off your purchase until you can do a proper search, and perhaps save up more. I am convinced that it'll be worth the wait if you're able to try out a whole bunch of pianos and really feel like you found the right one.


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I do not think I have ever heard any of those or any other European pianos that sounds like a Yamaha.There is something online about the key resistance being rather heavy with the Sauter Delta though. If you do not mind me asking how much is a Sauter Delta in Malaysia now?
I would also say that modern Kawai pianos sound rather different to the older ones.The Kawai model GX and a Shigeru sound the nearest.(I do not mean a muffled one)


My piano's voice is my voice to God and the great unknown universe, and to those I love.In other words a hymn.That is all, but that is enough.Life goes on, despite pain and fear.Music is beautiful,life is beautiful.


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I tried a Petrof Storm recently and liked it. It was in the shop with Mason and Hamlins and was going for about $55k (this is in the US). I'd describe the character as warm, and it was noticeably less strident/projecting than any of the Masons next to it.

Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Maybe it's just that I'm new to grands, but the touch and sound were odd, almost like playing underwater (perhaps I'm not used to the plastic actions?).

If you're coming from an upright, when sitting at a bench I think grand pianos can actually sound more muffled, especially if the music desk is up, because you're no longer 2ft from and facing the soundboard directly. I honestly can't really tell how the action materials impact the feel. I'm very used to playing the composite Millennium III action on the Kawai, and when trying to M&H I really tried to feel out whether there was anything different about the WNG carbon fiber action versus the Kawai or an all-wood action. I'm thinking unless you're an advanced pianist, much of the difference has more to do with factory prep and regulation than materials?


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[quote=twocats]If you're able to go in person, I would recommend this so strongly. Imagine if this piano that you've spent a fortune on shows up and it's disappointing. After my own piano search I am advising to only buy if you find a specific piano that really grabs you.

My friend's wife (in her 60's, had cancer last year) got COVID but she was only sick for a day and it wasn't bad at all.[/quote twocats

She was just extremely lucky.


My piano's voice is my voice to God and the great unknown universe, and to those I love.In other words a hymn.That is all, but that is enough.Life goes on, despite pain and fear.Music is beautiful,life is beautiful.


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Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
I don't know how much Sauters and Petrofs cost in the West, but based on what I've seen online I'm shocked that the prices are so low in some of the Southeast Asian countries (and these are totally legit, authorized dealers).

The Sauter Delta is about 53k euros catalog price, the Omega is 68k. I have seen the Petrof 194 at 45k euros, in a similar range as the Estonia 190.


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Originally Posted by twocats
If you're able to go in person, I would recommend this so strongly. Imagine if this piano that you've spent a fortune on shows up and it's disappointing. After my own piano search I am advising to only buy if you find a specific piano that really grabs you.

Are most people in Singapore and Malaysia vaccinated/boosted? It would make a big difference in how secure I feel. Where I am, things are getting back to normal (I totally get that it's difficult to shift out of the fear mindset after having lived it for so long!). My friend's wife (in her 60's, had cancer last year) got COVID but she was only sick for a day and it wasn't bad at all. I don't know the situation where you are or if you have reasons to be extra concerned, but another option is to put off your purchase until you can do a proper search, and perhaps save up more. I am convinced that it'll be worth the wait if you're able to try out a whole bunch of pianos and really feel like you found the right one.

I agree with twocats 100%. Do not buy a piano unless you have played it yourself.

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Originally Posted by twocats
If you're able to go in person, I would recommend this so strongly. Imagine if this piano that you've spent a fortune on shows up and it's disappointing. After my own piano search I am advising to only buy if you find a specific piano that really grabs you.

Are most people in Singapore and Malaysia vaccinated/boosted? It would make a big difference in how secure I feel. Where I am, things are getting back to normal (I totally get that it's difficult to shift out of the fear mindset after having lived it for so long!). My friend's wife (in her 60's, had cancer last year) got COVID but she was only sick for a day and it wasn't bad at all. I don't know the situation where you are or if you have reasons to be extra concerned, but another option is to put off your purchase until you can do a proper search, and perhaps save up more. I am convinced that it'll be worth the wait if you're able to try out a whole bunch of pianos and really feel like you found the right one.

Thanks so much all for the input.

And yes, I think the vaccination rate in Singapore and Malaysia is pretty good. Our death rate has fallen dramatically from early last year, but the daily case rate is still high enough that travelling gives cause for concern. Anyway, I've bitten the bullet and am going on my piano shopping tour the week after the next, so fingers crossed! My god, the hassle in dealing with all the COVID paperwork and rules when flying is just terrible - sometimes, I feel a bit foolish going through all this trouble when, as a pianist, I am even less than an amateur!

There's nothing like trying the piano for yourself, I agree. If I was a multimillionaire, I'd think nothing of buying a piano sight unseen and sound unheard, but that is regrettably not the case.

tre corda, Sauter is not available in Malaysia (which is one of the reasons why I'm going overseas!), but the neighboring dealer has quoted me a price of around RM 240k (in the local currency) for the Delta which I think in USD is around 56k?

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Just to chime in I am currently doing a short term contract in Cambodia. All the same problems here. The humidity is a real problem.

In the old days it used to be possible to get a piano "tropicalised". I am not sure what that involved but, in the days of the Raj it helped pianos to survive.


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Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
Just to chime in I am currently doing a short term contract in Cambodia. All the same problems here. The humidity is a real problem.

In the old days it used to be possible to get a piano "tropicalised". I am not sure what that involved but, in the days of the Raj it helped pianos to survive.

Yes, this is also an issue that worries me. I am currently looking for info on what can be done to take care of the piano long-term in such conditions, but write-ups are scarce.

Piano Buyer writes that Sauter pianos are "tropicalized", but what does that even entail? I have no idea.

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I saw an old tropicalized piano while visiting the Fandrichs a while ago when I was piano shopping. I think they were restoring it. I don't remember the details at all (was it brought from India?) but there were metal studs all over the inside, and metal bracing. I think the intention was for the metal to control the wood so that it didn't warp or change shape. I wish I had a photo as it was all very impressive looking (they said it was heavy!) but I doubt that's what's done to tropicalize pianos today. It seemed very extreme.

Last edited by twocats; 04/13/22 11:29 AM.

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I've also heard the term "climatized" which may be the same thing?



It also involved processes such as single-piece waterfall keytops, nailing the keytops to the keysticks, extra screws supporting the rim/legs, and screwing soundboard ribs into the soundboard. Seems like most/all of these modifications are to help reinforce the glue/joints and prevent warping and separation?


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Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
Just to chime in I am currently doing a short term contract in Cambodia. All the same problems here. The humidity is a real problem.

In the old days it used to be possible to get a piano "tropicalised". I am not sure what that involved but, in the days of the Raj it helped pianos to survive.

Yes, this is also an issue that worries me. I am currently looking for info on what can be done to take care of the piano long-term in such conditions, but write-ups are scarce.

Piano Buyer writes that Sauter pianos are "tropicalized", but what does that even entail? I have no idea.
The soundboard and other critical areas are sealed or covered by some kind of material which helps or prevents problems with humidity and yet does not affect them negatively. I once read about it but cannot remember exactly what it was.


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So I just got back from my piano shopping trip and need some advice. I loved the Sauter Omega in the showroom (tops was Fazioli but that's way out of my budget) - now, the thing is, before going, a sales representative had told me that the Omega in the showroom was significantly more expensive than if they were to order the piano for me directly from Sauter. He never mentioned that he was telling me this in confidence, and so I mentioned this discrepancy in pricing to the director of the establishment (I never met the sales representative) - in response, he gave me a bit of a dirty look and muttered that he was going to have a word with the sales rep. In hindsight, I realize that I shouldn't have shared so much with the director. Now the sales rep has gone silent on me and is not replying to my messages and I fear that I might've cost him his job or something.

Should I follow up with the director and insist that he should drop the price of the model in the showroom (which is at least a few years old) or should I perhaps see if I can order the Omega directly from Sauter since I now know that the price straight from the factory is cheaper than if I were to buy the piano I played in the showroom?

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Personally, I would never buy any piano J had not played—- and I would expect that if I bought from this dealership, the after-sales service would be less than stellar. The sales rep is not likely to answer your calls.

Only you can decide what you want to do, but these are my thoughts.


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