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Why doesn�t Keyboard magazine review real pianos?


RABid

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Also the reviews would be highly subjective to one's taste and style of music played. Most Classical folks hate Yamahas and Kawais--too bright. A lot of Rock/Pop people think Steinways are too stiff and don't cut in a track. Some Jazz guys like myself feel the Bosendorfers, while probably having the best build quality in the world in addition to that beautiful, unique singing tone, would not be their first choice.

 

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That sounds a lot like the Roland vs. Yamaha vs. Korg vs. Kurzwell arguments we already get when someone asks which ROMpler to buy, not to mention the frequent clonewheel debates that pop up around here. I would also bet that most staff along with many of the people that post here started on a real piano.

This post edited for speling.
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Steinway D review

by Stephen Fortner

 

Pros

Killer piano sound

Incredibly responsive action that feels just like a real piano

No audible sampling artifacts

 

Cons

Only one sound

No touchscreen

No editing capabilities

No arpeggiator

Expensive

Heavy

 

 

"Key Buy" Award

 

:D

 

Reader Letter

I can't believe you gave this thing a Key Buy award. It cost me $80,000 and doesn't even fit into my car to take to shows. Basically useless. And get this: there's only one sound! You'd think for 80 large I'd at least get some Rhodes or Clavs in there, but it's just the one piano sound. It's pretty good, but doesn't really cut through a mix like the one in my Korg. Cancel my subscription immediately! :mad:

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I don't think they have the knowledge base.

 

In a sense, that's correct. Most if not all of the reviewers are guys that came up in "bands", not pianists, Classical or Jazz people who have spent their whole life just studying the instrument. It's just not their area of expertise.

I can only speak for myself, and I'm just an occasional reviewer; but I'm a little bit of both. I grew up playing piano, studying first classical and then jazz. I began college as a jazz major and finished with a degree in composition. Then, I went back and forth -- playing keyboards in bands for awhile and then playing piano in hotel lobbies -- before I settled into the studio side of the business, sometimes playing piano but more often composing, arranging, and orchestrating, and also programming keyboards.

 

Also the reviews would be highly subjective to one's taste and style of music played. Most Classical folks hate Yamahas and Kawais--too bright. A lot of Rock/Pop people think Steinways are too stiff and don't cut in a track. Some Jazz guys like myself feel the Bosendorfers, while probably having the best build quality in the world in addition to that beautiful, unique singing tone, would not be their first choice.

It's tough to make generalizations when there are so many models from each manufacturer to choose from. That said, I've personally found that Steinway offers the widest variety of sound and feel -- and quality. And yes, Yamahas generally cut through a track really well.

 

Addendum: I imagine if Keyboard ever decided to review pianos, Steve would keep in mind what different types of players are looking for in a piano and address those needs as they relate to timbre, feel, etc.

 

Best,

 

Geoff

My Blue Someday appears on Apple Music | Spotify | YouTube | Amazon

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Steinway D review

by Stephen Fortner

 

Pros

Killer piano sound

Incredibly responsive action that feels just like a real piano

No audible sampling artifacts

 

Cons

Only one sound

No touchscreen

No editing capabilities

No arpeggiator

Expensive

Heavy

 

"Key Buy" Award

 

:D

 

Pros

No wall wart

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Reader Letter

I can't believe you gave this thing a Key Buy award. It cost me $80,000 and doesn't even fit into my car to take to shows. Basically useless. And get this: there's only one sound! You'd think for 80 large I'd at least get some Rhodes or Clavs in there, but it's just the one piano sound. It's pretty good, but doesn't really cut through a mix like the one in my Korg. Cancel my subscription immediately! :mad:

 

Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

 

Scary... because it's true. :freak:

 

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The mag also seems to omit classical players, e.g. Van Cliburn competition never got a mention to my knowledge. :cool:

Regards,

Joe

 

Keyboard USED to do articles on classical players back in the 70s: Horowitz, Misha Dichter, etc. Those were the days!

 

"The devil take the poets who dare to sing the pleasures of an artist's life." - Gottschalk

 

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Aethellis

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Joe P, I'm almost certain we've covered the Van Cliburn competition at some point - though I couldn't say off the top of my head when. I'll have to take a look at the archives in the office next week.

 

Bosendorphin (the best screen name I think I've ever seen, BTW), there's no agenda *not* to cover classical players. In fact, I agree with you that we're long overdue. Making a note of it, and of course, open to suggestions.

 

D-Bon wrote:

Steinway D review

by Stephen Fortner

 

Pros

Killer piano sound

Incredibly responsive action that feels just like a real piano

No audible sampling artifacts

 

Cons

Only one sound

No touchscreen

No editing capabilities

No arpeggiator

Expensive

Heavy

 

"Key Buy" Award

 

No way would I have written this review - I'd never suggest a Key Buy for anything that didn't have aftertouch! :rimshot:

 

Geoff Grace probably comes closest to the reason we don't review acoustic pianos: logistics. But I've been thinking about ways to work around this.

 

For examnple (and I know this isn't an acoustic piano, but it's big enough to present some of the same logistical challenges), we're getting a Yamaha AvantGrand in soon.

 

We're parking it at Fantasy Studios, having assorted accomplished pianists come in to check it out next to a Yamaha concert grand, making test recordings of that and the real thing, and videotaping. There'll be a printed review, and the whole multimedia enchilada will go on the website.

 

And the piano shop idea someone mentioned is exactly what we're planning on doing. We'd like to have, say, three or four "piano days" per year where we invade a shop, bring in some great players, invite forum members, and again, record the results for posterity. We've actually got one major shop in the Bay area and one in L.A. interested.

 

Dave Horne also makes a really good point about the consistency of pianos. Some makers, such as Yamaha, are known for their consistency. Others, such as Steinway, are like B-3s or Strats or Harleys in that no two are quite alike. (OK, I know I'm gonna get flamed for that analogy...) So another caveat would be that the best you could do is to review this or that particular piano in many cases.

 

Now, getting a dozen different specimens, of say, Steinway D in the same room would be quite the exercise in planning and persuading, but the ability to draw generalizations it would afford is pretty seductive. Now y'all got me thinking...

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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Now, getting a dozen different specimens, of say, Steinway D in the same room would be quite the exercise in planning and persuading, but the ability to draw generalizations it would afford is pretty seductive. Now y'all got me thinking...
I don't know how amenable Steinway would be to it, but if you've seen Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, you'll know that Steinway let's their artists choose their pianos at the factory from a room full. Maybe you could get a reviewer and a couple of people (maybe Steinway artists, I could see pros and cons to that) to go to one of those rooms and review a bunch of Ds.

 

(If you go to the link and and go to the Clips and Screenings page, there is a clip of the Factory Selection scene. I think it may be the entire scene from the movie.)

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Bosendorphin (the best screen name I think I've ever seen, BTW), there's no agenda *not* to cover classical players. In fact, I agree with you that we're long overdue. Making a note of it, and of course, open to suggestions.

 

Well thank you, Mr. Fortner!!! I wish I could afford and the had the room for a real Bosie. First name that comes to mind is Hugh Sung as he's really into the current technology as well as coming from the classical world. Might be an interesting way to get folks interested in both sides of the musical spectrum.

"The devil take the poets who dare to sing the pleasures of an artist's life." - Gottschalk

 

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Aethellis

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And the piano shop idea someone mentioned is exactly what we're planning on doing.

 

Geez, Joe P, Bosendorphin, D-Bon, Geoff Grace, and Dave Horne all get called out by name in the response by the Magazine's's Big Kahuna. I, however, get referred to as "someone." Oh, the shame of it all. ;)

 

Noah

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I think for the most part the readership of Keyboard is not the typical acoustic piano purchaser. While some of them wish they owned one (and also some do :-), by and large they cannot afford it. I don't remember ever seeing any acoustic piano ads in the magazine either. I don't think there are many readers looking for information about their upcoming acoustic piano purchase, because they either aren't interested in buying one or cannot afford it. Having said that, I'll bet a fair number of readers would be interested in acoustic piano articles anyway.

 

Also, it does seem that classical music gets the least coverage, while in the past it used to get more. I thought David Burge's columns on classical piano (20th century no less!) were great. I'm guessing this is probably an accurate reflection of the readership's interests - if readership surveys indicated "cover more classical," of course they would.

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