Tuesday, January 30All That Matters

Can You Hear The Difference Between Cheap And Expensive Pianos?

Can You Hear The Difference Between Cheap And Expensive Pianos?

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  • Ma1

    Very cool. Would probably help if they were recorded in the same room… and I’m guessing this YouTuber hooked up a $200 dollar rode cell phone mic at best. But fun to see the price comparisons!

  • tidder112

    Something tells me that last piano he played has a story.

    I am too lazy to look it up, so I am going to assume it belonged to a wealthy eccentric who liked to live in very narrow dwellings, and preferred their furniture to be customized to accommodate their lifestyle.

  • yamaha2000us

    There is a difference between the first and second to last. The play on the first was very light and tinny.

    I could not tell the difference from the third piano on.

  • Drago1214

    The diminishing returns past the 8000 was very noticeable. You could tell the 50 grand one had cleaner notes but it was nothing crazy. Maybe you need a room with proper acoustics to really notice.

  • STAlexFree

    Also worth noting that the better pianos probably feel a lot better to play too. Sound is one aspect, but the actual feel of playing the instrument can be wildly different depending on quality.

  • evDev84

    It’s not so much that I can’t hear the difference, it’s that I just couldn’t give less of a fuck. If someone at a party sat down at that first Frankenpiano and started knocking out some tunes, I’d love it.

  • Groomsi

    Maybe I’m alone on this, but 2nd piano sounded ok for me.

    Like watching old western movies where they play the piano in the bar =)

  • kris_lace

    Would listen to this guy play all kinds of things with that reoccurring look of discontent that I find strangely warming and genuine.

  • vonbose

    I’ve got 2 kids and a wiener dog screaming in my ear every day. I can sort of tell the difference, but ain’t no one got time for that.

  • foreheadteeth

    OK I’m a pianist and I’m pretty rageful about this.

    I don’t give two bits about the sound of it. Alls I cares abouts is the action. This is how the key feel when you push it down, and how the instrument eventually responds. I don’t care if it sounds like a harp or an oil drum.

    I’ve been in uncountably many music stores where parents buy an instrument for their kid. They all wonder about the sound of it. My mom recently asked about my two old keyboards, for my nephew, and all she cared about was the sound.

    The sound doesn’t matter. Ask Glenn Gould, who would practice Bach in his head.

    Do not buy a 15k$ Steinway because of the brand. The action is shot. The action only lasts 5 years. Buy whatever has the best action now, get rid of it in 5 years and buy a new one.

    Getting the action adjusted is worth more than the price of your piano. Having a piano with a good action is priceless.

  • TeacherLust123

    Don’t look at me like I’m supposed to know this stuff… But seriously this is the first really effective video presenting those differences. So well done!

  • 27SwingAndADrive

    I never understood the point of these kinds of videos.

    I’m not in the room with the guy, so the recording equipment he used to record it, Youtube’s audio encoding and the quality of my sound equipment seems like it would be way more relevant than anything else.

  • Gesha24

    It should say “Can you hear the difference between cheap and expensive pianos, given the unknowns of tuning and voicing of the pianos, as well as limitations of recording (microphones), distribution (youtube) and playback (your laptop) equipment?”

    I had a pleasure to work with Jack Renner (from Telarc) on recording piano. He was joking that he got so tired of looking for a good piano tuner, that he ended up marrying one. His wife – Barbara, is indeed a wondeful tuner. I was astonished how much of a difference 30 minutes of tuning/voicing did to a piano does – it’s the same hall, the same piano, but it’s a completely differently sounding instrument. Even my baby (5ft) Essex grand does gain a lot by proper tuner (and I didn’t even have to marry one, though it did take me over 10 years to find a good tuner).

    There’s also a huge difference between recorded piano and live performance. You absolutely have to have a full size (9ft) piano for the concert hall, but for recording, especially if that’s jazz or other non-classical music, smaller instruments work sometimes even better. For example, upright Yamaha pianos can sound absolutely amazing with proper mic placement. Many 7ft grand pianos, while a tad too small for concert halls, do have amazing sound properties and are fantastic instruments for recording studios, but put it in Carnegie Hall and audience will be disappointed.

    I won’t even go into different techniques for recording different pianos (and they work better for some and not for others) and playback limitations and what not… So yeah, you can listen to the pianos in the video and listen for differences, but it really does not illustrate accurately whether pianos of higher cost sound better or not.

  • unclefire

    This is all sorts of dumb. I can hear the difference on a few even with the crappy sound setup I have turn on.

    But his low end stuff is all ancient. There’s lower end stuff that’s way newer and could have way better action etc. Point is, no telling what they did or did not do to those old cheap pianos.

    The sound seemed off on a few of those like they weren’t tuned properly.

    And of course the room acoustics will make a difference.

  • WhatTheOnEarth

    I can hear the difference between all of them but after the 17,000 dollar one I can’t hear one being better than the other from sound alone, it feels like it’d be a bit subjective after that which one sounds better.

    What I do notice is that on the really expensive one he plays differently, he’s a lot more subtle and able to get out a bit more nuance from the piece. Not sure if that’s the different room acoustics, the piano, or just the day he filmed it he played it a bit differently. Probably a mix.

  • Dazaran

    I liked the $600 one the most. Gave a nice haunted vibe the others were too clean for. Also, other comments have said that the more expensive pianos are better to play, but would another consideration for price be the volume? I assume a large grand piano is better for a concert hall than a smaller upright.

  • tigerjuice888

    I don’t know jack about pianos but can definitely hear the difference. The guys expression when he looked at the camera each time cracked me up.

  • Woogity

    Just hearing this I would go with the $8000 Yamaha upright. It seems to get the most bang for your buck. Probably can get a good deal on a used one too.

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