Brown also reviewed the 4' 9" Hallet, Davis & Co. H-146C, made in China by the former Dongbei Piano Company, now owned by Baldwin (in turn owned by Gibson Guitar), and which currently makes most Baldwin grands. Brown liked the sound of this instrument, finding all registers to be bright, crisp, and surprisingly clean, without any harshness; the transition between the tenor and bass ranges was not particularly noticeable. The bass "had a purity that I did not expect in a piano of this size," and "the tonal quality was quite consistent from mezzo piano to forte. Playing octave chords in the lowest bass range revealed the piano's tonal limitations, but they were not so great that most players in this market would find the sound objectionable." Brown also found the action to feel smooth, consistent, moderately firm, and controllable. "The piano played like a larger instrument. The action provided just enough resistance to achieve a variety of dynamics, and enabled greater musical expression than I had expected. My impression was that a pianist of late-intermediate to early-advanced skills would find the action suitable for playing most types of music requiring a wide range of musical expression." Brown was also impressed with some of the cabinet features and with the overall attention to detail, such as the slow-close fallboard, the natural wood veneer on the inner rim, and a number of smaller cabinet details. "The piano had a quality look and feel, and most important, the tone and action were quite good for a small grand. Skilled pianists would be able to play the instrument with a relatively high level of musical expression."
Finally, Brown reviewed the 4' 8" Hobart M. Cable GH-42D, made in China by Sejung. Substantially similar pianos are also made under the George Steck and Falcone labels. In general, Brown found this piano's tone to sound a bit "woody" when played from piano to mezzo forte — like, he said, an old upright piano — but to become a bit more harsh or metallic when played more forcefully. The treble sounded somewhat subdued, but inconsistent, which "could prove frustrating for a player looking for a pure, crisp, clean tone for certain types of music, such as baroque and early classical." Brown went on to say, "Initially, I kind of liked the somewhat subdued, woody quality to the sound, but the more I played it, the more I thought the woodiness bordered on metallic. This sound could become tiresome with certain types of music." Brown also found the bass to be somewhat harsh and "thuddy," significantly deteriorating at about F9; however, the transition from tenor to bass was not too distracting. Brown found the action too light and difficult to control. "Players more advanced than I would probably find that the action was not very satisfying because controlling the tone would be difficult. Even at my skill level, I had trouble bringing out the kind of sound I wanted." Although he noted that the key surfaces had a particularly nice feel, Brown described the action as "clickety" in fast repetitions. "An advanced pianist would find this characteristic annoying," he said. The instrument Brown tested was finished in a polished wood veneer, appeared to be free of blemishes, and had a slow-close fallboard. However, Brown described the finish as having a "plastic feel," and that, in general, the cabinet lacked attention to detail and appeared cheaply made.
Houston reviewer Tom Gruenert tried out two models made by the Brodmann Piano Company, a firm started by two former Bösendorfer executives who desired to combine European design and components with Chinese manufacturing to produce an excellent piano at a lower price. Following several years of success with the Brodmann line, this year the company introduced its budget line of Taylor pianos. Gruenert had this to say about the 4' 9" Taylor TG 145: "The tone was nicer than I expected from a very small grand, but not great. Sustain was fair. The two octaves on either side of middle C were pleasing, but the tone in the treble tended to thin and get brighter and more brittle as one proceeded up the keyboard. The bass tone was more than adequate, but inharmonicity really became noticeable at G11; below that, the wound strings were noticeably guttural and not pleasing. The action was far better than I would have expected." The cabinet was simple but nice. However, the wood music desk, mounted at the center of a metal frame that's exposed on both sides, was "either tacky or modern, depending on your taste" (the reviewer thought it tacky). Overall, Gruenert says, "I would recommend this piano to the budget-conscious or space-limited customer. However, I would have to say that the same money (asking price: $7,999) spent on an upright would probably net the purchaser a better piano experience, though not necessarily as nice a piece of furniture. Was it a joy to play? Not really. But certainly not a disappointment either."