Gruenert also tested the 4' 11" Brodmann PE 150: "This was a noticeable upgrade from the Taylor, at a considerably higher price (asking price: $12,999). As soon as I hit the first chord, I knew that the tone and action were really of a very nice standard." Gruenert found the tone to be good in all registers: "A very nice, round tone. Not a sophisticated tone with a lot of harmonics, but sweet in the treble and forceful enough in the bass, with a clearly-defined pitch and tone much lower in the bass than the Taylor had." About the cabinet: "Interestingly, they had the Brodmann logo on the side of the case, like a concert grand. Struck me as perhaps something that the purchaser looking foremost for a nice piece of furniture might not like." Overall, however, Gruenert was impressed: "This is a piano one would do well to purchase instead of a larger, 10- to 20-year-old Yamaha or Kawai. It was very enjoyable to play. The action was nice by anyone's standard, the tone very even and subtle across the scale. Using my ‘would I enjoy sitting here and playing this all day?' standard, this was a keeper. And, in contrast to the Taylor, I can't imagine getting more piano for the buck by purchasing a good upright with the same money."
Glen Rosenthal, in Denver, reviewed a couple of Indonesian-made models that are part of the Samick family of brands. About the 4' 8" Pramberger LG-145, he wrote: "I had played a variety of Prambergers over the years, but had never seen this model. The instrument I tried out was finished in high-gloss mahogany, and it looked beautiful! The first thing I noticed when I sat down to play was how much the bass resonated and sustained, sounding as if it had recently been voiced — it was amazing, really. Below F9, the lowest note with clearly identifiable pitch, it didn't sound musical, but wasn't tubby either. The bass notes were all quite lively, the middle register was melodious, and the upper register, while not bell-like, was very clean and complemented the midrange of the piano quite well. There was almost no change of tonal character across the bass/tenor break. The action was a little light for my taste, but it provided good feedback from pianissimo to fortissimo and allowed for speedy scale sequences. This Pramberger exceeded my expectations. If I were in the market for a mini-grand, I'd most certainly take this model for a test drive."
Rosenthal also tried out the 4' 8" Kohler & Campbell KIG-48, also made by Samick. His comments about the tone and action of this model were very similar to those about the Pramberger, except that in the Kohler & Campbell, both bass and treble, though still pleasing, sounded a little darker, with the bass sounding musical beginning at note G11. This model also exceeded the reviewer's expectations, though not as much as did the Pramberger.
My sources tell me that, unlike the larger sizes of Pramberger, whose designs are based on the work of the late piano engineer Joseph Pramberger, this small Pramberger grand is a stock Samick design in use for many years under a variety of names, and that these particular Pramberger and Kohler & Campbell models are, in fact, identical instruments with different names. Therefore, any differences between the Pramberger and Kohler & Campbell in this model must be attributable less to differences in design than to manufacturing variations, to differing amounts of preparation at the factory or by the dealer, or some combination of these.
Our last reviewer, James Carney, in New York City, had the arduous but fun task of reviewing six piano models at two dealerships. He began by trying out two new Chinese-made instruments designed for Young Chang by American piano designer Delwin Fandrich: the 4' 11" Young Chang Y150 and the 4' 11" Weber W150. In the past, Young Chang and Weber instruments have been identical, but this time the company gave Fandrich instructions to give each its own musical personality. In addition to playing the new instruments, Carney also had the opportunity to tune them. He describes his experience:
"Both the Young Chang and Weber models I played feature very nice cabinets, legs, lyres, and music desks, and slow-close fallboards that worked perfectly. The Y150 I tested had an interior case veneer that looked exotic, like something one might find on a more expensive piano.
"In both pianos, the copper-wrapped (bass) string scaling extends upward to note F#34 — a much higher position than a wrapped string would normally appear in a longer grand. This means that the highest wrapped strings on both the Young Chang and Weber are within the temperament zone, an area where the piano technician establishes the basic tuning pattern for the piano. Because of the large amount of inharmonicity often present in this section, and the difficulty of scaling wrapped bass strings to blend well with unwrapped, plain-wire strings, the presence of wrapped strings in the temperament section is often a serious challenge for the tuner, and sometimes it's hard to set a temperament pattern that sounds good. Yet in the case of both of these pianos, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to tune a great temperament that seemed unaffected by the presence of the wrapped strings. I was also astonished at the smoothness of the break (bass/tenor transition) on these two pianos. Of all the instruments I tried in my short-grand survey, both the Young Chang Y150 and Weber W150 had the least noticeable break; its smoothness rivals or even exceeds that found on much longer (and much more expensive) pianos.