|PRICES OF MODELS REVIEWED*|
|Brand/Model (alphabetically)||Size||MSRP ($)||SMP ($)|
|Brodmann PE 187||6' 2"||25,900||18,267|
|Hailun 198 ||6' 5" ||24,900 ||22,510|
|Heintzman 186 ||6' 1" ||18,780|
|Perzina T-188 ||6' 1" ||24,090 ||17,060|
|Ritmüller GH-188R ||6' 2" ||24,995 ||18,176|
*Prices are for models in polished ebony.
MSRP = Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. Not all manufacturers issue MSRPs.
SMP = Suggested Maximum Price. Most sales take place at a discount to the SMP.
See Model & Pricing Guide in Piano Buyer for more information about prices.
Unfortunately, my positive impression of this instrument was marred by a touch that felt shallow, uneven, and somewhat heavy and tiring to play. A lack of speed and reliability of repetition also contributed to the impression that the action probably needed further regulating. The pedals were easy to depress and worked well, but unlike what I've come to expect from high-end instruments, use of the una corda (soft) pedal didn't seem to change the timbre.
Heintzman 186 (6' 1")
When I arrived to try the Heintzman, I found I had the pleasure of having two samples to try! They had recently been used for a theater production about two pianists, and each instrument had been voiced to one pianist's taste. I spent most of my time on the piano in the main showroom, but after spending some time playing both instruments, I was struck again by the importance of the piano technician in determining the sound (voicing) and feel (regulation) of any particular piano.
I enjoyed playing the Debussy "Arpeggio" étude because of this instrument's wide dynamic range and good singing quality. The transition from the bass section to the tenor was very smooth. An abrupt change in tone from the mid-treble to the much brighter high treble was a bit disconcerting, however, and some tubbiness in a few of the bass notes suggested the need for a little voicing to even things out.
As with the Ritmüller, the Heintzman action felt shallow and a little tiring to play; with the Heintzman, however, repeated notes were nevertheless easy to execute. I did find some distracting action noises in the treble — soft clicking sounds as the keys were depressed. This seemed to happen starting from C above middle C and proceeding about an octave and a half upward. Also, the touch felt uneven and a little difficult to control, especially in the tenor section. The three pedals worked well, though I had to work quite hard to depress them. I especially appreciated that I was able to play quite softly with the una corda pedal depressed.
Perzina T-188 (6' 1")
Perhaps due to its being voiced very brightly, even shrill in some places, the Perzina seemed lacking in tonal color, especially in the treble. I realize that this is a matter of taste, and that, in general, all pianos seem to be voiced more brightly today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Larger concert halls, changing expectations of sound, and an explosion of piano competitions have undoubtedly contributed to this trend, with the result that a piano in a showroom now probably must be voiced brightly to compete in the marketplace. I was taught to "pull" the sound out of the piano, and to produce the tone as much as possible. I think most piano customers today prefer the tone to jump out at them.
The transition in the low tenor from treble to bass strings was very good, however, and the bass section was one of the best of the five pianos I played — its clarity and resonance were superb. Because of this, the Bartók "With Drums and Pipes" worked very well on this piano. Interestingly, despite the brightness, I found it quite easy to play softly on the Perzina. I did not have to use the una corda pedal to do so, and I always appreciate that. In general, the action felt easy enough, but trills and turns were somewhat difficult to execute. All three pedals worked well and were easy, but not too easy, to depress, and the una corda provided a nice tonal contrast.
I also enjoyed looking at this piano's interesting hardware and cabinet detail, including a Perzina coat of arms with lengthy wording on the fallboard decal, and a chrome coat of arms over one of the plate expansion holes.
Brodmann PE 187 (6' 2")
When I first sat down at the Brodmann, I was relieved to be playing a piano that, despite a rather live room acoustic, didn't sound too bright. It had a singing quality in the mid-treble, with a very nice sustain. However, I missed being interested in the tone — it just wasn't that complex or compelling — and the resonance and tonal color varied a lot throughout the various registers. For example, the two octaves proceeding upward from F# above middle C seemed a little dull, almost tubby in sound, and it was hard to experience any tonal color in this area. The same could be said for the upper bass. On the other hand, the transition area in the low tenor was quite good, and there was excellent resonance from the lowest notes on the keyboard up to the second E from the bottom. Despite these variations, in general the instrument had a quite wide dynamic range.