PRICES OF MODELS REVIEWED*
Brand/Model (alphabetically) Size MSRP† ($) SMP‡ ($)
Cristofori CRV42542.5"3,5693,569
Hallet, Davis & Co. H-108 43"4,7503,710
Hallet, Davis & Co. H-11144"4,7503,710
Hardman, Peck & Co. R110S44"4,7503,710
Kohler & Campbell KC-14242"3,4903,490
Otto Altenburg AV10842.5"5,0003,690
Pearl River UP-108D342.5"3,8853,590

*Prices are for models in continental style (except Hardman, Peck), polished ebony
†MSRP = Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price
‡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.


Kevin A. Brown, of Chicago, reviewed the 42 1/2" Cristofori CRV425. Cristofori is a house brand of the Jordan Kitt's Music and Schmitt Music piano-store chains, and is manufactured in China by Pearl River. Brown writes:

Generally, I'd characterize the treble tone as "light and airy," not harsh, brittle, or bright. Sustain was good, especially in the bass, and the pitch of the bass notes was quite clear, though down to only G11. However, the piano didn't seem to have a distinctive voice of its own, largely because the tone was so inconsistent, with variation from section to section or even note to note. Music that emphasized the treble and didn't require complex harmonies sounded pleasant, but when I combined several low bass notes with the treble, the sound became thick, muddy, and "boomy," with the bass overshadowing the treble and detracting from the treble's positive qualities. The piano had been prepped for my visit, but perhaps these problems could be overcome with additional voicing, and learning how to better balance playing the bass with the treble.

The action was very light, almost springy, and felt a bit inconsistent up and down the keyboard. It was fairly responsive, and note repetition was good, at least for the needs of beginning or intermediate-skill players, but I found it hard to achieve subtle changes in dynamics. As expected, striking a key hard produced a loud sound, and striking it gently yielded a somewhat softer sound, but achieving a more expressive middle ground was difficult. I was also distracted by a loose and sloppy feel to the keys, which made mechanical noise when played rapidly.

Although my comments may sound critical, this instrument did strike me as a good first piano for a budget-conscious buyer, or a second instrument in a home studio. Overall, and despite the inconsistencies, the tone was acceptable, and the action would probably be comfortable for young, small hands. This piano would work well for beginning students playing music that doesn't demand a broad range of dynamic or tonal expression, but the light, loose, springy action could limit the range of expression for a more intermediate or advanced player.

The piano's cabinet was in the continental style, with clean, simple lines and a smooth, attractive, glossy finish. The piano's lid can be propped open grand-style for better sound. The piano had a locking fallboard — a nice feature, but of questionable value in an entry-level instrument for the home; a slow-close fallboard might have been more useful for this market. The fallboard's small, fold-down music desk was a bit flimsy and not very deep or wide. However, it may be sufficient for the entry-level student, whose music is likely to be lightweight and small. The piano comes with a padded bench with music storage.