How does Kawai compare to Steinway? [2024]

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Discover the Key Differences and Find Your Perfect Piano

Are you torn between the renowned craftsmanship of Kawai and the legendary reputation of Steinway? Choosing the right piano is a significant decision, and understanding the differences between these two iconic brands is crucial. In this article, we’ll delve into the key features, history, artist preferences, and more to help you make an informed choice. So, let’s dive in and explore the battle of the brands: Kawai vs. Steinway.

Table of Contents

Quick Answer

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary:

  • Kawai pianos, including the luxurious Shigeru Kawai line, are handcrafted in Japan and known for their exceptional tonal depth and innovative technology. They offer superb value for money and are favored by artists like Ólafur Arnalds and Coldplay.
  • Steinway & Sons pianos, with their rich history dating back to 1853, are renowned for their unparalleled craftsmanship and unique character. Each piano is meticulously built by master craftsmen and favored by artists like Lang Lang, Billy Joel, and Harry Connick Jr.

Now, let’s explore the nuances of these two extraordinary piano brands.

Quick Tips and Facts

Before we dive into the details, here are some quick tips and facts to keep in mind:

Both Kawai and Steinway are highly respected piano brands with their own unique qualities.

Kawai pianos are known for their exceptional tonal depth and innovative technology, while Steinway pianos are celebrated for their craftsmanship and individual character.

Consider your personal preferences, playing style, and budget when choosing between Kawai and Steinway.

Visit a reputable piano dealer to try out different models and get a feel for the sound and touch of each brand.

Remember that the perfect piano for you is the one that resonates with your musical soul.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the background and history of Kawai and Steinway.

Background: The Legacy of Kawai and Steinway

black and white piano keys

To truly understand the differences between Kawai and Steinway, it’s essential to explore their rich histories.

Kawai: A Legacy of Craftsmanship

Kawai, founded in Japan over 100 years ago, has a long-standing reputation for excellence. In 1955, Shigeru Kawai, the son of the company’s founder, Koichi Kawai, established the Shigeru Kawai line. These handcrafted grand pianos combine traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge technology.

The Shigeru Kawai line, with its limited production of less than 250 pianos per year, showcases the meticulous attention to detail and the use of aged wood from Ezo Spruce found on the northernmost island of Japan. This unique combination results in a rich tonal depth that captivates both pianists and audiences alike.

Steinway & Sons: A Legacy of Excellence

Steinway & Sons, founded in 1853 by German immigrant Henry Engelhard Steinway, has become synonymous with the finest pianos in the world. Each Steinway piano takes over a year to build and is crafted by master artisans using more than 12,000 parts.

Steinway pianos are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. The company carefully selects the finest materials, including spruce, maple, and mahogany, which are aged and seasoned for several years. This meticulous process ensures the highest quality sound and durability.

Now that we’ve explored the background, let’s delve into the craftsmanship of Kawai and Steinway pianos.

Craftsmanship: A Closer Look

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When it comes to craftsmanship, both Kawai and Steinway are renowned for their dedication to excellence. Let’s examine the key aspects that set them apart.

Kawai: The Marriage of Tradition and Technology

Kawai pianos, including the Shigeru Kawai line, are a testament to the marriage of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology. The company’s commitment to innovation has led to the development of the Millenium III action, a signature feature of Kawai pianos.

The Millenium III action is made from modern composite components, offering enhanced responsiveness and durability. This innovative design ensures that every keystroke is precise and allows pianists to fully express their musicality.

Steinway: The Art of Handcrafting

Steinway pianos are meticulously handcrafted by skilled artisans who have honed their craft over generations. The company’s commitment to traditional craftsmanship is evident in every aspect of their pianos.

From the selection of the finest materials to the intricate assembly process, Steinway pianos are a testament to the art of handcrafting. Each piano is built with passion and attention to detail, resulting in an instrument that is as unique as the pianist who plays it.

Now that we’ve explored the craftsmanship, let’s move on to the tonal quality of Kawai and Steinway pianos.

Tonal Quality: Comparing the Sound

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The tonal quality of a piano is one of the most important factors to consider when making a choice. Let’s compare the sound characteristics of Kawai and Steinway pianos.

Kawai: Exceptional Tonal Depth

Kawai pianos are known for their exceptional tonal depth and clarity. The use of aged wood from Ezo Spruce, combined with the meticulous craftsmanship, results in a rich and resonant sound.

Whether you’re playing delicate classical pieces or powerful jazz compositions, Kawai pianos offer a wide dynamic range and expressive capabilities that allow you to fully explore the nuances of your music.

Steinway: Individual Character and Versatility

Steinway pianos are celebrated for their individual character and versatility. Each piano has its own unique sound, allowing pianists to find an instrument that perfectly matches their musical style and preferences.

Steinway pianos are known for their warm and rich tone, making them a favorite choice for classical pianists. However, they also excel in other genres, such as jazz and pop, thanks to their versatility and ability to produce a wide range of tonal colors.

Now that we’ve explored the tonal qualities, let’s move on to the action, which is the heart of any piano.

Action: The Heart of the Piano

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The action of a piano refers to the mechanism that translates the pianist’s touch into sound. Let’s compare the actions of Kawai and Steinway pianos.

Kawai: Responsive and Precise

Kawai pianos, including the Shigeru Kawai line, are known for their responsive and precise actions. The Millenium III action, made from modern composite components, offers enhanced responsiveness and durability.

The precise and consistent touch of Kawai pianos allows pianists to fully express their musical ideas and achieve the desired dynamics and articulation.

Steinway: Renowned for Touch and Control

Steinway pianos are renowned for their touch and control. The actions of Steinway pianos are meticulously regulated to ensure a consistent and even response across the entire keyboard.

The touch of a Steinway piano is often described as “velvety” or “buttery,” allowing pianists to effortlessly navigate the keys and achieve a wide range of dynamics.

Now that we’ve explored the action, let’s move on to the durability and longevity of Kawai and Steinway pianos.

Durability and Longevity

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When investing in a piano, durability and longevity are important considerations. Let’s compare the durability of Kawai and Steinway pianos.

Kawai: Built to Last

Kawai pianos are built to last. The combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology ensures that Kawai pianos can withstand the test of time.

The use of high-quality materials and meticulous construction techniques results in pianos that are durable and reliable, making them an excellent long-term investment.

Steinway: A Legacy of Quality

Steinway pianos have a well-deserved reputation for their exceptional quality and longevity. The company’s commitment to using the finest materials and the meticulous craftsmanship ensures that Steinway pianos can be enjoyed for generations.

With proper care and maintenance, a Steinway piano can retain its beauty and performance for decades, making it a cherished heirloom.

Now that we’ve explored the durability and longevity, let’s move on to the cost and value for money.

The Cost: Value for Money

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When it comes to the cost of pianos, it’s important to consider the value for money. Let’s compare the cost and value of Kawai and Steinway pianos.

Kawai: Superb Value for Money

Kawai pianos, including the Shigeru Kawai line, offer superb value for money. They provide exceptional craftsmanship, tonal depth, and innovative technology at a competitive price point.

If you’re looking for a piano that offers outstanding quality without breaking the bank, Kawai pianos are an excellent choice.

Steinway: A Legacy of Excellence

Steinway pianos are known for their excellence and craftsmanship, which comes at a higher price point. While they may be more expensive than some other brands, Steinway pianos are considered an investment in a piece of musical history.

If you’re seeking the pinnacle of piano craftsmanship and are willing to invest in a piano that will last a lifetime, Steinway is the brand for you.

Now that we’ve explored the cost and value for money, let’s move on to artist preferences and see who plays what.

Artist Preferences: Who Plays What?

The preferences of renowned artists can provide valuable insights into the qualities of different piano brands. Let’s explore the artist preferences for Kawai and Steinway pianos.

Kawai: Favored by Ólafur Arnalds and Coldplay

Kawai pianos, with their exceptional tonal depth and innovative technology, have captured the hearts of many artists. Ólafur Arnalds, the Icelandic composer and pianist known for his ethereal compositions, is a proud advocate of Kawai pianos.

Coldplay, the globally acclaimed British band, also favors Kawai pianos for their live performances and studio recordings. The band’s pianist, Chris Martin, has praised the tonal qualities and versatility of Kawai pianos.

Steinway: Preferred by Lang Lang, Billy Joel, and Harry Connick Jr.

Steinway pianos have long been the choice of many renowned pianists and musicians. Lang Lang, the world-renowned Chinese pianist, is a passionate advocate of Steinway pianos. His virtuosic performances on Steinway pianos have captivated audiences worldwide.

Billy Joel, the legendary singer-songwriter, is another artist who prefers Steinway pianos. His iconic hits, such as “Piano Man,” have been brought to life on the keys of a Steinway.

Harry Connick Jr., the American singer, pianist, and actor, is also known for his love of Steinway pianos. His soulful performances on a Steinway piano have earned him critical acclaim.

Now that we’ve explored the artist preferences, let’s move on to the frequently asked questions about Kawai and Steinway pianos.

FAQ

shallow focus photo of piano keys

What pianos are as good as Steinway?

While Steinway pianos are renowned for their exceptional quality, there are other piano brands that offer comparable craftsmanship and tonal excellence. Some notable alternatives to Steinway include:

  • Bösendorfer
  • Fazioli
  • Yamaha (especially their high-end models)

These brands have their own unique qualities and are worth considering when searching for a piano that matches your musical preferences.

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Do Kawai pianos hold their value?

Kawai pianos, especially the Shigeru Kawai line, are known for their exceptional craftsmanship and tonal depth. While the value of any piano can fluctuate depending on various factors, Kawai pianos generally hold their value well.

With proper care and maintenance, a Kawai piano can retain its quality and desirability over time, making it a valuable investment.

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Is Kawai as good as Yamaha?

Both Kawai and Yamaha are highly respected piano brands that offer exceptional quality. The choice between Kawai and Yamaha ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific qualities you’re looking for in a piano.

Kawai pianos are known for their tonal depth and innovative technology, while Yamaha pianos are celebrated for their versatility and reliability. It’s recommended to try out pianos from both brands to determine which one resonates with you.

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Does Kawai make Steinway?

No, Kawai does not make Steinway pianos. Kawai and Steinway are two separate and distinct piano brands, each with its own unique qualities and history.

Now that we’ve answered some frequently asked questions, let’s move on to the conclusion.

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Conclusion

piano keys

In the battle of the brands, Kawai and Steinway both shine with their exceptional craftsmanship and tonal excellence. While Kawai pianos, including the luxurious Shigeru Kawai line, offer superb value for money and innovative technology, Steinway pianos are renowned for their unparalleled craftsmanship and individual character.

When choosing between Kawai and Steinway, consider your personal preferences, playing style, and budget. Visit a reputable piano dealer to try out different models and experience the sound and touch of each brand firsthand.

Remember, the perfect piano for you is the one that resonates with your musical soul. Whether you choose Kawai or Steinway, both brands offer extraordinary instruments that will inspire you to create beautiful music for years to come.

Review Team
Review Team

The Popular Brands Review Team is a collective of seasoned professionals boasting an extensive and varied portfolio in the field of product evaluation. Composed of experts with specialties across a myriad of industries, the team’s collective experience spans across numerous decades, allowing them a unique depth and breadth of understanding when it comes to reviewing different brands and products.

Leaders in their respective fields, the team's expertise ranges from technology and electronics to fashion, luxury goods, outdoor and sports equipment, and even food and beverages. Their years of dedication and acute understanding of their sectors have given them an uncanny ability to discern the most subtle nuances of product design, functionality, and overall quality.

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