Free Customized Piano Recommendations for You >>> Piano Finder

How does the Steinway Spirio | r work?

by Stephen N. Reed


For over 160 years, M. Steinert & Sons has seen the latest developments as new pianos have been introduced to the public.  In all those years, Steinway’s Spirio | r has been the most impressive and exciting new development. Spirio | r is a revolution in player piano artistry and technology thanks to its easy-to-use ways to record, edit, and share piano performances.

Spirio | r interface
What makes the Spirio | r special is its high-resolution, live performance capture and playback.

What makes the Spirio | r special is its high-resolution, live performance capture and playback. This capturing of live performances is especially remarkable in that the individual playing the Spirio can record and edit their own recordings with the same high-resolution quality as a Steinway artist receives from recording in a professional studio.

Jonathan Kotulski, a piano technician at M. Steinert & Sons, describes the unique experience the Spirio | r provides:

“It’s fun for the person playing because it’s a kind of Do It Yourself project with the recording and editing the Spirio | r provides,” Jonathan notes.  “Obviously, you’re not going to have a team of audio engineers in your home like a professional recording artist would have in a studio.  However, the Spirio | r’s technology makes it accessible to you.”

As a result, you can develop your audio recording and editing skills, sharing your recordings with a teacher, colleague, or friend.

Spirio ipad
Spirio features a unique and growing library of over 4,000 high-definition performances, some digitally-remastered recordings from Steinway artists of yesteryear and others from today.

Plus, when you want to take a break from your own piano recording and editing, Spirio features a unique and growing library of over 4,000 high-definition performances, some digitally-remastered recordings from Steinway Artists of yesteryear and others from today,

But how does the Spirio | r actually work?  This article will explore this remarkable piano model–how it works, its impressive capacity, and its high-resolution quality.  Steinway’s goal was to enter the player piano market and quickly dominate it by delivering exceptional new technical features without compromising the instrument’s renowned Steinway tonal range and color.

Steinway’s great investment of time and energy into the Spirio line has clearly paid off, as now one-third of all Steinway sales are Spirios.

Background on the modern player piano phenomenon

Yamaha began to develop some early player piano models in the 1980s.  Then they created a new model, known as the Disklavier MX80 series, created in the early 1990s.  Like the prior models, the MX80 series was recorded on floppy disks and recorded performances in a Yamaha-proprietary file format.

This system was a forerunner of the subsequent industry-standard file format known as Standard MIDI Files. Technical innovations found on these early model instruments included hammer sensors for recording,  as well as recording and playback of incremental pedal data on the Yamaha Disklavier “wagon” Grand (featuring a large, rolling external control unit).

Spirio enters the ring in 2015.  Spirio | r arrives in 2019

After rigorous research and testing, Spirio’s playback edition first entered the market in 2015. In order to achieve high-resolution recording, Spirio had 1020 levels of key and hammer velocity, along with 256 increments of positional pedaling.

Then, in 2019, Steinway introduced the Spirio | r, which is capable of both reproducing and recording high-resolution piano music for later playback.  The key here is “high-resolution.”  In fact, the Spirio | r features the highest resolution for recordings by player pianos today.

Spirio’s high-performance embedded control system is the key

How did Spirio | r  arrive at this level of high performance?  Happily, the engineers involved in creating Spirio have explained the essence of the process.

IPS is an engineering firm that worked with Steinway on Spirio.  They explain how Spirio’s state-of-the-art high-resolution audio is made manifest.

Spirio | r with interface
Engineers carefully added to the traditional Steinway grand piano a high-performance, embedded control system.

IPS notes that their hardware and software engineers carefully added to the traditional Steinway grand piano a high-performance, embedded control system, consisting of distributed microcontrollers networked for the high-speed movement of data.

These controllers provide precise timing in a multi-step note-driven process, producing accurate timing and dynamics of note events.  This process allows Spirio to reproduce the nuances of the original performance.

Additionally, hammer velocity and proportional pedaling are monitored hundred of times per second. The high-resolution recording hardware captures the artist’s performance, thereby ensuring the most accurate reproduction to date of dynamics, timing, and pedal motions.

Multiple self-calibration processes allow the control system to adjust its note-driven waveforms, maintaining consistent sound quality and precision.

For more detail on IPS’s engineering work on Spirio, click here.

The marriage of audio technology, software development, and electronic engineering.

All of this is extraordinarily advanced, 21st Century audio technology, software development, and electronic engineering.  It is designed to produce the high-resolution, nuanced sound any audiophile seeks.  This level of high-resolution technology is needed to record a Spirio player’s exact, subtle, soft and loud key strikes.

Spirio piano with iPad
Spirio | r’s nuanced playback and recording come from a combination of both the proprietary data file format, along with Spirio’s ability to replicate smaller increments of velocity on both the hammers and proportional pedaling.

Whereas Yamaha’s Disklavier library often relies on low-resolution data files, Spirio’s entire library is recorded at the highest resolution possible.  Steinway has created a proprietary data file format that captures the nuances and full range of emotion from each artist’s level of performance, resulting in a heightened level of playback and recording.

Spirio | r’s nuanced playback and recording come from a combination of both the proprietary data file format, along with Spirio’s ability to replicate smaller increments of velocity on both the hammers and proportional pedaling.

This technology captures a range of subtlety and nuance that, before now, has not been possible.  Spirio | r allows the player to experience that same range in their own recordings.

The Human factor:  Making the high-tech piano easy to use

Clearly, today’s Spirio | r is an impressive blend of traditional craftsmanship and state-of-the-art, high-resolution technology.

Spirio's iPad
Spirio’s popular, detachable interface is one everyone can learn to use in an hour on a familiar iPad or equivalent.

However, if such an instrument is difficult to use, all that superior technology will come to naught.  Part of the opportunity  Steinway saw was to make Spirio easy to use for the average person.

Spirio’s iPad interface is one everyone can learn to use.  The elegant interface has made this 21st Century self-playing piano extraordinarily popular.

A person with very little experience with technology can suddenly entertain dinner guests like a tech pro, simply by accessing a selection of songs from the Steinway proprietary music catalog. With the advent of Spirio | r, that same person can record, edit, save, and send friends their own latest piano recordings.

Best of all, Spirio only takes one step to access the piano’s technology, while others in the industry can take up to four steps.

“Spirio’s simplicity is a virtue that removes barriers, enabling pianists of all ages to engage with its software through an iPad Pro,” notes Patrick Elisha of the M. Steinert & Sons Education Department.  “Whether studying and improving upon one’s playing or capturing a special performance in the home or concert setting, Spirio | r captures piano playing in a new and dynamic recording medium that will influence the way that we learn and experience piano playing for years to come.”

The Spirio | r  interface

The Spirio | r is another example of Steinway’s commitment to easy-to-use technology. The Spirio system is operated through the same Steinway Spirio App, which detects when connected to a Spirio | r piano and provides a seamless recording interface that is both intuitive and easy to use.

In addition, Spirio | r  features connectivity options through the internet, WiFi, USB, Bluetooth, MIDI, and HDMI, allowing for exceptional interoperability.

Spiriocast: The Spirio revolution continues

Steinway & Sons embraces innovation at the company’s core.  In October 2021, Steinway announced a bold new feature on new Spirios:  Spiriocast.   In a nutshell, Spiriocast allows multiple Spirios to connect for live performances anywhere in the world.  A top piano performer could be playing at a concert hall in Sydney, Australia, while you enjoy the performance with friends in your home.

But this is not simply a remote broadcast, as you might experience on television.  The piano performer’s music is channeled directly through your Spirio keyboard, bringing you a more enlivening, intimate, interactive experience.

Steinway Spirio keys playing remotely
Imagine pressing a single key on a piano, and simultaneously, across the world, that same key moved on hundreds or even thousands of pianos – that is the magic of Spiriocast.

Imagine pressing a single key on a piano, and simultaneously, across the world, that same key moved on hundreds or even thousands of pianos – that is the magic of Steinway Spiriocast.

Video of the performance is remotely relayed as well, but the main attraction here is the stunning clarity of the music, since it is live, coming from your piano, right in your own living room.

Whether it’s a masterclass by a world-renowned teacher, or a performance by a friend, family member, or artist from anywhere in the world, Spiriocast adds some incredible possibilities.

As with the rest of Spirio’s technological innovations, Spiriocast is easy to use, as demonstrated by Boston-area groups successfully linking up to Spiriocast performances.

Try a Spirio | r for yourself

At M. Steinert & Sons, our goal has always been to help customers find the best piano for them.  Increasingly, we find ourselves fielding questions about the Spirio, especially the Spirio | r.  Prospective buyers appreciate Spirio | r’s potential for helping students and others with their development as a musician, along with the exceptional high-performance audio and video entertainment options it offers.

For the curious, the best way to learn more about the Spirio | r revolution is to come into one of our showrooms in Boston and Newton to try it for yourself.  Our seasoned sales consultants can walk you through the easy-to-use interface and demonstrate the full capacity of this modern player piano.

Meantime, read more about the Spirio from these additional articles:

Is the Spirio worth it? 

Could the Steinway Spirio ever become obsolete?

Spirio vs. Disklavier


Steinway vs. Yamaha:  What are the differences in their premium models?

by Stephen N. Reed


Since becoming a Steinway dealer in 1869, M. Steinert and Sons has been helping a wide range of customers in their piano search.  Oftentimes, that search comes down to the brand you determine most fits your needs and tastes.

A Yamaha keyboard
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and Yamaha has tried hard to achieve some of the same quality features as Steinway.

For example, take two of the piano industry’s heavyweights, Yamaha and Steinway. Which among their top grand pianos might best meet your needs?

We’re focusing on the CF and SX series in this article because they represent the latest efforts by Yamaha to challenge Steinway’s dominance of the premium piano market. Steinway’s position in that market is bolstered by the fact that over 95% of piano performers worldwide prefer Steinways.

That statistic has been a thorn in Yamaha’s side for years.  To the Japanese company’s credit, they have invested a considerable amount of funding and energy to build a piano series that they hope will compete with Steinway’s grand pianos, particularly Models B and D.

Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and Yamaha has tried hard to achieve some of the same quality features as Steinway.  But does this Japanese piano company succeed in creating a Steinway-like concert grand?   After reading this article–and visiting Steinway and Yamaha showrooms–you can decide for yourself.

Yamaha grand piano series have a range of quality standards

In contrast to Steinway’s single standard of quality in all of their grand pianos, Yamaha grand pianos come in several different series of varying standards of quality, based largely on the materials used.  These Yamaha grand series are GB1K/GC, CX, CF, and SX.

Yamaha piano fallboard
Although each model has the Yamaha name on its fallboard, not all Yamahas are created equal. Yamaha series have different standards of quality, largely based on the materials used.

Although each model has the Yamaha name on its fallboard, not all Yamahas are created equal. An informed piano buyer will want to study the specifications of each of Yamaha’s piano series as differences are not always obvious initially.

As a result of these quality variations, grand pianos on Yamaha’s lower end, like their GB1K/GC series, are peers not with Steinway but with the Steinway-designed Essex line. Their CX series is more in line with the Steinway-designed Boston models.  See more on this in our previous article, Boston vs. Yamaha, which also traces the interesting history of the different production processes used by the two companies.

Again, for this article, we aim to give a dispassionate look at some models in the two highest Yamaha series to date–CF and SX–to discern how they compare to Steinway’s top Models B and D.

Top of the Line

Let’s take a look at each company’s top concert grand: Yamaha’s CFX (9’ in length) and Steinway’s Model D (8’11 and ¾” in length).  Steinway’s Model D has long been considered the standard of the industry.

So it’s no big surprise that Yamaha would want to pattern some aspects of their CF series, considered their “flagship concert grand,” after Steinway’s own concert grand, the Model D.  However, the degree to which Yamaha tries to copy Steinway is breathtaking.   This quote comes directly from their CF series website summary:

“Yamaha craftsmen hand-select the top one percent of wood from around the world at our Kitami Mill in Hokkaido, Japan. The inherent resonance of these woods, from European Spruce in the soundboard and ribs to mahogany and maple in the rims, helps give CF pianos their huge, well-rounded sound and extraordinary range of colors.”

But for the reference to Hokkaido, Japan, that section reads like a generations-old Steinway grand’s description, which for several decades has included references to a long history of innovative Hard Rock Maple rims, rare Sitka Spruce in the soundboard, and a rounded tone, offering a wide range of colors.  Indeed, such features are some of the main reasons people buy the Model D.

Steinway's Black Diamond Model D
Steinway’s Black Diamond Model D concert grand piano. Some commenters find that Yamaha’s CFX sounds thin compared to Steinway’s powerful Model D.

Some commentators are not convinced that the Yamaha CFX has reached the summit yet.  They find that the CFX sounds thin compared to the more powerful Steinway Model D, which they find to be well-blended.

Others believe Yamaha’s move towards handcrafting such top models is a step forward, conceivably bringing Yamaha to a better position to challenge Steinway’s dominance in concert halls and universities around the world.

A trip to M. Steinert’s showroom and a Yamaha dealer is the best way to decide which is the better piano for you.

Yamaha proudly notes that their CFX is the product of two decades of research and development.  From the above description of  Yamaha’s CF concert grand models, one wonders if they have been studying Steinway’s 165 years of constant research and development that has gone into making their Model D concert grand.

Again, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Concert grand pianos like Yamaha’s CFX and Steinway’s Model D are typically the most expensive models in a brand’s lineup.  Check out our article on the most expensive pianos for more information.

The Steinway Model B and Yamaha’s S6X and S7X models

In a comparison between Steinway’s popular Model B (6’11” in length) and Yamaha’s S6X (7’ in length) and S7X (7’6” in length), again one sees that Yamaha’s effort is to replicate Steinway’s work.

Small wonder as the Model B is often referred to as “the perfect piano” and is a well-balanced and versatile grand piano that is especially sought after for teaching studios, mid-sized venues, and intimate settings.

Steinway's Model B grand piano
Steinway’s Model B is a well-balanced and versatile grand piano that is especially sought after for teaching studios, mid-sized venues, and intimate settings.

While both of these Yamaha SX pianos are almost entirely handcrafted, the Model B is entirely handcrafted.   One of the more intriguing features in this SX line is something Yamaha calls its “patented Acoustic Resonance Enhancement process,” which speeds up the aging process for these pianos’ wooden rims.  Steinway continues to age its rim woods the old-fashioned way.

Yamaha has developed a redesigned hammer for its SX line, which they maintain helps to produce that wide palette of colors that performers have found so inviting in the Steinway Model B.

So how close does Yamaha’s SX line come to overtaking Steinway’s Model B?  Some piano commentators will tell you that it’s purely a matter of taste between the two.

While the S6X is seen by some as having an improved sound over the Yamaha C6, it still has the typical, bright “Yamaha sound.” Similarly, some commentators say the S7X’s tone is reminiscent of Fazoli grand pianos, known for their crystal-clear tone.

This would suggest that Yamaha’s efforts to mimic Steinway’s well-rounded tone have fallen short.  Still, many leave impressed with the S6X and S7X while still preferring the Model B’s tonal preference.

As with the previous comparison between the two companies’ top concert grands, the informed buyer will try out both Yamaha and Steinway showrooms to try these grand piano models for themselves.

Both Steinway and Yamaha have produced some good premium models

Yamaha vs. Steinway models chart
Yamaha’s SX and CF series are more comparable to a Certified, Pre-owned Steinway rather than a new Steinway Model B or D.

At M. Steinert & Sons, our seasoned piano consultants will listen well to your priorities for this important purchase.  Some of our piano consultants have worked for both Yamaha and Steinway dealers, allowing them to fairly present the better attributes of these two legendary piano makers.

To date, Yamaha’s SX and CF series are an improvement over past Yamaha models.  However, they are more comparable to a Certified, Pre-owned Steinway rather than a new Steinway Model B or D.

So while we naturally feel that the Steinway is the better piano for many people, we acknowledge that Yamaha has produced some good models, as well.  What is most important is that you find the best piano for you.

Consider a visit to one of our showrooms in Boston or Newton to test some Steinway models for yourself.  Meantime, you can learn more by reading the additional pieces below:

Is the Steinway Selection Process for me?

Steinway’s Model D: The iconic concert grand of choice

What does it mean to be an Authorized Steinway Dealer?


What does it mean to be an Authorized Steinway Dealer?

by Stephen N. Reed


Authorized Steinway Dealers are on the front line for the Steinway & Sons company.  They have not only played a key role in selling the company’s famous handcrafted pianos to the public.  They have also helped to add greatly to the solid reputation of Steinway & Sons.

For example, Henry Z. Steinway, the last member of the Steinway family to be president of Steinway & Sons, had enormous respect for the way the dealer network burnished the company’s reputation among concert pianists.  This, in turn, means that Steinway Model D grand pianos were increasingly placed on concert stages everywhere.

Yulu Wang, Steinway Artist
Authorized Steinway Dealers have helped make Steinway concert grand pianos the preferred instrument of over 95% of today’s professional piano performers.

How so?  Because a performing artist could find a dealer with a Steinway Model D on which to perform almost anywhere in North America and much of Europe.

Today, over 95% of the world’s leading concert pianists choose to perform exclusively on the newest possible Steinways—the world’s most technologically advanced pianos.  That achievement could not have occurred without the quality service and product knowledge of the Authorized Steinway Dealers and their staffs.

But what does it mean to be an Authorized Steinway Dealer?  What goes into that distinction?

By the end of this article you’ll know the various aspects of being an Authorized Steinway Dealer–and why buying your Steinway piano from such a dealer has significant advantages.

A business in the community that is literally unique

A Steinway dealer is literally unique in his community because there is only one.  Steinway studies the market and determines who would best represent their pianos based on the dealer’s integrity, knowledge of the piano, financial stability, and commitment.

Steinway & Sons logo
For over 160 years, Steinway & Sons has become an international brand that has carefully built up its reputation as producing the world’s best pianos.

Here’s what this means for the Steinway buyer/owner. For over 160 years, Steinway & Sons has become an international brand that has carefully built up its reputation as producing the world’s best pianos.  If Steinway has chosen this individual to carry the banner for their company and brand in their region of the country, they must have great trust in them.

As a result, the buyer goes into a discussion with an Authorized Steinway Dealer’s staff knowing that Steinway & Sons believes the dealer to have integrity and a sure knowledge of the piano.

William Steinway University’s unique training

These dealers and their employees are required to attend William Steinway University (WSU) to become educated in all things Steinway.  WSU is an ongoing series of week-long seminars conducted at the Steinway factory.

Subjects include the history of the company as well as the history of the piano which continues to evolve with improvements. Steinway devotes much time and effort to these improvements in their quest to build the best possible pianos.

The best Steinway is the one that was built today

African Pommele Steinway grand piano
Steinway’s theme, one echoed by artists the world over, is that the best Steinway one can buy is the one that was built today.

The theme undergirding WSU’s seminars and echoed by artists the world over,  is that the best Steinway one can buy is the one that was built today.

Over the company’s 169 history, Steinway & Sons engineers have developed 139 patented engineering improvements in Steinway design–one every 15 months on average.

Because of these ongoing, technical improvements, Steinway is frequently the choice of major symphonies, music conservatories, and leading universities worldwide.

After all, such institutions invest only in the latest technically advanced, brand new pianos when piano purchases become necessary. Their consistent Steinway purchases constitute a compelling third-party endorsement of new Steinway grand pianos.

Steinway’s certified technical training

A Steinway-trained piano technician
With an investment in an instrument as intricate as a Steinway, having a certified Steinway technician working on it gives the owner great peace of mind.

WSU also has programs for hands-on training in the factory for piano technicians. Steinway certifies the technicians assuring the Steinway owner that they get the best when they call for service.

Only Authorized Steinway Dealers have up-to-date, highly-trained piano technicians.  With an investment in an instrument as intricate as a Steinway, having a certified Steinway technician working on it gives the owner great peace of mind.

Plus, the fact that Authorized Steinway Dealers have invested in their certified piano technicians and their training indicates long-term financial stability.  Thus, the buyer knows that the Authorized Steinway Dealer will be there for them should they need any service in the future for their Steinway piano.

Only an Authorized Steinway Dealer can sell new Steinways

Used Steinway dealers clearly value the Steinway brand—that’s why they sell them.  And they would love to sell new ones but can’t. Only an Authorized Steinway Dealer can sell new and certified used Steinways.

Authorized Steinway Dealers are a small group–Steinway only has 60 such dealerships in the entire United States–they are the only showrooms that have exclusive rights to offer new Steinways.  As we’ll see below, this is a serious advantage for the Authorized Steinway Dealer.

New vs. Used Steinways

While used Steinways for sale in good condition certainly exist–like the certified used Steinways sold at Authorized Steinway Dealers–no used or restored Steinway can compare in quality or innovation to a new Steinway.

Used Steinways of any kind, whether “as is” or “rebuilt,” are bested by new Steinways for the following reasons:

1. Wear and tear: Just like automobiles, pianos cannot possibly improve with use. The mechanical action, with some 56 individual parts in each of the 88 keys, inevitably suffers wear and tear, affecting responsiveness, sensitivity, and the ability to control the sound.

Over time, even major structural components such as the soundboard, bridges, and pedals suffer deterioration. This is why there is an entire industry devoted to the restoration of pianos.

2. Design obsolescence:  As mentioned above, only new Steinways enjoy all of the engineering improvements of the past 169 years, making pre-owned and older Steinways always outdated to some degree.

Some of the improvements are absolutely crucial to sound and touch, others less so, yet every patent is significant and makes the newest Steinway ever better than before.

3.  Investment: The newer the Steinway, the more it is worth; the older the Steinway, the riskier the investment.  Every piano eventually wears out–it’s just a matter of time, environment, use, and condition.

4.  Warranty: Only new Steinways receive a factory warranty guaranteeing repair or replacement in the event of a manufacturing defect in materials or workmanship.  Only Authorized Steinway Dealers can provide customers with a Steinway factory warranty.

Click here for more details on the difference between New and Used Steinways.

Authorized Steinway Dealers are key players in their musical communities

The Authorized Steinway Dealer is also closely associated with many of the musical venues, orchestras, schools, universities, and societies within his community.

Through the Steinway Concert and Artist program, the dealer becomes acquainted with international performers as well as some of the finest pianists within the community.  The dealer will supply Steinway Artists with Steinway concert grands whenever they come to the dealer’s area.

Most Steinway dealers host a Steinway Society within the community. The Society conducts annual competitions that highlight and encourage musical talent at all ages.

In short,  Authorized Steinway Dealers live for the piano. They love the piano and the music it produces, then share that love with their customers.

M. Steinert & Sons: The oldest Steinway dealer in the world

Morris Steinert understood the value of being formally associated with Steinway & Sons back in the 1860s.  In 1869, he secured the distinction of being an Authorized Steinway Dealer.  Today, M. Steinert & Sons is the oldest Steinway dealer in the world.

Many of the programs that Steinway implements today were developed at Steinert. In 1988 Steinert was awarded the first-ever “Henry E. Steinway Award,” which was given to the dealer who best exemplifies the vision of Steinway’s founder.

Steinway factory worker
M. Steinert & Sons has followed every change, every improvement in Steinway pianos and continues to earn the trust of Steinway & Sons as their regional dealer.

The benefit for the M. Steinert & Sons buyer is that they are working with an Authorized Steinway Dealer that has had a close, working relationship with Steinway and its pianos for 152 years.  We have followed every change, every improvement in Steinway pianos and continue to earn the trust of Steinway & Sons as their regional dealer.

Moreover, we are a company that has become the trusted friend of tens of thousands of New England families, the region’s music community and schools, and performing artists.

Having sold Steinway pianos since before Lincoln was president, our roots across New England are deep.  We would so enjoy getting to meet you and helping you discover the right Steinway for you.

Why not come into one of our two showrooms in South Boston and Newton to start looking at our various piano models?  Learn about them, play them, and then discuss your piano needs with one of our seasoned piano consultants.

Meanwhile, read some more about Steinway & Sons and their handcrafted pianos in the articles below:


What is Spiriocast?

by Stephen N. Reed


Steinway Spirio keys being played remotely
Steinway Spirio keys played remotely

What if today’s best piano performers could perform live, right in your home, whether for an intimate concert for your family or a group of friends?  

And what if they played right on your very own piano?

This is the high-resolution promise of Spiriocast, a new technology that connects two (or more!) Steinway pianos in real-time. 

Imagine pressing a single key on a piano, and simultaneously, across the world, that same key moved on hundreds or even thousands of pianos – that is the magic of Steinway Spiriocast.  

Video of the performance is remotely relayed as well, but the main attraction here is the stunning clarity of the music, since it is live, coming from your piano, right in your own living room.

Whether it’s a masterclass by a world-renowned teacher, or a performance by a friend, family member, or artist from anywhere in the world, Spiriocast adds some incredible possibilities.  

Spiriocast Introduced in October 2021

Invite to first Spiriocast, featuring Steinway Artist Kris Bowers
M. Steinert & Sons participated in the first Spiriocast, on October 25, 2021, featuring Steinway Artist Kris Bowers.

For the first time, on October 25, 2021, Steinway broadcast a performance by Steinway Artist Kris Bowers from a piano in California to pianos in its dealerships across the world. With this, a new era of piano performance possibilities began. 

Spiriocast is a new streaming technology whereby musicians can capture a live performance on their Spirio and share it with others virtually. Simply put, Spiriocast allows a performer to replicate his performance, in real-time, between Spirio pianos.  

But we’re not talking only one-to-one live music sharing.  Any number of Spirio users can join in on the streaming that carries music from a single piano performer’s Spirio.  As a result, this concert of the future will eventually form a high-resolution, live music community of thousands of Spirio owners. 

The new Spirio | r makes Spiriocast possible.  How does Steinway do it?

People understand the streaming aspect of Spiriocast.  However, the actual music being played on one’s Spirio needs a bit of description.  

Spirio with iPad
Spirio | r captures high-definition performances via its IPad interface.

The ability to originate a Spiriocast is a feature of the new Spirio | r piano. Spirio | r allows you to record, playback, edit or save performances through the accompanying iPad.

A cutting-edge, high-definition sensor system on the Spirio | r captures the movements of the Spirio | r’s keys and pedals, recreating an authentic acoustic experience for each of the Spirios participating in the cast. On all Steinway Spirio pianos receiving the cast. 

Additionally, each performer’s audio and video is captured through each Spirio’s iPad, which broadcasts together with the music.  

Currently, receiving Spiriocasts is only possible on the Spirio | r  pianos, but in the near future, Steinway and Sons plans to offer the ability to receive Spiriocasts as an upgrade for all Spirio pianos.  

Steinway Spirio is setting new standards for excellence

When looking for the best option for a self-playing piano these days, often you’ll hear it boiled down to Yamaha’s Disklavier and Steinway’s Spirio.  Both have their strengths. Recent Innovations in communication technology have made it possible to expand the possibilities of the self-playing piano.

Steinway Immortal George Gershwin playing his Steinway
Steinway immortals like George Gershwin are included in Spirio’s musical library. Imagine seeing your keys playing just like George’s did!

You want a self-playing piano that gives you and your family options, in addition to the ability to record your own music or draw on the increasing number of high-resolution pieces in the Steinway Artist audio library.  Spiriocast adds a whole new element to Steinway’s content library.  

Built on top of Spirio’s original technology

Steinway already offered a growing Spirio music library of 130 hours of high-resolution Steinway Artist recordings. That allows the magic of Steinway Immortals like classical composer and pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff or jazz legend George Gershwin to be channeled through any Steinway Spirio piano.  

M. Steinert & Sons on the ground floor of Spiriocast

Spiriocast brings unprecedented intimacy to live piano performances by both mega-star professional musicians, and by friends and family in the Spirio community. 

“The degree of intimacy we can experience with other people live, at long distance, through a musical instrument and remote screen was amazing,” notes Katherine Murphy, Director of Strategic Operations for M. Steinert & Sons.  Katherine has spearheaded M. Steinert’s participation with the very first Spiriocasts and tests this year.

M. Steinert & Sons Newton showroom
M. Steinert & Sons participated in the inaugural Steinway Spiriocast on October 25, 2021 at our Newton showroom.

“When my colleague, Steve Hauk, and I sat in our comfortable little seating area in our Boston showroom by the Spirio | r, the test cast really did create the feeling that the pianist was right there WITH us, playing THAT piano,” Katherine notes.  

Steinway’s newly-launched series of Live Spiriocast concerts, culminating this year with an upcoming holiday concert from the artist’s own home, have shown an ability to experiment with format and to deepen the intimacy of the experience. 

“The most recent Spiriocast with Steinway Artist Lee Musiker’s performance taught me so much, as he introduced each piece, highlighting interesting information about the composer and also his own history with the piece and why he selected it,” says Katherine. “He was so engaging–I got shivers watching from our Boston space, as he played OUR Spirio piano!”

Why not come into one of our showrooms and see a Steinway &  Sons’ Spirio self-playing piano for yourself. See if you’d like to become part of the 21st Century’s new live music community.  And for more information about Spirio, read the following articles:  


Fitchburg State pinpoints the right Steinway for their needs

by Stephen N. Reed


Fitchburg State University’s music department wanted to be sure to pick the Steinway grand piano that was just right for their school’s diverse needs.  According to Jane Fiske, DMA, Professor of Humanities at Fitchburg and a member of Fitchburg’s Steinway Selection Committee, the school has selected Steinway pianos. for sixty years. Their last piano, a Steinway Model B, was purchased in 1996 with a Mission Fund Grant.

Having secured the funding for this important instrument through their school’s budgeting process, a three-person committee to see how their Steinway is made in a Steinway factory tour and to sample six, brand new Model D concert grands before choosing the winning piano to come to Fitchburg State.

Fitchburg committee on Steinway factory tour
Fitchburg State’s music department committee chose to have a Steinway factory tour before selecting their Model D concert grand piano.

This Steinway Selection Process was the last, important step in a long journey towards acquiring a Steinway concert grand for their university.

For many years, M. Steinert & Sons has offered this one-of-a-kind experience for interested customers: a trip to Steinway & Sons’ Astoria, New York factory to handpick their very own Steinway grand piano.  We can attest that every customer has enjoyed the experience, which can also include a guided factory tour to see up close how meticulously Steinway pianos are made.

Accompanied by your own M. Steinert piano consultant, you get to try six brand new Steinway grands, narrowing their choice down to one particular favorite.  This bonding process is the very beginning of the joy of owning a Steinway, choosing it for its tone and touch.   All Steinways meet the most exacting of standards, but because they are handcrafted, each is unique, as well.

In this article, you’ll see how Fitchburg State used this process quite effectively recently to help their school in its quest to become an All-Steinway School.

Institutional customers have different needs than individuals

Institutional customers like higher ed institutions, going through the Steinway Selection Process, frequently send a committee to Astoria. This is due to the variety of tasks the selected piano will be used to perform, as compared to the less complex purchase by individual customers who may simply want to entertain themselves and friends.

Typically, the committee will be selecting a piano that will be the focus, even the centerpiece, of their school’s concert hall.  That centerpiece piano is often the Model D, which will be played by special guest performers, faculty, and promising students.

Fitchburg State music faculty with a Steinway soundboard
From left to right, Fitchburg State’s Steinway selection committee members Amy McGlothlin, DMA, Jane Fisk, DMA, and Robin Dinda, DMA.

Such a piano might also be pulled in to help with fundraising events and university ceremonies.

“Our piano will be used for a variety of things at the school in our main auditorium, Weston. Ensemble rehearsals and performances, chamber and solo recitals, and community events,” says Amy McGlothlin, DMA and Director of Bands at Fitchburg State University.

“We wanted a piano that had the sensitivity to play music that was soft and legato as well as a piano that can have a big presence and be heard over a larger ensemble,” McGlothlin explains. “I think we found that in the piano we selected that day.”  The committee members took turns playing the six Model Ds, narrowing the field gradually until they agreed on the one they liked the most.

McGlothlin recently served on Fitchburg State’s committee that went to Astoria for their school’s Steinway Selection Day.  The others serving on their committee were fellow members of Fitchburg’s Music Department: Jane Fiske, DMA, and Robin Dinda, DMA.

Fitchburg State: On the path to becoming an All-Steinway school

For Fitchburg State, this current Model D purchase, right from the factory, is a key step in their drive to become an All-Steinway school.

“For many years our school has invested in Steinway pianos,” says McGlothlin. “We have been fortunate that our administration recognizes that the pianos built by Steinway represent the finest craftsmanship and durability.”

McGlothlin notes that reading articles about Steinway, as well as the Note by Note documentary helped to educate administrators about the value of Steinways.   “Those things have helped administration and finance to see that we are purchasing a work of art that retains value and durability and not just a mass-manufactured instrument, McGlothlin explains.

Fitchburg’s new Steinway’s Model D:  A key part of the plan

Fitchburg State, like many schools, had to develop a long-term strategy to eventually become an All-Steinway school.

Fitchburg committee looking at Steinway grand in progress
The Fitchburg State committee observed the multiple stages of building a handcrafted Steinway concert grand.

“We have been working on replacing the piano in our auditorium for quite some time. As you know, it’s a large expense,” says McGlothlin.   “The current piano in that space is a “B” model, a bit smaller, and frankly, not big enough for the space. It’s also about 60 years old, which for an academic institution is quite a long life. It’s really a tribute to how well the Steinways are constructed.”

Perseverance is a key ingredient for any school wanting to replace older pianos with new Steinways.   While private schools might have other fundraising strategies, music departments like the one at Fitchburg State typically must go through their school’s budgeting process.  That may mean multiple attempts before securing the needed funding.

“We have been requesting the Model D for at least as long as I have been here,” says McGlothlin, who has been at Fitchburg State for three and a half years. “We have an annual funding request process that our school uses,” explains McGlothlin.

“Each spring we submit our funding requests to the administration and through a series of meetings they decide which requests will receive funding,” McGlothlin notes.  “So, every year, they are seeing this request, and we just never stop asking until we get it funded, which was now.”

A pleasant surprise for the Fitchburg State faculty

Institutions are all about accountability.  Knowing that the music department’s three-person committee would be going through a Steinway Selection Process and Astoria factory tour could give assurance to university administrators this was going to be a hands-on, very knowledgable decision.

The committee inspects a sheet of Sitka Spruce, the wood used to make the patented Steinway Diaphragmatic Soundboard.

Securing the funding this year to buy the Weston Auditorium’s new Model D was a win for Fitchburg State on more than one level.  The school now has a piano that is the standard of the industry for any top piano performer that comes to Fitchburg for a concert.  97% of all performing pianists prefer Steinway.   Plus they have a piano to help with significant university celebrations and fundraising efforts.

Additionally, having a Steinway Model D, one that your school got to handpick right from the Steinway & Sons factory floor is a significant encouragement to Fitchburg State music faculty and students.  Such a purchase conveys that the school believes these musicians are worth the very best.

“The faculty were surprised to hear, this summer, that we would be getting a new Model D for that space,” says McGlothlin.

“We are pretty grateful that the administration recognizes that the piano needs to be replaced and that it should be replaced with the piano that the space needs.”

The Fitchburg State Steinway Selection team by their Steinway Model D
The Fitchburg State Steinway Selection team by their chosen, new Steinway Model D.

That piano, a Steinway Model D with a rich tone and a powerful bass, was unanimously agreed upon by Fitchburg’s three-person committee, according to Jane Fiske.  “Although each of the pianos we tried was of the highest quality, we all agreed with our final selection; it will easily project to the back our concert hall.”

Regarding the Steinway Selection process, Fiske says that it was an exceptional experience. “Our hosts at Steinway made the experience of selecting the Model D more than we could have hoped for,” says Fiske.   “It was a privilege to be a part of the university team sent to Astoria to select this once in a lifetime, one-of-a-kind piano.”

Interested in learning more about the Steinway Selection Process?

Steinway Selection Room Manager Cameron Underwood explains the exterior varnishing process to the committee.

The Fitchburg State committee learned a great deal about how their Steinway was made during their factory tour.  The Steinway Selection Process followed with the unique opportunity to handpick their favorite new Model D for their school’s main auditorium.

This was an exceptional due diligence effort by the committee to select the “just right” piano for Fitchburg State. They can now look forward to the arrival of their Steinway later this month.

Would your institution be interested in learning more about the Steinway Selection Process and how it can help you to achieve All-Steinway School status?  Contact our institutional sales department at M. Steinert & Sons, the oldest Steinway dealer in the world, helping individual and institutional customers choose the right Steinway for them since 1860.

Additionally, read these articles below for more information about the Steinway & Sons company and their world-class pianos:

 


Is the Steinway Selection Process for me?

by Stephen N. Reed


One of the most potentially helpful features of buying a Steinway & Sons piano is the “Steinway Selection Process.”  In this final stage of purchasing a Steinway, an interested customer and their M. Steinert piano consultant can come to Steinway’s Astoria, New York factory. There the customer can pick their own, particular Steinway piano, complete with its year and unique serial number.

Steinway Selection Room
The Steinway Selection Room at the company’s Astoria, NY factory is where customers can choose their own particular model.

Imagine the excitement of picking your own brand new Steinway!   When you move it into your home or concert hall, you know that’s the one you selected over all the others.  In short, it will never be just another piano.  This piano was adopted by you and is now a part of your family or school community.

In this article, you will learn how the Steinway Selection Process works.  You’ll discover why Steinway’s technical staff prepare six pianos for you to try, allowing you to pick the most perfect Steinway for you.

This is a unique opportunity offered to customers by Steinway and M. Steinert & Sons to bond with your own piano from the start, adopting it fresh from the factory floor.  For the long life of your Steinway, you’ll always know that you had a decisive role in choosing this specific Steinway.

But did you adopt it, or did it adopt you with a rich tone and feel that spoke to you? In this article, we’ll help you discover whether the Steinway Selection Process is for you.  Other Steinway customers are fully satisfied without going through the Steinway Selection Process.

But if you want to be a little more hands-on in the last stage of purchasing their piano, Steinway has developed this selection process for buyers like you.

Steinway welcomes individual and institutional clients for tours

The Steinway Selection Process is offered to both individual and institutional Steinway customers.  As we’ll soon see, Steinway makes the process simple and straightforward.  For individuals, the process is particularly easy except for the possibility of choosing between two outstanding pianos at the end of the process.

For institutions, like a school or university, the process is the same except that the different uses for the same chosen piano are uppermost in mind.   Moreover, a committee usually participates in the selection process rather than a single academic.  As a result, a consensus is part of the process for institutional customers.

An especially weighty decision for institutional clients

Steinway Model D concert grand piano
Institutional customers sometimes avail themselves of the Steinway Selection Process to decide upon their Model D concert grand.

Institutional customers going through the Steinway Selection Process are selecting a piano that will be the focus, even the centerpiece, of their concert hall.  Not only will promising students be playing this Model D Steinway but also distinguished guests and faculty.

In addition to traditional concerts, such an instrument may also be played at university ceremonies or major donor fundraising events, where the Steinway brand will be noted and appreciated.

A Model D may look like a showhorse, but the truth is, this instrument is a serious workhorse with multiple, important functions.  Selecting the best possible concert grand for one’s school is likely the most important purchase a college’s music department will make that year.

Arriving at the factory with your M. Steinert & Sons piano consultant

M. Steinert & Sons is the oldest Steinway & Sons dealer in the world, tracing our connection with Steinway back to & Sons is the oldest Steinway & Sons dealer in the world, tracing our connection with Steinway back to 1860.

We keep strong ties with Steinway and enjoy arranging, then taking, interested clients to Steinway’s Astoria, New York factory, just minutes from downtown Manhattan.

Whether you’re flying solo or part of an institutional committee, you’ve likely been interested in the Steinway Selection Process already and have a great fondness for the Steinway brand.  A Steinway grand piano often reflects your aspirations, whether as an individual or a music department, to arrive at a place where they can purchase a piano that is the standard of the industry.

Led by your experienced M. Steinert piano consultant, you’ll arrive at the Astoria factory with great anticipation.  For pianists, coming to Steinway’s factory to sample several brand new Steinways is like a dream come true.

Interested in a factory tour?

Action being tested at Steinway's Astoria factory
On a Steinway factory tour, you can see how a piano’s action is tested.

If time permits, the individual or institutional customer can take an Astoria factory tour, which takes a little over an hour.  Having the tour allows one to appreciate more fully the meticulous craftsmanship involved in the making of a handcrafted grand piano.

While all Steinway pianos meet exacting standards, no two Steinway pianos are alike.  Each has its own unique personality.  Watching how the Steinway artisans get into the details of each section of the piano-building process is both educational and inspirational.

Six Steinway grands ready to be sampled

Steinway’s technical staff has prepared for the customer’s visit by expertly tuning each of the six Steinway pianos of the same model already decided upon back in Boston.  The Steinway Selection room at the factory accommodates six concert grands, all in a row.  Each piano has been completed within the last several weeks.

A Steinway Selection staffer explains the process in an adjoining boardroom to the Steinway Selection room.  This is where school committee members meet afterward to compare notes on the different Steinways tested that day.

Narrow down your choices–but they’re all so good!

Now at last comes the time for you to engage with the six Steinway grands set before you.  The goal here is to play each piano for several minutes to get a feel for each one’s tone and action/touch, then compare them with the other five.   The fact that one is grading Steinway pianos may understandably feel a bit surreal for you.

Steinway Selection Room
“But they’re all so good!” Narrowing down six Steinway grand pianos can be a challenge–but a pleasant one.

Ultimately, this will be a process of elimination, one made challenging by the highest standards of quality achieved by the Steinway craftspeople.  “But they’re all so good!” is a common statement during the selection process.

A customer may eliminate a couple of the pianos after playing all six, allowing them to focus more on the remaining four.   After another round of playing, the individual or committee may narrow the field down further to just two.

By the time the six grand pianos have been winnowed down to two finalists, additional considerations may come into play.  For example, while one piano may have a perfect tone for one use, the other may be more versatile for the multiple uses envisioned by a college committee.

In addition to giving each piano another play, committee members may stand back and listen to the two pianos as if they were in the audience back in their college concert hall.

A highly collaborative decision

People discussing Steinway piano production at the Steinway factory
Committee members for M. Steinert’s institutional customers learn how Steinways are made during a factory tour ahead of their collaborations.

The committee members then take their notes with them and adjourn to the board room. There they hear each other’s final take on the two remaining pianos.  Frequently the winning piano is so outstanding that a consensus is already emerging before this last discussion begins.

But by the time this collaborative process is over, like a unanimous jury, the committee makes its final decision with confidence.  They have found their Steinway!  The Steinway Selection staffer confirms the selection by putting a little marker denoting that the chosen Steinway is now no longer for sale.

The same process works well for the individual customer.  While the final decision is wholly the customer’s, both individual and committee customers often draw upon their M. Steinert piano consultant and the Steinway Selection staff for information regarding the six pianos arrayed before them.

Leave Astoria confident in your selection

Front door, Steinway's Astoria, NY facility
Customers leave the Astoria, NY factory confident in their piano

Let’s face it:  purchasing a Steinway grand piano, whether for one’s home or a school’s concert hall, is an expensive proposition.  Steinway owners will tell you that their pianos are worth every dime they paid for them.

However, in the name of due diligence, many Steinway customers will feel even more comfortable with their purchase by directly taking a role in their piano’s final selection.

A college president can rest easy, knowing that the music department took the extra step of ensuring that this new Model D concert grand will perform all of the functions the college envisions for it.

An individual purchasing a Model B for their home will take pride in knowing that their selection was the one that beat out five other excellent Steinways.

We’d love to take you to Astoria

Is the Steinway Selection Process for you?  Come into one of M. Steinert’s showrooms to find out.  You may decide that your process will end at the Steinway factory in Astoria, New York to choose your own Steinway grand.  We’d love to take you there.

For more information on different Steinway models, read these articles:


What is a Steinway factory tour like?

by Stephen N. Reed


A Series of Pleasant Surprises

You’ve been impressed, even inspired by the sound of Steinway pianos at concerts or in friends’ homes over the years.  Their golden tone and stylish black glossy finish–it all speaks to you.

Front door of Steinway's Astoria, NY facility
Welcome to Steinway & Sons! The front door to the Astoria, NY facility is the gateway to a 500,000 sq. ft. piano factory.

So what is a Steinway & Sons factory tour like, you ask?

A Steinway factory tour is a series of pleasant surprises, beginning with your entrance into the factory.  Though attractive, the front door to the Astoria, NY facility is unassuming.  Upon entering, you’d never know that the building’s small foyer will be leading you into a spacious 500,000 sq. ft. facility, just minutes from downtown Manhattan.

So this is the place they build the famous Steinway pianos.

The next pleasant surprise you experience is the wide range of courteous employees at this Steinway factory. From the janitorial staff running the vacuum cleaners, administrators greeting you warmly as you await your tour, your guide, and all the Steinway craftspeople you meet on your tour–everyone is genuinely welcoming in Steinwayland.

Indeed, any notion that staff working for a world-class brand like Steinway might be aloof is immediately dashed as you go through your tour.  The craftspeople are pros and accustomed to visitors looking in on their work.  They can remain focused on their work while also engaging visitors on a tour.

“Treat every customer in a courteous and professional manner.”   These words, found in Steinway’s Standard of Excellence Customer Code, are truly embodied by Steinway staff.

By the end of this article, you will know more about the inner workings of Steinway’s Astoria, NY factory and some of the key parts of Steinway pianos that have made them the standard of the industry for many decades.

Each craftsperson leads to the next

Steinway & Sons staff member Cameron Underhill took our tour up and down the different floors of the Astoria facility, giving us an education one could only get by seeing this complex process up close.

Steinway & Sons staffer Cameron Underhill
Steinway & Sons staff member Cameron Underhill gives a great, multifaceted tour of the Astoria facility.

As we went through the hour and a half tour, the fact that a Steinway grand piano takes about a year to be completed increasingly made sense.  Each craftsperson, whether they are a woodworker, painter, or keyboard specialist is each part of a well-considered, systematic stream to assemble the next Steinway.

You feel like you’re witnessing the same process used 100 years ago to make Steinways–because you are!  Steinway still produces unique handcrafted pieces, finishing 3-5 pianos per day at the Astoria facility.

Except for some high-tech cutting machines, the entire tour is a rare and pleasant throwback to an earlier time in American manufacturing when the decisions made by highly-skilled craftspeople affected the quality of the final product.

Witnessing the Bending of the Rim

Steinway workers carrying the rim to bend into shape
Steinway staff carrying the Hard Rock Maple to bend the rim.

Our tour was fortunate in being able to see several Steinway workers bend the rim for a Model D Steinway concert grand piano.  They carefully glued several thin, 20 ft. Hard Rock Maple boards together, stacking them on top of each other.

After letting the glue settle, the Steinway workers then hoist the stacked, glued boards in the air, over their heads, looking like dockworkers as they take the rim over to the rim mold.

Seeing how the thin stacked maple boards are flexible enough to be bent around the rim mold, then clasped into place reminds us that this is the only way for Steinway to provide such a bent rim.  This couldn’t happen with a single board of wood.

But stacking thin boards of maple together does the trick, even as those boards later look like a single, beautiful, and functional rim. When we see a finished grand piano later, with just such a beautiful rim, it’s hard to believe that those bent rims needed to rest for up to 16 weeks to settle following that wood-bending process we witnessed.

Rim Bending
The Rim Bending process is unique to Steinway

So why all this fuss about Steinway’s patented one-piece rim process?  The rim plays a key role in supporting and enhancing the acoustical properties of the piano’s soundboard.  Its stability, durability, and strength together create and improve on the distinctive “Steinway sound.”

Today’s Steinway rim allows Steinway’s patented Diaphragmatic Soundboard to vibrate freely and to generate a truly golden tone.

Seeing how the Diaphragmatic Soundboard is made

Steinway's patented Diaphragmatic Soundboard
The patented Diaphragmatic Soundboard is considered the very heart of the Steinway tone, color, and richness.

As alluded to earlier, the other critical part of the Steinway grand piano’s acoustic properties is the company’s patented Diaphragmatic Soundboard, made from panels of close-grained Sitka Spruce glued together. The soundboard is thicker in the middle, tapering to its edges.

When passing through the “belly department” of the factory, we saw several light-colored wooden soundboards getting prepped for installation.  Each soundboard must be perfected before installation since the soundboard and bridge must be able to manage 20,000 pounds of string pressure while also producing a range of sounds, piano and fortissimo.

Steinway’s soundboard is known for its ability to respond to a pianist’s subtle playing to bring out their emotion. The soundboard is considered the very heart of the Steinway tone, color, and richness.

Checking out where the action is

The action in a Steinway piano responds to the touch instead of being forced into action.

The “action” of the piano is self-defining: without the action, there would be no sound produced.  The action in a Steinway piano responds to the touch instead of being forced into action.

A piano’s action refers to the slender, wooden hammers, covered in special wool felt.  These hammers are what strike the strings when keys are played.  Each piece of this mechanical part of the piano has to be tested by several different people to guarantee rapid, sensitive movement in the coming years.

These little hammers are the reason why grand pianos must have sturdy, huge rims and soundboards. Just as an automobile engine has a heavy case around little pistons firing hard, so must a Steinway grand piano rim and soundboard absorb and contain the sound the hammers create.

Tone regulation:  Sensitive ears needed

A Steinway tone regulator testing a keyboard.
Steinway tone regulators make sure that each key is properly weighted.

Tone regulation.  Here then was another fascinating stop on our tour–and one so different from any other facet of the operations.  The sensitivity involved in getting each key’s tone pitch perfect reminds one of the fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.”

Tone regulators note minute differences in weight with great skill, adding small weights to any key that needs it to have the right tone.  Tone regulators can spend up to 60 hours per piano, helping it to become a beautiful musical instrument.

If you can recall doing a delicate titration exercise in your high school chemistry lab, measuring tiny amounts precisely, that is similar to the tone regulators’ work.

Some tone regulators have such keen hearing that, attending a concert, they can recognize the tone of a Steinway piano that they adjusted years before.

Handcrafting skills learned in-house at the Astoria factory

I asked our tour guide, Cameron Underhill, about the training involved with all of these specialty craftspeople.

“While a background in furniture making can be a good background for us, most of the skills are taught here in-house,” says Cameron.  He notes that some of the work at their factory is very specialized.

Many of the craftspeople spend their whole career with Steinway.  Some are multi-generational craftspeople, who had a parent and grandparent working at the Astoria facility.  Pride in their product and the Steinway brand is an obvious aspect of their long tenures in Astoria.

M. Steinert customers welcome to take a tour

A row of finished Steinway grand pianos at the Astoria, NY facility.
The finished product: Handcrafted Steinway pianos have long been considered the standard of the industry.

While Steinway has suspended public tours of the Astoria, NY factory during the pandemic, M. Steinert & Sons customers can accompany our piano consultant to New York to see how Steinways are made.

Moreover, our individual or institutional customers can engage in the Steinway Selection process, whereby M. Steinert customers select their actual grand piano.  You try out six different newly-built Steinway pianos of the model you have chosen, then decide on the one you want to have at home or in your school’s concert hall.

Choosing one’s own, individual Steinway is an empowering moment for any M. Steinert customer, and we are happy to set up the tour and the Steinway Selection process for you.

Come to one of our showrooms to start the process of deciding which Steinway model is best for you.  In the meantime, read these articles to learn more about Steinway & Sons and their world-famous pianos:

 


The Top 6 most popular Steinway grand pianos (according to our customers)

by Stephen N. Reed


Most Popular Steinway GrandsYou’re ready to start shopping seriously for a Steinway piano, but you want to take your time, do it right.  After all, who wants to make this size of an investment, only to find that it doesn’t quite suit your needs in your home?

Steinway logo painted inside grand piano case
M. Steinert’s customers have had six most popular Steinway grand models over the years.

The piano consultants at M. Steinert are very experienced at helping customers with a wide variety of considerations, both in terms of their level of playing and the size of the space where the piano will be placed.

Since 1860, M. Steinert & Sons has gone the extra mile to ensure that each customer will have long-term satisfaction with their new Steinway piano.  We enjoy seeing people bringing the Steinway sound to their home or performing venue.

Towards that end, for your consideration, we offer you a look at the most popular Steinway models at M. Steinert.   You may find others’ preferences mirror some of your own.

By reviewing the Steinway models that have proven so popular with our customers over the years, you can start to narrow down your options as you move towards a final selection that is best for you.

The Top Six most popular Steinway pianos (according to our customers)

Steinway's Model B grand piano
The Model B is the most popular among M. Steinert customers. One factor in this is that the B is often chosen by Steinway Spirio player piano customers.

#1.  Steinway Model B

In a close race, the famed 7’ Steinway Model B edges out the 5’7” Model M as the most popular Steinway grand among M. Steinert & Sons’ customers.

The Model B is the choice of 28.46% of M. Steinert’s customers.  M. Steinert piano consultant Patrick Elisha notes that a major reason for the popularity of both the B and the M is that they are the models used for Steinway’s Spirio player pianos.

The 7’ Model B is Steinway’s best-selling model and has been acclaimed for having the top Steinway sound and touch outside of the concert grand models. The Model B is well-known for its constantly refined tone, touch sensitivity, broader dynamic range, longer sustain, and nuanced color.

Most Steinway Artists own Model Bs or Model Ds–or both. The Model B is not too large for many living rooms yet is also large enough to be appropriate for a smaller concert hall or a church sanctuary.

It is the most versatile of the Steinway grands. It is often the choice of serious amateurs or professional pianists who do not have the budget or the room for a 9’ concert grand Model D.

To learn more, read our Review of the Model B.

Model B specifications

#2.  Steinway Model M

Steinway craftsman with soundboard
Steinway’s patented Diaphragmatic Soundboard insures that the Model M grand has a rich, full sound without being overwhelming.

Introduced in 1911, the Steinway Model M occupies a cherished place for many in the Steinway spectrum of grand pianos.  At 5’7”, the Model M is situated between the smaller (5’1”) Model S and the larger (5’10”) Model O.

Steinway has called the M their “Studio Grand.”  It is the choice of 27.07% of M. Steinert customers.

Though smaller than other models like the O and the A, the Model M still retains a sound that richly fills a home or small venue without being overwhelming.  This is due to its Steinway soundboard.  Its responsive action produces a touch that can engage any style of music.

Because of its more compact size as Steinway’s “Studio Grand,” the Model M has proven itself as a consistent favorite for those needing a somewhat smaller grand piano for the home or small venue.

To learn more, read our Review of the Steinway Model M.

Model M specifications

#3.  Steinway Model L and O

Steinway Grands L and O combined
This chart shows popularity of grands with sales of the Model O and the Model L combined as one bar.

While Steinway’s Model L comes in next as the choice of 16.76% of M. Steinert’s customers, the L has been replaced in recent years with the Model O, which has been the selection of 7.91% for a total of 24.67% for both of these 6’ grands.

The Steinway Model O, referred to as the “Living Room Grand,” is the largest of the smaller Steinway grand pianos with a length of nearly 5’11”.

Patrick Elisha notes that the Model O’s size begins to usher in the full, rich sound of the larger Steinway grand piano experience.

The Model O offers a full, resonant sound of exceptional warmth and depth.  Often used for homes and teaching, the Model O has a rich bass register that is bolstered by the ample string length and the patented Diaphragmatic Soundboard.

The Astoria, New York Steinway factory had historically produced the Model L, while Steinway’s Hamburg, Germany plant made the Model O.  Over time, a consensus emerged between these two Steinway divisions that the scale design of the O was preferred.

As a result, the decision was made to select just one nearly 6 foot piano to bear the Steinway name. The O had won on its merits.

To learn more, read our Review of the Steinway Model O

Model O specifications

#4. Steinway Model A: The game changer

Steinway Model A grand piano
The Model A is a close cousin to the Model B, but at 6’2″ its smaller size allows it to fit in smaller spaces.

For many, Steinway’s Model A, known as the “Parlor Grand,” is the perfect piano. It is a close cousin to the better-known Model B,  known as the “Living Room Grand.” 7.91% of M. Steinert customers chose the Model A.

The two pianos have a similar scale and the same width at 4’10”, though today’s Model A, with a length of 6’ 2”, is 9 inches shorter than the Model B with a length of 6’ 11”.

This difference in length makes the Model A an easier fit in many homes than the Model B.  However, the Model A is still long enough to accommodate those looking for a full Steinway grand that provides a concert-quality Steinway sound despite the smaller size.

The early Model A featured some of C.F. Theodore Steinway’s innovations, secured by several patents. As a result, the Model A is seen as Steinway’s game changer.

For example, the Model A featured the new, continuous bent rim case, which gave both a stronger cabinet and excellent soundboard vibrations. Theodore Steinway’s bent rim innovation is still used on Steinway grands today.

To learn more, read our Review of the Steinway Model A

Model A specifications

#5.  Steinway Model S

The Steinway Model S is a well-conceived piano that conveys the famous Steinway sound despite its small scale design.  At 5’1” (155 cm), the Model S is the smallest of the Steinway grands. The first ones were made in mahogany.

6.96% of M. Steinert’s customers chose the Steinway Model S, the company’s famous baby grand.

Steinway's Model S, the baby grand
Steinway’s Model S, gives a warm, rich tone in a small, 5’1″ baby grand piano.

According to M. Steinert & Sons President Emeritus Paul Murphy, to compete with smaller and less expensive pianos built by Steinway’s competition, the S was introduced in 1936 at $885.

Steinway’s Model S is not for everyone.  A professional concert pianist will want to have a Model B or D, which will allow them a wider dynamic range due to their larger size.

However, if you want the Steinway sound but have real space considerations, the Model S can be the perfect fit for their home or small venue.  The S is a special order piano from Steinway, only a little smaller than the Model M.

For more information, read our Review of Steinway’s Model S

Model S specifications

#6. Steinway Model D

Usually used only by professional pianists or concert venues, Steinway’s Model D is one of the most recognized grand pianos in the world.  5.82% of M. Steinert’s customers selected the D, with many of them going to performance facilities or institutions of higher education.

Yuja Wang performing on a Steinway Model D concert grand piano.
Steinway Artist Yuja Wang performing on a Steinway Model D concert grand piano.

Over the years, the nearly 9’ Model D and other Steinway grands have possessed a strong bass to go along with their broad tone and a timbre some have called “spine-tingling.”  The sheer power in a Model D allows it to project to the back of any concert hall.

This sophisticated action is the reason so many professional pianists prefer the Model D: they feel at one with the instrument and believe that its range of tone and color brings out their musical best.

A quite popular model for institutions of higher education and symphonies, the Model D is the official piano of hundreds of musical venues, including the Boston Symphony OrchestraJuilliard, and the New England Conservatory.

Over 200 colleges and universities are officially designated as All-Steinway Schools, with the Model D taking center stage on their campus’s performing arts centers and music departments.

Finally, if you’ve listened to a classical or jazz piano recording lately, chances are that you were listening to a Steinway Model D.

To learn more, read our Review of Steinway’s Model D.

Model D specifications

How Much Do Steinway Pianos Cost?

These new Steinway grand pianos range between $75,000 and over $300,000, depending upon style and finish.  M. Steinert & Sons piano consultants can keep you updated on the current price for each model.

Whichever model you choose, it’s a Steinway

Whatever your final choice of a Steinway grand, the good news is: it’s a Steinway.  The legendary quality, craftsmanship, tone, and longevity that has made Steinway famous is in each of their grand piano models.

Come visit one of our two showrooms in Boston and Newton to begin the pleasant process of trying out these Steinway models yourself.

Our experienced piano consultants enjoy learning about your needs and aspirations when it comes to having a piano in your home. They can serve as your guide through the interesting process of choosing a Steinway.

Meantime, continue reading about Steinway’s uniquely handcrafted pianos below:


A review of 6 Steinway piano models: Which is the best grand for me?

by Stephen N. Reed


Steinway Model O in modern living room
Choosing the right Steinway grand piano can be both exciting and perplexing.  How to choose?

Pursuing the purchase of a Steinway & Sons piano can be both exciting and perplexing.  After all, this may be a once-in-a-lifetime investment, so you want to get it right.

You’ve heard about Steinway’s different-sized grand piano models and how size correlates to the prices across the spectrum of Steinway grands.  Is a bigger model worth the added cost?

At M. Steinert & Sons, helping people make the right Steinway choice is our bread and butter. We have been selling the different Steinway models for over 160 years and pride ourselves on customer service and satisfaction.

In this article, we will take a brief look at the main Steinway grand piano models, with links to a further description of each model.  That way, if you see one you want to investigate further before coming into one of our showrooms, you can access that information directly through this article.

An array of Steinways

Steinway Model D:  The concert grand

Over the years, the nearly 9’ Model D and other Steinway grands have possessed a strong bass to go along with their broad tone and a timbre some have called “spine-tingling.”  The sheer power in a Model D allows it to project to the back of any concert hall.

Steinway Artist Yuja Wang playing a Model D concert grand
Steinway Artist Yuja Wang playing a Model D concert grand.

This sophisticated action is the reason so many professional pianists prefer the Model D: they feel at one with the instrument and believe that its range of tone and color brings out their musical best.

A quite popular model for institutions of higher education and symphonies, the Model D is the official piano of hundreds of musical venues, including the Boston Symphony OrchestraJuilliard, and the New England Conservatory.

Over 200 colleges and universities are officially designated as All-Steinway Schools, with the Model D taking center stage on their campus’s performing arts centers and music departments.

Moreover, if you’ve listened to a classical or jazz piano recording lately, chances are that you were listening to a Steinway Model D.

To learn more, read our Steinway’s Model D: The iconic concert grand piano of choice.

Model D specifications

Steinway Model B:  Steinway’s best-seller

Steinway's Model B grand piano
The Model B is Steinway’s most popular grand piano. It is an exceptional fit for the professional pianist or serious amateur.

The 7’ Model B is Steinway’s best-selling model and has been acclaimed for having the top Steinway sound and touch outside of the concert grand models. The Model B is well-known for its constantly refined tone, touch sensitivity, broader dynamic range, longer sustain, and nuanced color.

Most Steinway Artists own Model Bs or Model Ds–or both. The Model B is not too large for many living rooms yet is also large enough to be appropriate for a smaller concert hall or a church sanctuary.

It is the most versatile of the 5 smaller grands by Steinway. It is often the choice of serious amateurs or professional pianists who do not have the budget or the room for a 9’ concert grand Model D.

To learn more, read our Steinway Model B: Is the B the perfect piano?

Model B specifications

Steinway Model A: The game changer

Steinway's Model A grand piano
Steinway’s Model A provides the Steinway sound but in a smaller form than the Model B.

For many, Steinway’s Model A, known as the “Parlor Grand,” is the perfect piano. It is a close cousin to the better-known Model B,  known as the “Living Room Grand.”

The two pianos have a similar scale and the same width at 4’10”, though today’s Model A, with a length of 6’ 2”, is 9 inches shorter than the Model B with a length of 6’ 11”.

This difference in length makes the Model A an easier fit in many homes than the Model B.  However, the Model A is still long enough to accommodate those looking for a full Steinway grand that provides a concert-quality Steinway sound despite the smaller size.

The early Model A featured some of C.F. Theodore Steinway’s innovations, secured by several patents. As a result, the Model A is seen as Steinway’s game changer.

For example, the Model A featured the new, continuous bent rim case, which gave both a stronger cabinet and excellent soundboard vibrations. Theodore Steinway’s bent rim innovation is still used on Steinway grands today.

To learn more, read our A review of the Steinway Model A: The game changer

Model A specifications

Steinway Model O: The small grand with the full grand sound

Steinway's Model O grand piano
The largest of the Steinway small grands, the Model O ushers in the fullness of the larger Steinway grand but is still under 6′.

Close to six feet in length, the Steinway Model O, referred to as the “Living Room Grand,” is the largest of the smaller Steinway grand pianos with a length of nearly 5’11”.

Patrick Elisha of M. Steinert & Sons’ educational division notes that the Model O’s size begins to usher in the full, rich sound of the larger Steinway grand piano experience.

The Model O offers a full, resonant sound of exceptional warmth and depth.  Often used for homes and teaching, the Model O has a rich bass register that is bolstered by the ample string length and the patented Diaphragmatic Soundboard.

The Astoria, New York Steinway factory had historically produced the Model L, while Steinway’s Hamburg, Germany plant made the Model O.  Over time, a consensus emerged between these two Steinway divisions that the scale design of the O was preferred.

As a result, the decision was made to select just one nearly 6 foot piano to bear the Steinway name. The O had won on its merits.

To learn more, read our Review of the Steinway Model O: Is it the right piano for me?

Model O specifications

Steinway Model M:  In the middle of the Steinway grand spectrum

Steinway's Model M grand piano
Steinway’s Model M has proven itself as a consistent favorite for those needing a somewhat smaller grand piano for the home or small venues.

Introduced in 1911, the Steinway Model M occupies a cherished place for many in the Steinway spectrum of grand pianos.  At 5’7”, the Model M is situated between the smaller (5’1”) Model S and the larger (5’10”) Model O.

Steinway has called the M their “Studio Grand.”

Though smaller than other models like the O and the A, the Model M still retains a sound that richly fills a home or small venue without being overwhelming.  This is due to its Steinway soundboard.  Its responsive action produces a touch that can engage any style of music.

Because of its more compact size as Steinway’s “Studio Grand,” the Model M has proven itself as a consistent favorite for those needing a somewhat smaller grand piano for the home or small venue.

To learn more, read our A review of the Steinway Model M: Is the M the right piano for me?

Model M specifications

Steinway Model S: the baby grand

Steinway's Model S grand piano
The Model S is their baby grand, the smallest of the Steinway grand pianos.

The Steinway Model S is a well-conceived piano that conveys the famous Steinway sound despite its small scale design.  At 5’1” (155 cm), the Model S is the smallest of the Steinway grands. The first ones were made in mahogany.

According to M. Steinert & Sons President Emeritus Paul Murphy, to compete with smaller and less expensive pianos built by Steinway’s competition, the S was introduced in 1936 at $885.

Steinway’s Model S is not for everyone.  A professional concert pianist will want to have a Model B or D, which will allow them a wider dynamic range due to their larger size.

However, if you want the Steinway sound but have real space considerations, the Model S can be the perfect fit for their home or small venue.  The S is a special order piano from Steinway, only a little smaller than the Model M.

For more information, read our A review of Steinway’s Model S: the baby grand.

Model S specifications

Cost

These new Steinway grand pianos range between $75,000 and over $300,000, depending upon style and finish.  M. Steinert & Sons piano consultants can keep you updated on the current price for each model. 

The good news: It’s a Steinway

Five Steinway grand piano models
Whichever Steinway model is best for you, you can rest in the knowledge that Steinway’s craftspeople have worked hard to create an exceptional musical instrument.

As mentioned earlier, a purchase as important as a grand piano can feel daunting.  The differences between two or three Steinway models can be either subtle or significant.

The good news is: it’s a Steinway.  The legendary quality, craftsmanship, tone, and longevity that has made Steinway famous is in each of their grand piano models.

Come visit one of our two showrooms in Boston and Newton to begin the pleasant process of trying out these Steinway models yourself.

Our experienced piano consultants enjoy learning about your needs and aspirations when it comes to having a piano in your home. They can serve as your guide through the interesting process of choosing a Steinway.

Meantime, continue reading about Steinway’s uniquely handcrafted pianos below:


A review of Steinway’s Model S:  The baby grand

By Stephen N. Reed


So you’d like to experience the “Steinway sound” but don’t think you have an adequate space for a grand piano in your home.  What to do?  You could compromise and get a nice upright instead, but what if you feel unfulfilled–and after spending thousands of dollars?

Young Girl at Model S
Steinway Model S grand pianos are beloved for their unique capacity to bring the essential grand piano experience into smaller spaces.

Baby grands may not have the full power of a full grand piano.  However, they are beloved for their unique capacity to bring the essential experience of a grand piano into much smaller spaces in a home or small venue.

The Steinway Model S is a well-conceived piano that conveys the famous Steinway sound despite its small scale design.  At 5’1” (155 cm), the Model S is the smallest of the Steinway grands. The first ones were made in mahogany.

Depression-era rollout

According to M. Steinert & Sons President Emeritus Paul Murphy, to compete with smaller and less expensive pianos built by Steinway’s competition, the S was introduced in 1936 at $885.

Steinway newspaper advertisement during the Great Depression
Steinway’s Model S was part of Steinway’s Depression-era strategy to offer reasonably-priced grand pianos.
We’ll take a look in this article at the Model S’s history, scale design, soundboard, and action, demonstrating why it can be the perfect fit for a buyer who wants the Steinway experience in a smaller package.

Murphy notes that this amount was lower than Steinway’s Model M at the time, which was priced at about $1,250.

During the difficult days of the Great Depression, some believe the less expensive Model S was key to keeping Steinway & Sons afloat.

Small scale design

To accommodate a significant section of the piano market requiring either a smaller piano in terms of size, price, or both, piano engineers at Steinway & Sons had to tackle the issue of small scale design.

Low bass register issues in baby grands

Strings in the low bass register are among the longest in a piano.  In light of the lost length due to the smaller piano size, bass strings are wrapped in copper and made thicker.

This additional density makes the bass strings stiffer, which can lead to “inharmonicity.” That is when a string’s harmonics deviate from their natural frequencies.   The challenge for piano engineers is to avoid having the ear hear an indistinct pitch.

In addition, bass register strings must have soundboard flexibility.  Otherwise, the bass tone in baby grand pianos can sound dull with limited sustain.

In six years, the Model S’s scale comes a long way

According to Paul Murphy, Steinway took about six years to develop what is now the Model S scale. In the late 1930s, most scale designs had to be built into pianos to prove themselves.

The Model S’s scale had to wait six years because Steinway & Sons insisted that it have the “Steinway sound” like the other, larger Steinway grands.

Today, piano scales can be designed with computers, which is how the Boston and Essex scales have been designed. This modern technology allowed Steinway to design a full line of pianos before they built the first one.

Steinway craftsman working on a grand piano soundboard.
The first Steinway Model S grands featured the company’s newly-patented Diaphragmatic Soundboard.

The Model S’s Diaphragmatic Soundboard–the best ever made

Steinway’s enormous amount of work in building the Diaphragmatic Soundboard–seen as the best soundboard ever made–helps to avoid such bass register problems.  This patented soundboard was one of the distinctive features of the Model S.

This new soundboard was tapered around the edges where it meets the rim by about the thickness of a kitchen match.

This allowed the board to vibrate more freely and project sound longer than the uniform thickness board which was the prior design. In fact, the Model S, with the new soundboard, projected tone better than the Model M (5’7”).

The Diaphragmatic Soundboard was so successful that it was ultimately used in all Steinway models as it is today.

The action of the baby grand

True, in shorter grand pianos, there is a discernible difference in touch weight when playing at the front of the key, as well as the place immediately next to the fallboard.  As a result, the keyboard may not respond as well to sensitive touch as with longer pianos.

However, Steinway managed to install the same key length in its grands all the way up to the Model A at 6’2” feet in length.  This gives the Model S a distinct advantage over many of its competitors.

The Model S shares the same exact materials and handcrafted workmanship as the Steinway flagship concert grand, the Model D.  The only difference is size.

Model S’s action’s touch response is excellent, with a skilled pianist having no problem with techniques like legato and staccato. For a smaller piano, the Model S’s range of volume is impressive, as well.

The Steinway Model S’s ideal owner

Steinway’s Model S is not for everyone.  A professional concert pianist will want to have a Model B or D, which will allow them a wider dynamic range due to their larger size.

However, if you want the Steinway sound but have real space considerations, the Model S can be the perfect fit for their home or small venue.  The S is a special order piano from Steinway, only a little smaller than the Model M.

Cost of the Steinway Model S

The least expensive of the Steinway grand pianos, the Model S’s price is $75,500 with an ebony finish.

The Steinway Model S has always had devoted fans

Steinway logo on cast iron plate
The Model S has allowed many people to enjoy the Steinway sound despite their more modest home size or lower budget.

Despite the Model S’s small size, from its beginnings the S has had its backers.  When the Model S pianos were rolled out in 1936, no less a performer than Steinway Immortal Josef Hoffman went public with his appreciation for this new baby grand.

Hoffman was so impressed by the Model S that he bought 50 of them for the Curtis Institute.

Today, you’ll hear Model S owners coo over their “little Steinway.”  The reason is clear: the Model S has allowed them to enjoy the Steinway sound despite their more modest home size or lower budget.  Without the S, they simply would not have that daily experience in their home.

Come in and learn more about the Model S from one of M. Steinert & Son’s professional piano consultants.  Meantime, read more about Steinway grands from these articles:


request more information
Required fields are indicated by an asterisk
  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Newton

1069 Washington Street
Newton, MA 02465
Phone:
508-655-7373
Store Hours:
Monday - Friday: 11 am to 6 pm
Saturday : 10 am to 5 pm
Sunday: Noon to 5 pm

Boston

28 Damrell Street
Boston, MA 02127
Phone:
617-426-1900
Store Hours:
By appointment: