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Hailun 218

Discussion in 'The Piano' started by johnlewisgrant, Apr 2, 2011.

  1. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Has anyone tested/played one of these?

    I was in a shop the other day picking up a replacement string. They had a Steingraeber concert grand, a Sauter, and a few rebuilt Steinway Ds. The Steingraeber was, quite frankly, the most amazing piano I have ever laid hands on. I have always been partial to the Steinway sound, preferring it over the Faziolis and Bosendorfers I've played at various shops. But the Steingraeber action and tone was beyond anything i've ever experienced. In a realm of its own.

    But that Hailun 218? I wasn't even going to test it out. It had tacky plastic keys, among other things. But then I played it.... unbelievable... changed my perception of Chinese pianos, and non-German pianos in general. Not a Steingraeber, to be sure. But not that far off, either. Certainly the Kawai Grand I have at home isn't remotely comparable. This ugly duckling, in my humble opinion, is right up there with the best pianos in the world.

    Tell me, are my ears fooling me? Anyone with similar or different experience of the Hailun 218 or other Hailun pianos?

    John
     
  2. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hmmmm..... I'm replying to myself....is that like "talking to yourself"!!????

    Anyhooo..... here's a reasonable, but hardly perfect, recording of my piano by me. I'm blasting away, here, at the dense C major prelude from Book 2 of the WTC. VERY hard to record, by the way, because the music is a little dense in and around c2-c5 ... horrible range for piano mics. Chopin ALWAYS comes across better, because you are recording usually in the sweet(er) range above c5; which range most microphones have a much easier time with.

    having said that.....here's the Hailun 218 (7ft 2in) which I much preferred (just me) over the 2 Steinway Bs on sale in the same room!!! (I love Steinways, and HATE Chinese junk pianos btw... so this instrument shook-me-up in an Elvis sort of way. I was in denial; but revisited the shop many, many times before making "the purchase," so to speak.)

    The Hailun 218 recorded here with relatively cheap Bayer m160 Ribbon mics (made in Germany.... still).

    http://www.box.com/s/hlgr617go9vs4grujczg

    Cheers,

    JG
     
  3. hanysz

    hanysz New Member

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    It's OK, it's an interesting "conversation" to listen to. I haven't yet seen those pianos in Australia, but I'll be looking out for them.
     
  4. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    More like liking your own comment on Facebook :D
     
  5. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    I did that once while still an initiate on FB. :oops:
     
  6. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Now I'm trying different mics out. So here's the same piece, (Bk2, P1, WTC) played again that is, but with small diaphram cardioids, AKG 451 b: a pair about 6ft apart and three feet out from the piano, and 6ft up, one pointing towards the treb, the other at the bass end of the instrument.

    The purpose, of course, is to test out mics... I think I prefer this one to the AKG 414, which I rented for a couple of weeks. It's about 500 US per mic; about the same as the Beyerdynamics used in the first version above.

    So here are the AKG 451 bs on the Hailun 218 in a room about 13X11X10:

    http://www.box.com/s/pjxe0000osg64q2po7ur

    Cheers,

    JG
     
  7. 88man

    88man Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi John, I've never played a Hailun before, but I like what I am hearing. Chinese pianos are typically like fruit that have been harvested before they have had a chance to ripen. Here sounds like an exception. It seems that the tone and timbre have been voiced properly and the sound board is functioning properly by projecting those harmonics. However, quality of components and the cohesiveness of all the parts over time is suspect with Chinese pianos. "Tacky plastic keys" are just on the surface. I keep an open mind about pianos, but I am suspect about Chinese mass production when it applies to piano manufacturing. They typically don't hold up well mechanically compared to European pianos over time. Resale values tank after purchase, and there's no guarantee that the sound will improve over time. Nothing is untouchable: I've heard of Steinways not improving over time, and Fazioli soundboards delaminating after 10 years - a complete disaster! Just make sure you examine the piano in detail with a master technician before you buy - including close examination of the action on a table.

    I love the sound of my B - I bought it from a Steinway technician who cherry picked it from the NYC factory. There was a time that I thought of trading my B for a D, but I couldn't find a D which had the quality of tone and timbre of my B (except for the lowest bass notes). I didn't want to relinquish my B in the event that I couldn't find an excellent D - then I'd be stuck without a piano. As it is these days, I don't have much time to play anymore, so I'll keep the B for now. While I am still young, I'll spend the money on sports cars, then I'll make the switch to a D much later. :p For longevity and investment, I suggest getting a nice Steinway B, but the choice is yours...

    You are not going to get a better sound in a 13ft x 11ft x 10ft room - almost too nice, are you sure it's not meters? :p Ribbon mics excel on string instruments - actually Itzhak Perlman uses a Coles 4038 ribbon mic to get that beautiful, silky smooth, deep, rich tone on the brighter Strads. But here the Beyer M160 is giving you good tone, with a smoothed over timbre - slightly less high frequency capability in a mic. Unlike most ribbon mics which are figure 8 pattern, the Beyer M160 is hypercardiod and the soundstage is too narrow for the large sound field that the piano generates. However, the AKG 451 is capturing the magic better in this regard as it is a cardiod pattern, with a more open and wider sound stage than your M160.

    Good Luck,
    George
     
  8. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ahhhh.... Boston.... beautiful town! On the sports car thing. Been there. Done that.... Expensive... Time-consuming... Money consuming... Love affair.... then you get married, have kids and it's totally over.... no time, no time. no time...

    My wife and I are retired--albeit pretty young, I guess.... and all we can think about is Quiet car.... although we did test drive quite a few bimmers (stick), before sacrificing handling for total, consuming, no-road-feel, boring, QUIET....

    Steinway Bs: love 'm (not everybody does), but I tried many, many, many out (at least 50) and couldn't find one that felt, well, "safe", meaning that I wouldn't end up saying to myself: "I'm 50K light and that action doesn't feel quite right now" or "some of those strings are starting to sound odd", etc., etc., etc,......

    So I BOUGHT the Chinese piano! Only time will tell. About 6 months now. No issues at all. Aside from the keys, the lumber (rim, wood frame, other wood parts), are or seem to be beautifully finished. Will they crack???? Will they shrink????? Who knows?

    But to be quite philistine about it, for the money I paid, who cares? It plays and sounds absolutely phenomenal, as they say in the bus., which is much, much more than I can say for the Kawais and Yammys I played, not to mention a fair number of Schimmels, Steinway (Bs not Ds!), and ALL the well-know Chinese/psuedo-German pianos on the market right now (Brodmann, W&L, Heintzman, etc.---and these are the good ones). W&L is supposed to be the same... but playing them does not bear this out. I've heard that some Brodmann's are nice....played the best they make and it was terrible, and I mean TERRIBLE....

    But, then, these things are SO individual.... I heard a recording of a Brodmann on UTUBE which sounded extraordinary. You can just get lucky (or unlucky) with individual pianos. I played a Heintzman 7ft grand (original made in Canada) at a CBC Radio studio about 30 years ago.... absolutely stunning piano.... Then there are the Steinways that one finds in almost every building at Oberlin: many of them, aside from being NOT tuned, sound pretty darn miserable.

    Que Faire?

    JG
     
  9. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    By way of a complete edit of this post, here is the same Bach recorded using relatively inexpensive equipment--Apex 210 ribbons Chinese (150 a pair) and a pair of AT 4041a(s), 400 a pair.

    Again, there are a few boo boos in this performance, but my purpose wasn't to get the prelude right, but to test the mics and the piano.

    http://www.box.com/s/3886484e13e55c6c1fd6

    JG
     
  10. StephenC

    StephenC New Member

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    I saw one Hailun piano when I walk around music shop but never really tried to play one. But with you just said, maybe I'll be trying one soon when I visit a music shop again.
     
  11. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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  12. musical-md

    musical-md New Member

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    John,
    It has a very nice sound to it.
     
  13. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Apologies for the saccharine account of the prelude. Merely demoing the instrument, and testing out my mics.

    Listening to Carnevale's Bach, Scarlatti, and Chopin recordings here at PS. All superb, and a benchmark for interpretation as well as terrific recorded sound.

    JG
     
  14. johnlewisgrant

    johnlewisgrant New Member Piano Society Artist

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    OK.... using AT4041 Card Mics, here's what I'm starting to think is a fair description of the sound of this piano, which I am starting to completely adore:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxGdncwv1N4

    I haven't played very many Steinway Bs that I enjoyed as much, to be perfectly frank. I played a 9 foot Steingraeber which happened to be right next to this piano. Better, yes. And bigger. But MUCH better? Indeed, not.

    Hard to fathom, at least for me, someone who can't stand the sound of the typical Chinese piano (you know, the ones with the fake German names).

    JG
     
  15. mpurney

    mpurney New Member

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    I've been impressed with the pianos Hailun has been producing. They've got some great people on board, and they are always making improvements and coming up with innovative design changes. Certainly a piano to be judged on its merits, and not where it's manufactured.
     

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