Each piano is different and will produce a slightly different sound. Yamaha Grand Pianos are famed for their rich, bright tones and are great for a pianist to achieve crystal clear tones and subtle pianissimo dynamics. Most musical genres will cater well to the unique sounds of the Yamaha, including Broadway Musics, Jazz, Pop and even Rock.
The Steinway provides a well-rounded, mature tone, regardless of which model is played but certain ones will be a better representative of these characteristics, such as the Moden B, D and O. Steinway pianos allow the pianist to achieve colour changes and articulations in a naturally smooth way, with an ability to communicate exactly what the player desires. They offer new dynamic levels that otherwise wouldn’t be discovered, giving the player a more creative edge. There is said to be slight inconsistencies from Steinway model to model, which is why it is a good idea to try before you make an investment. The Steinways are entirely handmade – from the glueing of the wood to the bending of it around the frame – which offers an explanation to why there may be some inconsistencies. You are not buying mass produced, factory made instruments with either brand and hands aren’t as precise as machines.
The Yamaha produces a very stable sound which doesn’t vary much from model to model. This can be a major positive or a downside, depending on your preference. Some artists thrive with consistency but others prefer to be more creative with articulations and tones. If you’re ordering online, without trying first, then the Yamaha is slightly more predictable and a safer option. However, it is worth noting that any sound differences are slight to the everyday ear and will generally only be noticed by the professional – or the pinicky. Whether you opt for a Yamaha or a Steinway you’re guaranteed a prestigious, rich-quality, musical tone. So generally, the sound differences wouldn’t be a deal breaker when choosing between the two brands as both offer excellence in this area. Other differences between the brands are more significant, such as their design, action and touch, their finishes, longevity and fundamentally, your budget.
Both Yamaha and Steinway have been around for more than a hundred years, are incredibly popular and always investing in their instruments. Either would be a great investment and both are able to be passed onto future generations. If you listen to the differences in sound online, to make your own comparison, it will be subtle and the likelihood is that you’ll probably not even be able to detect any difference without the use of studio monitors or a pair of good headphones. In general, the Steinway will present a sound that is more blended and muted – making it perfect for orchestral works. The sound from the Yamaha is ever so slightly brighter making it great for solo works or for when you’re wanting the piano to cut through an orchestra and not to blend with it.