Kawai v.s. Steinway v.s. Yamaha – piano sound quality comparison

Comparison between three different pianos:

– Shigeru Kawai SK-EX Concert Grand (278 cm) – Japan
– Steinway & Sons D 274 Concert Grand – Germany
– Yamaha CFX (275 cm) – Japan

Sound was recorded during 17th International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw Symphony Concert Hall. Microphones settings and position of pianos on the stage is the same for each recording.

Samples of Frederic Chopin pieces are played by different pianists! Please take into consideration different style of playing which may affect the tone.

I suggest watching on 1080p for the best sound quality.

Your comments are welcome.


Toolmaker says:

No difference. Just the name. Like automobiles, the days where the quality of an instrument can be heard are largely behind us. Its all a name game. Though the long term quality might differ or serviceable might be an issue. It doesn’t really matter when consider the purpose of the instrument is to enjoy yourself. Lets be real people.

waxwaine says:

Kawai is lively and Yamaha a little flat, modulate for my taste, except on the armonics where Steinway wins in my opinion.

Gary Noone says:

The Hamburg Steinway is a teddy bear of a piano. Envelops you in cuddly warmth. Good for classical pieces, Romantic composers, and pop standards. For jazz or perhaps Bach one might go to the Kawai or Yamaha, and frankly I’m having a hard time deciding. Is the Kawai brighter while the Yamaha has more overtones?

Mark Leon says:

Hell my 200 dollars casio is way better than all… 😀 … my Def wife told me to write this.

HadrianDan says:

Kawai sounds good with possible flow and educational sort of, yamaha is a blunt older sort of sound, and the steinway is kind of digital in this opinion.

Andrew Azar says:

The kawai has the cleanest articulations. The notes are the most “separate”. Excellent for solos .
The Steinway is warm, and blends with itself well. A wonderful jazz instrument.
The Yamaha is Bright, so It’d my choice for a concerto or for playing with an orchestra.

KGLOOK565 says:

Is it like

Web Surfin says:

All 3 of those very fine concert grand pianos are a top-notch WINNER!

Oleg Shteynberg says:

Each of the pianos has its own beautiful features.

horatiodreamt says:

Well, then there’s Bechstein. Someone should do a comparison of the three B’s of concert grand pianos:: Bechstein, Bosendorfer and Bluthner.

TheSixfinger1 says:

Steinway! Period!

MegaMech says:

Yamaha sucks donkey doo doo.

Zackery Hardy says:

not really fair to compare these brands to each other as they are all hand built and each piano will sound different in all of these lines, but the differences that are ac crossed all of a line is the action which kawaii is better due to the carbon fiber action, however one thing to note is Steinway need a lot of work after leaving the factory and require a lot of work to get them to play right after purchasing while kawaii is usually good out of the box and most are usually in tune despite being shipped from japan, and as far as which one is the most technologically advance Yamaha has the cake as they put a lot of features such as converting your sound board into a speaker and their soundless action which allows you to play it like a keyboard and they are the only ones that actually have a good silent action that doesn’t sacrifice feel the keys…its these other factors that really set them apart form one another as sound alone for all of them is excellent and at this level you will have your piano sound like how you want as they can all sound the same as most of the differences in sound are based on hammers which can be modified by your local piano tuner to have a brighter, bolder, warmer, or cooler sound. I personally would not buy a new Steinway as personally they are living off of their brand name these days when compared to other piano manufacturers however i love the pianos they produced between 1900 and 1920 as those definitely have a great sound and they age well however there are a lot of new Steinway i can’t stand playing. But at the end of the day all is personal preference and the only way anyone can make a decision on any of these is to play them in person.

Brian Eibisch says:

If I was going to spend this kind of money on a piano it would go on the Kawai. I like the tonal dynamic across the keyboard in Kawai pianos; darker bass and brighter trebles for me is just great. Next would be Steinway interestingly because it is more tonally homogenous. To me the Yamaha doesn’t have the tonal richness of the other two but it is a clear toned piano. Cheers.

Christopher Pilcher says:

I could not tell the difference ! But I do think that older 1980-1950 fifies pianos have a better tone when played fortissiomo (sp) when compared to these. Older pianos have an attack which has more/stronger overtones when compared to these ?

Foi Jerde Cabog says:

When I was in college, I prefer kawai pianos

Studentojazzkeys says:

Steinway for me…

EpicDragon Studios says:

Steinway has the best low and high registers of the 3 in my opinion, but the Yamaha is pretty darn good

ker der says:

Wow Steinway all the way… Kawai too reach Yamaha too modern Steinway mellow… I would say for Chopin type of music Steinway for sure

ChristiRich says:

The Kawai does sound clear and refined to my ear. For some reason I like it the best in this comparison.

LetsKatieLoveHue love says:

the yamaha has a more toupher feeling sould to it i love steinway piano.

Sohee Yun says:

“Kawai” is the best

Kevin Higgins says:

There is a guy in San Antonio trying to sell his Shigeru for $17k and having a hard time.

Daniel Shade says:

Yamaha so you can play any style. They record like dreams and sound best in dulled rooms.

Tommy Moore says:

I am fortunate to have a 5 9 Kawai I purchased in the early 70s. Just gets better and better.

Kevin Reyes says:

0:46 name of the song??

Tomoko Graustreif says:

Kawai – aggressive sound (good for loud songs)
Steinway – smooth sound (good for emotional songs)
Yamaha – best (good for everything)

髙橋諄 says:


Random user #74652819 says:

In this comparison, with my ~$150 Logitech gaming headphones, I would say Kawai > Yamaha ≥ Steinway. I could possibly be biased, because my piano teacher had two Kawais (a K. Kawai and a Shigeru, both the same size, but I don’t remember what the size was, but certainly not full-size), and I don’t like how Steinway acts as if they are the best piano company in the world and all others are vastly inferior, but I definitely liked the clearer tone of the Kawai and found the Steinway here too muddy.

Alexander Foelkel says:

First one reminded me of a piano. Second one reminded me of a piano. Third one reminded me of a yellow chicken with noodles that was too late for work and forgot her eggs.

Orlando Sanidad says:

How do you know you are being fooled? It could be all the recordings were coming from Steinway and showing different piano pictures. This will prove preconceived results and brand name preferences. That makes your hearing inappropriate and over ruled by name brands.

Emir Diab says:

kawai ! very beautiful! .. the other 2 seemed to interlace frequencies in a strange way,.. not sure if interlace is the best word to use

K.S.H V27** says:

No.1 Steinway & sons


Shigeru kawai is great

Timothy Soriano says:

ill be happy if i could have either of the three.

zetacon4 says:

Please give me the Shigeru Kawai SK-EX Concert Grand!!!! It is the most beautiful of the three instruments being sampled here. Also, we are hearing different performers playing these three pianos. That makes a difference also. But, the Shigeru Kawai is so crystal clear and brilliant I would take it over the other two in a heart beat! What a joy it is to hear.

I forgot to mention, I detected a slight off pitch of a few notes in the Steinway. That shouldn’t happen. But, not many humans can detect off pitch as small as a few of us can. So, no fault there, to be honest. It just popped up when I was listening closely to certain notes. Pianos are one of the most difficult instruments to get and hold perfect tuning. Tuning a piano is a real artform.

Vedha Viyash says:

Piano doesn’t matter….PIANIST matters

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