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Does anyone have any thoughts/experiences of Irmler pianos? I really liked the sound of it and the touch of the key is very good. The price I get is +$6k almost same as a Yamaha U1.
But now I'm not so sure as the others have better names and I've heard Irmlers may be made in China. The model I am considering is upright P121I or P122 E.

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Originally Posted by emilyweizhou
Does anyone have any thoughts/experiences of Irmler pianos? I really liked the sound of it and the touch of the key is very good. The price I get is +$6k almost same as a Yamaha U1.
But now I'm not so sure as the others have better names and I've heard Irmlers may be made in China. The model I am considering is upright P121I or P122 E.


Emily,

Sorting out the Irmlers is complex. If you cannot unravel the different lines, origins, and markets completely from the Bluthner web site or from the manufacturer descriptions in the pianobuyer.com guide (which you can click on in the right column here), I'd suggest you enter "Irmler" in the search engine. There are several lengthy threads exploring your questions. There is even one specifically about the P122.


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Emily,

Welcomed to the forum.
This is only an opinion: 6K + is a little high for a 48" piano of this nature. At that price range there are many options on pianos that have proven their quality over the years and with better reputation in the market.
Again my opinion: The production of Irmler has been inconsistent and therefore I doubt that this piano has any pedigree. The bouncing between China and Korea and the lack of information about it; partially influenced my lack of confidence. The obvious tactic to sell this piano is the association with Bluthner. In reality they have nothing in common except for the 88 keys. Very much as it goes for Essex with Steinway, Schimmel with May Berlin and so many others.
High-end piano manufacturers have adopted a business model of trying to cover all sectors of the market, by building inferior quality products taking advantage of their established name and reputation. In reality there is no benefit for the consumer, taking in consideration that one can purchase a similar product for a much more reasonable price without paying the premiums of the brand name. The real test is the after market value of the piano. For instance; try selling a used 48" Irmler for lets say...$3500.
Good Luck!!!
On the other hand a well prepped entry level piano, along with a good sales pitch and consumer's ignorance can set you up to believe something that's not completely accurate. I have seen many pianos of this nature winding back to what they really are within a few months from the purchase time.

My two cents.

Last edited by Kurtmen; 08/27/09 03:28 PM.

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I'd try a few others brands in that price range. We played a few Irmlers of different sizes -- including one Irmler Europe (not sure what the Europe means anymore) -- and were unimpressed. Not any better than Yamaha, probably not as good as U1 or U3, certainly not as good as Kawai K-series.

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Kurtmen,

Interesting post. There wouldn't happen to be an Irmler dealer up the road from you in your sales territory, would there? grin

Actually, much of what you say echoes what Mr. Kassman posted yesterday about the faint resemblance between current W. Hoffmanns and the ones made in former East Germany, (and the Czech Republic isn't even in Asia). grin

I guess the hybrid question isn't going to go away. I was interested to read Mr. Fine's Pianobuyer reports on Irmler and May Berlin, but noted that many other hybrids went unmentioned.

I guess the market will decide if the revenue is worth the risk to prestige and whether the pianos lose their bloom quickly.



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AS someone who is a bit less biased, perhaps, because I chose to buy an Irmler grand (they are quite a lot cheaper over here because I presume of the lower shipping costs around Europe, making them a more attractive proposition over here) that although I loved the grand at its price point, I wasn't impressed at all by the Irmler upright I tried. The sound was quite mellow but I didn't like the action and I would recommend you look around further at other makes. I get the general impression that their uprights are not a good buy for the money even here, and they are quite a bit more expensive in the US/Canada.

But I love my Irmler grand!

Best of luck finding something you like.


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Originally Posted by turandot
Kurtmen,

Interesting post. There wouldn't happen to be an Irmler dealer up the road from you in your sales territory, would there? grin

Actually, much of what you say echoes what Mr. Kassman posted yesterday about the faint resemblance between current W. Hoffmanns and the ones made in former East Germany, (and the Czech Republic isn't even in Asia). grin

I guess the hybrid question isn't going to go away. I was interested to read Mr. Fine's Pianobuyer reports on Irmler and May Berlin, but noted that many other hybrids went unmentioned.

I guess the market will decide if the revenue is worth the risk to prestige and whether the pianos lose their bloom quickly.



Agree Turandot. In regard to the dealer up the road I have no worries. This is a long established business that knows the value of providing accurate quality information to their customers. They will always make sure to provide customers precise information about the origin of a piano. Besides that they carry some really high-end stuff and they know how to sell it; therefore there is no need for them to hype-up entry-level pianos.

There are a few bravado non-believers left out there that will underestimate the consumer’s ability to find out information (on-line for example). So they still throw at buyers some crazy stories including the bashing of plastic parts. (Well this is a whole new thread). Kudos to those brave salespersons! wink


Last edited by Kurtmen; 08/27/09 05:10 PM.

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Originally Posted by emilyweizhou
The model I am considering is upright P121I or P122 E.


Which one are you looking at? Larry Fine's price for the Europe P112E is $3,679.00 more than the P121I studio model. I would assume there is difference. There better be for an additional $3,679.00


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ROD,

The price I got for P122 E made in Europe is $6200 (dealer's best offer). P121I is made in China (confirmed w/dealer) sells for $5300. I think am going to wait and try some other brands like Yamaha or Kawais again this weekend.

Seems Irmler don't have much good review. confused

Kurtmen,

Your points also noted. The real test is the after market value of the piano. tks.

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Emily,

Please refer to Pianobuyer.com with the link at the right to understand how it is that Irmler Professional Series is 'made' in Europe. On the surface, a statement that a piano is made in Europe often gives an impression that is different from the reality. Of course, ultimately the quality of the piano does not depend on where it is made, or where its parts have been sourced from, but on the level of materials and labor that went into it and the quality of its design. It's good to go in with your eves open, but not with a pre-judgment based on origin.

I wouldn't put too much weight into the reviews of Irmler here. There aren't that many actual reviews about how the piano sounds or plays. Most of the discussion has been about the confusion regarding its origin.

Good luck exploring other brands. That's always a good idea.


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I think the problem with Irmler is lack of consistency in quality and confusion about where they're made. Of the three we tried, the Irmler Europe was definitely better than the other two, but it wasn't anything special. And even the dealer admitted there was very little Europe about it.

If you really like one, then maybe it is worth it. But realize that it will be worth less used than a better known (and more consistent) brand. Hence, try other brands. If you still like the Irmler, then go back to it and try again. Give it some time, and the dealer might even go down more on price.

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This is one brand or model I don't know much about.

On the one hand it is interesting to learn what some top German companies are doing in China and why they are building this type product.

Perhaps it's meant to take on some Japanese or certain others - but I rather suspect it's an "entrance ticket" to the lucrative [future] Chinese market.

Could I be wrong?

Never.....

Norbert grin







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I received a call from Alex Hernandez (Blüthner’s representative). He mentioned to me that he found my post detrimental to the Irmler brand. I told Mr. Hernandez that my opinion is based on a personal view and by no means should by taken as holy Gospel. I think that Blüthner should concentrate in promoting and doing what they do best; which is building one of the most refine pianos in the world. Building a piano for a different sector of the market is always a risky decision made by the manufacturer. However if the means meet the ends; well…all power to them.
On the other hand and again in my opinion this allows room by dealers carrying the lower lines to use Blüthner’s name incorrectly by bating potential Blüthner buyers to visit a dealer that will introduce them to a different brand.
Alex was kind enough to exchange views and explain that Blüthner has no intention of promoting the piano as some kind of “mini-Blüthner” nor they encourage dealers for such a tactic. He said that they actually monitor closely their dealers in order to prevent such a thing from happening. He also mentioned that Blüthner has been very transparent in terms of the information provided about the Irmler brand and they are always willing to forward information regarding their piano lines.
I told Mr. Hernandez that the lose of a potential Blüthner buyer to a different brand is one of the risks involved with linking the name to lower lines.
I would be dishonest if a say that my perspective has changed, in regard to what a manufacturer should do or not do. Nevertheless Mr. Hernandez confidence in the product in combination with Blüthner’s intention of providing a good value for another sector of the market are good signs about the Irmler brand.

Last edited by Kurtmen; 08/31/09 08:18 PM.

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The Irmlers we played were not very good -- although the dealer was very upfront about what they were and where they come from (even told us the Irmler Europe wasn't really Europe). We didn't talk seriously about price because we were not interested, but I don't think they were that much cheaper than the Charles Walters he had, which were much, much better.

Actually, I think the two Chinese ones were less than the Walters and the Irmler Europe (?) was about the same. Honestly, I cannot imagine Irmler doing well anywhere outside of Asia perhaps.

I also cannot imagine choosing one over a U1 (not our favorite but a decent consumer piano), but again, in that price range, I'd look at Walters and Kawai. We even saw a smaller Bohemia for about $6k that was way better.

Overall, we haven't been very impressed with these budget lines from premium makers -- whether it be W. Hoffman, May Berlin, or Essex -- and they don't really make sense for a consumer. The premium company contracts with someone else to make a budget piano, and the result is that two piano companies now have to make money on the deal. If you want budget, just go straight to a Chinese company IMO. Plus, it is often confusing to figure out who makes what, and thus not much consistency or track record over time.

We only try them out of curiosity, and because my wife is a piano teacher, and her students often seek advice on entry-level pianos. (BTW, she's completely disinterested in all of this. She has her preferences, of course, but she's never received a commission from any dealer. Never worked for a dealer or taught through one either.)

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I guess W. Hoffman is a little different -- not being Chinese, and coming from a factory owned by Bechstein -- but still not a great option IMO. Better than the Chinese Irmlers perhpas (and more expensive) but not a true Bechstein or a Bohemia.

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One more note: all these stencils and budget lines create so much confusion. We had one dealer try to tell us that Palatino was a Schimmel product made in the same factory as May Berlin. The factory part may be true -- I can't keep track of where May Berlins are coming from these days -- but I'm pretty confident that Schimmel had no hand in the Palatino we played (which was junk, but also clearly not prepped, so who knows).

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Originally Posted by Kurtmen
I received a call from Alex Hernandez (Blüthner’s representative). He mentioned to me that he found my post detrimental to the Irmler brand. I told Mr. Hernandez that my opinion is based on a personal view and by no means should by taken as holy Gospel. I think that Blüthner should concentrate in promoting and doing what they do best; which is building one of the most refine pianos in the world. Building a piano for a different sector of the market is always a risky decision made by the manufacturer. However if the means meet the ends; well…all power to them.
On the other hand and again in my opinion this allows room by dealers carrying the lower lines to use Blüthner’s name incorrectly by bating potential Blüthner buyers to visit a dealer that will introduce them to a different brand.
Alex was kind enough to exchange views and explain that Blüthner has no intention of promoting the piano as some kind of “mini-Blüthner” nor they encourage dealers for such a tactic. He said that they actually monitor closely their dealers in order to prevent such a thing from happening. He also mentioned that Blüthner has been very transparent in terms of the information provided about the Irmler brand and they are always willing to forward information regarding their piano lines.
I told Mr. Hernandez that the lose of a potential Blüthner buyer to a different brand is one of the risks involved with linking the name to lower lines.
I would be dishonest if a say that my perspective has changed, in regard to what a manufacturer should do or not do. Nevertheless Mr. Hernandez confidence in the product in combination with Blüthner’s intention of providing a good value for another sector of the market are good signs about the Irmler brand.


Kurtman, there seems to be a misunderstanding about our call, I never said your post did any harm to the Irmler line. I did ask that since you have no experience whatsoever with Irmler how can you comment on it's quality? How can you comment on it's resale value or it's musical properties? I said that people who read your post might not realize that your comments are not based on personal experience with Irmler.

You explained (and repeated in your post here) that you thought Blüthner offering a more affordable alternative was in some way a compromise. I responded that it was like being angry with Mercedes Benz for making a C-Class automobile. I also asked you to apply the same standard to all of the other suppliers you carry. The Shigeru Kawai is a far different animal then the GE-10 Yet they both bare the Kawai name on the fallboard. I will leave it to you to write what you told me your feelings are about that.

You then said you had hoped Blüthner would not follow the same example Steinway has set with Boston. I reminded you that we believe the Irmler piano should stand on it's own and that is why we don't put the Blüthner name on the fallboard or anywhere else on the piano.

You are correct about my confidence in Irmler, I play them side by side with some of the worlds greatest instruments everyday in my shop and they perform beautifully. This is an opinion also shared by those who come and play them as well.

If a person plays a prepared Irmler and doesn't like it that is something we have to live with , learn from and consider for the future.

If you had based your comments on personal experience I would have never made a private and personal call to you.

But to suffer criticism from any source who has zero experience with the instrument, well I thought that deserved a call.

Take care, you're a powerhouse salesmen!

Last edited by Alex Hernandez; 09/01/09 05:27 AM.



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Quote
Take care, you're a powerhouse salesmen


Sorry Alex I think you are confused! I don't work for Sherman Clay selling Bluthner, sorry! Steinway. I'm getting confused too eek
In a more serious note. This is where the problem is: Everybody thinks that the grass is greener at the other side of the mountain. Well it is not.
100% of all Bluthners I've sold came from my personal network. Not one of those buyers came through the "POWERHOUSE" and purchased a Bluthner. Unfortunately we don't talk often enough for you to know that. This is why I heavily guard our Bluthner dealership; because selling the brand is a costly and lengthily task.
You can come and sit on your back-pockets everyday here at the shop and watch people admire the hefty tag price, while the piano collects dust everyday.

Quote
But to suffer criticism from any source who has zero experience with the instrument, well I thought that deserved a call.


First of all I will consider Zero a bit of an overstatement. On the other hand my critic was not solely funded in the instrument, but on my opinion about its re-sale value and the polemic topic of high-end manufactures looking into other directions.

I'm glad of your participation in this thread and willingness for making Irmler a product that stands on its own, as you said.
I guess manufactures find reasons and priorities to make certain decisions.
I read Norbert's post and I see a very good perspective and a reason for Bluthner to take that route.
It is very likely that the North American market gradually no longer will be the main focus of piano manufacturers.

So polish up your Chinese; otherwise the "powerhouse" is always open wink







Last edited by Kurtmen; 09/01/09 03:33 PM.

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Check out reviews of this product. The experts have a say on this one. If this is made in China, forgive me but I am a little bit skeptical. Oh Ok, a lot skeptical.

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I would like to share my experience with an Irmler grand piano. I am an experienced amateur player, playing since 27 years and I decided to buy a grand piano last year. I live in NJ and my hunting ground was the entire tristate area. The process took me several months.

I started reading the Larry piano guide, many posts in this and other forums and used any opportunity on weekends to visit Piano stores and private sellers (Craigslist) to find my perfect piano. I played almost every major brand from used budget 5' baby grands to brand new 9' Boesendorfers, which with unlimited funds would be my perfect piano (a personal preference, i was born in Austria). I played about 30-50 grand pianos in the process.

What I could afford were brands in the mid to upper comsumer level: Hailun, Rittmueller, Brodman, Seiler SD ...and i also came across a 6' Irmler studio grand GP188. What i liked most was the lovely action (all Renner parts, well adjusted) and the nice, full, ..perhaps complex tone. It was not as mellow as Kawais, but never as bright as Yamahas or Seiler SD. My impression was that the tone was slightly melancholic in the low to mid range, maybegreat for some Rmantic aera pieces i like to play. It was well balanced all across and i like the deep base due to the 6'. Unlike many other pianos I played in piano stores this particular one was nicely preppt and great to play.
Side note: during my search i found plenty of good pianos with potential, which could be so much more but they had mechanical issues, were voiced in-homogeneously or not broken in and just not 'showroom ready'. Would you buy a car from a Showroom when the cylinders misfire?

At the end of my search, i was torn between a used Baldwin L (US made), a Hailun HG178 a Rittmueller GH188R and the Irmler GP188 (=F188, F stands for Fluegel in German, which is grand piano in English), the Rittmueller had the same or simlar cabinetry compared to the Irmler, but not a Renner action. It was lovely to play and simliar in touch and tone. Still Irlmer felt better or was better prepped...i went back and forth between both pianos several times. I liked the cabinetry and details of the Hailun, as well as the touch, but the tone was not a100% my taste.

Since i speak German, i did not hesitate to call the Bluethner factory in Germany, to find more out about parts, manufacturing process and location. It was late evening German time, and i was connected to Christian Bluethner directly. I had a longer discussion about many details and he openly explained everything to me I.e. Specs, the cabinetry of Irmler Studios are sourced from various places and assembled in China. Bluethner has a factory emplyoying about 800 peolpe there. As far as i can remember, The cabinetry is shipped to Leipzig, where the irmler studio grands get a Renner action built into. The piano is played by a robot for1-2 days and adjusted to perfection. I only vaguely recall all the details about specs, but i hung up the phone with a confident ompression that this piano was a good choice.

I am owning the GP188 irmler studio since about 8 months, and i love it. I play about 1-3 hours a day. Since my purchase i had it tuned once. The piano technician also liked the piano very much, was touched by tone and action and confirmed that buying this irmler studio was a very good choice.

Stefan





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