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#3222995 06/08/22 03:15 AM
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I'm looking at upgrading the old Yamaha C7. I played a S7X recently and thought it was terrific - the piano for me.

The sales person suggested that the S6X might be more suitable in a domestic environment, and I should consider it. The price difference is not a deal breaker.

Just wondering what people think.

I'm also curious as to why Yamaha should produce two high end grands, one (the S6X) a 7 footer, and the S7X at 7'6". Very small size difference. What other differences are there?

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Well I've had an S7X at home for about one year now. This is me in the video below.

As you can see at this link, the models in the SX line are all separated by 10-15cm. If they were separated by a greater length they'd have to have fewer models.
https://usa.yamaha.com/products/musical_instruments/pianos/grand_pianos/cx_series/specs.html

I would always get the larger piano as they have a more powerful, less muddy bass and a more substantial, fuller sound to all the notes including the treble in my experience (due to the larger soundboard perhaps). For this reason, the C7X has some advantages over an S6X. I would even consider a CFX if you have the space and cash for it. However, some people on this forum disagree. It may depend on what music you play - if you play Rachmaninoff like me the better bass is very important, while if you only play Mozart/Bach it may not be.

It's true that I get ear fatigue if I play the S7X loud with the lid open. However, an S6X may not be much better as it's primarily the high-volume short-duration treble notes that fatigue your ears. The S6X has a different scale design which may affect how it feels.


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Thanks Sonepica. Your comments are much appreciated.

I'm leaning toward the S7X for much the same reasons as you mentioned.

BTW, nice playing. Thanks for posting.

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Yes take a greater piano always. CFX is if course much better, but I do not know about pricing in your country, at least in Poland list price is more or less twice the S7X, so I am not pretty it's worth the money, given that you don't need the power needed for concert hall.

However, I was amazed how not overly powerful it was, it was just not overhelming, which I found in few other concert grands. Just pleasure to play in small environment, given it's size and purpose

Longer strings, better quality, I assume action may be the same as in shorter model (S6X), but if not than you can also get benefit of that as well.

The only one other to confront would be Yamaha CF6, it's shorter than S7X, but class higher, and not that much more costly than S7X.

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I never thought that longer pianos are necessarily better than smaller ones. Having a more powerful bass is not necessarily a benefit. Initially the reason why those big concert grand were created is by necessity of volume in larger concert halls. What is the most important is what kind of tonal balance you will get in your room. Given the size and the room response, it may be better to have more or less bass and how the amount of bass and cleanliness connects with the rest of the piano spectrum. Of course your personal taste plays a role too. For me, in the video, at times the bass and medium bass are too present and I prefer a more transparent sound.


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It's not just about the bass being more powerful, but more harmonious and less muddy sounding as they can make the strings longer instead of heavier. This means the piano has lower inharmonicity, i.e. the harmonics generated by the bass strings correspond more closely to notes further up the piano so the whole piano sounds more in tune. As I mentioned, my experience has also been that the treble has a more substantial sound with more sustain on larger pianos, as opposed to producing more of a "thunk" sound. Then there's the issue of impressing friends/admirers with your larger piano.

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
It's not just about the bass being more powerful, but more harmonious and less muddy sounding as they can make the strings longer instead of heavier. This means the piano has lower inharmonicity, i.e. the harmonics generated by the bass strings correspond more closely to notes further up the piano so the whole piano sounds more in tune. As I mentioned, my experience has also been that the treble has a more substantial sound with more sustain on larger pianos, as opposed to producing more of a "thunk" sound. Then there's the issue of impressing friends/admirers with your larger piano.

I think it really depends on the brand and the room response. The mudiness of the bass is something that is perceived by the auditor and has a lot to do with how the room responds. Some rooms will deliver a much clearer bass when the amount of it is lower. Then everything is a trade off between various criteria. As I said each piano has a tonal balance, even if the bass is marginally clearer, if it throws off the tonal balance, I still prefer a more balanced tone; of course those are my personal preferences and someone else will put the emphasis on something else. Typically american piano tend to emphasize the fullness of the tone by design whatever is the size of the piano, the european are often clearer by design for the same size.

For inharmonicity, it is a complex topic, as one has to take into account the acoustic impedance of the soundboard and the contribution of secondary resonators such as the rim and the plate which all add overtones to the fundamental.


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Oh come on Sidokar. That reads like a satire of postmodernism. It's perfectly obvious that the size of the piano is by far the biggest factor in the quality of the bass.

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Size is a factor yes, and it's an important one, and it's perhaps the most important one when going from model to model within the same brand and same series. Design differences which are more noticeable between pianos of different brands also make a huge difference. Sidokar owns a Blüthner, which is a very distinct flavor of piano tone. The bass on a Blüthner 6 is typically very clear with incredible sustain. Julius Blüthner wanted to create an overstrung piano that had the clarity of the straight strung piano, but that was acceptable to the changing tastes in the later part of the 19th Century. If you look at the scale design of a Blüthner Style 8, which is the direct predecessor to the Model 6, and a scale design that came from Julius Blüthner himself, and compare it to the modern version, there really isn't that much difference. Sure, the case is thicker, the rim is more dense, the damping system is modern, the action is modern, but fundamentally it's an old-world sound. What the Blüthner 6 doesn't have is raw power, but it has balance. A pianist looking for power will probably not choose a Blüthner 6 and may find the tone lackluster. So, I do understand Sidokar's point here, but I also understand Sonepica's.

The difference between the S6X and the S7X isn't just about size though, and at the risk of contradicting myself, it's also about scale. The S6X has a slightly different tone, a slightly different balance. Yes, it has less power in the bass, but it's slightly easier to balance the treble when playing a piano like that. As a performer, it's important to know how to handle a big piano. While the S6X is a big piano and a huge upgrade over the S3X, the S7X is really getting into concert grand territory, so if that's important to you then the S7X is the route to go. The 15cm/6 inch difference really doesn't make that much difference unless your space is very tight, in which case you should be going for a smaller piano anyway. The extra length is really only on the left hand side of the point as you're looking from the keyboard.

As to why Yamaha would produce two instruments so close in size? Makers have always done this. Steinway does the S, M, O, A, B, C and D. The B and C correspond with the 6 and 7 sizes from Yamaha, and the O and A are only three inches apart in size. I'm not sure why they bother with the S! Kawai make all the sizes Steinway makes, but Yamaha's smaller grands in the CX series jump from 5'7 to 6'1. Yamaha actually make a size '4' as well, first as the S400, then the S4, and now the CF4, which were all 6'3, but the 4 size has always been designated for what they call the fully hand-built grands which differentiates it from the other series. Yamaha also makes a 6'7 size '5', which is also an odd duck in the lineup because it falls between the 3 and the 6, but they keep it on because it's popular, and again it provides a slightly different tonal palette. 6'7 is long enough for the bass to have excellent response but not so big for it to become overpowering, which is actually great in chamber music situations. Playing chamber music on a full-sized concert grand is great of course, but there are *always* balance issues and smaller grands make it a bit easier, especially when playing with a cello.


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Originally Posted by CharlesXX
I'm looking at upgrading the old Yamaha C7. I played a S7X recently and thought it was terrific - the piano for me.

The sales person suggested that the S6X might be more suitable in a domestic environment, and I should consider it. The price difference is not a deal breaker.

Just wondering what people think.

I'm also curious as to why Yamaha should produce two high end grands, one (the S6X) a 7 footer, and the S7X at 7'6". Very small size difference. What other differences are there?

How old is your C7? Many professional recording studios swear by those pianos and spend a great deal on maintenance instead of replacing them.

How about replacing the hammers? You could go for Renner, Abel or Ronsen hammers if you want to try something different. What I'm saying is, perhaps the best upgrade is just taking care of the instrument you have?

I've heard a CF6 in a recording environment and thought it was perhaps the best 7 foot piano I've ever heard. So if that model doesn't cost significantly more than an S7X, I would go for the CF.

I do think the SX series is marvelous from what I've heard. I also play tested an S3X while on vacation and thought it was way beyond my capabilities.

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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Size is a factor yes, and it's an important one, and it's perhaps the most important one when going from model to model within the same brand and same series. Design differences which are more noticeable between pianos of different brands also make a huge difference. Sidokar owns a Blüthner, which is a very distinct flavor of piano tone. The bass on a Blüthner 6 is typically very clear with incredible sustain. Julius Blüthner wanted to create an overstrung piano that had the clarity of the straight strung piano, but that was acceptable to the changing tastes in the later part of the 19th Century. If you look at the scale design of a Blüthner Style 8, which is the direct predecessor to the Model 6, and a scale design that came from Julius Blüthner himself, and compare it to the modern version, there really isn't that much difference. Sure, the case is thicker, the rim is more dense, the damping system is modern, the action is modern, but fundamentally it's an old-world sound. What the Blüthner 6 doesn't have is raw power, but it has balance. A pianist looking for power will probably not choose a Blüthner 6 and may find the tone lackluster. So, I do understand Sidokar's point here, but I also understand Sonepica's.


Thank you Joseph. You explained it much better than I could.


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ok, so everybody agrees that s7x is a better piano compared to s6x?

how about c7x and c6x?
is it about the same? c7x is better?

tirta #3223340 06/09/22 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tirta
ok, so everybody agrees that s7x is a better piano compared to s6x?

how about c7x and c6x?
is it about the same? c7x is better?

The last time I played an S6X and S7X one after the other, I preferred the S6X as I thought it was better balanced. And apparently, based on Joseph's explanation above, I wasn't imagining that. During that same visit, I also played an S3X and S5X (this was pre-Covid when pianos were actually available on the dealer's floor), and the S6X just hit that sweet spot of power, clarity, and balance. If I had the budget for it, I would have taken that S6X home. Alas.

I have never played a C6X, but am really curious if I would feel the same comparing it to a C7X. I currently have a C5X on order and have this nagging doubt in my mind that maybe I should have gone for a C6X.

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Originally Posted by Cassia
Originally Posted by tirta
ok, so everybody agrees that s7x is a better piano compared to s6x?

how about c7x and c6x?
is it about the same? c7x is better?

The last time I played an S6X and S7X one after the other, I preferred the S6X as I thought it was better balanced. And apparently, based on Joseph's explanation above, I wasn't imagining that. During that same visit, I also played an S3X and S5X (this was pre-Covid when pianos were actually available on the dealer's floor), and the S6X just hit that sweet spot of power, clarity, and balance. If I had the budget for it, I would have taken that S6X home. Alas.

I have never played a C6X, but am really curious if I would feel the same comparing it to a C7X. I currently have a C5X on order and have this nagging doubt in my mind that maybe I should have gone for a C6X.

Can’t you ask the dealer to let you know if he gets an C6x in stock? I would think you would be able to upgrade if you prefer it to the 5.


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I've liked most Yamaha C7 pianos better than C6 pianos, if your space allows.
Almost nobody has gotten to play an S6x and a S7x, side by side. They're not stocked in great quantities by dealers.

This many years on, tirta, you still haven't made a decision, eh? I feel like you've posted or PM'd with me about this for about 4 years now. grin


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Hi Owen,

not 4 years, maybe 1 or 2.
but yes, time really flies, especially during covid.

now it is almost over, I hope I can go to Japan in near future and make the decision.
it is really hard to decide without trying the pianos first.

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Originally Posted by Cassia
Originally Posted by tirta
ok, so everybody agrees that s7x is a better piano compared to s6x?

how about c7x and c6x?
is it about the same? c7x is better?

The last time I played an S6X and S7X one after the other, I preferred the S6X as I thought it was better balanced. And apparently, based on Joseph's explanation above, I wasn't imagining that. During that same visit, I also played an S3X and S5X (this was pre-Covid when pianos were actually available on the dealer's floor), and the S6X just hit that sweet spot of power, clarity, and balance. If I had the budget for it, I would have taken that S6X home. Alas.

I have never played a C6X, but am really curious if I would feel the same comparing it to a C7X. I currently have a C5X on order and have this nagging doubt in my mind that maybe I should have gone for a C6X.

Oh yeah, they have a 100% trade-up policy. I don't think they typically stock C6Xs, but maybe I can convince them otherwise.

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Originally Posted by Cassia
The last time I played an S6X and S7X one after the other, I preferred the S6X as I thought it was better balanced.

Well you're not forced to hit the bass notes hard if you don't want to. Can't you balance the bass and treble yourself?

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Sonepica,

Not sure if you're familiar with the ADSR sound envelope concept, but my impression from playing pianos that people called "unbalanced" was that the Attack to Sustain ratio was not consistent across the registers. In other words, if you hit the bass notes more lightly (less attack), you still get a lot of sustain, so you end up with something more like cellos versus a plucked bass guitar. Similarly, in the "killer octave", you can hit the notes harder, and harder, but if there is no sustain, you can't get a beautiful singing tone. This is my understanding of "unbalanced" which can't be controlled by just playing more softly.

By the way, I keep reading your posts, that you want to get a concert grand eventually. You should, but only you will know if the tonal philosophy matches how you think a fine instrument should perform. Do you want more overtones like the Bosendorfer Imperial with extra strings and cabinet resonance, or do you wan to go the route of the Fazioli F308 where the longer strings give you more fundamental? It's completely up to you to decide what is the right tonal philosophy that matches how you think about voicing the notes you play. In my opinion, with all my sample sizes of 1, the bass on the Mason&Hamlin CC, Bechstein 282, and Grotrian 277 also left strong impressions on me, too.

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Originally Posted by Sonepica
Originally Posted by Cassia
The last time I played an S6X and S7X one after the other, I preferred the S6X as I thought it was better balanced.

Well you're not forced to hit the bass notes hard if you don't want to. Can't you balance the bass and treble yourself?


The balance is not a question of how hard you hit the bass vs the treble. It is related to the sustain and density/distribution of fundamentals and overtones across the entire range.


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