Hear What Our 43 customers are Saying
I own an Essex EUP-123S upright. I will briefly review the cabinet, the action and pedals, the sound and timbre.
The cabinet is phenomenal, one of the main reasons why I chose this piano. The design is very pleasant, modern-classic, with large pillars supporting the keyboard. The lid’s design is exceptional, it disappears completely when opened and it cannot interfere in any way with the hands of the player, even better than on a grand. The music desk spans the whole length of the keyboard and it is very wide, it can accommodate any number of scores. The upper cover can be fully lifted if one needs additional volume. The front panel can be relatively easily removed if one wants to enjoy the visual pleasure of the action in motion.
The action is very good for an upright. It is not as fast and responsive as that of a grand, as one would expect, but adequate for most uses. The size and finish of the keys is very good, I especially like the look and feel of the black keys, but even the white ones are impeccable. The red lining at the end of the keys provides a touch of luxury. I find the keys well balanced, with the same amount of strength needed throughout. Compared to a Steinway grand I feel it is slightly heavier. If one removes the front cover a stunning display is revealed (note that this model has no mute rail which I find them very ugly, and they partially hide the action). It offers a more interesting visual experience than on a grand piano where the hammers are hidden below the strings. Interesting option for shooting videos for the Youtubers out there.
The pedals are the next great treat, especially the left soft pedal. The sustain pedal is very good. I find that it does not cut off instantly all sound when released, or maybe it is just the way I am using it. This can be seen as a downside as an instantaneous cut off is usually preferred. It has a rather wide vertical range, wider than a Steinway grand. This is a plus, because it is easier to use the sustain pedal at half height, providing useful harmonic options. The left soft pedal is great, I think all pianos, including grands, should have a soft pedal designed in that way. In fact the ultra-high end Fazioli F308 does have two soft pedals, the second one of which does exactly what this upright soft pedal does: it brings the hammers closer to the strings thereby reducing the amount of strength the hammer hits the strings with, achieving lower volume without changing the timbre. This is far superior to the soft pedal on a grand piano, where the whole action is shifted to the right, which is also slightly distracting for the player. The central pedal is a sustain pedal only for the bass section; I don’t find it useful.
The sound. First of all it is a loud piano. It is entirely suitable for any large living room or music studio. For my music room (the size of a small bedroom) I had to use some dampening material, as it would have been too loud otherwise. I find the timbre to be on the brighter side of the spectrum. The mid-range has really stunning timbres. High range is adequate and still quite loud. The low range is slightly lacking in terms of both timbre and loudness, which is to be expected considering the size of the piano which also constrains the maximum length of the strings. That is compensated by the exceptional dynamics. I am really impressed by the range of dynamics achievable, especially the pianissimos. They require good skills, but once mastered the pianissimos are very pleasant and sweet.
I had a couple of small mechanical issues with the piano, over the course of two years I have spent with it. One with the sustain pedal, triggering an odd sound and another one with a couple of keys in the mid-range, also causing an unexpected additional buzz. They were tricky to fix and not necessarily covered by the warranty. It may be due to some defect with the assembly process, note that the piano parts are made in Germany but I understand assembly is done in China.
Overall I find the Essex EUP-123S an exceptional value for money instrument. It has several features superior to those of a grand piano (the soft pedal, the lid, the misc desk, and the visible hammers/action). The rich timbres of a Steinway model B will be a dream in comparison, but at several multiples the price of this more modest upright.
Steinway is the epitome of piano at its best. It is an aesthetic piece of art providing much listening and visual pleasure to my family and I. We chose the best, no compromise!
We have already introduced 2 of our friends\extended family member to consider purchasing Steinway. Not only is the Steinway product of high quality, the after sales service is also of high quality. Recently, I encountered an issue with piano string rust. Mr Ng Chee Yong, the Steinway specialist did a superb job restoring our piano to almost new. He is highly skilled, very professional in giving objective advice and relevant information to enable me to make an informed decision. Mr Ng not only taught us preventive measures but also followed up twice to check on the piano condition. The professionalism evidenced by Steinway specialists like Mr Ng shows respect for their product and genuine care for clients like me. It gives me the confidence of recommending Steinway to others.
It is money worth spent as our Steinway grand is a heritage piece which we intend to pass on to our next generation as a lasting legacy & inspiration to continue playing good music on a trusted, top quality instrument. We are proud to own a Steinway at home, especially when we spot a Steinway in piano recitals and concerts.