The 'Perfect Piano Sound'

Put this in the pianistz section ironically but this actually has nothing to do with tone production from the pianist him/herself. I wanted to discuss recordings in which the sound of the piano itself - the recording, venue/acoustics, production etc all combine to make recordings that are pure ear candy from a purely aesthetic point of view.

Horowitz’s piano is one of my favourite sounds - it’s not just his playing, if you listen to others playing his piano on youtube you hear that awesome way it booms in the bass and pierces in the treble.

I also think that Hyperion in general as a label holds a very high standard of recorded piano sound. Not too sure if they’ve gone downhill in recent years though.

Do any recordings stand out to you in this way? And can you give any insight into how they achieved that sound?

I once read someone write that Horowitz had a great sound, not a beautiful sound. I think that’s exactly right (though his hand grenade bass and razor treble had a lot to do with how his instruments were prepared).

Recs, I don’t know… I remember a CD with Konstantin Lifschitz I thought was really well recorded. Volodos’ recent Brahms was fine too. I think the Czech radio were awesome with their productions in the analogue era, daring to go for sound picture rather than industry requirements on noise levels, etc. The chaps at the Warsaw Philharmonie have a thumbs up from me as well in more modern times. For a good piano sound I think you need an excellent piano, a hall with good acoustics, an engineer who knows what he’s doing, and a good pianist. I think all four are about equally indispensable actually, and about equally rare (maybe not piano).

Oh man, Horowitz’s piano has put me off Horowitz! Pozz why I actually like some of the earlier recs on a normal piano.


It’s interesting to note how musician’s taste in tone change as they age also.

Hearing especially in the higher pitches/harmonics degrades over time and that might explain why some pianists prefer a brighter tone as they age.

The most beautifully recorded 88 tone fo moi, be dat 1930’s-50’s Abbey Road Studio HMV sound

A combo of wonderfully voiced prewar 88 n perfect acoustics

Even da GAV would produce a pretty tone on dere. :sunglasses:

Curiously, I do not like Hyperion’s sound. It’s sounds really fake to me. CJ is right; it’s a combination of piano, acoustics, how it’s recorded and the pianist. In general, I like how Sony records things (with the exception maybe of Debargue’s Salle Cortot disc, but that’s the acoustics’ fault). I also really liked the sound on Schiff’s Beethoven sonatas.

1 Like

I like da sound on Trif’s carnegie debut disc.
Actually, I went to dat rectal wiz Fei Fei Dong n her cucked BF. it wuz blurry in da hall.

Zhe thought da Stravinsky firefuck encore wuz starwars.

True, he has one of if not the most beautiful sound I’ve heard in the hall, although he doesn’t project much (this is not a defect; you should always play for the first few rows, since we pay the most). Too bad his playing is so mannered.


unlykly :sunglasses:


There are some studio recordings out there of Moravec playing Chopin and Debussy that have an almost ideal recorded piano tone, IMO. Can’t give you the exact CDs, have to look them up.
Also, have to agree with TM, especially some Myra Hess recs from that period - though the sound is “mono” originally.

1 Like

Ah, the Vox set, pozz? (there’s VAI too)

Funny, you wouldn’t associate a budget label with quality sound but if it is Vox you mean the sound is indeed very well balanced.

Yes, I think it was Vox Cum Laude (Debussy Images & Estampes), but I think partly also the Supraphon re-issue of Connoisseur Society recordings…

DIZ da PERFECT 88 zound :sunglasses:



or diz zmooth clazzic:



bettah den da WUNDAH :sunglasses:

1 Like

tru, but stereo dun do much fo da piano, randomly

ahahahaha diz da clazzik :ho: :honeybee: tru? :sunglasses:

1 Like

da one and only, 1932 tru

ahahahaha once again da HO improve da zcore by changin zheeyatz evah zo zlitely :sunglasses:


Datz rite! Legendaire